The curse of natural resources is a well-documented phenomenon for developing countries. Economies that are richly endowed with natural resources tend to grow slowly. Among the transition economies of the former ‘eastern bloc’, a similar pattern can be observed. This paper shows that a large part of the variation in growth rates among the transition economies can be attributed to the curse of natural resources. After controlling for numerous other factors, there is still a strong negative correlation between natural resource abundance and economic growth. Among the transition economies the prime reasons for the curse of natural resources were corruption and a neglect of basic education. In order to overcome the curse of natural resources and move to a sustainable path of development, the resource abundant transition countries should fight corruption and ensure that their resource revenues are invested in human capital or the preservation of natural capital.