AP/POLS 3401 3.00
Post-Communist Transformations: Can East Become West?
The fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe in the early 1990's was hailed by many observers as a triumph of freedom. Building new politico-economic systems, however, remains a daunting challenge. The experiments with transplanting Western models of market economics and liberal democracy into East European societies have so far produced only limited successes and in only a few countries. The vast majority of people living in post-communist societies have been victimized by economic and social deprivation, civil wars, corruption and crime, while the main benefits of change are enjoyed by narrow elites. This course looks at the unfolding drama of post-communist politics: the attempts to organise efficient market economies and make democracy work, the struggles between and against the new "robber barons", the explosive impact of ethnic conflicts, the dangers of militarism and fascism, and the rise of new democratic movements.