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# From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical

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From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 26 Aug 2019, 03:10
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 5 New, Date : 03-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical process—the death of communism—is taking place. The German Democratic Republic no longer exists as a separate state. And the former German Democratic Republic will serve as the first measure of the price a post-Communist society has to pay for entering the normal European orbit. In Yugoslavia we will see whether the federation can survive without communism. One thing seems common to all these countries: dictatorship has been defeated and freedom has won, yet the victory of freedom has not yet meant the triumph of democracy.

Democracy is something more than freedom. Democracy is freedom institutionalized, freedom submitted to the limits of the law, freedom functioning as an object of compromise between the major political forces on the scene. We have freedom, but we still have not achieved the democratic order. That is why this freedom is so fragile. In the years of democratic opposition to communism, we supposed that the easiest thing would be to introduce changes in the economy. In fact, we thought that the march from a planned economy to a market economy would take place within the framework of the bureaucratic system, and that the market within the Communist state would explode the totalitarian structures. Only then would the time come to build the institutions of a civil society; and only at the end, with the completion of the market economy and the civil society, would the time of great political transformations finally arrive.

The opposite happened. First came the big political change, the great shock, which either broke the monopoly and the principle of Communist Party rule or simply pushed the Communists out of power. Then came the creation of civil society, whose institutions were created in great pain, and which had trouble negotiating the empty space of freedom. Only then, as the third moment of change, the final task was undertaken: that of transforming the totalitarian economy into a normal economy where different forms of ownership and different economic actors will live one next to the other.

Today we are in a typical moment of transition. No one can say where we are headed. The people of the democratic opposition have the feeling that we won. We taste the sweetness of our victory the same way the Communists, only yesterday our prison guards, taste the bitterness of their defeat. Yet, even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing. In Bulgaria the Communists have won the parliamentary elections and will govern the country, without losing their social legitimacy. In Romania the National Salvation Front, largely dominated by people from the old Communist bureaucracy, has won. In other countries democratic institutions seem shaky, and the political horizon is cloudy. The masquerade goes on: dozens of groups and parties are created, each announces similar slogans, each accuses its adversaries of all possible sins, and each declares itself representative of the national interest. Personal disputes are more important than disputes over values. Arguments over values are fiercer than arguments over ideas.

1. The author originally thought that the order of events in the transformation of communist society would be represented by which one of the following?

(A) A great political shock would break the totalitarian monopoly, leaving in its wake a civil society whose task would be to change the state-controlled market into a free economy.
(B) The transformation of the economy would destroy totalitarianism, after which a new and different social and political structure would be born.
(C) First the people would freely elect political representatives who would transform the economy, which would then undermine the totalitarian structure.
(D) The change to a democratic state would necessarily undermine totalitarianism, after which a new economic order would be created.
(E) The people’s frustration would build until it spontaneously generated violent revolution, which would sentence society to years of anarchy and regression.

2. Beginning in the second paragraph, the author describes the complicated relationship between “freedom” and “democracy.” In the author’s view, which one of the following statements best reflects that relationship?

(A) A country can have freedom without having democracy.
(B) If a country has freedom, it necessarily has democracy.
(C) A country can have democracy without having freedom.
(D) A country can never have democracy if it has freedom.
(E) If a country has democracy, it cannot have freedom.

3. From the passage, a reader could conclude that which one of the following best describes the author’s attitude toward the events that have taken place in communist society?

(A) Relieved that at last the democratic order has surfaced.
(C) Disappointed with the nature of the democracy that has emerged.
(D) Confident that a free economy will ultimately provide the basis for a true democracy.
(E) Surprised that communism was toppled through political rather than economic means.

4. A cynic who has observed political systems in various countries would likely interpret the author’s description of the situation at the end of the passage as

(A) evidence that society is still in the throws of the old totalitarian structure.
(B) a distorted description of the new political system.
(C) a necessary political reality that is a prelude to “democracy.”
(D) a fair description of many democratic political systems.
(E) evidence of the baseness of people.

5. Which one of the following does the author imply may have contributed to the difficulties involved in creating a new democratic order in eastern Europe?

I. The people who existed under the totalitarian structure have not had the experience of “negotiating the empty space of freedom.”
II. Mistaking the order in which political, economic, and social restructuring would occur.
III. Excessive self-interest among the new political activists.

