From a Hoover Institution report by Frederic L. Pryor released this month:

Until recently, governmental price controls in the East European nations were extensive. As a result, in all countries relative prices did not reflect the forces of supply and demand, and in some countries the general level of prices was also below what it might have been if people could find goods on which to spend the income they had been forced to save.

A crucial step toward a market system is the freeing of prices to respond to the market forces; the crucial question is how this can be achieved without creating chaos or very high social costs. Price reforms, of course, also imply reforms in the systems of subsidies and taxes.

To the extent that a price reform involves higher prices of necessities, which have been subsidized, is the population ready for such a reform? {Mikhail} Gorbachev's personal economic adviser, Nikolai Y. Petrakov, has discussed public opinion polls showing that people prefer low prices of goods, rationing and queues (especially during work time) to high prices and full stores. It is difficult to know the accuracy of this assessment and whether it will continue if the store shelves are relatively bare for several years. It should be added that in the East European nations I visited, I was repeatedly informed that people had quite different opinions, that they wanted a market so that the shops would be full, and they recognized that a price reform would be necessary. ...

The necessity of tying property and price reforms closely together seemed to be understood in the four countries I visited (a possible exception was, perhaps, Bulgaria). Until recently, however, Soviet reformers had not understood this lesson, as Gorbachev has ruefully noted in analyzing the political resistance to government plans to raise prices.