Ever since the fall of communism, both the media and the scholarly community have initially expressed high hopes for and later deep disappointment with civil society in post-communist Europe. There were some empirical reasons for these hopes, and to some extent for the disappointments as well. The decade-long struggle of Solidarity in Poland, the environmental protests of the Danube Circle in Hungary, or even the more short-lived demonstrations in East Germany and Czechoslovakia, all had shown the power of ‘civil society’ in opposing communist regimes across the region. True, civil society might not have been the key factor in the downfall of the communist regimes. The activity of the various opposition groups must be seen in the broader context of longterm structural socio-economic failures, as well as Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost and perestroika (e.g. Schopflin 1993; Waller 1993). Moreover, with the exception of Poland, opposition movements in Eastern Europe remained relatively small and weak until the last moments of communist rule. Civil society nevertheless did contribute to the demise of communism and certainly played an important role in the various transition scenarios that unfolded throughout the region at the end of 1989.