02---Czech-Republic
In our series “25 Years after the fall of the Berlin Wall”, we are looking at Central and Eastern European countries to see how their relations with Europe (and Russia) have evolved over time, and how their internal economic and political situations have changed since the fall of the Soviet Union. Please click here for our first debate looking at Hungary.

Today, we’ll be looking at the Czech Republic, a country which ousted its last Communist leader from power in 1989 during the Velvet Revolution. Vaclav Havel was elected President and a democratic, multi-party system was introduced.

The Czech Republic is among the few former Soviet bloc countries that are doing well both economically and democratically. It has been given the highest possible score by Freedom House – an independent think tank that measures political rights and civil liberties across the globe – and Czech Gross Domestic Product per capita has increased almost fivefold since 1989. Statistically speaking, average living standards (such as life expectancy and mean years of schooling) have gone up considerably.

However, a recent poll conducted in the country shows that a large chunk of the population seems to think that living standards have deteriorated. For example, we had a comment on living standards sent in from Hrvoje, who wrote:

citizen_icon_180x180Life in many former-Communist countries is worse than 25 years ago, especially countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. They have many social problems, including huge corruption, nepotism, and fake democracy.

We put this question to Tomáš Kostelecký, Director of the Institute of Sociology at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. How would he respond to Hrvoje? Would he agree that living standards today are worse than before the fall of Communism?

kosteleckyIt is not a very unusual opinion. There are some people who think that, in general, people in former Soviet countries live worse today than they did 25 years ago, but it really depends on who you are speaking to. Overall I think the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland are examples of countries that came out well, whereas for others it was not so successful. But it is very difficult to measure. Looking at economic data we can say that macro-economic numbers have improved, but there are definitely some people who are not doing better.

We put the same question to Jan Čulík, a Czech journalist and editor of Britské linty, an independent Czech political daily. How would he respond?

The poll that Čulík mentioned was conducted in Autumn 2014. According to the poll, 18% of Czechs feel that the system in general was better before 1989, while an additional 38% answered that they feel no difference between now and then. Asked whether the revolution was a good thing, 22% of the population said that the Velvet Revolution that led to regime change was not worth it. Finally, in terms of standard of living, 24% of respondents answered that it had become worse.

Most startling of all, the majority of people polled believed that job opportunities (61%), social security (66%) and personal safety and criminality (60%) were all better regulated in the Czech Republic during the Communist era.

Finally, we asked Martin Povejšil, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the EU, how he would respond to Hrvoje’s comment:

Is life better today in the Czech Republic compared to 25 years ago? How have living standards changed in other former Soviet bloc countries? And are freedom of speech, information and expression more important than job and social security? JOIN the debate!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Roman Boed


228 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. James McManama

    It depends who you ask. I know that some people in Poland were shocked by the rise in unemployment and inequality. But, then, people were hired to do crazy things like open doors for you in restaurants, and everybody was “equal” unless you knew somebody in the government who could help you get an apartment or a car faster.

  2. Karel Van Isacker

    Without any doubt: YES. For example, 21% of the Bulgarian population lives in absolute poverty, something that was unimaginable nor present in pre-democratic times.

    According to the EC (!!!!):

    Electricity costs are one of the main expenditures for Bulgarian citizens. Local analysts estimate that 85 % of household monthly incomes are spent on basic necessities. Almost half of the Bulgarian people (44 %) experienced severe material deprivation in 2011, the highest percentage in the EU, which is 5 times higher than the EU average.

    The other social indicators also highlight that Bulgaria was the poorest MS in 2011: 49 % of the total population and 52 % of the children were at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to 24 % and 27 % on average in the EU15. Chart 32 compares Bulgaria’s performance with that of other EU MS. The situation is even worse for pensioners aged over 65, some 61 % of whom are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

    The average salary in Bulgaria is the lowest among MS at BGN 768 (EUR 393 ) for September 2012. Twenty-two per cent of the labor force are employed on the minimum wage, amounting to BGN 310 (EUR 159), the second lowest in the EU.”

    The reason? Destruction of the national industry by EC rules, introduction of imports from other countries of products that were normally produced in Bulgaria, … And this all under the guidance of Goldman Sachs consultants that supervised the transfer of communist to “democratic/capitalist” market principles. And this occurred in almost all post communist countries in eastern Europe.

    • ironworker

      The sad truth is that (South) Easterners are practicing Western Prices (99% of them imposed by EU) at semi/communist wages. I have the feeling that this situation was premeditated for the very beginning. That’s how you keep higher pensions and benefits for westerners, by forcing “bulgarians” to move west in search of better wages, work them to the bone, and collect taxes.

    • Dobromir Panchev

      Absolutely true! I am wondering how were we so stupid to believe that EU would help us achieve democracy and good standard of living. It looks like the expansion of EU is just competition for territories between EU and Russia, and EU is winning for now, no matter what happens on these territories.

    • Hristo Velkov

      The standart and the statistics are better, but there are people left by side. Second there were no opportunities then and every one had the same. The ones who were really beter then, were not better becausethey had wealth, but because they had acses to goverment services. Here in Bulgaria comunist jad even their own system for food delivery. Thus people did not see the difference so much. Thurd it is a “good” deffensive behaivior to blame the system for personal failure.

    • Hristo Velkov

      Ask a freed slave is it better to be slave and he will tell you “security, food, safety”
      Clear not?

    • Mahesh

      Depends on whom you ask ? If you are asking a person who values his job security and social security then definitely Communism was better. If you are asking a person who values Free Speech, Traveling anywhere without restrictions, Performance on job, then present regime is better.
      Inflation seems to be higher for people who have lived in Communist regimes because then all the things were subsidized by the govt.

  3. Loo

    This is nothing to be debated about. That is a fact. Every country is in different situation…
    Make rather a debate HOW MANY OF YOU WANT TO +CHANGE EU ANTHEM+

    • Sandra

      It’s not as simple as that. The “fact” is that attitudes are different, even within the same country. So, most people prioritise free markets and democracy, but some other people believe that employment and social security are more important. Which is more important? That is an opinion, not a fact, and so it can be debated.

  4. Borislav Valkov

    It depends who you ask. If the person you ask has no interest in democracy and free trade(there are such people in my state) then they live worse but if you ask people who are interested in free trade and democracy then they would tell you they see more benefits nowadays rather during the communism.

    • Iliyana

      I don’t see the point in having liberties when you have to pay for them – and according to these statistics, 49% of the Bulgarian population can’t afford them. Freedom of movement is great in theory but what’s the point of it if I can’t afford to go anywhere outside my country (or even town for that matter). Or are these liberties a good thing just because they are there? I don’t think so.

    • Hugh Smitham

      Eastern Europe is now under a capitalist regime. The notion that it is democracy or allows “free trade” is an illusion. When communism ended and the capitalists moved in they had one policy, to take the resources, ergo labor. The idea that Eastern Europeans would feel they were better off under communism isn’t surprising. In many ways it probably was. Neither the former communist regimes nor what the West calsl democracy are really great systems. Democracy with control of business not the inverse is where people in any country will thrive. Once we/ people realize this simple truth then living standards can improve.

  5. Per Johansson

    Living standards were one of the reasons people in the East voted away socialism as soon as they could. I was shocked by the poverty in East Germany in the 1980’s, and East Germans were shocked by the poverty in Romania. I visited both countries. Just getting something to eat or drink in Romania was not easy at the time.

    • Glenn Mölllergren

      If it was about voting alone, “communism” would be re-installed right away in a country like Romania. 52% of romanians prefer the Communist Party in favour of any of the now allowed parties.

      So – the question is not about whether life was hard or not in Romania or GDR in the 80s. The question is if it got better or worse after 1989. A majority of romanians or ukrainians would say “worse”, and there are significant minorities who would agree in virtually every country in the east.

      So, looking away from what we THINK it was like in 1989, we should concentrate on what people are critizising in today’s society: the lack of equality, justice, work, proper and affordable housing, decent salaries, etc. And if any of these problems were better solved pre-89, we could have a look at how it was done, and see what could be re-used.

  6. Bronco Petrovic

    Yes.we had better salaries and economy in ex yugoslavia before 1990s than now. also nationalism rages since then.Since yugoslavia wasn’t really communist it was in lots of ways better than other commy countries. I think living standards did decrease, also the unemployment is high now. Economical production is still lower than it was in 1990.And u gotta pay for everything…

    • Hristo Velkov

      You were ont quite comunist then, neigbour. We in Sofia watched Serbian television and you had advertisements and small business. We dreamed for your economic situation then. You did not have deficit of food and basic goods as we did. We called you the western world then. In the mid eighties i watched two hours MTV and soft sex on your tv, man it was like heaven.

  7. Dionìs Koçi

    Does anyone think that level of living standards depends on the political orientation of the person you ask, or it can be instead shown by absolute life quailty parameters? I am confused from the so far answers.

    • Truth

      To be perfectly honest. The best system is one that has some social benefits and safety net. Capitalism alone or communism alone is no good.

      Just capitalism – you end up with homeless families. Look to United Staes. Look it up on utube. Eg. Los Angeles.

      Just communism – you don’t get an opportunity to create your own destiny in business and life.

      You need a system that takes the best from both and utilizes it to benefit the people.

      Did you know European Union, is formed by large corporations?
      They are represent big business.
      Their mandate is to benefit them not the Europe ‘s citizens.

      Did you know Unoted States is now trying to lower the standards in Europe for products so they can import and sell you products that would be ilegal to sell right now?
      They formed a new group TTIP.
      Large corporations having the power to lower the standards of products so they can be sold all over the world.
      Chemicals in foods outlawed in Europe, could be legalized by US for this purpose. If a country decides they don’t want the product, they will have the right to sue that country.