(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and III only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II, and III

6. By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

(A) some of the old governments are still unwilling to grant freedom at the individual level.
(B) some of the new governments are not strong enough to exist as a single federation.
(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.
(D) no new parties have been created to fill the vacuum created by the victory of freedom.
(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

Source: Nova GMAT 2013 (364)
Difficulty Level: 700

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Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 26 Aug 2019, 03:10, edited 3 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (285).
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From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 19:39
7
Quote:
. . . Today we are in a typical moment of transition. No one can say where we are headed. The people of the democratic opposition have the feeling that we won. We taste the sweetness of our victory the same way the Communists, only yesterday our prison guards, taste the bitterness of their defeat. Yet, even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing. In Bulgaria the Communists have won the parliamentary elections and will govern the country, without losing their social legitimacy. In Romania the National Salvation Front, largely dominated by people from the old Communist bureaucracy, has won. In other countries democratic institutions seem shaky, and the political horizon is cloudy. The masquerade goes on: dozens of groups and parties are created, each announces similar slogans, each accuses its adversaries of all possible sins, and each declares itself representative of the national interest. Personal disputes are more important than disputes over values. Arguments over values are fiercer than arguments over ideas.

Quote:
6. By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

(A) some of the old governments are still unwilling to grant freedom at the individual level.
(B) some of the new governments are not strong enough to exist as a single federation.
(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.
(D) no new parties have been created to fill the vacuum created by the victory of freedom.
(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

warrior1991 wrote:
Ok. Thanks for informing Sajjad Bhai. However, I still contend that OE is not clear. I hope someone will clear my doubt.

warrior1991 - no disrespect to Nova, but I agree with you.
Neither C nor E is supported very well.
I can make a case for and against both with equal strength for each option. Not good.

• Dissecting the question

Yet in this case is a contrast word, a conjunction that means but nevertheless.
"Yet even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing."

-- Who is we? Go backwards a bit:

The "people of the democratic opposition [to Communism and communism]
have the feeling that we won. We taste the sweetness of our victory . . . "

WE = former and current proponents of democracy, people who opposed and oppose Communism

• Beginning to answer why they feel they are losing: textual review

Paraphrasing what follows "yet"

Why do they feel that they are "in a strange way, losing"?
-- To whom? To the communists/Communists.
-- And to anti- and non-democratic forces. To chaos.
(First paragraph: Freedom is not enough.
Democratic institutions need to be built and to endure. The political process is now a mess.)

• More textual analysis

We looked at the text after the "Yet" sentence. That text explains why they feel that they are, "in a strange way, losing."

The paraphrase above normally would be perfectly usable,
but this question is so frustrating that we need laser-beam analysis

• Bulgaria: Communists, having won a majority democratically, will not lose their social legitimacy.
• In Romania, old-guard Communists with a newly named party "have won"
• other countries: democratic institutions are shaky, political future unclear
• the masquerade goes on. Most of this detail not very helpful. Essentially, what should be a democratic political process is not.
-- stable parties vs. too many parties; parties sound alike
-- emotional attacks about the Other Guys, who are Sinners, have replaced political discourse [gee, this is starting to sound familiar]; slogans sound similar
-- personal disputes (read: vendettas, not political disagreement) have become more important than disputes over values
-- arguments over values are fiercer than arguments over ideas.
[This "masquerade" sentence is very abstract. I think it refers back to this phrase: "freedom functioning as an object of
compromise between the major political forces on the scene." Whatever is the case, normal democratic elements are not present.]

Reasonable thought: We need an answer that alludes to or mentions broad anti- or non-democratic forces.
The answer probably includes Communism or the ongoing influence of communism—something along those lines.
The answer may allude to political chaos and descent into what this author thinks are NOT democratic political elements.

-- A, B, and D are absurd.
-- None of what we just looked at mentions any of the ideas in those options. We are left with C and E.

(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.

• in a way, C fits with Bulgaria and Hungary, but the "old political parties" were totalitarian Communist,
not these ones with new names now present in Bulgaria and Hungary. Parts or elements of the old Communist party (which was the lone party) have regained influence.

• "retain" is not accurate and not textually supported. Retain means that you already have something and you keep it.
But the Communists went away for awhile: "The Communists" tasted their bitter defeat." (What, they got defeated but still retained political control? That notion is dumb.)

And in the two countries mentioned, the Communist or Communist-influenced parties have won elections in and will now control countries.

