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What happened to the social state in Eastern Europe after 1990?

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PhD Student
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modern history
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LSE

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  1. Introduction
  2. Review
  3. Conclusion

After the breakdown of the Soviet Union, each Eastern European and former Soviet country faced many challenges and one of them was how to cope with the welfare state under a different political organization. Now that the Soviet rule was gone, what was the road to be taken? Should the State continue to play the role of main provider of social services or should part of them be left to private initiative? In brief, how strong and persistent would and should be the communist legacy in this very particular area?

As it is easily imaginable, each country dealt with this issue in its very own way, by adopting different policies. However, it is still possible to individuate a general and common pattern that allows treating the social aspect of four of the most important Eastern European countries as a single, although diversified, issue.

This essay will argue that the welfare state of these countries changed almost radically after 1990, although this happened in an original way. Along with the introduction of new market-friendly measures, some features of the past systems (Bismarckian and Soviet) were maintained, notably contributory and work-based aspects combined with egalitarian and universal exigencies, and this contributed to create a unique model.

[...] In brief, how strong and persistent would and should be the communist legacy in this very particular area? As it is easy imaginable, each country dealt with this issue in its very own way, by adopting different policies. However, it is still possible to individuate a general and common pattern that allows treating the social aspect of four of the most important Eastern European countries as a single, although diversified, issue.[1] This essay will argue that the welfare state of these countries changed almost radically after 1990, although this happened in an original way. [...]


[...] [13] A darker insight on the question comes from Pascall and Lewis, who have suggested that this coverage had also the indirect aim of encouraging women to stay outside the labour force, in order to create more work opportunities for the male active population and, in second place, to please right-wing parties. Cf. Gillian Pascall and Jane Lewis, ?Emerging gender regimes and policies for gender equality in a wider Europe?, in Journal of Social Policy, 33 (2004), pp. 372-94. ----------------------- What happened to the social state in Eastern Europe after 1990? [...]

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