      In other words, you will now loose your human rights, standard of living, wages etc. to large corporations.
      These corporations will manipulate your govern,mets to do,as they please. Making you work for low wages. Then they will sell you the product for a high price.

      US has been producing luxury items in third world countries for,years.
      Those people are still poor.
      Why?
      Because cheap labor means big profit to them.

      US government is,run by lobbyists.
      The more money a company has the more they throw at the politicians.
      Why?
      To create laws that benefit them and their bottom line,
      In other words they bribe their politicians.

      And….. Believe me US has a third world country within.
      They have many homeless people, look it up on utube.
      Not everyone is living a good life in US.
      That is pure non sence.
      US wants you to believe they are,the greatest country in the world.
      Not true!

  8. Dionìs Koçi

    I think the efficiency of a society/country depends more on its mentality, rather than the political system that governs it, or at least it is so as long as the country is free form an occupator imposing a politicla system for its own interests. Political ideologies might change somehow the mentality and eventually work efficiency of people, but still what I believe to make the difference in a country’s mentality is a part of this mentality that is hard to be changed by politics. You can see different former communist countries are doing differently in their country’s economy and efficiency. I like what Estonia and Latvia are doing (as far as I know about them). In an individual plan, traveling/living abroad is what might affect a person’s mentality considerably.

  9. Ferenc Lázár

    The life standards certainly decreased in East Europe in the last 25 years! I know because i lived my last 42 years in 2 countries, Romania and Hungary. Majority of people have lower paid jobs like in the communism, the politocal elite is corrupt and the west assisted the them to privatize what they have stolen from the people! These are clearly the failure of the greedy and money hungry western elite as much as the east European elite! Things and political change like in Greece has to follow..

    • Kevin

      Yes all Europe has seen a downward spiral in living standards due to the expansion of the EU into the east . A conveyor belt of cheap labour has resulted in wage compression and an over supply in the unskilled market that results in high youth unemployment .

  10. Máté János

    The EU is quite similar to the Ponzi scheme where the economies and the markets and the of the new members are exploited by the old ones :-(…

  11. Reno Zed

    I don’t know what the truth is, one of my family’s friend was Polish and she escape from Poland 40 years ago, what she told us was that people had lots of troubles over there and life standards was very low. Now Poland it’s an healthy country where people live even better of some western country and it’s still growing up.

  12. Tzvetelina Merdjankova

    Lots of shattered dreams and lives in the past 25 years. Unfortunately the bright EU future for us is one more disillusionment we have to get used to.

  13. Ferenc Lázár

    We also should emphasise that the very rich people’s assets and wealth has been increased in last years, it means that they have no fear or normal behaviour. Since the communism collapsed, all those elite think they can do whatever they want with the people, the environment. Many of my English or Italian friends say they had much better living standards in 70’s, 80’s, when communism existed in East Europe! What is the reason? Probably the rich elite wasn’t si greedy that time…

  14. Τάσος Σολδάτος

    These countries where not ready for freedom. You must know how to use your freedom. THese countries did not know so they failled even being free. Still there was growth with the help by the rest of the free world!!!

    • Hristo Velkov

      You are right my friend, but he only way to swim the river is ti jump in it.

  15. Mitja

    Jesus…first of all we have to make clear who are we talking of: not all communist/socialist countries in Eastern or Central Europe are also post-Soviet countries:

    Yugoslavia has never been a part of the Soviet block! (I was expecting from you to be more accurate and adhering to historical facts: the world is not bi-polar and was not bi-polar neither in the time of Cold war)

    And yes, the living standard raised drastically, but the inequality within these societies raised as well…which makes it seem that the living standard dropped, because of social exclusion, poverty and other forms of inequality.

  16. Triin

    From ex-Soviet state – Estonian point of view, NO! There was even no simple food (bread) in the shops in 1990ies, the Soviet Union was so pathetic at its final stage. Just random numbers from internet (I know its not indicator of quality of life, but still shows something): GDP per capita in 1990 was around 3550$, in 2013 around 19000$. Ok, there is still a lot of poverty, and not not everyone has benefited fully from the growth, but there is much more freedom (political, personal, press, economic) and less corruption that its uncomparable. But of course you do still meet people who have some nostalgy for 1980ies, when they were young, everybody was equally poor and life was simpler (state decided everything for you)..

  17. Talis Briedis

    Eatern Europe has significantly prospered, but we still have a long way to go. First and foremost is getting rid of Russian business owners and those that are pro-moscow. They pay criminally low wages. In Latvia they are a substantila part of the economy. It is shameful actually.

    • Cedric

      If Russians business owners would ever have to leave Latvia, your country would fall apart. They make 50% of Riga and Daugavpills population. Russians have been living and working in Latvia for 2 centuries, why do you think you should “get rid of them”?

    • Mikkael

      Sorry dude, but no, just no … it’s YOUR dignity and YOUR decent life, that means the way you work for it, that’s the way you get it. I am not saying that there are not unlucky people who would deserve better, but most people who say things like this know nothing about freedom and individualism. It’s your job, to get those things, from when is goverment responsible for how do you life your own life? Well it was before, luckly not anymore (at least not that much). The problem with so called “equality” is that some gains, some loses, only then you may have illusional balance (as there will always be the rich), but is your own gain so important for you to limit other’s people freedom? Remember your own freedom ends where freedom of other begins.

  18. Vitor F Veiga

    Living standards improved in countries with less corruption and smart ebough to take advantage of the open market oportunities.

  19. Ferenc Lázár

    The media owned by big corporations suggests that freedom is that you can buy anything if you have the money! This is certainly not the freedom we wanted 25 years ago. Our grandparents in East Europe have such low pensions, they have to go begging and the IMF is suggesting to make cuts in social care, health and wages. What about the elite millions taken to Luxembourg and other low tax places? They never suggests cuts on that?

    • Mikkael

      I don know how about you, but I am not in eastern Europe, I am in central Europe, if you would be as informed as you think you are, you would know the difference. Eastern Europe is mostly used by westerns who are not from this region and don’t know the difference. The problem is, you know actually nothing about freedom, you don’t like media, yet you are using internet to express your very own opinion, guess what, it wasn’t that easy before. Actualy my uncle got to jail because of speaking bad about russians, at least that’s what he said, but why don’t trust, crazy shit happend back then.

  20. ironworker

    Have living standards in Eastern Europe decreased after Communism?

    The problem reside in a thinner middle class – median income individuals. The differences between the richest and the poorest are astonishing higher in the new alleged “Free Market” society compared with former communist (called socialist) way of life. The Middle Class (once the pride of every nation) are almost extinct species in this neo liberal (unregulated capitalism) socioeconomic environment.

  21. Fari La

    Communism still the dogma there and the method of ruling unfortunately.. No real change.

  22. ironworker

    One more thing, if Czech Republic (I always thought at Czechs as Germany favorite cousins) the “luckiest” beneficiary of highest FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) per capita among former Communist Block is complaining, how about not so “lucky” nations from behind Iron Curtain ?

  23. Costi Ciudin

    compared to Ceausescu’s time, yes, we live better but we are still far away from what those young people who died on the streets of Bucharest and other cities gave their lives for in 1989

  24. Walid Maciel Chaves Saad

    Interesting debate,and some conclusions should be taken to improove quality of life to everybody the situation In Bulgaria is a shame for the EU.

  25. Rüdiger Lohf

    The countries I visited before 1989 and after tell me only one thing! The living standard is moving to the right direction.

  26. Vinko Rajic

    Czech Republic and Hungary are so much better than Croatia , before 1990 they was very poor . I think they was developing excellent . Even Croatia had a big development . Croatia could develop excellent if they hadn’t had a war .

  27. Martyna Żurawska

    In my opinion, people in Eastern Europe (for example here, in Poland) miss the world which… has never existed. What do I mean? Many Poles say that the communism gave them a job security or a ‘good’ living standard but they don’t remember, for instance, the lack of food in the shops or the great problems with travelling. Of course, our common life is still harder than the lives of the ‘old’ EU citizens but I don’t think the previous era was something worth keeping. Instead, we should look for better, modern solutions of our present problems.

  28. Dana Baránková

    Czech republic has a lot problems. The most big problems are corruptions and high unemployment just now. The velvet revolution brought the freedom, but we live still in post communist period, because the country didn t cope with its communist history and with all consequencies related to it…

  29. Lee Tong

    Problems are in big countries mostly in east europe that should be the focus… Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuania, etc they will come along, but Poland, Romania, Bulgaria etc will be big problems.

  30. Yvetta

    For certain parts of the population they have whereas for others they have gone up. The gap has widened whereas before everyone was somewhere in the middle.

  31. Ephraim Manger

    In comparison to Western Europe and the US =Pale; In comparison to Rest of the World= Rich.

  32. Maia Alexandrova

    I don’t know about the Czech Republic, but in Bulgaria the living standards of the rich and those who are self-sufficient have definitely improved, while the lives of the poor, sick and vulnerable, those who depend on the state for help and protection, have become much worse. The reason for that is that the government has abandoned most of its social duties since the end of communism in 1989. It wanted to promote the new capitalist system and market economy focussed on money, rather than the old socialist state, directed towards people. As a result, personal safety of citizens has seriously deteriorated. Criminality is way higher than 25 years ago. The authorities do not care much about protecting ordinary people, even though the number of police officers per capita in Bulgaria is among the highest in the world. Death rate is high and birth rate is very low. People’s lives are considered insignificant and helping the vulnerable is an unnecessary burden. Only money is important.

