Eastern Europe's "time of troubles"

by A. Ross Johnson


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This paper reviews recent trends in the Eastern European economic situation as background to considering such issues as whether (1) Eastern Europe's economic difficulties are serious enough, and Soviet interest in ameliorating them great enough, that Soviet subsidies to Eastern Europe would be large enough to affect their resource allocation discussions; (2) Soviet inability or unwillingness to extend large subsidies to Eastern Europe will lead to Soviet toleration of the restructuring of the region's economies necessary for an economic upturn; (3) the absence of large Soviet subsidies to Eastern Europe will contribute to greater instability and unrest in the region; or (4) the problem has been overstated and the East European economies can make progress without reform and the required Soviet subsidies will not pose tradeoff decisions to the Soviet leadership. The author concludes that over the next decade there are likely to be more "Polands" than "Hungarys" in Eastern Europe, and that Western policy in the region will face fewer opportunities for reinforcing gradual change than demands to respond to outbursts of unrest.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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