Anders ÅslundAnders Åslund, a leading specialist on the Soviet Union and its satellites, gave a talk last fall about the massive changes in Russia and the new post-communist countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the 1990s after the collapse of communism. His conclusions were incontrovertible – and they were stark. Economically, the process provided successful transitions to capitalism because most countries understood how to move to free markets and did so quickly. Economists, both in these countries and the West, have mastered the principles for this transition and they worked in practice. In contrast, political transformation has been disappointing in these nations – a failure that Åslund blames on the lack of blueprints for action that should have been developed over the years by political scientists.

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