    In different happiness charts (for example Live Science, United Nations, Forbes), the Czech Republic ranks among the top 40 happiest countries in the world, while Bulgaria is in the top 20 unhappiest ones. If we look at how people feel in all European post-communist countries, according to the Live Science list for 2013, we will see that the Czech citizens are the happiest (39th position out of 156), followed by Slovenia (44), Slovakia (46), Poland (51), Moldova (53), Croatia (58), Albania (62), Belarus (66), Russia (68), Lithuania (71), Estonia (72), Montenegro (80), Kosovo (83), Ukraine (87), Latvia (88), Romania (90), Serbia (106), Bosnia and Herzegovina (107), Hungary (110), Macedonia (118), Armenia (128), Georgia (134) and Bulgaria (144). I think this says it better than anything else.

    • Gavin Crowley

      This is the best comment on this topic.

  33. Daniel Dimitrov

    Bulgaria, yes, it allows people to have basic human rights, like the right of ownership. So in this respect, yes, it is better.

  34. catherine benning

    Well, now, have living standards in Eastern Europe decreased after communism?

    Not being an Eastern European I don’t know. The truth would be hard to find unless you are on the ground living the life those there have to grapple with. But, it appears to have become more like the rest of Europe, those at the top feel no pain whilst those at the bottom are in endless misery. I’d say that corresponds with all our European states, give or take here and there. The capitalist way is the foundation of boom and bust which is never ending. It makes those who do little very rich indeed. Billionaires love it. Or, the bankers mantra we should call it. They need their millions in bonuses whilst those who do the work starve. Isn’t that what brought about the last World War? Wasn’t it the German people starving, instigated by banks, and those at the top of the same financial institutions living it up in splendour. And wasn’t Hitler then called on to get them out of their economic mess? These banking organisations have a lot to answer for.

    Now, is there somewhere on this planet that has done something about this situation and lived through it and found they are not suffering the way we in the rest of Europe are? Yes, there is, and no you will not hear about it readily as they don’t want us to know. It could change our minds about putting up with it should we be aware of the answer to our dilemma. Those Greeks may not be the only ones voting for a Syriza style leader. Although, even they haven’t gone as far as is needed, according to the people who got free from the oppression point out.

    Iceland. Read all about it, You wont see it in our free thinking and reporting news outlets. Now I wonder why that is? Anyone want to take a guess? Mr Big Finance doesn’t want us to know, so they have kept a lid on the experience of those who had the courage to get rid of these evil beasts. The news outlets are paid by the big money men. So this isn’t a surprise now is it? .

    http://cac.ophony.org/2012/04/16/the-icelandic-revolution-why-didnt-i-hear-about-it/

    And what of Iceland today? Are they still doing okay? Read all about it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland

    This could be done right across Europe. We could all be free of the bankers mess once and for all, if we followed the Icelandic example. And had the courage of their people.

  35. Kristaq Baba

    I think both communism and democracy have strong national features.I see it in Albania.Communism was the worst in globe and democracy has many problems.

  36. Paul Moldovan

    Definately not. As a metter of fact the living standards of WORKING people has grown constantly and that is a normal thing. Of course, there are non working people who live on the base of the social protection systems. Those i think is equaly normal to have a much lower

  37. Paul Moldovan

    living standards. Only comunism did put the sign “equal” between value and non value. There is another cathegory of population: the corrupted politicians. They have living standards much higher then the real value they bring to the society. They are one of the main reasons for the economy instability and bear grow.

    • Dobromir Panchev

      True!

  38. Ferenc Lázár

    As a Hungarian, who livef my first 18 years in Romania I tottaly agree with Catalin Vasile! I also have experienced 28 years in Hungary, which country was considered richer and better position at the collapse of communism, but after 25 years it ended the same way like in Romania- to pay debts for IMF, ECb etc. In fact Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy ended up there ad well! WE ARE IN THE SAME BOAT, THE ONLY SOLUTION WOULD BE TO STOP THE AUSTERITY AND DICTATORSHIP OF THE IMF AND BIG BANKS, CORPORATIONS WHICH IS NOT VERY MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THE COMMUNISM DICTATORSHIP!

  39. Ferenc Lázár

    The good solution would be if the EU and big corporations create jobs, but also they pay minimum half of the wages in Germany or France! It is impossible to keep young and professional people in East for 300-400 euro net salary/month, when the unemployment benefits are 1200euro/month in Germany! And don’t tell me that prices are different, because all utility prices, gas, electricity, food prices are made by big western corporations in East Europe as well. Make some laws in EU about same minimum wages at least.

  40. John Bevegård

    hi great create a green ecoifriendly sustainable economy a strong europ with defence and borderes and create a Scandinavian union in it go eu johnb.

  41. Martin Jankulak

    No way! In the Czech Repulic there is more poverty now. The system in Czech republic is very bad. So much poverty in the Czech republic.

    • Tomas

      Are you kidding me?

  42. Martin Jankulak

    The current system in the Czech Republic is very undemocratic and very corrupt. It’s even worse than under Communist.- very bad and very corrupt people are in power. Right now in the Czech republic there is no hope and no future for the young people. -And there is no democracy or justice and never will be. Most of the people in the Czech republic are even poorer than they were under the Communist. It’s very bad for the people in the Czech Republic. The living standards is so low. So much poverty in the Czech Republic. I do feel very sorry for the Czech people. They are suffering. It’s just so sad.

    • antonin

      Jesus:), this is trolling…. According to your photo (which, obviously, doesn´t mean anything if you bother with a true picture of you as much as you did with the one of the country ´s reality…) you can´t even remember what a day under communism was like… You are like a communist well-trained monkey, speaking nonsense. You know what GDP is? And purchasing power? Have you been to a communist camp? My grandfather died there… This the down side of these discussions, one can come across a manipulating sociopath on the Kremlin payroll airing his ego.

    • Tomas

      What a troll! He has fake pic and he isn’t czech!
      Czech Republic has the lowest poverty rate in EU along with The Netherlands!
      Get your facts Russian troll!

    • Darren Withers

      “A survey released by the Czech Statistics Office released this week has shown that the standard of living in the Czech Republic continues to lag behind western counterparts. Although salaries have gone up, so have expenses and in real terms many households are earning less. Meanwhile, roughly 1.5 million people are living on – or well under – the poverty line. The only good news there is that the number there has gone down by one percent year-on-year. “

    • Arthur Jeek

      What example can Estonia give?

  43. Joseph Bartolo

    Being from a Very Small State ( MALTA ) We have to Important most of our needs, that become more expensive in reguards to OUR Salaries/Pensions. Its Eiether We get much higher Wages/Pensions or Decress or Lesson the Prices on all day to day products.

  44. Olgerd

    In Ukraine (I can say about my region – Lviv region) the living standarts are better than during communism. We do have much more possibilities than under the soviet occupation.

  45. Peter T

    It’s a complicated. As a Bulgarian, who had travelled across the world in the past years, paying for my trips with my own money from my salary, I can honestly say that there’s nothing so much special for me outside Bulgaria. It’s true that a lot of people here live in poverty, but most of them are uneducated, unskilled and basically living on social benefits. This applies to most of the minorities. The majority of Bulgarians aged 18 to 45 will most certainly tell you that they DO want changes and reforms, but they will never live under a dictatorship again. Also, in the past 15 years our living standard has risen, though not as much as people hoped for, but we keep working on it. Bottom line, yes, there’re poor people, as in every other country, but this is going to change. And last but not least, the EU had a MAJOR role in changing Bulgaria for good. The EU is the best thing that happened to Bulgaria for the last century.

  46. Borislav Valkov

    For those statets that underwent the correct market reforms the living standart has improved but for those who didn’t it went from bad to worse.

  47. Hrvoje

    Here, in Croatia, mostly living aspects are more worse then in 1990. Many people have to work more if they could live “normal”. Many people earn enough only for pay bills and food. For buy a new car or go on vacation many people can only dream about it what is horrible. In communist time people could have it almost every year, specially in 1970s. Also, Croatia lost more then 70% of industry and today Croatia has less open jobs then 1990, and lower export then in 1990. So I think, for Croatia, that mostly people here live worse then in 1990.

  48. Τεπενδρής Πίπης

    first
    That is one hell of a car..
    but i have a better one.
    a 1980’s 2101..

    and lets ask the same about
    europe.
    we seem to have a small problem in greece.
    all europe people hate us because they think they give money to us…

    where instead they take money from europe people and give it to bankers THROUGH us.

  49. Ed Cocks

    Yes. The food is better, appliances are changing (larger, more reliable), A/C! and personal mobility is improving rapidly due to automobiles.

  50. Chris

    The standards have definitely decreased. A big amount of the Eastern European population lives in absolute poverty, something that was not possible back then. Of course, there is also a small oligarchy that has gained more money than everyone else combined, but that is also a sign of the inequality gap that is always rising. Back then, you knew that at least you have a place ot stay and a job….

  51. Talis Briedis

    They have improved, but the soviet leftovers are a serious impedance to furthering development at a better pace. Pro-kremlins are the scourge of the ex-Soviet bloc countries.

    • Dobromir Panchev

      In fact the soviet leftovers still rule these countries, control all institutions, and make investors go away.

