Chalenges Facing Eastern Europe After Fall of Communism

On April 14th of 1988 Mikhail S. Gorbachev decidedly abandoned the Brezhnev Doctrine when the Soviet Union signed the Geneva Accords which guaranteed the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan by February 15, 1989. The withdrawal was meant to be a conciliatory action towards the West and the Eastern Europeans, but the unintended side effect of it was that encouraged others to question the Soviet power. Ultimately the USSR ceased to exist and on Christmas Day 1991, the Russian flag replaced the Soviet Flag which flew above the Kremlin (Perry et al, 2011). Central and Eastern Europe were about to face some rapid and radical changes to their politics, society and their economics like they had never seen before. They were being transformed from a socialist to a democratic society which is an enormous hurdle for any society. A major challenge following the fall of the Soviet Union was a marked decrease in the efficiency of law enforcement and the associated rise in crime (Perry et al, 2011). Some of the factors contributing to the rise in crime were the general deprivation much of the population were experiencing along with new social tensions that were part of the process of adapting to the new democratic system of government. (Levay, 2000). The Russian economy was also in rapid decline. In an attempt to restore the economy President Yeltsin lowered trade barriers and ended subsidies to state run businesses. From 1992 to 1994, inflation was an average of 800% and by 1993 most Russians were suffering from economic hardship. This economic disaster led to civil unrest and revolutionaries being killed. In 1991, Chechnya declared its independence from Russia but Yeltsin denied the right of Chechnya to secede. In 1994, 40,000 Russian troops were sent to Chechnya and its capital city of Grozny was completely destroyed. The brutality angered many Russians and in August 1996 a peace treaty was signed. War broke out again between Chechnya and Russia and continued until the Russian presidency was handed to Vladimir Putin in 1999 and he forcibly put an end to the Chechnyan rebellion.

Perry, M., Berg, M., & Krukones, J. (2011). Sources of European history since 1900. (2nd ed). Boston: Wadsworth.
Levay, M. (2000), ???Social Changes and Rising Crime Rates: The Case of Central and Eastern Europe???, European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 8(1): 35-50.