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Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese
This article is a review of the most recent political developments in the Soviet Union, and the countries of eastern Europe. The fundamental problem such regimes have to face is that of having to reconcile reform of the system with the desire not to tamper with its rigid single-party foundations. Within this common frame, each country assumes different positions towards Gorbachev's perestrojka. It is significant that the countries most opposed to it are Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Rumania, the same ones that were also most opposed to the de-Stalinisation urged by Kruschev. In Hungary and Poland, on the other hand (although here too it is possible to observe the clash between the conservative and reformist lines common to all the countries of the East, USSR included) unique social conditions oblige the political elites to be more receptive.
Nevertheless, it will not be possible for reformists to maintain for very long the contradictory logic whereby they pursue economic reform, while recognising the need for political reform only verbally. Yet, if political reform is not launched, the conservatives are, in the long run, likely to return, and the model they will choose will probably be that of East Germany.