Two Decades After The Wall’s Fall END OF COMMUNISM CHEERED .

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1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 700Washington, D.C. 20036Tel (202) 419-4350Fax (202) 419-4399www.pewglobal.orgTwo Decades After the Wall’s FallEND OF COMMUNISM CHEERED BUT NOW WITH MORE RESERVATIONSFOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:Andrew Kohut, PresidentRichard Wike, Associate DirectorJuliana Menasce Horowitz, Senior ResearcherKathleen Holzwart Sprehe, Research AssociateJacob Poushter, Research Assistant(202)

Pew Global Attitudes Project –

NOVEMBER 2, 2009TABLE OF CONTENTSOverview:PageEnd of Communism Cheered But Now With More Reservations.1About the Project .13Roadmap to the Report .14Chapter 1:Rating Personal Well-Being .15Chapter 2:Democratic Values.21Chapter 3:Evaluating Democracy.29Chapter 4:Economic Values .37Chapter 5:Views of German Reunification .45Chapter 6:Opinions of Ethnic and Religious Minorities .49Chapter 7:Nationalism .55Chapter 8:Views of Other Countries and Organizations .61Chapter 9:Rating the EU and NATO.67Chapter 10: Rating Country Conditions and Leaders.73Chapter 11: Religiosity and the Role of Religion.81Survey Methods .85Survey Topline.93Copyright 2009 Pew Research

Pew Global Attitudes Project –

Two Decades After the Wall’s FallEND OF COMMUNISM CHEERED BUT NOW WITH MORE RESERVATIONSNearly two decades after the fall of the BerlinWall, publics of former Iron Curtain countries generallylook back approvingly at the collapse of communism.Majorities of people in most former Soviet republics andEastern European countries endorse the emergence ofmultiparty systems and a free market economy.However, the initial widespread enthusiasm aboutthese changes has dimmed in most of the countriessurveyed; in some, support for democracy and capitalismhas diminished markedly. In many nations, majorities orpluralities say that most people were better off undercommunism, and there is a widespread view that thebusiness class and political leadership have benefitedfrom the changes more than ordinary people.Nonetheless, self reported life satisfaction has risensignificantly in these societies compared with nearly twodecades ago when the Times Mirror Center 1 first studiedpublic opinion in the former Eastern bloc.The acceptance of – and appetite for – democracyis much less evident today among the publics of theformer Soviet republics of Russia and Ukraine, who livedthe longest under communism. In contrast, EasternEuropeans, especially the Czechs and those in the former1Approval of Change to Democracy% Approve ofchange to MultipartysystemEast GermanyCzech 0Change-60 1 4-18-20-8-24-42Question 12.Approval of Change to Capitalism% Approve ofchange to MarketeconomyEast GermanyCzech 6Change-4-8-9-3-20-26-4-34-16Question 13.The Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press (the forerunner of the Pew Research Center for the People &the Press) conducted the Pulse of Europe survey from April 15 to May 31, 1991. Interviews were conducted with12,569 people in Britain, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain, as well asthree republics of the Soviet Union: Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine. For more details, see the Survey Methodssection of this report.