Implied: they just recently won. They were not in political control. As winners of the recent elections, they are not described as having won "again." They appear to have just retaken control.
Communists were defeated and went away. Now they're back in two countries. The word "reverting" (returning to a previous state) in Option E makes a lot more sense than "retain" does in C.

• This part of C makes no sense: democratic governments don't elect to retain old political parties.
People who elect the governments do so.
We are allowed to import what we know, at least a little, about democracy.
In a democracy, governments do not "elect to retain" political parties! People who vote elect to retain political parties (or not).

dozens of groups and parties are created
How does this part fit with C? It doesn't.

• These groups are creating a madhouse. But -- it is not at all clear that the madhouse and the groups are
reminiscent of the old political parties.

(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

• E is better than C in two ways: (1) reverting has plenty of textual support (explained above)
and (2) option E names communism.
But this "communism" must be a very loose definition of communism.

• Democratic politics are correctly represented.
The passive voice is effective: governments are reverting to communism. [because people are casting votes!]

• we are not given enough info in the passage to decide whether this small-c communism
in its majority equals a government that "has reverted" to communism.
-- In that sense, this answer is problematic.
-- Small-c (as well as big-C) communism is a whole political system, not just a political party

• true, the governments are not reverting to communism in the sense of "totalitarian dictatorship" and "very little freedom." (mentioned in first paragraph)
-- How do we assess a parliamentary democracy with a Communist/communist majority?
Can we go a little further and assume that a communist party in majority would institute communism in a loose sense?

• Strategic decision

Go back. To whom are "they" losing?

The answer is not clear if we look at the choices.

Here is the correct answer, though it is not an option:
members of the democratic opposition fear that they are losing to forces that will or could destroy new democracy, forces such as
(1) resurrected or refashioned Communists/communists whose parties are winning elections, and
(2) non- or anti-democratic forces in general.

We have to say, "The correct answer is not here. I must decide on a different basis."

Time to get strategic.
Which is worse:
C) governments that elect to retain old political parties [read: communist parties!]? (Option C should at least say people who elect . . .)
OR
E) uncertainty about what "reverting to communism" means?

On the GMAT?
I'd pick C.
Based on one word alone: parties.
They have textual support and are discrete, limited nouns.
Right after the sentence in question, the names of two
two political parties are mentioned. The word "parties" is mentioned again.

In answer E and generally, small-c communism = a whole political system.
The passage does not discuss a whole political system in operation in the present. There is no hint of a highly planned economy or of totalitarian structures that Communism entailed and
that are described in the first paragraph.

I would not waste any more time on this question.

This particular question is not good.
I don't blame you for feeling frustrated. This question's official explanation is a non-answer.
Hope that helps.
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##### General Discussion
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 09:07
8
Official Explanation

Question # 1
The author originally thought that the order of events in the transformation of communist society would be represented by which one of the following?

Explanation

This is a description question, so you should locate the point in the passage from which it was drawn. It is the third paragraph. The author recalls his expectation that, by introducing the market system, the communist system would topple from within. Be careful not to choose (A). It chronicles how the events actually occurred, not how they were anticipated to occur. (A) is baited with the words “great shock,” “monopoly,” and “civil society.”

Question # 2
Beginning in the second paragraph, the author describes the complicated relationship between “freedom” and “democracy.” In the author’s view, which one of the following statements best reflects that relationship?

Explanation

This is an extension question, so the answer must say more than what is said in the passage, without requiring a quantum leap in thought. The needed reference is “Democracy is something more than freedom”. Since freedom can exist without democracy, freedom alone does not insure democracy.

Question # 3
From the passage, a reader could conclude that which one of the following best describes the author’s attitude toward the events that have taken place in communist society?

Explanation

This is a tone question. The key to answering this question is found in the closing comments. There the author states “The masquerade goes on,” referring to nascent democracies. So he has reservations about the newly emerging democracies. Watch out for (E). Although it is supported by the passage, it is in a supporting paragraph. The ideas in a concluding paragraph take precedence over those in a supporting paragraph.

Question # 4
A cynic who has observed political systems in various countries would likely interpret the author’s description of the situation at the end of the passage as

Explanation

This is an application question. These are like extension questions, but they go well beyond what is stated in the passage. In this case we are asked to interpret the author’s comments from a cynic’s perspective. Because application questions go well beyond the passage, they are often difficult, as is this one.
Hint: A cynic looks at reality from a negative perspective, usually with a sense of dark irony and hopelessness. Don’t make the mistake of choosing (E). Although a cynic is likely to make such a statement, it does not address the subject of the passage—political and economic systems. The passage is not about human nature, at least not directly.

