The Balkans Wild in the Streets

In Romania and Bulgaria, the game has changed but the players are still former Communists, leaving some spectators unhappy

Ever since taking over from deposed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu last winter, Romanian leader Ion Iliescu has played down his Communist background and promised his countrymen a new democratic era. But actions speak louder than words. By setting club-wielding miners loose in Bucharest last week to crush antigovernment protests, Iliescu demonstrated that he was quite willing to rule by thuggery.

The Romanian leader's performance as a party boss was a brutal reminder that while the countries of Central Europe have removed Communists from positions of any real power, the Balkans remain dominated by an old order dressed up in new suits. That...

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