This article sketches the roots and social underpinnings of both Economic Man (EM) and Soviet Man (SM) and looks at the interaction between the two archetypes during the transformation of former socialist nations since 1990. It depicts the creation of SM as the bearer of socialist “planned economy” ideology while also showing how EM was able to survive, albeit often underground, in the Soviet Union and its satellites. It also looks at the unique nature of the Soviet EM and to what extent SM has been dismantled.
This paper concludes by examining how well the Western, market-oriented economic ideology was implemented and why the process occurred differently in various former socialist countries. It illustrates the varying malleability of the human mentality and provides some insights into the possible outcomes of future efforts at sociopolitical transformation.