Question # 5
Which one of the following does the author imply may have contributed to the difficulties involved in creating a new democratic order in eastern Europe?

I. The people who existed under the totalitarian structure have not had the experience of “negotiating the empty space of freedom.”
II. Mistaking the order in which political, economic, and social restructuring would occur.
III. Excessive self-interest among the new political activists.

Explanation

This is an extension question. Statement I is true.The author implies that the institutions of the new-born, free society were created in great pain because the people lacked experience. Statement II is true. Expectations that the market mechanisms would explode totalitarianism and usher in a new society were dashed, and having to readjust one’s expectations certainly makes a situation more difficult. Finally, statement III is true. It summarizes the thrust of the passage’s closing lines.

Question # 6
By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Explanation

By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that. This is a hybrid extension and description question. Because it refers to a specific point in the passage, you must read a few sentences before and after it. The answer can be found in THE PASSAGE

Hope it helps
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 10:45
1

Please post the descriptive answer for Q-6. I marked E as it was better than others. However, I see that C is correct

My take on Q-6

Quote:
6. By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Quote:
My Understanding:-
The quoted line highlights that at some places again the communist parties are winning. And at other places, some political parties are making ill comments about their adversaries.

Quote:
(A) some of the old governments are still unwilling to grant freedom at the individual level.

No talk about old governments in the last passage. Incorrect

Quote:
(B) some of the new governments are not strong enough to exist as a single federation.

This is nowhere inferred.We are not doubting the capability of the new governments.

Quote:
(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.

They are not electing to retain the old political parties , but are trying to copy the approach of communism. This is why I rejected C.

Quote:
(D) no new parties have been created to fill the vacuum created by the victory of freedom.

This is nowhere inferred.Incorrect

Quote:
(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

We can say this as new governments approach seems as if they want to stick to the communism.

IMO E should be the answer.

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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 10:47
Question # 6
By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Explanation

By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that. This is a hybrid extension and description question. Because it refers to a specific point in the passage, you must read a few sentences before and after it. The answer can be found in THE PASSAGE

Hope it helps

warrior1991 wrote:

Please post the descriptive answer for Q-6. I marked E as it was better than others. However, I see that C is correct

My take on Q-6

Quote:
6. By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Quote:
My Understanding:-
The quoted line highlights that at some places again the communist parties are winning. And at other places, some political parties are making ill comments about their adversaries.

Quote:
(A) some of the old governments are still unwilling to grant freedom at the individual level.

No talk about old governments in the last passage. Incorrect

Quote:
(B) some of the new governments are not strong enough to exist as a single federation.

This is nowhere inferred.We are not doubting the capability of the new governments.

Quote:
(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.

They are not electing to retain the old political parties , but are trying to copy the approach of communism. This is why I rejected C.

Quote:
(D) no new parties have been created to fill the vacuum created by the victory of freedom.

This is nowhere inferred.Incorrect

Quote:
(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

We can say this as new governments approach seems as if they want to stick to the communism.

IMO E should be the answer.

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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 10:50
Question # 6
By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Explanation

By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that. This is a hybrid extension and description question. Because it refers to a specific point in the passage, you must read a few sentences before and after it. The answer can be found in THE PASSAGE

Hope it helps

warrior1991 wrote:

Please post the descriptive answer for Q-6. I marked E as it was better than others. However, I see that C is correct

My take on Q-6

Quote:
6. By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Quote:
My Understanding:-
The quoted line highlights that at some places again the communist parties are winning. And at other places, some political parties are making ill comments about their adversaries.

Quote:
(A) some of the old governments are still unwilling to grant freedom at the individual level.

No talk about old governments in the last passage. Incorrect

Quote:
(B) some of the new governments are not strong enough to exist as a single federation.

This is nowhere inferred.We are not doubting the capability of the new governments.

Quote:
(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.

They are not electing to retain the old political parties , but are trying to copy the approach of communism. This is why I rejected C.

Quote:
(D) no new parties have been created to fill the vacuum created by the victory of freedom.

This is nowhere inferred.Incorrect

Quote:
(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

We can say this as new governments approach seems as if they want to stick to the communism.

IMO E should be the answer.

