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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

06/15/1996

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East Europe Casts Wary Eye as Russians Go to Polls

BUDAPEST -- A few years ago, the mere hint of a Kremlin shake-up was enough to set off alarms among Eastern Europeans. Now, their attention focused westward, it's worth little more than a glance over the shoulder. When Russians choose Sunday between President Boris Yeltsin, Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov and other candidates, people here will take note. After all, Russia is a big, important neighbor. But even though former Communists are in charge of Hungary, Poland and other Eastern European countries, Moscow no longer determines their place in the world. Policies have changed and former Communists are building market economies. The system that collapsed in 1989 included a rigid state-owned economy, a repressive political system and a place on the Soviet side of the geopolitical confrontation between East and West. The regional consensus is that the old system is dead.

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