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Eastern Europe is the eastern region of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

geopolitical
, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and
socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
connotations.
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
, located in Eastern Europe, is both the largest and most populous country of Europe, spanning roughly 40% of the continent's total landmass, with over 15% of its total population. According to the Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University, there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"."The Balkans"
, ''Global Perspectives: A Remote Sensing and World Issues Site''. Wheeling Jesuit University/Center for Educational Technologies, 1999–2002.
A related
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and
cultural construct Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epist ...
". One definition describes Eastern Europe as a
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...
entity: the region lying in Europe with the main characteristics consisting of
Slavic
Slavic
,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
,
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
,
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
, and some Ottoman cultural influences. Another definition was created during the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
and used more or less alike with the term ''
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
''. A similar definition names the formerly
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
European states outside the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
as Eastern Europe. Such definitions are often seen as outdated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.
. Eurovoc.europa.eu. Retrieved on 4 March 2015.


Definitions

Several definitions of Eastern Europe exist today but they often lack precision, are too general, or are outdated. These definitions are debated across cultures and among experts, even
political scientists This is a list of notable political scientists. See the list of political theorists for those who study political theory. See also political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with s ...
, as the term has a wide range of
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

geopolitical
, geographical, cultural, and
socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
connotations. It has also been described as a "fuzzy" term, as the idea itself of Eastern Europe is in constant redefinition. The solidification of the idea of an "Eastern Europe" dates back chiefly to the (French)
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and
cultural construct Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epist ...
".


Geographical

While the eastern geographical boundaries of Europe are well defined, the boundary between Eastern and
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
is not geographical but historical, religious and cultural and is harder to designate. The
Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı'') or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south ...
,
Ural River The Ural (russian: Урал, ), known as Yaik (russian: Яик, ba, Яйыҡ, translit=Yayıq, ; kk, Жайық, translit=Jayıq, جايىق, ) before 1775, is a river flowing through Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), ...
, and the
Caucasus Mountains The Caucasus Mountains, : pronounced * hy, Կովկասյան լեռներ, : pronounced * az, Qafqaz dağları, pronounced * rus, Кавка́зские го́ры, Kavkázskiye góry, kɐfˈkasːkʲɪje ˈɡorɨ * tr, Kafkas Dağla ...

Caucasus Mountains
are the geographical land border of the eastern edge of Europe. E.g.
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
, which is mainly located in
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
with the most western parts of it located west of the
Ural River The Ural (russian: Урал, ), known as Yaik (russian: Яик, ba, Яйыҡ, translit=Yayıq, ; kk, Жайық, translit=Jayıq, جايىق, ) before 1775, is a river flowing through Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), ...
also shares a part of Eastern Europe. In the west, however, the historical and
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...

cultural
boundaries of "Eastern Europe" are subject to some overlap and, most importantly, have undergone historical fluctuations, which makes a precise definition of the western geographic boundaries of Eastern Europe and the
geographical midpoint of Europe The location of the geographical centre of Europe depends on the definition of the borders of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather th ...
somewhat difficult.


Religious

The
East–West Schism The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eatin ...
(which began in the 11th century and lasts into the present) divided Christianity in Europe (and consequently the world) into
Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings ...
and
Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity comprises Christianity, Christian traditions and Christian denomination, church families that originally developed during Classical antiquity, classical and late antiquity in Western Asia, Northeast Africa, Eastern Europe, ...
. ''Western Europe'' according to this point of view is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches (including Central European countries such as
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
, the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
, and
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
). ''Eastern Europe'' is formed by countries with dominant Orthodox churches, like
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
,
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
,
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
,
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
,
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, and
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, for instance. The
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
. The schism is the break of communion and
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
between what are now the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic from the 11th century, as well as from the 16th century also Protestant) churches. This division dominated Europe for centuries, in opposition to the rather short-lived Cold War division of four decades. File:Expansion of christianity.jpg, Expansion of Christianity Since the Great Schism of 1054, Europe has been divided between
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
(and later additionally
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
) churches in the West, and the
Eastern Orthodox Christian The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a Communion ( ...
(often incorrectly labelled "Greek Orthodox") churches in the east. Due to this religious cleavage, Eastern Orthodox countries are often associated with Eastern Europe. A cleavage of this sort is, however, often problematic; for example,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
is overwhelmingly Orthodox, but is very rarely included in "Eastern Europe", for a variety of reasons, the most prominent being that Greece's history, for the most part, was more influenced by Mediterranean cultures and contact.