I actually read this before posting. What is the source??Can you post the explanation from that source??
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 11:03
warrior1991

When i wrote "Official Explanation" i basically posts from that particular source from which i have taken the question. This question was taken from Nova GMAT and explanation also belongs to Nova GMAT.
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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05 Feb 2019, 00:25
1
generis - with every answer you write, my respect and affection towards your posts climb greater height. Did that rhyme? Had to trade off a few grammar rules to make it so I hope it does.

Thanks for that detailed post!
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2019, 20:52
Question # 6
By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Explanation

By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that. This is a hybrid extension and description question. Because it refers to a specific point in the passage, you must read a few sentences before and after it. The answer can be found in THE PASSAGE

Hope it helps

warrior1991 wrote:

Please post the descriptive answer for Q-6. I marked E as it was better than others. However, I see that C is correct

My take on Q-6

Quote:
6. By stating “even as we are conscious of our victory, we feel that we are, in a strange way, losing” the author means that

Quote:
My Understanding:-
The quoted line highlights that at some places again the communist parties are winning. And at other places, some political parties are making ill comments about their adversaries.

Quote:
(A) some of the old governments are still unwilling to grant freedom at the individual level.

No talk about old governments in the last passage. Incorrect

Quote:
(B) some of the new governments are not strong enough to exist as a single federation.

This is nowhere inferred.We are not doubting the capability of the new governments.

Quote:
(C) some of the new democratic governments are electing to retain the old political parties.

They are not electing to retain the old political parties , but are trying to copy the approach of communism. This is why I rejected C.

Quote:
(D) no new parties have been created to fill the vacuum created by the victory of freedom.

This is nowhere inferred.Incorrect

Quote:
(E) some of the new governments are reverting to communism.

We can say this as new governments approach seems as if they want to stick to the communism.

IMO E should be the answer.

No, it does not. The explanation provided here is very vague and superficial. Q6 is inference question and most of the takers falter in inference questions only. Please provide a detailed explanation with the reason of eliminating E
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2019, 21:47
1
Cbirole wrote:

No, it does not. The explanation provided here is very vague and superficial. Q6 is inference question and most of the takers falter in inference questions only. Please provide a detailed explanation with the reason of eliminating E

Cbirole , this question has no satisfactory answer.

I understand that your post is not directed at me, but if my post above is not a "detailed explanation"
that contains the "reason for eliminating E," I am not sure what to think.

If you read my post, I concluded that we must infer
that C is the answer from the words that follow the sentence at issue.

I explained why.

In that post, here, is there something in particular that you do not understand? Or with which you have a specific issue?

Would you please be specific about any question that you may have?
I cannot figure out what you are asking simply by looking at re-quoted material.
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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22 Jul 2019, 23:58
In fact, we thought that the march from a planned economy to a market economy would take place within the framework of the bureaucratic system, and that the market within the Communist state would explode the totalitarian structures.

1. The author originally thought that the order of events in the transformation of communist society would be represented by which one of the following?

(A) A great political shock would break the totalitarian monopoly, leaving in its wake a civil society whose task would be to change the state-controlled market into a free economy. [INCORRECT]
(B) The transformation of the economy would destroy totalitarianism, after which a new and different social and political structure would be born. [HOLD this option]
(C) First the people would freely elect political representatives who would transform the economy, which would then undermine the totalitarian structure. [Not Mentioned anywhere]
(D) The change to a democratic state would necessarily undermine totalitarianism, after which a new economic order would be created. [INCORRECT]
(E) The people’s frustration would build until it spontaneously generated violent revolution, which would sentence society to years of anarchy and regression. [Extreme option, not mentioned anywhere]
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01 Dec 2019, 19:17
Hi, can someone help me understand Q) 4 and Q) 5 (i) "negotiating the empty space"?
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03 Dec 2019, 03:24
Varun26994 wrote:
Hi, can someone help me understand Q) 4 and Q) 5 (i) "negotiating the empty space"?

Hello Varun

I assumes you didn't read generis earlier response here in below link

https://gmatclub.com/forum/from-romania ... l#p2220561

https://gmatclub.com/forum/from-romania ... l#p2220331

Thanks and regards
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2019, 23:08
what is the source of this passage?
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04 Dec 2019, 23:26
somesh86 wrote:
what is the source of this passage?

Its Nova's GMAT

Attachment:

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Regards
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Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2019, 17:07
Could you please explain why Option A is wrong for Question 4?
Re: From Romania to Germany, from Tallinn to Belgrade, a major historical   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2019, 17:07
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