Eastern Europe is primarily a geopolitical concept mainly influenced by the Cold War and its borders have little to do with clear and precise geography. In common perception and usage, Eastern Europe was, and still is to a lesser extent, distinguishable from Western Europe by differences of culture and recent history.
The Ural Mountains are a clear geographical border on the eastern edge of Europe. In the west, however, the cultural and religious boundaries are subject to considerable overlap and, most importantly, have undergone historical fluctuations, which make a precise definition of the boundaries of Western Europe and Eastern Europe somewhat difficult.
The present boundaries of Eastern Europe came into being during the final stages of World War II. The area eventually came to encompass all the European countries which were under Soviet influence and control. These countries had communist regimes imposed upon them, and neutral countries were classified by the nature of their political regimes, and has nothing to do with geography.
However the political landscape has changed since 1989 and the countries of this region underwent huge political and economic reforms. The term Central Europe has slowly reemerged and many countries of this region are many times considered to belong to Central Europe. Despite this, most English-speaking sources, as well as the United Nations, continue to classify the majority of these countries as part of Eastern
According to that political definition Eastern Europe includes:
- East Germany which was absorbed by West Germany through the German reunification, and becoming a part of Western Europe by default.
- Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary. These countries are many times, particularly since 1989, considered to be rather part of Central Europe.
- the Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Albania, and Bulgaria.
- the Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Republic of Moldova, and the European territories of Russia a transcontinental country.