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The greengrocer’s revenge

The fall of communism in 1989 was a great relief to citizens of the eastern bloc. But why are millions of them now angry at the ruling elites who have made them freer, wealthier and citizens of the EU?

By Ivan Krastev   October 2009

Above: the end of intimacy in the old eastern bloc

The revolutions of 1989, which saw communist governments toppled across eastern Europe, used to be considered among the continent’s most agreeable. The left praised them as an expression of people power and the victory of civil society against the state. The right celebrated them as a triumph of the free market and the free world. But the combination of the global economic crisis and the rise of political populism in eastern Europe is challenging long-held assumptions. The financial crisis has put neoliberal capitalism on trial and the claim that democracy…

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