Pew Global Attitudes Project – www.pewglobal.orgEast Germany, are more accepting of the economicand societal upheavals of the past two decades. EastGermans, in particular, overwhelmingly approve of thereunification of Germany, as do those living in whatwas West Germany. However, fewer east Germansnow have very positive views of reunification than inmid-1991, when the benchmark surveys wereconducted by the Times Mirror Center for the People& the Press. And now, as then, many of those living ineast Germany believe that unification happened tooquickly.Opinions of German ReunificationEast GermanyVery positiveSomewhat positiveSomewhat negativeVery negativeDon't know1991* 2009 Change%%4531-144450 6713 613 223 1West GermanyVery positiveSomewhat positiveSomewhat negativeVery negativeDon't know2950141628491733-1-1 3 2-3Question 11.* In 1991, the question wording was, “Overall,do you strongly approve, approve, disapprove orstrongly disapprove of the unification ofGermany?”One of the most positive trends in Europe sincethe fall of the Wall is a decline in ethnic hostilitiesamong the people of former communist countries. In a number of nations, fewer citizens say theyhold unfavorable views of ethnic minorities than did so in 1991. Nonetheless, sizablepercentages of people in former communist countries continue to have unfavorable views ofminority groups and neighboring nationalities. The new poll also finds Western Europeans in anumber of cases are at least as hostile toward minorities as are Eastern Europeans. In particular,many in the West, especially in Italy and Spain, hold unfavorable views of Muslims.Concern about Russia is another sentiment shared by both Eastern and WesternEuropeans. A majority of the French (57%) and 46% of Germans say Russia is having a badinfluence on their countries; this view is shared by most Poles (59%) and sizable minorities inmost other Eastern European countries. The exceptions are Bulgaria and Ukraine, where onbalance Russia’s influence is seen as more positive than negative.As for the Russians themselves, there hasbeen an upsurge in nationalist sentiment since theearly 1990s. A majority of Russians (54%) agreewith the statement “Russia should be forRussians”; just 26% agreed with that statement in1991. Moreover, even as they embrace freemarket capitalism, fully 58% of Russians agreethat “it is a great misfortune that the Soviet Unionno longer exists.” And nearly half (47%) say “it isnatural for Russia to have an empire.”2Nationalist Sentiment in RussiaIt is a great misfortunethat the Soviet Unionno longer existsAgree Disagree%%DK%58385Russia should befor Russians19915426436936It is natural for Russiato have an empire1991473735431819Questions 40f, 40i and 40k.

Pew Global Attitudes Project – www.pewglobal.orgThese are among the major findings of a new, 14-nation survey by the Pew ResearchCenter’s Global Attitudes Project that was conducted Aug. 27 through Sept. 24 among 14,760adults. The survey, which includes nations in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the UnitedStates, reexamines many of the key issues first explored in the 1991 survey conducted by theTimes Mirror Center, the predecessor of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.Varied Reactions to Democracy and Free MarketsWhile the current polling finds a broadAge Gap on Change toDemocracy and Capitalismendorsement for the demise of communism,reactions vary widely among and within % Approve ofcountries. In east Germany and the Czech change to Multiparty18-29 30-49 50-64 65 Republic, there is considerable support for the system%%%%Russia65604627shift to both a multiparty system and a free Bulgaria5661513787827670market economy. The Poles and Slovaks rank Czech Rep.Poland76766560next in terms of acceptance. In contrast, Lithuania5958564360595545somewhat fewer Hungarians, Bulgarians, HungaryUkraine34392220Russians and Lithuanians say they favor the Slovakia74766565EastGermany90858681changes to the political and economic systemsthey have experienced, although majorities or Marketeconomy63563927pluralities endorse the changes. Ukraine is the RussiaBulgaria66604932only country included in the survey where Slovakia7573604648432420more disapprove than approve of the changes UkrainePoland80786853to a multiparty system and market economy.Czech Rep.83877663HungaryLithuaniaEast n Hungary, there is clear frustrationwith the current state of democracy, despite Questions 12 and 13.the public’s acceptance of the shift to amultiparty system. More than three-quarters of Hungarians (77%) are dissatisfied with the waydemocracy is working in their country. This may be due in part to an overwhelmingly dismalnational mood: About nine-in-ten think the country is on the wrong track (91%) and that theeconomy is in bad shape (94%). Disenchantment with political elites is especially strong inHungary, where only 38% believe voting gives them a say in politics. And even more than otherpublics included in the survey, Hungarians are frustrated by the gap between what they wantfrom democracy – such as a free press, free speech and competitive elections – and what theybelieve they currently have.Across virtually all of these former communist countries, with the notable exception ofthe former East Germany, the patterns of acceptance of political and economic changes mirrorwhat was evident from the very start of the political and economic upheavals of two decades ago.3