Cold War

The
fall of the Iron Curtain The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted at the end of communist rule throughout the world, including in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is often also called th ...
brought the end of the Cold War east–west division in Europe, but this geopolitical concept is sometimes still used for quick reference by the media. Another definition was used during the 40 years of
Cold War The Cold War was a period of tension between the and the and their respective allies, the and the , which began following . Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span ...
between 1947 and 1989, and was more or less synonymous with the terms ''
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
'' and ''
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement ...
''. A similar definition names the formerly
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
European
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Historians and social scientists generally view such definitions as outdated or relegated.


EuroVoc

EuroVoc EuroVoc is a multilingual thesaurus A thesaurus (plural ''thesauri'' or ''thesauruses'') or synonym dictionary is a reference work for finding synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. They are often used by writers to help find the best wor ...
, a multilingual
thesaurus A thesaurus (plural ''thesauri'' or ''thesauruses'') or synonym dictionary is a reference work for finding synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. They are often used by writers to help find the best word to express an idea: Synonym diction ...

thesaurus
maintained by the
Publications Office of the European Union The Publications Office of the European Union (Publications Office) is an inter-institutional office of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe ...
, has entries for "23 EU languages" classifying ''Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech'', ''Hungarian'', ''Polish'', ''Romanian, Slovak and Slovenian'', plus the languages of candidate countries ''Albanian'', ''Macedonian'' and ''Serbian'' as Central and Eastern European.


Contemporary developments


Baltic states

UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
,
EuroVoc EuroVoc is a multilingual thesaurus A thesaurus (plural ''thesauri'' or ''thesauruses'') or synonym dictionary is a reference work for finding synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. They are often used by writers to help find the best wor ...
,
National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational organizations in the world. Founded in 1888, its interests include geography, archaeology, and ...
,
Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in DemographyThe Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography, commonly known as CICRED, is a non-governmental organization accredited with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Economic and Social Council of the United Nat ...
, and the STW Thesaurus for Economics place the Baltic states in
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
, whereas the CIA World Factbook places the region in Eastern Europe with a strong assimilation to
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
. They are members of the
Nordic-Baltic Eight Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) is a regional co-operation format that includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Under NB8, regular meetings are held of the Baltic states, Baltic and Nordic countries, Nordic ...
regional cooperation forum whereas Central European countries formed their own alliance called the
Visegrád Group The Visegrád Group, Visegrád Four, V4, or European Quartet, is a cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, ar ...
. The Northern Future Forum, the
Nordic Investment Bank The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to internation ...
, the , the
Nordic-Baltic Eight Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) is a regional co-operation format that includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Under NB8, regular meetings are held of the Baltic states, Baltic and Nordic countries, Nordic ...
and the
New Hanseatic League The New Hanseatic League, or the Hansa, was established in February 2018 by European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. ...
are other examples of
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
an cooperation that includes the three countries collectively referred to as the Baltic states. *
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
*
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
*
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...


Caucasus

The
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
nations of
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
,
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
, and
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
are included in
definitions A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical me ...
or histories of Eastern Europe. They are located in the transition zone of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. They participate in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
's
Eastern Partnership The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint initiative of the European External Action Service The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the diplomatic service and combined Foreign ministry, foreign and Defence minister, defence ministry of ...

Eastern Partnership
program, the , and are members of the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
, which specifies that all three have political and cultural connections to Europe. In January 2002, the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three legislative branches of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated tot ...

