Europe The Bills Come Due

After a year of freedom, Eastern Europe realizes that toppling statues of Stalin and Lenin is easier than erecting stable democracies and free markets

What price freedom? The question on the lips of East Europeans a year ago seemed to have been answered when communist dictatorships gave way one after another without offering more than token resistance. The startling disintegration of the East bloc registered a 7, maybe an 8, on a Richter scale of this century's most significant events, yet the bill for half a dozen revolutions seemed exceedingly modest. The cost of erasing the 45-year-old political division of Europe and opening the way toward democratic pluralism and free-market economies: a few hundred killed, mainly in Romania.

One year later, as elected governments from...

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