Ferment and Unrest in Eastern Europe
Recent developments in Soviet satellite states have directed world attention to the ferment that seems to have been spreading through the Communist-controlled lands of Central and Eastern Europe since the death of Premier Stalin. Local Red regimes, now allowed somewhat greater leeway than during the Stalin era, have been reacting in surprising ways to political and economic pressures; in some instances they have shown considerably more independence than can be palatable to Moscow.
Communist Party chiefs in most of the European satellites have been admitting past mistakes, confessing their own shortcomings, sanctioning certain kinds of criticism in the controlled press, allowing greater freedom in parliamentary debates. In several countries public demands for correction of errors have resulted in political shake-ups in the party hierarchy and in government promises to carry out various political and economic reforms. These and other events indicate that grave questions have been posed for the satellite governments, for the party organizations behind the governments, and for their Soviet mentors in Moscow.
The essence of the problem for Local Communist regimes is how far “Socialist democratization” can be carried in the satellites without endangering their control of the national life. The central question for Moscow is how far the satellites can be allowed to move along there “own road to Socialism” without endangering the control of the Soviet Union over all Communist states.