European Parliament
noted that Armenia and Georgia may enter the EU in the future. However, Georgia is currently the only Caucasus nation actively seeking NATO and EU membership. *
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
*
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
*
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
There are three de facto independent Republics with limited recognition in the Caucasus region. All three states participate in the
Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations The Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations (russian: Сообщество за демократию и права народов), also commonly known as the Commonwealth of Unrecognized States, rarely as CIS-2 (), is an international organ ...
: *
Republic of Abkhazia Abkhazia, , ka, აფხაზეთი, , rus, Абха́зия, r=Abkhaziya, p=ɐˈpxazʲɪjə xmf, აბჟუა, or , ( or ) is a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus Transcaucasia, also known as the South Caucasus, ...
*
Republic of Artsakh Artsakh, officially the Republic of Artsakh (; hy, Արցախի Հանրապետություն, Artsakhi Hanrapetutyun), formerly the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, NKR (; russian: Нагорно-Карабахская Республика, ...
*
South Ossetia South Ossetia (, less commonly ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or the Tskhinvali Region, is a ''de facto'' state in the South Caucasus. It has an officially stated population of just over 53,000 people, who ...


Former Soviet states

Some European republics of the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
are considered a part of Eastern Europe: *
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
*
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
(usually grouped with the non-Baltic post-Soviet states but sometimes considered part of
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
) *
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
() *
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
Unrecognized states: *
Transnistria Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), is an unrecognised breakaway state located in the narrow strip of land between the river Dniester The Dniester ( ) is a river in Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is ...

Transnistria


Central Europe

The term "Central Europe" is often used by historians to designate states formerly belonging to the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, the
Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exer ...

Austro-Hungarian Empire
, and the western portion of
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is ...
. In some media, "Central Europe" can thus partially overlap with "Eastern Europe" of the Cold War Era. The following countries are labelled Central European by some commentators, though others still consider them to be Eastern European.Wallace, W. ''The Transformation of Western Europe'' London, Pinter, 1990Huntington, Samuel ''The Clash of Civilizations'' Simon & Schuster, 1996 *
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
*
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
*
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
(can variously be included in
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
or
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
)Lonnie Johnson
''Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends''
Oxford University Press
*
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
*
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
*
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(can variously be included in
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
or
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
) *
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
(mostly placed in
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
but sometimes in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
) *
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
*
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
(most often placed in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
but sometimes in
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
)


Southeast Europe

Some countries in Southeast Europe can be considered part of Eastern Europe. Some of them can sometimes, albeit rarely, be characterized as belonging to
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
, and some may also be included in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
. In some media, "Southeast Europe" can thus partially overlap with "Eastern Europe" of the Cold War Era. The following countries are labelled Southeast European by some commentators, though others still consider them to be Eastern European. *
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
*
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
*
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
*
Cyprus Cyprus ; tr, Kıbrıs (), officially called the Republic of Cyprus,, , lit: Republic of Cyprus is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or poli ...

Cyprus
(technically located in Asia, though most often is placed in
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
) *
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
(can variously be included in
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
or
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
) *
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
(Sometimes grouped in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
with countries like
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
) *
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
(usually grouped with the non-Baltic post-Soviet states but sometimes considered part of
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
) *
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
*
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
*
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(can variously be included in
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
or
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
) *
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
(mostly placed in
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...

Southeastern
but sometimes in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
) *
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
(most often placed in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
but sometimes in
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
) *
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
(
East Thrace East Thrace landscape in Edirne Province, Turkey East Thrace or Eastern Thrace ( tr, Doğu Trakya or simply ''Trakya''; el, Ανατολική Θράκη, ''Anatoliki Thraki''; bg, Източна Тракия, ''Iztochna Trakiya''), also kn ...
, the portion west of the
Turkish Straits 300px, View of the Dardanelles, taken from the Landsat 7 satellite in September 2006. The body of water at the upper left is the Aegean Sea, while the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The long, narrow upper peninsula is Gallipoli ...
) Partially recognized states: *
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo


History


Classical antiquity and medieval origins

Ancient kingdoms of the region included
Orontid Armenia The Satrapy of Armenia ( hy, Սատրապական Հայաստան ; Old Persian Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages (the other being Avestan language, Avestan) and it is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the lang ...

