Cover: Mengistu's Ethiopian state in terminal crisis: how long can it survive?  what will be its legacy?

Mengistu's Ethiopian state in terminal crisis: how long can it survive? what will be its legacy?

by Paul B. Henze

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback17 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

The Marxist-Leninist, pro-Soviet Ethiopian regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam has fallen into steadily deepening crisis in 1989. The coup attempt against Mengistu in May 1989, the worsening economic situation, and the fall from power of Honecker in East Germany and Zhivkov in Bulgaria (among his few remaining supporters) all contributed to Mengistu's problems. He came under heavy Soviet criticism for his dogmatism, wrongheadedness, and failure to introduce reforms. Certain short-term factors still worked in Mengistu's favor, however, including his support of Ethiopian territorial integrity (while the strongest opposition movements are regional or separatist), and the continuing loyalty of his security services. Nevertheless, Mengistu's prospects for survival looked increasingly poor. This paper examines the status of Marxist belief and practice in Ethiopia, reviews the main features of the existing governmental, economic, and social system, and concludes that little of what Mengistu attempted to create in Ethiopia was likely to outlive his fall from power.

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.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.