Mark Pittaway: From Communist to Post-Communist Politics

20.11.2014 | By Michal Manin

In order to understand transition of the Central and Eastern European states from communism to pluralism, we need to have a look at different characters of the regimes that varied from state to state. For example, there are states like Yugoslavia or Albania where “communist rule was established through domestic mobilization”. “In the rest of the region communist rule was established under the hegemony of the Soviet Union.” Pittaway claims that “constellation of external and internal factors determined the dynamics of communist politics, and the eventual pattern of transformation at the end of the 1980s.”

First part of the article describes situation in the Central and Eastern Europe after the Stalin’s death, the crisis of the communist rule in the 1950s, the consolidation of power, and the obstacles that communist regimes started to have since 1960s.

Furthermore, the reader will find out more about reasons of the decay of communist rule. Unsuccessful (Hungary, Poland) or reversed reforms (Czechoslovakia) led to emergence of dissent opposition. The economic consequences of ineffective or halted reforms led to serious indebtedness (Hungary, Poland) and to economic crisis throughout the whole region.

In the next part, the collapse of communist rule is described: reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, the rising power of the Solidarity movement in Poland and growing occurrence of critical voices of the opposition in the region.

The last but not least the article focuses on the challenges that Central and Eastern European states faced after the collapse of the communist regimes. According to Pittaway the main were: the role of nationalism, creation of domestic institutions, the spread of democratic practices, management of the economic crisis and legacy of the communist regimes.

Source: Pittaway Mark (2004) “From communist to post-communist politics”, in S. White, J.Batt and P.G. Lewis (eds) Developments In Central and Eastern European Politics, Palgrave, pp.20-36

Photo by Adam Jones