As Communist rule weakened across East Central Europe and new governments emerged, the Baltic region differed from the Balkans in two ways that need to be explained. The first difference was the near absence of ethnic violence in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – compared to civil and cross-border war in most of the former Yugoslavia. The second contrast was the rapid consolidation of democracy and market economics in the Baltic countries compared to halting movements toward political and economic freedom in most Balkan polities.

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