  52. Máté János

    The average may have improved but the gap between tha lucky Marshall Plan recieving Western EU countries and the Middle and Eastern European countries which were given to the Soviet sphere of influence has grown and it’s not their shame :-(…

  53. Carles Manrique Pérez

    Economically yes. Most of them became democracies thanks to the EU, but in the other side, the EU and the USA made some of that countries deliberately poor and that is why the Russian/Ukranian crysis is happening. I mean, it is desirable to have EU-style democracies. But one can not make what the EU did to Russia, forcing them to adopt an economical policy that ruined them for years with the help of a puppet who sold the country. Which right do we have to change their economic systems? Everyone has the right to live in a democracy and we did that, but changing their economical system for our profit was an act of evil by our part. And now people wants to blame Russia again? PS: I hate Russian politics, but I am pro-russian on the rest. And do not call me a Kremlin troll or anything, my favourite politician there is, btw, Irina Hakamada (google about her)

    • Mikkael

      Never heard of her … ; Intresting, so you want to tell me that EU controlled Russia? The biggest country in the world? (and probably the best for you) The one standing on the other side of the cold war barricade? Fascinating, so they were probably not that strong after all, when we, the EU were able to force an economic policy upon them. You want to say that it’s better for them to live under dictatorship?

  54. Povil Ka

    It definitelly improved for people, who study, work, move forward. It DID NOT changed for rest, with soviet mentality(ones, who love to obey their masters and say: GOVERNMENT has to fix this or that, give me job, etc).

    Problem: the gap between them.
    Solution: working abroad.

  55. I.

    You should ask this question about EU , because as history taught unions between nations do not work…so what do you think life will be after EU falls?

  56. Yüce Ağanoğlu

    Poverty is in dramatical levels, a certain class got richer but masses became much poorer since 1990.

  57. Yüce Ağanoğlu

    Poverty is in dramatical levels, a certain class got richer but masses became much poorer since 1990.

    • Mikkael

      I don’t see any “masses” that would be poor. Yes you may see a lot of those on TV now, because back then everything had to look perfect. Don’t forget that now, when you cannot find job in your town, you can try it eslewhere, wasn’t that easy before …

  58. Povil Ka

    If you wish – you can live on “soviet” level for free today.
    Level description:
    – One car per 10 years per 10 families
    – One type of clothing.
    – Apples, potatoes only.
    – No fresh meat.
    – No coffe.
    – Assigned flat. Before that, you have to wait in the queue for unlimited time.

    I was born in soviet times, my parents live though that, i KNOW that.
    We DO NOT want this “socialism” back.

    – My father was test pilot, with double-than-average salary and many other benefits, but that did not changed anything. There was money, but nothing you can buy for them.
    – Jeans, and other “western pervert inventions” were not available for true “socialist person”.
    – OOh, and there was “dolerin?s” – or so called dollar-shops, where top of party elite could do some limited shopping. Except for complaining about that, you could easily end up in asylum with few shots of extremely strong drugs. One could not question communist leader.

    I do support good side of socialism (scandinavian model), but not “soviet/russian version”, which was one ugly fcuk – and lot’s of people are happy its dead. Hopefully.

    • Hristo Velkov

      We did not have toilet paper, but had obandancy of comunist news papers, it was national tradition, how to smash the news paper in order to not hurt. Bulgariq

  59. Andrius Kaveckas

    Debates like debates but change thinking standarts in soviet block is like think when peoples can live in sun…

  60. Radu Miron

    I was born in 1993 in Romania. Thus, I did not experience communism. However, I have seen the living standard of my family and friends grow continuously since my childhood (late 90s early 00s). The only period when people seemed to have less money than they used to in the past was between 2009 and 2011. I have fond memories of my childhood, but I recall that old Romania as being a third-world country compared to the present Romania. To give you an example, McDonald’s was only for the rich 15 years ago. Inflation used to be massive as well. A banknote would become a worthless coin from one month to the other. Today, inflation is around 1%. The country did not develop only from an economical point of view. The cultural activity, the democratic process and the justice system (in particular) have improved considerably. From my point of view, there is no doubt that European integration has been a catalyst for rapid growth in the region.

  61. Geoffrey Howard

    They have gotten much better. I remember how it was in East Europe just around the time of the fall of the wall. Depressing it was……..

  62. George Titkov

    First of all, we’re talking about a significant number of countries, around 15. You can’t generalize about living standards in Eastern Europe, because these countries are different and had different living standards even back in the Communist times. I can give first-hand witness for my country, Bulgaria. We now have access to a much wider variety of imported goods – foods, clothes, cars, technology. Some of those were impossible to find under the communism. However, our own production, both industrial and agricultural, has been decimated. The raw purchasing power of the average person has decreased a lot, several times in fact. Access to health care has become much more difficult and expensive (was completely free before). Elderly people, pensioners, are forced to live with 100-200 euro pensions PER MONTH. Many of them are starving, most of them can’t afford proper health care. Trust me, they’re not happy at all about the changes in living standards.

  63. Roman

    I am from Poland. I am not saying that things should not be better in my country. But if someone claims that things were better during the communism is either dishonest; too young to remember; or belongs to the class that was oppressing the others. We advanced a great deal in Poland, and comparing to the rest of the world, we really, really have nothing to complain about, even if we, as the nation love doing it. Do not believe about the gloomy life in Central Europe, it is just us loving to complain and loving to be feeling sorry for… there is no reason for it!

  64. Roman Majcher

    I am from Poland. I am not saying that things should not be better in my country. But if someone claims that things were better during the communism is either dishonest; too young to remember; or belongs to the class that was oppressing the others. We advanced a great deal in Poland, and comparing to the rest of the world, we really, really have nothing to complain about, even if we, as the nation love doing it. Do not believe about the gloomy life in Central Europe, it is just us loving to complain and loving to be feeling sorry for… there is no reason for it!

  65. Roberto López Gallardo

    Well, I wouldn’t say there is A “Eastern Europe” as a whole. If you take the baltic states for some peoplei it definetely has. I see people here in Vilnius with their smartphones, being able to afford and access many goods in supermarkets that they could only dream of… On the other hand the neoliberal agenda has caused unemployment, stigmatized minorities, higher inequalities. We should take into account in which state of transition the country is and geopolitical factors.

    • Rosen D

      It’s not an insane question. The purchasing power of people in EE has increased, not doubt, but that is different from living standards.
      Before 1990 the system provided, or greatly assisted, in acquiring housing, job security, financial security and many benefits. I’m from Bulgaria and my older relatives have very strong feelings about life being easier back then, there was no stress at all.
      It’s no coincidence that former communist states have the highest home ownership rate, as well as lowest income inequality rate till this day.

  66. Juraj Vravko

    Some things are better, some are worse,expecialy jobs and housing, but you can doo all of it in this system, just need to be smart I mean those people who are at the power. And if they are not going to satisfy us, they will pay for it :D

  67. Lucian Sarbu

    Speaking of Romania: as an average, the living standards now are probably the same, or better, compared with the period before 1990. However, if we make a segmentation of the public, we’ll discover that we have some 1% of the population that is living in luxury, way above any standard of communism, even for the members of nomenklatura; maybe 10-15% that are “middle class” and have the same confort conditions as during the good years of communism (1 flat, 1 family car, 1 yearly holiday, color tv – now, of course, updated with internet, SmartTV -, good career & career prospects etc.) and for the rest of the people the only reality of their life is a dream: emmigrate to Western Europe. Because the vast majority live under the poverty line or near it. We already have 4 million Romanians abroad. The minimum net wage is 200 euros while the wages’ part in GDP is only 30% (compare with 60-70% in Western countries). Romania is no. 1, or close to it in EU for: children abandoning school, prostitution, teenage mothers, politicians convicted for corruption and many more. So, judge for yourself wether now it’s better or worst. I think that the perception depends on the side of the story.

    • Rožle KAUČIČ

      Teenage mothers have another origin. As for the politicians convicted of corruption… I think that’s a great thing. Better having corruption and convicting corrupt politicians that what we have in Slovenia, corruption, a s**t-ton of trials, but noone realy getting convicted…

  68. Lucas Michel

    Depends on where you go I guess. Countries like Poland or the Czech Republic are becoming more and more ‘Western’ while Bulgaria or Romania are still behind.

  69. Rudi Špoljarec

    No . Living standards increased. But the problem is that poorness of the people in ex-communist countries resulted in huge material desire for goods : better food , cars , better living conditions etc. Banks has used it to make huge profit through unreasonably high interest rate for loans , credit cards , leasing etc. Interest rate , here in Croatia ( and all ex – yu countries ) is slavery-making . Will you stop it please .? Central european government should make law of limiting max interest rate to protect people , against financial slavery. Domestic government doesn’t want it , seems like banks are their bosses.

    • Rožle KAUČIČ

      Yep. That was and still is a big problem in Slovenia. But now it’s more of a problem that banks, don’t want to gove out credits, which is somehow contra-intuitive. Isn’t it interesting that those things happen only in former socialist/communist states? Or better said: Isn’t it interesting that you only see people from those states realy whining about this and making a fuss about “returning to the good old days” of having everything, even though this wasn’t much… isn’t it? :)

  70. Yüce Ağanoğlu

    Of course it did ! No doubt about that, enourmous amount of poverty taken place, during 1950-1990 free housing, education, health care were quaranteed by the state, now everything is uncertain !

