After the Post-Revolution

REVOLUTIONS OFTEN END badly (think France, Russia, Iran). 1989 was an exception. Yet the velvety days that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall were blemished, too. Four Balkan wars of the 1990s left over 100,000 people dead, and displaced a couple million. The Soviet Union sank with less bloodshed in the Caucasus, Moldova, and Central Asia, though more than tends to be remembered; and the political, economic, and psychological traumas have proved lasting. Beyond the European Union’s new eastern frontier are countries, without exception, marked to this day by repression, obscene corruption, or violent conflict.

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