Eastern Europe

Article

October 19, 2021

Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe or Eastern Europe is a region that houses countries located in the central or eastern part of the European continent. There are several interpretations for the scope of the term, often contradictory and influenced by geopolitical and ideological factors. The number of Eastern European countries depends on the area included in each interpretation. Still, even though they do not have any absolute homogeneity, most countries in the region have several similarities, such as the strong presence of Slavic languages ​​and the Orthodox Christian religion. Furthermore, most of these (with the exception of Greece) adopted at some point in their history the socialist economic regime and the one-party political regime, almost all between 1945 and 1989. The division between Eastern Europe (or Eastern Europe) and Western Europe was clearly visible after the division of this continent between the socialist and the capitalist bloc, delimited by the symbolic Iron Curtain. It is considered Eastern Europe from the German-Polish (German-Polish) border, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia; to the Ural Mountains, the natural division between Europe and Asia. The term delimits two complementary regions, as there were two "Eastern Europes"; one with geographic connotation and the other political (from which we exclude Greece), equivalent to the former area of ​​influence of the USSR.

Interpretations

In the common Western imagination as well as in most Western sources, Eastern Europe is almost synonymous with the term "post-communist European countries" (the only difference being that today no one considers the territory of the former East Germany to be part of Eastern Europe anymore). There are attempts to transform Eastern Europe into a purely geographical term, diminishing or completely eliminating its historical connotation. This is why some sources include in Eastern Europe Greece, and also sometimes Cyprus and the European part of Turkey (countries that never adopted the communist regime). Another attempt to end the historical connotation of the term Eastern Europe was made by the United Nations, which in its division of the regions of the world excludes from Eastern Europe all the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia and Albania (which are part of Southern Europe) and the Baltic countries (which are part of Northern Europe). Inhabitants and sources in post-communist European countries use the term Eastern Europe normally only in relation to countries more geographically east of Europe, ie, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. Countries located south of Romania, Hungary and Croatia are referred to as the Balkans, while Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and sometimes Croatia are commonly referred to as Central Europe.

Controversies about the term

Some inhabitants of the post-communist countries of Central Europe as well as the Baltic countries often consider the term Eastern Europe used in relation to their countries as culturally pejorative. Which has a lot to do with the fact that this term was defined and used by German nationalists in the 19th and 20th centuries in relation to peoples located to the east of Germany in racist contexts, who aimed to prove the inferiority of these peoples in relation to the Germanic culture. Wrong from a geographical point of view (the vast majority of geographical centers in Europe are located in or very close to those countries, some even east of them, in the western parts of Belarus and Ukraine) and obsolete from a political point of view. After the end of the Iron Curtain the use of the term Eastern Europe in relation to all post-communist European countries lost all meaning, as today it would refer to countries as different as Slovenia, a developed country, member of the NATO, Uni�

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