  71. Dacii Sunt Stramosii Mei

    If destroying Romanian industry and make us lose jobs and emigrate to western EU is what u call “better” … Not talking about before 1989 the state giving u House,work,free School . I think to have a good life u need this 3 things. Today we are free to move around EU and be slaves of other countries. But what about work ? Free schools?? Not anymore. Free House? No way… So to be happy and say that my life has increased quality i need that things but can’t afford them because we lost our decimated industries productions. This made us import alot of goods wich we were able to produce on our own…obviously the price is much higher for imported products. I Will say 50%-50% abt quality of life in Romania

  72. Dacii Sunt Stramosii Mei

    If destroying Romanian industry and make us lose jobs and emigrate to western EU is what u call “better” … Not talking about before 1989 the state giving u House,work,free School . I think to have a good life u need this 3 things. Today we are free to move around EU and be slaves of other countries. But what about work ? Free schools?? Not anymore. Free House? No way… So to be happy and say that my life has increased quality i need that things but can’t afford them because we lost our decimated industries productions. This made us import alot of goods wich we were able to produce on our own…obviously the price is much higher for imported products. I Will say 50%-50% abt quality of life in Romania

  73. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] The most incredible result was registered in a July 2010 IRES (Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy) poll, according to which 41% of the respondents would have voted for Ceausescu, had he run for the position of president. And 63% of the survey participants said their life was better during communism, while only 23% attested that their life was worse then. […]

    http://www.balkanalysis.com/romania/2011/12/27/in-romania-opinion-polls-show-nostalgia-for-communism/

  74. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] The most incredible result was registered in a July 2010 IRES (Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy) poll, according to which 41% of the respondents would have voted for Ceausescu, had he run for the position of president. And 63% of the survey participants said their life was better during communism, while only 23% attested that their life was worse then. […]

    http://www.balkanalysis.com/romania/2011/12/27/in-romania-opinion-polls-show-nostalgia-for-communism/

  75. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] A remarkable 72% of Hungarians say that most people in their country are actually worse off today economically than they were under communism. Only 8% say most people in Hungary are better off, and 16% say things are about the same. In no other Central or Eastern European country surveyed did so many believe that economic life is worse now than during the communist era. This is the result of almost universal displeasure with the economy. Fully 94% describe the country’s economy as bad, the highest level of economic discontent in the hard hit region of Central and Eastern Europe. Just 46% of Hungarians approve of their country’s switch from a state-controlled economy to a market economy; 42% disapprove of the move away from communism. The public is even more negative toward Hungary’s integration into Europe; 71% say their country has been weakened by the process.[…]

    http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/hungary-better-off-under-communism/

  76. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] A remarkable 72% of Hungarians say that most people in their country are actually worse off today economically than they were under communism. Only 8% say most people in Hungary are better off, and 16% say things are about the same. In no other Central or Eastern European country surveyed did so many believe that economic life is worse now than during the communist era. This is the result of almost universal displeasure with the economy. Fully 94% describe the country’s economy as bad, the highest level of economic discontent in the hard hit region of Central and Eastern Europe. Just 46% of Hungarians approve of their country’s switch from a state-controlled economy to a market economy; 42% disapprove of the move away from communism. The public is even more negative toward Hungary’s integration into Europe; 71% say their country has been weakened by the process.[…]

    http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/hungary-better-off-under-communism/

  77. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] A poll shows that as many as 81 per cent of Serbians believe they lived best in the former Yugoslavia -“during the time of socialism”.

    The survey focused on the respondents’ views on the transition “from socialism to capitalism”, and a clear majority said they trusted social institutions the most during the rule of Yugoslav communist president Josip Broz Tito.

    The standard of living during Tito’s rule from the Second World War to the 1980s was also assessed as best, whereas the Milosevic decade of the 1990s, and the subsequent decade since the fall of his regime are seen as “more or less the same”.

    45 percent said they trusted social institutions most under communism with 23 percent chosing the 2001-2003 period when Zoran Djinđic was prime minister. Only 19 per cent selected present-day institutions.[…]

    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/for-simon-poll-serbians-unsure-who-runs-their-country

  78. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] A poll shows that as many as 81 per cent of Serbians believe they lived best in the former Yugoslavia -“during the time of socialism”.

    The survey focused on the respondents’ views on the transition “from socialism to capitalism”, and a clear majority said they trusted social institutions the most during the rule of Yugoslav communist president Josip Broz Tito.

    The standard of living during Tito’s rule from the Second World War to the 1980s was also assessed as best, whereas the Milosevic decade of the 1990s, and the subsequent decade since the fall of his regime are seen as “more or less the same”.

    45 percent said they trusted social institutions most under communism with 23 percent chosing the 2001-2003 period when Zoran Djinđic was prime minister. Only 19 per cent selected present-day institutions.[…]

    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/for-simon-poll-serbians-unsure-who-runs-their-country

  79. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] Reflecting back on the breakup of the Soviet Union that happened 22 years ago next week, residents in seven out of 11 countries that were part of the union are more likely to believe its collapse harmed their countries than benefited them. Only Azerbaijanis, Kazakhstanis, and Turkmens are more likely to see benefit than harm from the breakup. Georgians are divided.[…]

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/166538/former-soviet-countries-harm-breakup.aspx

  80. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] Reflecting back on the breakup of the Soviet Union that happened 22 years ago next week, residents in seven out of 11 countries that were part of the union are more likely to believe its collapse harmed their countries than benefited them. Only Azerbaijanis, Kazakhstanis, and Turkmens are more likely to see benefit than harm from the breakup. Georgians are divided.[…]

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/166538/former-soviet-countries-harm-breakup.aspx

  81. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] A survey published in January by the Levada Center, an independent pollster based in Moscow, found that 52 percent of Russians view Stalin in a positive light. The poll, which carries a margin of error no more than 3.4 percent, was conducted in November using a representative sample of 1,600 adults across 46 regions[…]

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article.php?id=517314

  82. Yorgos Koutroupis

    […] A survey published in January by the Levada Center, an independent pollster based in Moscow, found that 52 percent of Russians view Stalin in a positive light. The poll, which carries a margin of error no more than 3.4 percent, was conducted in November using a representative sample of 1,600 adults across 46 regions[…]

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article.php?id=517314

  83. Eugenia Serban

    Noooooo. I m Romanian. The living standard increased a million times.
    We lived like caged animals. Hungry, scared and in the dark.

  84. Eugenia Serban

    Whoever sais it was better back then in comunism it s either They re poor social assisted people or they are too young and have no idea what they re talking about.
    COMUNISM WAS TERROR…PURE TERROR.

    • Hristo Velkov

      Absolutely right, but you cannot explain this to a slave. He wants security.

  85. Ferenc Lázár

    Most of citizens feel their living standards have decreased, however some countries which had hard line communism, like Romania, might feel good even with 200 euro/month. The biggest problem in former communist countries is the lack of solidarity after 1989.

  86. TJ Todorov

    I don’t see a difference in the living standards in Bulgaria. Or would say -now is worst. Previously we had more days of pays annual leave, more opportunities for sea or maintain cheep recreation. Education was for free. Well, now I can buy a Mercedes, but how I gain the money for this? How I will get the money for a good apartment, and for how long I will pay the bank credit – taking 50000 Euro, returning 150000 euro to the banks…

  87. Natasha

    Well, Russia is doing a lot better now and I’m not talking only about major cities. Isn’t it ironic ?

  88. Natasha Pikoul

    Well, Russia is doing a lot better now (even during the sanctions). And I’m not only talking about the big cities… Isn’t it ironic ?

    • Hristo Velkov

      No it is not ironic, if you measure the wealth it will be better, but then if you ask people they will have different opinion.

  89. Katerina Giuttari Lickovski

    Who said living standards were bad under communism, YUGOSLAVIA was dope, Everyone lived in peace and had god living standards. Once it ended all hell broke lose

  90. Eva Benko Zoltan

    I can speak about Romania. The Roanians lived far better in communism. Everybody eat and had a shelter. Now there are 1% very reach, a lot of hunger. The streets full of poor begging .Childan inhaling toxic gas to forger about misery. The labour is paid at 1 euro per hour. Human halues have decreased a lot.

  91. Jivko Danev

    in Bulgaria, before 1989 an average person could choose from more possibilities, now his freedom is fake

    • Hristo Velkov

      I do put it this way “If you let free a slave, he will find new lord”
      Who ever seek economic security will be nostalgic, everybody had food then, it is true.
      But if you ask a free man, who wants opportunities and difficulties, he will like it now

  92. Joannis Vlassopoulos

    😂😂😂😂😂👍👍👍👍👍👍🐇🐇🐇🐇🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌟🌟🌟🐇🐇🐇✔✔👑👑👑👑👑

  93. Vinko Rajic

    Strange question ! I traveled to Czechoslovakia and Hungary before fall of Communism and it was more like Thailand that Europe . Today’s Czech republic look more like Germany . Living standard in Communist countries was miserable .

    • Chavdar Naidenov

      Are you sure? I had the exactly opposite memories.

  94. Ferenc Lázár

    The western part of E.U. should stop making eastern part as a cheap labour colony, because it will hit back! If they impose many laws- liberalise gas, electricity prices, rising v.a.t
    etc , they should also impose minimal salaries like in Greece of 800 euro/month. You can’t make United Europe when in Romania or Bulgaria the net minim salary is 200euro, lower than Chile or South Africa..

  95. Péter Sebők

    In Hungary, living standards have been falling significantly, thus the vast majority of the population, even the youth wants communism to restore. For this purpose empowered an authocratic regime with a qualified majority to restore communism with a nationalist, irredentist, and revisionist sauce

  96. Jacek Krawczyk

    Such question can raise only somebody who has no any idea how was it like here in Warsaw Pact before 1989. For those like me who do remember very well it is not very intelligent question….. Sorry, but it is a public space and to imply, that communiists in Eastern Europe provided “living standards” at any acceptable level is insolting memory of those who suffered for so long including victims of these totalitarian systems.

    • Chavdar Naidenov

      Do you want to forbid asking questions?

  97. Petko Ivanov Prodanov

    Of course not and you know this very well.The word democracy, free market and solidarity used only to throw dust in people’s eyes.there is de facto 10% satisfied and 90% were in bondage their bond.And no I am not a communist just facts.sorry that people trust this otherwise good idea for European Union, but the realization of which is impossible in this time.Тell me how redeem price of milk is less than € 0.20 cents in Bulgaria and this what you call free market.Without motivation to produce owner.Subsidy distort the market and ruining farm for small and medium producer.