Orontid Armenia
, Caucasian Albania, Colchis and Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), Iberia (not to be confused with the Iberian Peninsula in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
), of which the latter two were the predecessor states of modern-day
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
. These peripheral kingdoms were, either from the start or later on, incorporated into various Iranian empires, including the Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid Persian, Parthian Empire, Parthian, and Sassanid Persian Empires.Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), ''Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts'', pp. 292-294. Peeters Bvba . Parts of the Balkans and some more northern areas were ruled by the Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid Persians as well, including Thrace, Paeonia (kingdom), Paeonia, Macedon, and most of the Black Sea coastal regions of
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
. Owing to the rivalry between the Parthian Empire and Roman Empire, Rome, and later between Byzantine Empire, Byzantium and the Sassanid Persians, the Parthians would invade the region several times, although it was never able to hold the area, unlike the Sassanids who controlled most of the
Caucasus The Caucasus (), or Caucasia (), is a region spanning Europe and Asia. It is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and mainly occupied by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to ...
during their entire rule. The earliest known distinctions between east and west in Europe originate in the history of the Roman Republic. As the Roman domain expanded, a cultural and linguistic division appeared. The mainly Koine Greek, Greek-speaking eastern provinces had formed the highly urbanized Hellenistic civilization. In contrast, the western territories largely adopted the Latin language. This cultural and linguistic division was eventually reinforced by the later political east–west division of the Roman Empire. The division between these two spheres deepened during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages due to a number of events. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century, marking the start of the Early Middle Ages. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire—the Byzantine Empire—had a survival strategy that kept it alive for another 1,000 years. The rise of the Carolingian Empire, Frankish Empire in the west, and in particular the East–West Schism, Great Schism that formally divided Eastern Christianity, Eastern and
Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings ...
in 1054, heightened the cultural and religious distinctiveness between Eastern and Western Europe. Much of Eastern Europe Mongol occupation of Eastern Europe, was invaded and occupied by the Mongols. During the Ostsiedlung, towns founded under Magdeburg rights became centers of economic development and History of German settlement in Central and Eastern Europe, scattered German settlements were founded all over Eastern Europe.


1453 to 1918

The conquest of the Byzantine Empire, center of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
, by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and the gradual fragmentation of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
(which had replaced the Frankish empire) led to a change of the importance of
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
/
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
vs. Eastern Orthodox concept in Europe. Armour points out that Cyrillic-alphabet use is not a strict determinant for Eastern Europe, where from Croatia to Poland and everywhere in between, the Latin alphabet is used. Greece's status as the cradle of Western civilization and an integral part of the Western world in the political, cultural and economic spheres has led to it being nearly always classified as belonging not to Eastern, but Southern or Western Europe. During the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, Eastern Europe enjoyed a relatively high standard of living. This period is also called the east-central European golden age of around 1600.


Serfdom

Serfdom was a prevalent status of agricultural workers until the 19th century. It resembled slavery in terms of lack of freedom, however the landowners could not buy and sell serfs, who are permanently attached to specific plots of land. The system emerged in the 14th and 15th century, the same time it was declining in Western Europe. The climax came in the 17th and 18th century. The early 19th century saw its decline, marked especially by the abolition of serfdom in Russia in 1861. Emancipation meant that the ex-serfs paid for their freedom with annual cash payments to their former masters for decades. The system varied widely country by country, and was not as standardized as in Western Europe. Historians, until the 20th century, focused on master-serf economic and labor relations, portraying the serfs as slave-like, passive, and isolated. 20th century scholars downplayed the evils and emphasize the complexities.


