From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Eastern Europe A socio-politic geographical area of eastern Europe usually including the European countries to the east of the Czech Republic, Poland and the Balkans, and to the west of the Urals. However, the boundaries of Eastern Europe are not always clearly defined. "Overlapping" occurs in such cases as those of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.
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 or control. These countries had communist regimes imposed upon them, and neutral countries were classified by the nature of their political regimes. The Cold War increased the number of reasons for the division of Europe into two parts along the borders of NATO and Warsaw Pact states.
A competing view excludes from the definition states that are historically and culturally different. This usually refers to Central Europe and sometimes the Baltic states which have significant different political, religious, cultural, and economic histories from their eastern neighbors.