30 years after communism, eastern Europe divided on democracy’s impact

“Asked how they felt their countries had advanced, central and eastern Europeans were most positive about education (65%), living standards (61%) and national pride (58%)” writes Jon Henley for Central and eastern European nations also harboured a widespread view that politicians, and to some extent businesspeople, had benefited personally and excessively from the fall of communism, while “ordinary people” had largely not.Up to 85% of people approved of the shift in Poland, eastern Germany and the Czech Republic, for example, but fewer than 55% did so in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia.A Pew Research Center survey of 17 countries, including 14 EU member states, found that while most people in central and eastern Europe generally embraced democracy and the market economy, support was far from uniformly strong.

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