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30 Years After USSR’s Collapse: Countries Enjoy Free Markets, Improved Living Standards

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

A new Pew Research Center study has catalogued some interesting findings from Central and Eastern Europe 30 years after the Soviet Union dissolved.

One of the most striking things is an overwhelming embrace of free markets by countries formerly occupied by the USSR. With the exception of Russia and Ukraine, countries like Poland, East Germany (now Germany), Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Bulgaria generally approve of the shift from centrally-planned economies to market economies—plus multiparty political systems.

When it comes to living standards, formerly oppressed countries generally believe living standards have improved in the last 30 years. Here’s more:

On almost every aspect of life tested in 2019 – from education to national pride – people in the region today are generally convinced that the changes have had a good influence on their country. But fewer people across these countries think the changes have been good for family values, the state of health care and law and order compared with the other aspects tested.

More interestingly, European attitudes diverged on the subject of democracy and internet freedom. Where Nordic and some Eastern European countries were greatly satisfied with democracy, the U.K., Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, and Greece were not satisfied with how democracy has been playing out.

It was also found that over 60% of 18-to-34 year old respondents to the survey believe internet freedom, when compared to their elders, is very important.

There are 10 total post-Soviet European attitudes you can explore here.

The survey was conducted between May 13 to August 12, 2019. It polled 18,979 adults from 14 European Union member nations – including Russia, Ukraine and the United States.

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