Pew Global Attitudes Project – www.pewglobal.orgYounger, better educated and urban people tend to be more accepting of changes and registergreater gains in life satisfaction than do older people, the less well educated and those living inrural areas.In Russia, for example, majorities of those younger than 50 years of age approve of thechanges to a multiparty system and a free market system. But older people are far less approving;among those ages 65 and older, just 27% express positive views of each of these changes.Similar disparities in acceptance are evident by education in Russia and among most of the otherformer communist publics surveyed.That is not the case, however, in the former East Germany, where both older and youngerpeople – as well as the better educated and less educated – overwhelmingly endorse the politicaland economic changes they have experienced. And while about as many east Germans say theirformer country was “overwhelmed” and “taken over” by West Germany as said this in 1991, anincreasing proportion of east Germans say that reunification has improved their lives. Fully 63%of those questioned now say their lives are better as a result of unification; just 48% felt that wayin 1991. Moreover, about eight-in-ten of those living in the former East Germany say they favorthe unification of Germany. Those in the former West Germany are equally accepting ofunification.Life Gets Better RatingsOpinions among east Germans about the impact ofunification on their lives are consistent with one of themost striking trends observed in the new survey. People informer communist countries now rate their lives markedlyhigher than they did in 1991, when they were still comingto grips with the massive changes then taking place. This istrue even in countries where overall levels of satisfactionwith life – as well as positive assessments of political andeconomic changes – are significantly lower than in themost upbeat of the nations surveyed.Satisfied With Life% High (7-10)PolandSlovakiaRussiaCzech 1991 2009 Change%%1244 321343 30735 282349 261335 22826 18415 11815 7441552474348 3 28-4“Here is a ladder representing the ladderCzechs, Poles, Slovaks and east Germans report the of life. Let's suppose the top of the ladderrepresents the best possible life for you;most satisfaction with their lives and posted the greatest and the bottom, the worst possible. Onstep of the ladder do you feel yougains over the past two decades. Russians, Ukrainians and whichpersonally stand at the present time?”Lithuanians also judge their personal well-being much (Q2)better than they once did, and they view their lives morepositively than do Hungarians and Bulgarians. However, even those two downbeat publics showimprovements in self-assessments of life compared with 1991.4

Pew Global Attitudes Project – www.pewglobal.orgWhile the current survey findsAge Gap on Life Satisfactionpeople in former communist countries% High (7-10)feeling better about their lives thanPolandCzech Rep.SlovakiaHungary1991 2009 1991 20091991 2009 1991 2009they did in 1991, the increases in%%%%%%%%135021519581123personal progress have been uneven 18-2930-49135220571347617demographically,ashasbeen 50-648403245113271015291938NA*2879acceptance of economic and political 65 change. There are now wide age gapsBulgariaLithuaniaUkraineRussia1991 2009 1991 20091991 2009 1991 2009in reports of life satisfaction. In%%%%%%%%3281444739841Poland, for example, half of those 18-2930-493151735627940younger than age 30 rate their lives 50-64413830111662865 581329NA*15325highly, compared with just 29% of2.those ages 65 and older. These gaps Question* Figures not shown because there are too few respondents in this agewere not evident in 1991, when all age group.groups expressed comparably negativeviews of their lives. The same pattern is evident among all of the former communist publicssurveyed.An urban-rural gap also is evident in lifesatisfaction in two principal republics of theformer Soviet Union included in the poll – Russiaand Ukraine – as well as in Bulgaria andHungary. In Ukraine, for example, 30% of urbandwellers express high satisfaction with their lives,compared with just 17% of those residing in ruralareas. These disparities in reports of well-beingwere not apparent two decades ago. Then, onaverage, people were less happy, but there wereno significant demographic differences in theiropinions.People Worse Off Than Under Communism?WorseAbout the sameBetter72Hungary168Ukraine6213 ch Rep.Poland3935151212132329334547"Would you say that the economic situation for mostThe demographic gaps in well-being (survey country's people) today is better, worse, oramong the publics of former Iron Curtain about the same as it was under communism?" (Q19)Question wording varied slightly in Lithuania. Please seecountries were suggested by reactions to the endTopline for full question wording.of communism two decades ago. It was theyoung, the better educated and the urban populations who were cheering. How older, less welleducated and rural people would adapt was then identified as one of the principal challenges toacceptance of democracy and capitalism. This remains the case, especially in Russia and5

