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The “backwardness” of Eastern Europe seems to be a long-standing historical fact, although the region is extremely diverse today and definitions of backwardness are plenty. The coronavirus pandemic might be interpreted as something like a stress test for the state, institutions, and society. To a certain degree, success and failure in this crisis are measurable. Because of several factors including the assumed superiority of western institutions, one might expect the eastern half of the continent to struggle more with the pandemic than the western half. However, up to today, the outcome is mixed.