Belated Transitions in South Eastern Europe

Authored by: Florian Bieber

The Routledge Handbook of East European Politics

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138919754
eBook ISBN: 9781315687681
Adobe ISBN:


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When communist regimes began falling in the autumn of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe, this wave also included Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Albania, the latter two of which were outside the Soviet sphere of influence. However, strikingly, the countries of the region were late-comers in comparison to Central Europe and the process was protracted and difficult. Bulgaria and Romania overthrew long-ruling dictators in November and December 1989, just a few weeks after East Germany and Czechoslovakia. However, in Yugoslavia, there were no mass protests against communist rule, with the partial exception of Slovenia, and the ruling party fractured along republican lines, organising multi-party elections throughout 1990, without surrendering power in some republics until much later (especially Serbia and Montenegro). In Albania, the mass protests began only in 1990, and it would take nearly two years for free and fair elections that would see a defeat of the incumbent socialist Party of Labour.

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