  98. Rožle KAUČIČ

    I’m from Slovenia a former socialist state, that was part of Yugoslavia.I was just born when Yugoslavia started to fall apart, so I never saw socialism first hand. But what I DID and still can see first hand is what it did to the people.
    When I was a kind, I remember that you rarely saw people having two cars. Not to mention what kind of cars people were driving… When I first went to Germany in 1998, it felt like going to another planet. The cars, the people, the shops, the furniture, everything was out of this world for me. Then I went a couple of times before our accession to the EU. The feeling was the same. After we got into the EU, many things changed. Now when I go to Germany, it’s like going to another town – not just time-wise (thank Goodness for there are no bordes any more). The car park is almost identical, though the germans drive more Mercedes, BMW and Audi… :) The people wear the same clothes, have the same electronics, have the same home appliances (like, seeing a microwave in 1998 was a revolution for me), the same furniture,… not to mention how the shops are stocked. Even now, when we have a crisis and around 10 % of the people are unemployed…

    As for the other former socialist/communist countries. I know about Romania – they had to get a friggin permit to buy MEAT, and you had to have a realy good reason for wanting it… Don’t tell me that this was much better than what we have today.

    The standard of living went up considerably, there’s no doubt about this. People have more opportunities, there’s also no doubt about this. But the problem is: A system in which people are provided with everything without them doing much, besides working for 8 hours a day, where jobs were guarantied, even if it meant that there were 5 janitors in one building and where everyone had the same LOW standard of living, provided you were not one of the elites, then you had a “western” standard, produces people who feel only entitled to everything, but don’t know and want to realy do anything for it. So in the aftermath of such a system, even if people have greater opportunities and the whole world lies at ones feet, they won’t know what to do with it and feel overtaken or even abused by the new system.

    Such transitions need time. And especialy they need change. And change is what didn’t really happen in most of the former socialist/communist countries. In most of them there are still the same people in power as there were in the former system…

  99. Tünde Novák

    Európa nyugati része a pénzek áramlásából vette ki a részét.A nyomort itt hagyta.T

  100. Bobbi Suzic

    well just take numbers such as GDP per capita. Unfortunately, I know that countries ex-Yu are having hard time such as Croatia did not reach its GDP from 1990 that today is 75 percent.

  101. Su La

    People were living in Darkness and now they are dieing in Light …

  102. Paul

    At 70 and having lived in the UK , France , Portugal and Singapore , I can say without hesitation that the standard of living in the EU has fallen dramatically
    along with the economies and employment , and the excessive increase in legislation of the EU .

  103. Tomas

    Czech Republic is doing the best since the start of WWII (Czechoslovakia then, was between the top 10 most developed countries in the world). The country is getting back its spot. WWII and 40 years of communism have decimated the country economy and what is the worst – the psyché of its citizens. Some people deal with all the changes very well and some unfortunately not as well (especially elderly and low-educated people). Czech Republic has the lowest poverty rate in the whole EU. We have nothing to complain about. http://www.inequalitywatch.eu/spip.php?article99&lang=en

  104. Tito

    The people saying things are better are not representative of the populations. To post on here, they speak English, can afford internet service, etc. So of course they will say it’s better.

    However, the availability of foreign luxury products for economic elites/parasitic classes does not equate to higher living standards. Claiming the CR has the lowest poverty rate in the EU is inane, when before the capitalist take over, there was no poverty, and as I said, lack of access to foreign luxury goods is in no way poverty. Just like democracy is not measured by the privileges of an exploitive class. On the contrary, the existence of an exploitive class and the availability of goods next to no one can afford, is poverty. Likewise, the destruction of the territorial integrity of our nations is a crime against humanity. Capitalism has done to the great Slavic people, what the Germanics could not.

  105. Robert

    The living standards in the Czech Republic raised dramatically. Even poor people have cars now-a-days, social wealthfare is so generous that people living from it still can afford going for seaside holidays. So why are Czechs complaining? Because: 1) There are some of them who made it and became very wealthy while others just didn’t. Czechs are natural egalitars and this annoys them. 2) Job insecurity – the truth is that for many pre-1989 Czechoslovakia was a safe heaven. Your life was predestinated by what school you attended and you were sure to find a job within your specialization. Of course, this is not true anymore and there are many values which crumbled (like quality of our education, value of university diploma etc.). 3) Because Czech wages do not catch up with German or Austrian wages. As our economy and wages grow, the same goes for Austrian and German wages. Before the communism Czechs were more rich than Austrians and poorer than Germans (the wages were about 20% lower). The reality now-a-days is that Czech wages represent 1/4-1/3 of the German and Austrian wages. After 26 years of democracy and 11 years of EU membership the Czechs are starting to scratch their heads why is that. Frankly, when I see that 26 years after velvet revolution it is normal that an Austrian is sent to Prague to do my job for 25 times higher remuneration and I don’t get even chance just because I’m Czech, I’m starting to ask wha’s wrong. 4) There are certainly some regions in Czechia which lost the race. There was industry before and there is none now-a-days. Summarized, I think that in general Czech are much better off than they were. But our future lays outside of the current economical model which makes us economical colony of the West.

  106. Masschaele Tom

    It clearly depends which country you’re from, and your situation now.
    Czech republic and Poland have a higher living standard now than 25 years ago according to opinion polls. Which is normal, living standards improved all over the world, (for example fast development of telecommunication technology), except in war-thorn countries or countries going trough economic depression or mismanagement.
    However most Hungarians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Ukrainians, etc. complain that their life was better 25 years ago, which is also reflected in opinion polls.
    That’s not normal, it means something went seriously wrong.

    I think the transition methods are the problem. Inspired by neo-liberalism, blind for the needs of the average person, shock therapy destroyed the whole social system, job security, cheap houses, education, clinics, etc. Some people got very rich while the majority saw their living standards decline.
    It doesn’t mean everything was right in de 80’s (not much freedom, difficult to travel, not much choice, etc.). What should have happened is a merger of the two systems, a soft transition to more freedom of speech and freedom of doing business, without abolishing the good sides of socialism, such as job security, good and cheap education, healthcare, housing, etc.
    Look at China, China didn’t abolish communism, but created “socialist market economy”. China is booming, richer now than many Eastern European nations, which was unimaginable 25 years ago.The same should have happened in Eastern Europe. No total surrender to the West and capitalism, but soft transition and partial change.
    Look at Belarus, they didn’t go trough any shock, and enjoy now much higher living standards than their slavic neighbours to the south.

    • Mate

      “not much freedom, difficult to travel, not much choice, etc.”

      If former Yugoslavia we had freedom to travel!

  107. Eimantas

    I think its just sick what capitalism does to hard working countries, but that is what capitalism was always about, in their system someone must always be at the bottom… and i really don’t think its fair that countries like the Baltic’s Czechs, Slovenians and Hungarians have to pick up the pace for all the other rich European countries.

  108. Cedric

    One of the good things during soviet times was education; education quality is only going down year after year. Quite a disaster actually. One of the capitalism wonders

  109. robert

    well ! It is certain that business essential have a tendency of expanding in its main core. If a low pay labor and social inequality persist in a country. Wouldn’t it be a local or country concern. I believe the political and social affairs has to do a lot with it not the other way around. “being success on a business is more on a personal achievement than macro social engineering”

  110. Sean Widmer

    Up until the regime-shift in Eastern Europe, we in the west actually respected you people. Eastern european visitors were a source of interest and a sense of awe. This may come as a surprise for eastern Europeans because but while most of us were aware that people in eastern European countries had a somewhat lower living standard than those in northern Europe, there was a deep sense of respect for eastern european scientific, technological and social achievements. Now the term Eastern European is synonymous with prostitution, cut-rate labor and poverty. I visiting many eastern european countries in the early 90s, and while the living standard was simpler than in northern Europe at the time, there was a general sense of dignity and integrity among the populations that I don’t feel now. Sure, a prostitute may earn more money than a store clerk, but does that money convert to a happier life?

    • Norbert

      I am not sure I would agree with you on that Sean. My family escaped before the regime change in the 80’s, and we were treated nothing less than animals wherever we went in Western Europe i.e. Austria and Germany. Hence why my family emigrated to Canada then later to Australia. Interestingly I am of German heritage as is my name, but we were treated appallingly.

      The views of Westerners towards Eastern Europeans became even worse. It was already bad anyway. Nothing has changed.

      In all honesty, maybe you awed but the rest certainly didn’t.

    • Ivan K

      What’s a “happier life” Sean? The North-European societies are by far the most depressed, drug abusing and wretched societies on earth.

      As for the prostitution, you do have your home grown version, so why are you surprised? Haven’t you read about the number of stydents that become call girls in order to afford their student fees and live a comfortable life? If the markets wants it someone will supply it. Sounds to me like YOU, the consumers, are complaining about is a fresh supply of new products and services for a better price. It is called competition. And why would Westerners living a happier life need prostitutes at all?

    • Chavdar Naidenov

      We in Bulgaria used to READ about Western prostitution and about human trafficking from Third World countries to the West. But we couldn’t IMAGINE or understand it. We knew about prostitutes only in hotels that Westerners visited, but rarely witnessed it. Then, at the start of “democratization” it erupted. The same happened with beggars, homeless, closhars. Closhar is a French word for one who rummages in trash bins. Not only the word, the phenomenon was imported. And it flourished on the fertile ground of unemployment and a dingy safety net.

