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Countries of Eastern Europe


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List of the Countries of Eastern Europe
CItyline from high, Krakow, Poland
Henryk T. Kaiser/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Eastern Europe is a region that encompasses many different cultures, ethnicities, languages, and histories. Grouping all of these countries under a single designation can sometimes be problematic; experts, scholars, and those living there label parts of the region according to varying sets of criteria, and heated debates have been known to erupt when one party has felt that a certain country has been mis-categorized. However, it's important to note that the countries broadly classified as being a part of Eastern Europe have one thing in common: they were all behind the Iron Curtain before its fall, and this political boundary of the last century helps us define a region whose development, especially until the 1990s, has been very different from that of Western Europe.

The most widely recognizes sub-regions of Eastern Europe include:

  • East Central Europe
  • The Baltics
  • Southeastern Europe/Balkans
  • Eastern Europe

The countries within these regions are as follows:

Eastern Europe's Regional Differences and Similarities

We can acknowledge that some countries, like Poland and the Czech Republic, are more "central," and, if we want to be specific about their location, can refer to them as a part of East Central Europe. The Baltics, populated by people ethnically different from the rest of Eastern Europe, can also be grouped accordingly. The countries of the Balkans are classified differently depending upon what factors you're using, and Southeastern Europe is a good description for those countries that occupy the southern corner of Eastern Europe. And, as for everyone else - they're so far east there's no disputing the fact that they're a part of Eastern Europe, but East Eastern Europe seems redundant.

It's understandable for some countries - whose national identities were so repressed under authoritarian regimes - to tire of being affiliated with a term that they feel is outdated and which unfairly associates them with other countries from whom they would rather distance themselves. But the truth is that Eastern Europe and all its sub-regions is a culturally, geographically, and historically fascinating place, and this site chooses to celebrate the region as a whole while acknowledging the differences of each sub-region and each nation within that sub-region.

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