In Eastern Bloc, Wary View of Democracy

Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Author: Charles Forelle

11/04/2009 - People who lived behind the Iron Curtain are substantially happier with life 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but express reservations about democracy, capitalism and their lot in the modern market economy, a new survey reports.

Fewer than a third of Ukrainians approve of the change to multiparty democracy, according to a wide-ranging poll by the Pew Research Center. In Russia, a majority mourns the Soviet Union, and nearly half say there ought to be a Russian empire. In every former Soviet bloc country polled, fewer people now support the shift to capitalism than in 1991. Seventy-two percent of Hungarians say their economic situation was better under the Communists.

The survey comes amid a financial crisis that is straining the adolescent market economies of the old Eastern bloc, and its findings reflect mixed – and sometimes paradoxical – attitudes in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Read the full article In Eastern Bloc, Wary View of Democracy on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

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