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How Did the Collapse of Communism Transform Eastern Europe?

Introduction – collapse of communism in 1989

The end of communism in the Eastern Europe was market by the memorable year of 1989. The event definitively set in new democratic form of government in the region in Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary by the end of 19889, however, the communist leader, Ion Iliescu, ruled Romania under the guise of National Salvation Front until the end of 1996. In most of the other states, the more hard line and conservative communist leaders were first replaced by a more moderate communist leader, who was eventually removed from office after mass upheaval. One such example is Bulgaria where the democratic form of government was set in only after 1991 after mass protests and general elections were held in 1997, which had the support firmly committed elite to democracy and market reforms (Wolchik 26). Similarly in Croatia democratic elections occurred in 2000 in order to replace the leaders who believed in non-democracy. Therefore, the process of reforming the communist regimes in certain east European countries took more than longer time and unevenly throughout the region.

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Historical perspective of the collapse

How did the collapse of the bloc occur? It is well known fact that the East European commonwealth was the raison d’être of the erstwhile Soviet Union (Kramer 4). For more than four diced the soviet leaders had demonstrated the case of eastern Europe and the evidence for Marxist-Leninist communism’s superiority as opposed to the Western democracy. However, the masses protested against this complacency of the communist leaders a long time before 1989. Some of these upheavals were that of 1953 protest in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, 1956 protests in Poland and Hungary, 1968 unrests in Poland and Czechoslovakia, and protests in 1970, and 1976, and 1980-1981 in Poland (Kramer 4). However, these were not potent enough to through away the iron rule of the communists and their military strength. However, it was during the 1970s and 1980s that the ideological vacuum of the Marxist-Leninist philosophy became evident and thus led to an upheaval, which even got support from the Soviet elites. These events, thus, led to the collapse of the bloc in 1989.

Process of political and economic transformation after 1989

How has the collapse transformed the East European countries? Post 1989 there has been a severe drive among the previous communist countries to bring forth democracy. The persistence of democracy has stemmed from the ingrained belief that democracy is the best political system and there has always been public denial of nondemocratic forms. The second factor observable is the advent of numerous political parties. As has been observed in Eastern European countries parties often “come and go” (Linden 7). For instance in case of Bulgaria there has been a constant volatility of the parties as they change their slogans, ideologies, and belief. Further, in the state the leaders are well known for their changing inclinations, which are perceived to be a way to “avoid both strong identification with specific parties and punishment for poor performance” (7).

The third change, which has been observed, is the changing of strong charismatic leaders who saw almost short lived power and the bringing of less strong leaders and more powerful parliaments. For instance, Lech Walêsa of democratic Poland was unable to retain his strong position for long and so was Vaclav Hável of Czechoslovakia (Linden 8).

Conclusion

Despite its political turbulence, the process of transition in Eastern Europe has just begun in the region. With the integration of most of the countries with EU and NATO has brought the states in a strong coordination with democratic states and has spilled over economic benefits (Wolchik 27). Therefore, the region is still in the process of transition where a lot of work – both political and economic – needs to be done.

Works Cited

Kramer, Mark. “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part 2).” Journal of Cold War Studies Vol. 6 No. 4 (2004): 3–64.

Linden, Ronald H. “Refl ections on 1989—and After.” Problems of Post-Communism vol. 56, no. 5 (2009): 3–10.

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Wolchik, Sharon L. “1989: The Greatest Surprises.” Problems of Post-Communism Vol. 56 No. 5 (2009): 25-29.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 22). How Did the Collapse of Communism Transform Eastern Europe? Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/how-did-the-collapse-of-communism-transform-eastern-europe/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 22). How Did the Collapse of Communism Transform Eastern Europe? https://studycorgi.com/how-did-the-collapse-of-communism-transform-eastern-europe/

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