Interwar years

A major result of the First World War was the breakup of the Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires, as well as partial losses to the German Empire. A surge of ethnic nationalism created a series of new states in Eastern Europe, validated by the Versailles Treaty of 1919. Second Polish Republic, Poland was reconstituted after the Partitions of Poland, partitions of the 1790s had divided it between Germany, Austria, and Russia. New countries included Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine (which was History of Ukraine#Ukraine and World Wars, soon absorbed by the Soviet Union), Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. Austria and Hungary had much-reduced boundaries. The new states included sizeable ethnic minorities, which were to be protected according to the League of Nations minority protection regime. Throughout Eastern Europe, ethnic Germans constituted by far the largest single ethnic minority. In some areas, as in the Sudetenland, regions of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
, and in parts of Styria (Slovenia), Slovenia, German speakers constituted the local majority, creating upheaval regarding demands of self-determination. Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania likewise were independent. Many of the countries were still largely rural, with little industry and only a few urban centres. Nationalism was the dominant force but most of the countries had ethnic or religious minorities who felt threatened by majority elements. Nearly all became democratic in the 1920s, but all of them (except Czechoslovakia and Finland) gave up democracy during the depression years of the 1930s, in favor of autocratic, strong-man or single-party states. The new states were unable to form stable military alliances, and one by one were too weak to stand up against Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, which took them over between 1938 and 1945.


World War II and the onset of the Cold War

Russia ended its participation in the First World War in March 1918 and lost territory, as the Baltic countries and Poland became independent. The region was the main battlefield in the Second World War (1939–45), with German and Soviet armies sweeping back and forth, with millions of Jews killed by the Nazis, and millions of others killed by disease, starvation, and military action, or executed after being deemed as politically dangerous. During the final stages of World War II the future of Eastern Europe was decided by the overwhelming power of the Soviet Red Army, as it swept the Germans aside. It did not reach Yugoslavia and Albania, however. Finland was free but forced to be neutral in the upcoming Cold War. Throughout Eastern Europe, History of German settlement in Central and Eastern Europe, German-speaking populations Flight and expulsion of Germans (1944–1950), were expelled to the Oder–Neisse line, reduced borders of Germany in one of the largest ethnic cleansing operations in history. Regions where Germans had formed the local population majority were re-settled with Polish- or Czech-speakers. The region fell to Soviet control and Communist governments were imposed. Yugoslavia and Albania had their own Communist regimes independent of Moscow. The
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
with the onset of the Cold War in 1947 was far behind the Western European countries in economic rebuilding and economic progress. Winston Churchill, in his famous "Sinews of Peace" address of 5 March 1946, at Westminster College, Missouri, Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, stressed the geopolitical impact of the "iron curtain":


Eastern Bloc during the Cold War to 1989

Eastern Europe after 1945 usually meant all the European countries liberated from Nazi Germany and then occupied by the Soviet army. It included the German Democratic Republic (also known as East Germany), formed by the Soviet occupation zone of Germany. All the countries in Eastern Europe adopted communist modes of control by 1948. These countries were officially independent of the Soviet Union, but the practical extent of this independence was quite limited. Yugoslavia and Albania had Communist control that was independent of the Kremlin. The communists had a natural reservoir of popularity in that they had destroyed the Nazi invaders. Their goal was to guarantee long-term working-class solidarity. The Soviet secret police, the NKVD, working in collaboration with local communists, created secret police forces using leadership trained in Moscow. This new secret police arrived to arrest political enemies according to prepared lists. The national Communists then took power in a gradualist manner, backed by the Soviets in many, but not all, cases. They took control of the interior ministries, which controlled the local police. They confiscated and redistributed farmland. Next, the Soviets and their agents took control of the mass media, especially radio, as well as the education system. Third, the communists seized control of or replaced the organizations of civil society, such as church groups, sports, youth groups, trade unions, farmers organizations, and civic organizations. Finally, they engaged in large-scale ethnic cleansing, moving ethnic minorities far away, often with high loss of life. After a year or two, the communists took control of private businesses and monitored the media and churches. For a while, cooperative non-Communist parties were tolerated. Under pressure from Stalin, these nations rejected grants from the American Marshall Plan. Instead, they participated in the Molotov Plan, which later evolved into the Comecon, Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). When NATO was created in 1949, most countries of Eastern Europe became members of the opposing
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement ...
, forming a geopolitical concept that became known as the ''
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
''. * First and foremost was the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
(which included the modern-day territories of
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
,
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
,
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
,
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, and
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
). Other countries dominated by the Soviet Union were the East Germany, German Democratic Republic, People's Republic of Poland, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, People's Republic of Hungary, People's Republic of Bulgaria, and Socialist Republic of Romania. * The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY; formed after World War II and before its later dismemberment) was not a member of the
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement ...
. It was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, an organization created in an attempt to avoid being assigned to either the NATO or Warsaw Pact blocs. The movement was demonstratively independent of both the Soviet Union and the Western bloc for most of the Cold War period, allowing Yugoslavia and its other members to act as a business and political mediator between the blocs. * The Socialist People's Republic of Albania broke with the Soviet Union in the early 1960s as a result of the Sino-Soviet split, aligning itself instead with China. Albania formally left the Warsaw pact in September 1968 after the suppression of the Prague Spring. When China established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1978, Albania also broke away from China. Albania and especially Yugoslavia were not unanimously appended to the Eastern Bloc, as they were neutral for a large part of the Cold War period.Stavro Skendi, "Albania and the Sino-Soviet Conflict." ''Foreign affairs'' 40.3 (1962): 471-478.


