"Rethinking post-communist transition" (by Stephen White) questions popular notion that there is sense to label the changes that swept communist parties from power across Russia and Eastern Europe as "postcommunism" or "transition" or a complex of changes marked by important national specifics. Building on a large and often disputatious literature on the issues, author examines contending approaches and explores some important recent data to sustain his own ideas. Four general conclusions are offered. 1. Evidence considered testifies to a variety of changes, including movement away from western-style democracy and no
movement at all. 2. Free elections do not seem to be a necessary condition of democracy. 3. Some mechanisms of the Soviet system should not be dismissed; under current conditions there is often no one to help individuals to resolve their difficulties. 4. Language of 'transition' is increasingly difficult to justify.