Twenty-Five Years After 1989: A Balance Sheet

Sharon L. Wolchik
Jane Leftwich Curry, Santa Clara University

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Twenty-five years after the fall of communism, as this volume was being completed, the miracle of the peaceful transformations of these states from inclusion in the Soviet bloc to, for most, full membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) and from communism to democracy, remains. At the same time, while it is clear that most of these states, with the notable exceptions of Ukraine, Bosnia, and Kosovo, have firmly "returned to Europe," it is also clear that the legacies of their histories, particularly under communism, and their transitions keep them from being "just like Western Europe," even though they sport sparkling malls, high rises, and all the accouterments of democracy and capitalism-competitive elections, stock markets, critical media, and goods from Western Europe.