Since 1989

With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the political landscape of the
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ...
, and indeed the world, changed. In the German reunification, the Federal Republic of Germany peacefully absorbed the German Democratic Republic in 1990. In 1991, COMECON, the
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a collective defense Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement ...
, and the Soviet Union were dissolved. Many European nations that had been part of the Soviet Union regained their independence (
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
,
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
, as well as the Baltic States of
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
, and
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
). Czechoslovakia Dissolution of Czechoslovakia, peacefully separated into the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
and
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
in 1993. Many countries of this region joined the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, namely
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to ...
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
, Estonia,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to th ...

Slovakia
and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
. The term "EU11 countries" refer to the Central Europe, Central, Eastern and Baltic states, Baltic European member states that accessed in 2004 and after: in 2004 the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic; in 2007 Bulgaria, Romania; and in 2013 Croatia. The economic changes were in harmony with the constitutional reforms: constitutional provisions on public finances can be identified and, in some countries, a separate chapter deals with public finances. Generally, they soon encountered the following problems: high inflation, high unemployment, low economic growth, and high government debt. By 2000 these economies were stabilized, and between 2004 and 2013 all of them joined the European Union. Most of the constitutions define directly or indirectly the economic system of the countries parallel to the democratic transition of the 1990s: free-market economy (sometimes complemented with the socially [and ecologically] oriented sector), economic development, or only economic rights are included as a ground for the economy. In the case of fiscal policy, the legislative, the executive and other state organs (Budget Council, Economic and Social Council) define and manage the budgeting. The average government debt in the countries is nearly 44%, but the deviation is great because the lowest figure is close to 10% but the highest is 97%. The trend shows that the sovereign debt ratio to GDP in most countries has been rising. Only three countries are affected by high government debt: Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia (over 70% of the GDP), while Slovakia and Poland fulfill the Maastricht requirement but only 10% below the threshold. The contribution to cover the finances for common needs is declared, the principle of just tax burden-sharing is supplemented sometimes with special aspects. Tax revenues expose typically 15–19 % of the GDP, and rates above 20% only rarely can be found. The state audit of the government budget and expenditures is an essential control element in public finances and an important part of the concept of checks and balances. The central banks are independent state institutions, which possess a monopoly on managing and implementing a state's or federation's monetary policy. Besides monetary policy, some of them even perform the supervision of the financial intermediary system. In the case of a price stability function, the inflation rate, in the examined area, relatively quickly dropped to below 5% by 2000. In monetary policy the differences are based on the euro-zone: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia use the common currency. The economies of this decade – similar to the previous one – show a moderate inflation. As a new phenomenon, a slight negative inflation (deflation) appeared in this decade in several countries (Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), which demonstrates sensitivity regarding international developments. The majority of the constitutions determine the national currency, legal tender or monetary unit. The local currency exchange rate to the U.S. dollar shows that drastic interventions were not necessary. National wealth or assets are the property of the state and/or local governments and, as an exclusive property, the management and protection of them aim at serving the public interest.


See also

*
Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations The Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations (russian: Сообщество за демократию и права народов), also commonly known as the Commonwealth of Unrecognized States, rarely as CIS-2 (), is an international organ ...
* Eastern European Group *
Eastern Partnership The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint initiative of the European External Action Service The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the diplomatic service and combined Foreign ministry, foreign and Defence minister, defence ministry of ...

