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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: December 2012

12 - Conclusions

Summary

The changes that have taken place in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are nothing but extraordinary. At the same time, it is striking how uneven progress has been. Some countries appear to have done it all, but others have barely taken the first steps. Market economic reforms have been highly successful, whereas democratization has been only partially auspicious, and the introduction of the rule of law even less so.

To assess how far the region has proceeded, these countries are first summarized as three models reflecting a broadening chasm between the European Union (EU) countries and the post-Soviet countries. Finally, I recapitulate major developments in the region.

A BROADENING DIVIDE BETWEEN THE EU AND THE POST-SOVIET WORLD

The outcomes of the postcommunist transformation have been remarkably different. Today these twenty-one countries that were once so similar have become rather diverse. Eighteen have become market economies, but three (Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) have not (see Table 12.1). The same eighteen countries have privatized an average of two-thirds or more of their economies, but the other three derive only a third of their gross domestic product (GDP) from the private sector. Inflation is under control in the single digits everywhere but in Belarus. The growth rates generally were low or negative in the 1990s, but the whole region enjoyed splendid economic growth in the boom years 2000–7, especially the post-Soviet and Baltic countries (see Table 12.1).

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