Several definitions of Eastern Europe exist today, but they often lack precision or are extremely general. These definitions vary both across cultures and among experts, even
political scientists, recently becoming more and more imprecise.
Ural River, and the
Caucasus Mountains are the
geographical land border of the eastern edge of Europe. In the west, however, the
religious boundaries of "Eastern Europe" are subject to considerable overlap and, most importantly, have undergone historical fluctuations, which make a precise definition of the western boundaries of Eastern Europe and the
geographical midpoint of Europe somewhat difficult.
European sub-regions according to
Eurovoc, a multilingual
thesaurus maintained by the
Publications Office of the European Union, provides entries for "23 EU languages"
 (Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish) plus languages of candidate countries (Albanian, Macedonian and Serbian). Of these, those in italics are classified as "Eastern Europe" in this source.
 Other official web-pages of the European Union classify some of the above-mentioned countries as strictly Central European (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia).
Central Intelligence Agency
CIA World Factbook
which defines Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey as primarily or entirely in Asia, and Cyprus as in the
CIA defines Eastern Europe as Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia (transcontinental), Turkey (transcontinental) and Ukraine.
Political, military and economic
Political situation in Europe during the
One view of 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. Countries which had
communist governments in the postwar era (1945-1991), and
neutral countries were classified by the nature of their political regimes.
Cold War increased the number of reasons for the division of Europe into two parts along the borders of
Warsaw Pact states. (See:
the Cold War section).
The economic organisation connecting the countries was the
Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
This view is now generally viewed as outadated.
After the fall of the USSR, a new boundary of Eastern Europe emerged defined by the membership in political and economic organisations such as the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and more recently the
Eurasian Economic Union.
Cultural view excludes from the definition of Eastern Europe states historically and culturally different, constituting part of the so-called
Western world. This could potentially refer to various formerly communist countries of
Central Europe, the
Baltics, and the
Balkans which have different political, religious, cultural, and economic histories from their eastern neighbors (e.g., Russia and Ukraine). (See:
Classical antiquity and medieval origins section).
Cultural map of Europe by Ständiger Ausschuss für geographische Namen.
Distribution of the Cyrillic script worldwide.
Countries where a Slavic language is the national language
The East–West Schism is the break of communion and theology between what are now the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic, as well as from the 16th century also Protestant) churches which began in the 11th century and lasts until this very day. It divided Christianity in Europe, and consequently the world, into
Western Christianity and
Division between the Eastern and Western Churches
Religious division in 1054
Countries by percentage of Eastern Orthodox Christians (Eastern Church).
Countries by percentage of Catholics(Western Churches).
Countries by percentage of Protestants (Western Churches).
fall of the Iron Curtain brought the end of the East–West division in Europe,
 but this geopolitical concept is sometimes still used for quick reference by the media.
 place the Baltic states in
Northern Europe whereas the CIA World Factbook places the region in Eastern Europe.
Transcaucasia nations of
Georgia are included in
definitions of Eastern Europe and/or histories of Eastern Europe. They are located in the transition zone of Eastern Europe and
Western Asia. They participate in the
Eastern Partnership program, and are members of the
Council of Europe, which specifies that all three are geographically in
Asia but have political and cultural connections to Turkey and Europe. Georgia has sought membership in NATO and the European Union.
World Factbook and
National Geographic Society atlases, and the
United Nations Statistics Division, have always listed and/or shown the three states within Asia. As with the Baltic states, the Transcaucasian nations differ somewhat, with
Armenia culturally oriented more toward Eastern Europe, and
Azerbaijan culturally oriented more toward the Asian
Other former Soviet states
Several other former
Soviet republics may be considered part of Eastern Europe
The term "Central Europe" is often used by historians to designate states formerly belonging to the
Holy Roman Empire or the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, including parts of modern-day Belarus and Ukraine. "Central Europe" thus overlaps with "Eastern Europe." The following countries are labeled Eastern European by some commentators and as Central European by others.
Most Southeastern European states did not belong to the
Eastern Bloc (save Bulgaria, Romania, and for a short time, Albania) although some of them were represented in the
Cominform. Only some of them can be included in the classical former political definition of Eastern Europe. Some can be considered part of
 However, most can be characterized as belonging to
South-eastern Europe, but some of them may also be included in
Central Europe or Eastern Europe.
Albania belongs to Southeastern Europe.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria is in the central part of the Balkans; geographically belongs to Southern/Southeastern Europe and sometimes included in the North-Eastern
Mediterranean, but can also be included in Eastern Europe in the
Cyprus is geographically situated in the eastern Mediterranean, off the coast of west Asian mainland, however due to its political, cultural, and historical ties to Europe, it is often regarded as part of Southern, and Southeastern Europe.
Greece is a rather unusual case and may be included, variously, in Western,
 or Southern Europe.
Macedonia belongs to Southeastern Europe.
Montenegro belongs to Southeastern Europe.
Romania can be included in Eastern Europe in the Cold War context, but is commonly referred to as belonging to Southeastern Europe
 or Central Europe.
Serbia is included in notions of
Turkey lies partially in Southeastern Europe: only the region known as
East Thrace, which constitutes 3% of the country's total land mass, lies west of the
Sea of Marmara, and the