The Challenge to Soviet Interests in Eastern Europe

Romania, Hungary, East Germany

by F. Stephen Larrabee


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This report examines socioeconomic and political developments in Romania, Hungary, and East Germany. It analyzes the viability of Romania's autonomous position within the Soviet Bloc. It considers the present and future viability of the "Hungarian model," Hungary's decentralized and less repressive economic and political system. It examines domestic East German developments, especially the strengthening in the GDR of German national consciousness. In each country discussion, the emphasis is on examining domestic factors which may lead to new challenges to Soviet interests in Eastern Europe in the future. The study's findings suggest that in the next decade the Soviet Union will be challenged to maintain control over its East European alliance during a period when economies are cooling and leadership is changing. Simply "muddling through," as Brezhnev did in his last years, will not be sufficient. In the absence of a serious restructuring of its relations with its East European allies in the next decade, Moscow will risk the prospect of greater instability and unrest.

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