Date01 December 2000
Published date01 December 2000
Tony Verheijen (ed.)
Edward Elgar, 1999. 343 pp. Price not known
This edited collection reviews the civil services of the new democracies of Central and Eastern
Europe a decade after Communism collapsed, when a series of new democracies with market
economies had to emerge quickly. For many of those involved, the initial euphoria of liberation
and transformation gave way to disillusionment and anxiety as living standards fell, unem-
ployment and crime soared and governments failed to cope adequately with the new realities
of liberty and competition.
Civil services and other public bureaucracies presented some special problems in the new
Eastern Europe. Public administration could not just stop because the old Communist order
had fallen and was replaced by the new democratic one. Many off‌icials retained their posts
and existing administrative structures had to be maintained while new ones were devised or
changes brought about. However, old habits die hard. The Polish Ombudsman complained
repeatedly during the early post-Communism years that off‌icials, especially in local govern-
ment, could not get used to the idea that they must now obey the law and if they did not do
so, the nomenklatura would no longer protect them from the wrath of the Ombudsman and
the courts. Equally, the West had to decide how much effort it was prepared to put into re-
training bureaucrats in democratic ethics and procedures. Often this was neglected because
the ‘New Right’ governments in off‌ice in the USA and Britain thought that all that mattered
was training in management and market economics. Several of the essays in this book reveal
that neglecting training in democratic values and processes has had unfortunate consequences,
such as allowing corrupt and illegal practices to survive and even f‌lourish. Also, new legal
orders took time to establish: Poland took from 1989 to 1997 to agree its new constitution,
for example.
The editor tried to ensure consistency of coverage from the contributors by imposing clear
guidelines on them. Each chapter starts with a historical survey, followed by an account of
the reforms adopted after the transformation. The representativeness of the reformed bureauc-
racies, their relationships with political leaders and their standing with the public are then
discussed. The authors review the conf‌igurations of the bureaucracies using as standards the
models devised by E. Philip Morgan and Ferrel Heady. Unfortunately, the editor does not
use his opening chapter to discuss these models, which would have made their nature clearer
to the reader and saved some explanations in the individual chapters.
The bureaucracies of Central and Eastern Europe are discussed in three groups, the f‌irst of
which is made up of the Russian Federation and Yugoslavia. These countries have faced acute
problems of political and administrative leadership, with the result that corruption and auto-
cratic behaviour have survived despite efforts to introduce democratic norms and procedures.
Alexander Kotchegura tells us that ‘neutrality of civil servants continues to be arather theoreti-
cal postulate in Russia’ (p. 35). Government based on patronage continues in the new Russia
Public Administration Vol. 78, No. 4, 2000 (989–992)
Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2000, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK and 350 Main Street,
Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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