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Lessons Not Learned: Problems with Western Aid for Law Reform in Postcommunist Countries

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The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the subsequent breakup of the Soviet Union presented an unparalleled opportunity for fundamental political and economic change in more than two dozen countries. As postcommunist countries sought to attain the economic development of their Western neighbors, it became clear that the existing framework of laws and institutions would not support the desired growth. Reformers and development experts soon identified a panoply of gaps and shortcomings in financial resources, human resources, and organizational capacity, all of which appeared ripe for outside assistance.