Opinion Survey: Divisiveness and Doubt Over Economic Reform

AMONG CITIZENS IN THE European areas of the former Soviet Union, there is considerable uncertainty and disagreement over the economic prospects for the next year. Recent polls of the general public and of elite decision-makers in European Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic states indicate that residents have a grim outlook for their countries’ economies and for improved personal finances, although citizens of the Baltics are slightly more optimistic than their neighbors.1 Throughout the region, the elite’s generally optimistic perceptions of the economy and support for further economic reform contrast with the general public’s largely pessimistic view of the economy and doubt over the benefits of economic reform. In some countries, that perception gap is leading to flagging public support for continued economic transformation.