  111. Ivan K

    After 45 years of “Communism” (not so sure what it was) most Bulgarians were home owners – debt free! Last statistics I saw, roughly 75 % or so still were. Nevermind the free education and healthcare, nearly 0% crime rate, no drugs, no prostitution. Life was simpler, but safe, economy was kind of OK, most people had jobs. On the other hand, there was no political freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to travel. Most of Eastern Europe gained the latter, but lost everything else. People travel to the West to work and find out that life in the West was not that great. That people were so free that they didn’t even value freedom. They were happy consumers free to be ignorant. No more, no less.

    Central European countries: Poland, Czech, Hungary and Slovakia are supposedly better off. But they’re very close to Germany and Austria and entered the EU first. Seems logical. But talking to people I hear similar stories as the ones from the Balkans. So who knows how they make these polls …

  112. Cortez

    Of course the situation became worse.
    In one hand there was the increase in market value of the goods produced(all industries allowed to flourish and to export to rich countries) increasing the GDP, but this is misleading, as many of such industries/services are socialy worthless, take for instance luxury goods, cost resources and manpower (that could be alocated otherwise), the production is mainly for export, and internaly the resulting products are not acessible to the normal person, (and many times the capitalist takes a gaint part of the surplus value) and hence do not create greater well being and quality of life for the workers and masses.
    Of course thanks to western tech, and investements, things tended to improve in some industries, I do not doubt is much easier to get a car, a electronic device like a computer and Iphone(often produced abroad) yet only those with money can affort it, and adquiring basic goods and services like food, a house, education, and health, becomes increasingly harder, much harder than 25 years ago.
    The resulting “greater” wealth is canalized to a increasingly few, that in time increase their dominion over all aspects of society, monopolizing it, while the majority struggles each time more desperatly to make ends meet.
    And in this I did not meantion other factor like the disindustrialization of the economy promoted by a neo Liberal EU, creating failed model of service economy,AKA socialy worthless activities, that produce nothing of concrete, ex, banking…………
    This inversion of industrial/economic priorities away from the social, and the servicing of the normal people, can lead to a greater GDP(each time more criticized by economists as a measure of wealth), yes, but to a very disfunctional and problematic economy, that tends to decrease the SDI (Social Development Index)
    I hope people understand, Im not a economist, yet all I written was said by ecionomists,
    The collapse of the Warsaw Pact (a true civil society, and democracy was essential to arise) was the greatest disaster of the XX century, and I have no doubts to say a step back for humanity.

  113. Karel

    I would like to point out, that Mr. Čulík is POLICE INFORMER and activist for money who will tell anything for enough money. Lately he started to promote uncontroled immigration to England which is giving bad image to Czech republic which have oposite position.

    Unfortunately those kind of people tend to be most visible and in contact with outside journalist.

  114. Karel

    From clearly economical point of view Czech republic is now better place.

    However before revolution there was for example much higher quality of domestic culture – movies for example. Now you can watch movies from around the world, but domestic one are now absolute trash… .

    Food, before revolution there wasnt much food BUT all had some quality. Meat was meat, vegetable was vegetable… today you on regular basis get sausage without meat filled with only bones and other trash, so your teeth pop out!!! And you have very big time to find quality one even if you want to pay! You need to go to Germany.

    Also it is so frustrating to get 1/4 salary for same work as German 100 km away and then go to shop and pay HIGHER price for food than him – but that food is unedible trash.

    Elderly peoples with 300 euro rent on month (must pay everything with it) then fight for some better food in shops like it was before revolution…. .

  115. isme

    coming from DE, having lived and worked in several parts of the world and now, well, in CR .. sorry people. CR people, and just any people from teh “East’ if say so, they are nice, yes, but their labor is just not worth the say as in the West. They come to work – whenever, hang around in FB and YT or do .. not sure what, just kill the time. Their working methods, also, well, i would not call it like that, rather a big chaos whaever they start. even better they do not even come, or late, or sleep, or watch movies .. if they woudl start to do just anything, more chaos. Ah, well, forget the damn annoying (well seems only for me ..) parties. Parties all time, of the company, or after work .. drink beer util drop. well their salary might be low, or not, did not ask .. but there is nothing more in it. so stop complain and go to the west .. for a training at least ..

  116. isme

    .. they are seemingly used to be paid by ‘present hours’ (which also does not mean ‘awake’ hours .. only to be on the chair. maybe a chair has a sensor ..) instead of by performance, or by results. maybe that is good, however, then why complain if people who are doing the opposite, earn more? .. ‘hard working’ is maybe a question of definition but .. may it mean to be efficient and productive .. anything else is just waste of time. so why pay for it. .. and for those who are used to that style of ‘work’ (haha) .. why do you border to come? why not hang around in the nature, in a gym, at home and play with the kids .. ?

  117. Michael

    The question of whether Eastern Europe’s current economic condition is better or worse than it was under communism cannot genuinely be answered by Eastern Europeans due to a fundamental bias within their value system, which is fairly evident based on many comments on here.

    There was a recent survey conducted in former communist Eastern Europe asking for opinions on their experience between communism and free markets. One particular question stood out which lies at the heart of the free market (aka capitalism): the preference between universal economic safety net versus the pursuit of (economic) happiness. Although the responses varied between countries, all the countries overwhelmingly picked the safety net.

    This answer reflects a state of mind very similar to the freed slave. The former slave is free to accomplish and acquire all that he desires in any manner he desires yet he longs to return to his former master for master feeds him and provides him food and shelter at no cost. He is entirely dependent on the master. If the master decides to leave him and refuses to take him back, he will struggle for survival and will likely die.

    Remember, this isn’t theoretical, it’s very real as seen in the United States following the Civil War and emancipation of slaves in the South. Even after the Consitutional abolition of slavery, citizenship, equal protection, due process and voting rights, the freed slave returned to the master who exploited his vulnerability and labor in return for his “work”. The important part in this story and how it relates to Eastern Europeans is that eventually as generations went by the descendants of the freed slave attained true Liberty. In other words, he was no longer dependent on anyone else, he determined his own future, whether he’d eat or starve, be rich or poor, educated or uneducated, entrepreneur or punch card. That right there is the essence of Liberty. Until Eastern Europeans learn this and grow farther from the master (in their case the government), they can’t actually determine their economic condition.

    • Chavdar Naidenov

      This a racist myth, fabricated by the Southern elites during the Jim Crow pushback against the progressive laws, that were imposed on them by the occupying North. If the blacks loved dependency and obedience so much, why did the KKK burn them at the rate of 2 a day in the 1910-1930s? I don’t know what sort of poll data you looked at and the exact wording of questions and answers. There are hundreds of polls conducted throught EE every year. But if you care to look at US polls, you will find qualified majorities in favor of universal health care, free education, regulation of utility prices, a higher minimum wage, mandatory paid holidays, unionisation, defence against arbitrary dismissals etc. Only the rich, their media and corrupt politicians are against. If you care to look at the way people live in Western Europe you will find all these things are not utopia and do not come at the price of freedom or poverty. Exactly the opposite. Basic security is a prerequisite for freedom and creativity. Anarchy breeds despotism. That is why a lot of US-ers go through life as zealous voluntary wage slaves

    • Mate

      So we Eastern Europeans are in no position to decide our own fate? How very democratic of you! It would seem that capitalism has decayed so much that you don’t even try to hide your fascist ideology anymore.

    • Michael

      It really has nothing to do with race. The self-reliance of freed slaves has been a reality experienced by many former slaves throughout history regardless of race or place. I suppose my analogy is a bit misunderstood and taken the wrong the wrong way. I admire any people who yearn for freedom. To put it differently, when Eastern Europe transitioned from communism into free markets and privatization, their society wasn’t equipped with the proper foundation for that type of nation. Is it the norm for school children in Eastern Europe to be exposed to and study the works of Locke, Pain, Thomas Jeferson and other US founding fathers, or maybe even Ayn Rand? Probably not. After all, even western europe has abandoned its own contributions. British people today know more about the French Revolution than they do the Bill of Rights of 1689. It’s more an issue of political philosophy engrained in the value system of a nation than anything else.

  118. Dimitrovgrad Alexei

    Mickael,
    How can you judge for Eastern Europeans? Since they don’t agree to your opinion, eventough they lived under both systems, they are “slaves”. But maybe the Western Europeans are slaves, since they’ve always accepted the capitalist system and submitted themselves to the capitalist elite in order to survive?
    Eastern Europeans, remember, choose something different back in the 80’s, thus they are no slaves. However they came to understand that this new system was not better, but worse. Freedom means nothing if you don’t have money, if live becomes expensive and salaries stay low. Real freedom is if you don’t have to care about paying your bills and make ends meet.
    At the end of the 19th century a large part of the Russian population were actual slaves. For them the october revolution meant liberation. Very few people want to return to the times of the tsars and slavery.

    • Michael

      Actually Western Europe is pretty socialistic to me.

  119. Igor

    But if you think about current situation in Europe you cant miss, that Germany which caused 2 world wars got every thinkable support from western countries and de-facto became ruler of Western europe through European union – nobody anymore care what even 5-8 other countries think, what Germany say will hapen in EU these days.

    Now again they exert their power – so far only economical without asking what other nations want. If Britain or France feel today threatened again how do you think feel Poles or other eastern europeans which were genocided by milions and when they WON war, west nations “gave” them to Russia. Its a story of madness. West constantly helping and supporting Germany which always exert its powers and starts world wars. Britain and France once again gave europe to Germans through EU… .

    But everyone in west looks down on eastern europeans which they betrayed again and again, and continue to support always only Germany which in turn regulary starting world wars as single nation in the entire world.

    But today everything is made in China, western countries will be soon in same trash we are, because you have nothing better than us anymore, not even democracy is better in your states, you should think about it, why you should continue to be wealthy when you do nothing better than eastern europeans… .

