Very different views have been taken of the changes in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s, and whether they can properly be considered a ‘revolution’. The evidence of Freedom House's annual surveys suggests that at least four distinct groups of countries may be identified, and that over time there has been no common trajectory. A majority of the former Soviet republics, indeed, have scores that were lower than those of the USSR in its final year. In the view of ordinary citizens individual liberties have improved considerably since the end of communist rule, but levels of political efficacy remain very low in comparative terms. Rather than conceive of these regimes as ‘in transition to democracy’, one may more fruitfully see them as a distinct system that has much in commun with semiauthoritarian regimes in other parts of the world.