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Countries of Eastern Europe

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Ukraine and Belarus
Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine

iStockphoto/artJazz
Ukraine and Belarus are two Eastern European countries that are still feeling the reverberations of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Ukraine, though it has its independence, wants better recognition from the world as an entity separate from its neighbor, Russia. Belarus is ruled by what some call the "last dictatorship in Europe" and ideologies ensconced there by the ruling power align more with last-century Soviet Union ideologies than modern ways of thought.

Ukraine

Ukraine (never "the Ukraine") is a nation whose past leaders elicited such a strong change throughout the region that we can still see the effects today. When Russia was still getting its act together as an out-of-the-way duchy, Kiev's Prince Vladimir introduced Christianity to the Slavs. Thus, Eastern Orthodoxy was born, and it is that religion that Ukrainians, Russians, Serbians, and others still follow today.

Kiev is today the capital of Ukraine. St. Sophia's Cathedral there hearkens back to the early days of Eastern Orthodoxy. Other sights, monuments, and churches also remember Kiev's medieval reign.

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Belarus

Belarus is an almost forgotten Eastern European country - its authoritarian government prevents it from spreading its wings. Human rights violations, rather than its travel-worthiness, put it in the news. Minsk, the capital city, has potential as a travel destination, but it's not for rookies!

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Explore the other countries of Eastern Europe by clicking on the following links, which will take you to photos, maps, and travel information about each country:

Russia | Czech Republic | Poland | Hungary | Romania and Moldova | Croatia | Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia | Slovenia | Slovakia | Bulgaria | Serbia | Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina | Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia

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