THE EVENTS OF 1989 IN EASTERN EUROPE HAVE BEEN INTERPRETED in diverse and often contradictory ways: from the end of history to its rebirth, as both negotiated revolutions and popular uprisings. In many countries a fundamental repositioning of opposition and dissident forces was observed — changing from groups of anti-system activists quite outside the political establishment into major statesmen and national leaders involving, in some cases, rapid transformation into the occupants of major or even prime ministerial roles. Similarly, the former monopolistic ruling parties often found themselves quickly relegated to the margins of political life as oppositions of dubious legitimacy and minuscule political influence. Yet these roles were also subject to rapid reversal and further repositioning in a number of countries. The major difference now was that former governments became formally constituted oppositions rather than political pariahs or enemies of the people. That was a measure of the significance of the change that had been effected.