Pew Global Attitudes Project – www.pewglobal.orgUkraine, where people who now rate their lives well voice the strongest support for democraticvalues, while those less satisfied are the least disposed to the new values.Indeed, the prevailing view in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria andHungary is that people were better off economically under communism. Only in the CzechRepublic and Poland do pluralities believe that most people are now better off. Furthermore, theconsensus in many of these countries is that ordinary people have benefited far less than havebusiness owners and politicians.Nonetheless, many people in former communist countries broadly endorse the freemarket economy. This is particularly the case in countries where sizable numbers of people ratetheir lives better than they did in surveys two decades ago. But in countries where people do notregister as much progress since 1991, there is much less unanimity about the benefits of the freemarket.Acceptance of Democratic ValuesThe survey also showsSupport for Key Democratic PrinciplessubstantialdifferencesinHun Bul Cze Pol Ukr Lit Slo Rusacceptanceofdemocratic% Very important%%%%%%%%values among people in former Freedom of speech65 58 47 50 43 38 39 3770 61 57 51 53 39 43 41communist countries. While Honest electionsFair judicial system79 81 78 64 67 59 57 69majorities in most countries Civilian-controlled military 36 27 36 29 30 20 21 27of the press59 61 66 52 49 50 42 37approve of the transition to a FreedomFreedom of religion66 58 46 62 51 47 47 47multiparty system, it remains a MEDIAN66 60 52 52 50 43 43 39rocky transition in manyQuestions 41a through 41f.countries. The appeal of astrong leader over a democratic form of government is evident in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria,Lithuania and Hungary. Only in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the former EastGermany do most people believe that a democratic form of government is the best way to solvethe country’s problems.The embrace of political rights and civil liberties is also varied and disparate acrosscountries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. On every dimension studied, morepeople say they value these rights and liberties than say they enjoy them.A fair judiciary is the value most prized in the former communist countries surveyed.And in every country in the region, large numbers say that right does not prevail. Freedom ofspeech, a free press and even honest elections are given somewhat lower priority in mostsocieties, especially Russia.6

Pew Global Attitudes Project – www.pewglobal.orgFrustrations with the democratic experience are clearly evident in a number of countries.In Hungary, relatively large numbers prize the ability to criticize the state and want pressfreedom and honest elections, but only small percentages say these conditions prevail. InUkraine, where support for democracy is tenuous by many standards, very few say that honestelections or a fair judicial system describe their country well.A general conclusion that can be drawn from the poll’s results suggests that Russiansexpress the least enthusiasm for democratic values, while the most acceptance is expressed bythose in the former East Germany, closely followed by the Poles and Czechs.Corruption, Crime Concerns WidespreadThere is a good deal of agreement across former Eastern bloc publics concerning themajor problems facing their countries. As might be expected, large majorities express negativeviews of their economies, but this also is the case for Western Europeans and Americans. In fact,of the 14 publics included in the survey, the Poles render the most positive economic report: 38%describe their country’s economy as very or somewhat good.Beyond the economy, crime,corruption and drugs are widely seenas major problems in each of theformer communist countries surveyed.The environment, the poor quality ofschools, and the spread of AIDS andother infectious disease are alsocommon concerns in all countries.Top National Problems Beyond the EconomyBulgariaCorruptionCrimeIllegal drugs%767674Czech Rep.CorruptionCrimeIllegal drugs%715551East GermanyIllegal ollution%766958LithuaniaCorruptionCrimeIllegal drugs%787666PolandCorruptionCrimeIllegal drugs%584949Russia%Slovakia%Ukraine%Concerns about people leaving Illegal drugs 54Crime55Corruption70Corruption52Pollution64the country are especially high in the C

communism, and there is a widespread view that the business class and political leadership have benefited from the changes more than ordinary people. Nonetheless, self reported life satisfaction has risen significantly in these societies compared with nearly two decades ago when the Times Mirror Center1 first studied

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