Central and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is a cultural (and econo-cultural) entity: the region lying between Central Europe and Western Asia, with main characteristics consisting in Byzantine, Orthodox and minor and limited Ottoman influences. The Ural Mountains are the geographical border on the eastern edge of Europe. In the west, however, the cultural and religious boundaries are subject to considerable overlap and, most importantly, have undergone historical fluctuations, which make a precise definition of the western boundaries of Eastern Europe somewhat difficult.
Most Central European states had communist governments implemented during the Cold War but are currently EU members. In the post-Iron Curtain era, the label Eastern European is regarded as derogatory in a Central European context, especially since the enlightened concept of Central Europe survived the "Great Russian Chauvinism," and ethnocentric, political oppression that lasted since the end of World War II. In the words of historian Timothy Garton Ash, "Central Europe had triumphed" in 1989, and continues to solidify its presence on the geopolitical map of the world, as evidenced by the Visegrad 4 Group (V4). "Capitalism against Communism can no longer be used to clarify difference; instead vague and imprecise definitions exist. These too, are slowly being eroded as Eastern and Western Europe merge into a single 'Europe'". The following countries are still being labeled Eastern European by some commentators (in the former geopolitical sense, due to their Communist past) and as Central European by others (in the sense of occupying a niche between Western and Eastern Europe in terms of economy, history, religion, and culture).
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