  120. Christiano

    Hello,
    I respect all opinions, and I will state mine now:
    as a 1984 born Romanian, I have very few memories of the communism, but clearly there are some things now that are not right:
    First of all, the political system. As you all maybe read on the internet, lots of our politicians are in prison for corruption. All this people are stealing from the government income, from our taxes, and buy nice cars and big houses.
    And when it comes to building roads, hospitals, or other social buildings types, they complain they dont have enough money.
    Romania would be a richer and happier country if they would not touch the Total Government Income and distribute it wisely.
    When the americans decided to push through the democracy into Eastern Europe, the were happy to set locals in key government positions so that the change will go smooth.
    Now they left these beast untamed, and they started to act like kings, subduing the poor people who are millions in Romania. They live by the minimum salary, 233€ for God sake!
    Take into account that almost 50% of our products (food, electronics, etc) are imported, so the prices are the same or even higher than in Western Europe, so now you have the complete picture of our so-called-democracy-for-the-rich-only !

    • anonymous

      Almost all money they steal same in other such states, A fool will understand that no money goes for education or health if nothing changes but they claim they have allocated tens or even hundreds of millions. Great point !

  121. Chavdar Naidenov

    It is all very simple, if you have the guts to admit the hard truth. It was never about overcoming communism. The “Structural Adjustment Reforms” of the IMF that were implemented in Eastern Europe in the 1990s were an exact copy of the “Structural Reforms”, forced upon Latin America in the 1980s. Just look at the texts of the programs and try finding a difference. These reforms were DEVISED to 1. decrease the real income of working people in all forms: wages, pensions, free health and education, housing, vacations, job availability etc. etc. and to 2. benifit of the rich and the multinationals. No wonder that the effect was exactly the same in both cases – lower living standards for the majority, enrichment for a local and foreign minority. But wait! Latin America never had a gram of Communism! These were old capitalist countries, most with right-wing military dictatorships. Why were they “overcoming Communism” then? Because they were not! We in East Europe are utter fools to still believe we were experiencing a transition to some “free market rich democracy”. We were actually subjected to mass deindustrialization, to a syphoning away of our jobs, to a conquest of our markets, to an ever higher rate of exploitation, to an exodus of economic refugees. And in the meantime we were being distracted by a democratic charade in which we all participated. We voted in order to “choose” without alternative. Like in the US now. If people in the West want a glimpse of their own probable future, they should cast aside the mainstream myths and closely examine what really happened in EE. Poverty appeared after the “reforms”, not before. Greece should look into Bulgaria, South Europe into East Europe, France and Germany into South Europe. Americans should think about the Rust Belt states. And organize to stop the slide down into regression.

    • Hugh Smitham

      I think you’re correct on all accounts. To believe that somehow Western democracy is a magic elixir curing all woes is fantasy. Though I have never lived in a communist state I’m positive the abuses were just as bad. It is human nature to corrupt any decent idea. I personally believe all one has to do is look to western europe as a model of how to take care of a population, what they have is a democratic socialist form of governance. Not perfect, but what is in this current phase of existence.

  122. Drew

    Most of Eastern Europeans were threatened with theirs and their families lives, into becoming communists…join us or you and your family die… was the threat… this is FACT…most people wanted to escape and have nothing to do with any fucked up, sick regime.
    I have evidence to prove this…like many others in Eastern Europe do.

    I feel sad about the oppression that the beautiful people across the world have to suffer via control, greed and pure evil.

    The oppression that exists is transient and is shifted around the world through various means by those who give the signal. Communism, capitalism, socialism, any of these oppressive behaviour social changing methods are used to create certain outcomes. It’s all about coersion and slavery.

    Sickness and evil in its purest form.

  123. Drew

    Get everyone singing from the same song sheet is the agenda. Puppets on a string.

    Hehehe…what they don’t realize and see or choose to see, is that they are the real slaves. Haha haha…

  124. anonymous

    I was looking for “The post-communist elite is satanic” in google and this is how I got here. This is the answer to all. Not all of them are but some are. And they use the money they signed to their accounts in their businesses to feed anti-Christian pro-Islamic racists that are racists because they hate the native ethnicity in the east European countries. It is a curse, they are accursed and it is a violation of human rights. There was one of them telling me at the end What are you going to do” – because I had to constantly experience hate, false accusations, discrimination and commune thinking by far dumber people than me that had lots of false self-esteem too. Yes they have too much of self-esteem and are stupid too. He must be killed or jailed, they had offices in NY too. U see I never had my basic rights there. What freedom, they are all accursed and slave minded, can’t speak about the economy – it is self-explanatory, first rights and recognition then the rest. They continue spreading self-hate and breed such terrorists, relying on the idea that people have to be with the idolatrous slave mind inherited from communism with that perversion of total self-hate and hate against Christians, while they of course want to rule like rich lords that have never done anything wrong. If I could bomb eastern Europe I would have bombed lots of things there. The rest of the population is left like prostitute cheap labor force for western low business to make them an offer either to worship the ass shown on TV and do what they say for low money (this includes useless labor too) or physically die. There is few big businesses that feed well the self elected master race of the remnants of the communist children. There is only one way out, it is extermination and jailing of those post-communist satanic racist criminals working against society making them feel guilty for them blowing away all this money they took for themselves after 1990 and for their war against society – simply declaring them a satanic foreign tribe, enemies to the state, the other ones have to become respectful to human rights, Christianity mainly, freedom and intellect – all of them must respect, if you don’t want to kill the evil part of it for espionage and inner war against society just make them respect and be responsible One of them was lying saying they were doing exactly as they were telling them from the USA :). AHAHA what an accursed shit as if they don’t know the constitution in the US or he didn’t know it -that I was said to worship homosexuals because I was going to church, :) What a shit also the insults and threats like they wanted to burn me or kill me as the jews etc, what a fucking shit, that is unconstitutional and has nothing to do with the US, Back to my point, the second thing that must be done is to have people with brains that understand economy to create a sound economic platform for their countries. As you can see no freedom, no rights and the economy has never existed – it is dead or almost dead, about standard and respect of intellect I will not even mention – it is an issue world wide. But the euro business is total shit, it is accursed, it is openly racist and stupid, it is like w ehate you we express hate and want to live you to die because of your racial features we care not how much you can, we say you are stupid, even if they want I am not, crap, scum I Am actually too smart obviously. Russia has basically left those satanic evil societies in eastern Europe to be killed by their own evil they have been doing since communist time, who knows for how long and until they learn how to work, create and run a civilization they will be dying under the evils they tolerate and side with. It is pathetic they have completely annihilated human rights and the possibility of physical existence of some, may be the majority, but they themselves support it, they don’t support what is good. The west has been seeking profit as usual nothing more pretending to be their savior (AHAHAHAHA), though there is some evil folks paying money from the west to undermine human rights, religion, culture and morals, but it is mainly, if not all of it, done by their evil business rulers that have occupied the political hierarchy and of course the courts. Hope people wake up !

  125. A tourist

    I am not personally emerged in this conflict , i am from a far country ( lebanon ) and i don’t care about politics so i can be subjective . I’ve visited many places in the world including
    USA ,the biggest liberal economy nowadays and china the biggest communist economy nowadays , in china there is no poor people , not a single one , can you believe it ? Education , health care , food , houses and many recreational activities are afforded for everybody , other extras are previllages to certains of the population , in USA surprisingly and contrary to the propaganda the essential things are a previllage , most of the people is under stress , work like machines to pay their debts to banks , pooverty , homelessness and joblessness are considerably diffused among the sociaty . if it is about the ammount of money a person can do , then liberal system is better , if it is about the standard of living than communist is by far better , if a person does 50 usd per month and lives well and has no social fears better than doing 3000 and hardly lives with them and be always under the stress of loosing his job , i guess in eastern europe better to return to communicsm if they still have the opportunity in the west they have no opportunity at all , lobbies of rich persons has formed an iron system over decades and are enrolling that world .

    • Radu Miron

      @A Tourist Europe is not as crazy as USA. We don’t spend our taxes on wars and we do tax our rich. Everybody is guaranteed schooling and health care for free. Everyone is offered food and shelter if they can no longer support themselves. There still are homeless people, but I guess it is mostly due to mental health problems or drug addiction (they refuse shelter from the state). There are also some people who beg because it pays well.

  126. Mate

    We had free access to Western literature and movies in former Yugoslavia. We were also free to leave the country, so the transition to capitalism didn’t change that for us. The only thing that has changed were the new negatives, including the civil war.

  127. Vladimir, Serbia

    False equality and care for every man in communism is similar to false true, freedom and wealth in capitalism. But the true difference is that we used to believe in positive future, humanity, prosperity, we had joyful movies, literacy and songs in communism… And now in capitalism, we believe in sausage, full fridge and Mercedes. I suppose, that is western philosophy for an ordinary man.

  128. michal

    The profits from east goes abroad – to the west. Low wages, high prices, land and flats are bought by foreigners. In general, the country was not returned to people. It was stolen in communism from traditional owners, and stolen again during current democracy regime. The democracy and transformation to capitalism does not work. Global companies and scumbags rule this land of former Czechoslovakia. Betrayed in 1939, 1969, 1989.

  129. Sergei Bosniatz

    It took a few years after the Velvet Revolution for things to change in Czechia, the shops especially stocked only one type of every product- the lack of choice was an annoyance but for us it was commonplace, on the plus side, at least public transport ran on time, but all in all I feel that the change in politics has benefitted the country financially, but I can still indulge in some elements of communist nostalgia (you can’t beat a good Czech beer).

  130. Odog244@gmail.com

    Personally I think China HAS improved after the year 8

required
required Your email will not be published

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More debate series – 25 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall View all

By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our Privacy Policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.