Eastern Europe, Questionnaire Example

Question 1 
Revolutions of 1989 that swept Eastern Europe put an end to the Communist rule. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with political and economic transformations of an early post-Communist period. There is no doubt that countries of Eastern Europe looked forward to their independence from the Soviet Union and its Communist ideology – it was a period of great hopes and aspirations. At the same time, not everything went as smooth as Eastern Europeans had hoped for. Pick one issue (political, social, or economic) that you find the most negative for the development of the post-Communist world. Explain your choice.

Economic changes were the most detrimental to the development of Eastern Europe following the collapse of communism after the 1989 revolutions. Although communism illusorily promised equal opportunities for financial success for everyone, in reality, it was not the case. Further, the proposed solution- a move to capitalist society wherein citizens would let supply and demand dictate the market- failed to the point where populations were poorer after 1989 than before. For example, standards of living in Ukraine, a country which achieved independence only two years after the revolutions that felled communism, were abysmally low. Governmental corruption prevent the market from producing realistic market prices, and a reliance on other countries for natural resources, such as gas imported from Russia, have stifled Ukraine’s progress to an economically-sound postcommunist country.

Question 2

Today’s question requires more of an educated guess than an answer. The 1990s had witnessed several ethnic conflicts aside from the Yugoslavian. We can refer to Rwanda, Eritrean, Angola, Congo, Armenia/Azerbaijan, etc. What sets the Yugoslav Wars apart from other conflicts that occured in the last decade of the 20th century? To be more specific, why do you think NATO got involved in this conflict but not others?

The Yugoslav wars were a series of ethnic wars fought in Yugoslavia by citizens who either wanted sovereignty or wanted to stifle sovereignty. It is likely that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) became involved in the Yugoslav wars because they wanted to assert their influence into Eastern Europe instead of simply staying in Western Europe. In contrast, the genocide in Rwanda occurred in continental Africa and technically out of the reach of NATO. Even though Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire of the United Nations, a peace-keeping group stationed in Rwanda at the time, called on NATO to intervene in the Rwandan genocide, NATO cited Rwanda not being a member of NATO as a reason not to get involved. At first pass, the difference between the Yugoslav wars and Rwandan genocide seems to be an issue of aid provided only for members, but closer inspection may show that the reasons are far more complex and nefarious than that.