Following the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, communist governments crumbled throughout the Soviet bloc. By late December 1991, the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist. The pace of transition from communist dictatorship to democracy and market economics was uneven. Some countries experienced high rates of economic growth and rapid return to political freedom, while others remained stuck in poverty and authoritarianism. Which reforms worked and which did not? What were the pre‐conditions for a successful transformation and what lessons can non‐free societies learn from the experiences of former communist countries?