Eastern Partnership
* Enlargement of the European Union * Eurasian Economic Union * *
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
* European Russia * Eurovoc * Future enlargement of the European Union * Geography of the Soviet Union * Intermarium * List of political parties in Eastern Europe * Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation * Post-Soviet States ;European subregions * Eurovoc#Eastern Europe * East-Central Europe *
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
* Central and Eastern Europe *
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
*
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
*
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
* Geographical midpoint of Europe * Regions of Europe


References


Further reading

* Anne Applebaum, Applebaum, Anne. ''Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956'' (2012) * Iván T. Berend, Berend, Iván T. ''Decades of Crisis: Central and Eastern Europe before World War II'' (2001) * * Day, Alan J. et al. ''A Political and Economic Dictionary of Eastern Europe'' (2nd ed 2007
abstract
* Donert, Celia, Emily Greble, and Jessica Wardhaugh. "New Scholarship on Central and Eastern Europe." ''Contemporary European History'' 26.3 (2017): 507-507. DOI
New Scholarship on Central and Eastern Europe
* Frankel, Benjamin. ''The Cold War 1945-1991. Vol. 2, Leaders and other important figures in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and the Third World'' (1992), 379pp of biographies. * Frucht, Richard, ed. ''Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe: From the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism'' (2000) * Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola, and Matthias Schündeln. "The long-term effects of communism in Eastern Europe." ''Journal of Economic Perspectives'' 34.2 (2020): 172–91
online
* Gal, Susan and Gail Kligman, ''The Politics of Gender After Socialism'' (Princeton University Press, 2000). * Gorshkov, Boris B. "Serfdom: Eastern Europe." in ''Encyclopedia of European Social History,'' edited by Peter N. Stearns, (vol. 2: 2001), pp. 379–388
Online
* Kristen R. Ghodsee, Ghodsee, Kristen R.. ''Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism'' (Duke University Press, 2011). * Held, Joseph, ed. ''The Columbia History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century'' (1993) * Jeffries, Ian, and Robert Bideleux. ''The Balkans: A Post-Communist History'' (2007). * * Jelavich, Barbara. ''History of the Balkans, Vol. 1: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries'' (1983) * * * * Ramet, Sabrina P. ''Eastern Europe: Politics, Culture, and Society Since 1939'' (1999) * Michael Roskin, Roskin, Michael G. ''The Rebirth of East Europe'' (4th ed. 2001); 204pp * Schenk, Frithjof Benjamin
Mental Maps: The Cognitive Mapping of the Continent as an Object of Research of European HistoryEGO - European History Online
Mainz
Institute of European History
2013, retrieved: March 4, 2020
pdf
. * Schevill, Ferdinand. ''The History of the Balkan Peninsula; From the Earliest Times to the Present Day'' (1966) * Seton-Watson, Hugh. ''Eastern Europe Between the Wars 1918-1941'' (1945
online
* Thomas W. Simons, Jr., Simons, Thomas W. ''Eastern Europe in the Postwar World'' (1991) * Timothy Snyder, Snyder, Timothy. ''Bloodlands, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin'' (2011) * * Stavrianos, L.S. '' The Balkans Since 1453'' (1958), major scholarly history
online free to borrow
* Swain, Geoffrey and Nigel Swain, ''Eastern Europe Since 1945'' (3rd ed. 2003) * Verdery, Katherine. ''What Was Socialism and What Comes Next?'' Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. * * Walters, E. Garrison. ''The Other Europe: Eastern Europe to 1945'' (1988) 430pp; country-by-country coverage * Wolchik, Sharon L. and Jane L. Curry, eds. ''Central and East European Politics: From Communism to Democracy'' (2nd ed. 2010), 432pp *Wolff, Larry: ''Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment''. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. *


External links


Interview with historian Larry Wolff on "Inventing Eastern Europe"

Eastern Europe Economic Data

Emerging Europe - A new narrative for the region
{{coord, 50, N, 30, E, source:wikidata, display=title Eastern Europe, Regions of Europe