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Eastern Bloc Countries

The Eastern Bloc was a term that was used to describe a group of Communist nations located in Europe and Asia. These countries were under the control of the Soviet Union, China, and their allies. The Eastern Bloc nations were also known as “Second World” nations during the Cold War era. First World countries were the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, (also known as the Western Bloc) and were led by the United States and its allies. Third World Countries were neutral or not aligned with the Eastern or Western Bloc.

Throughout its history, the Eastern Bloc faced issues, including famine and poverty. The group of nations was isolated from the rest of the world, which finally led the Eastern Bloc to become open to investment and foreign aid. However, it wasn’t until Mikhail Gorbachev pushed for economic restructuring that the Eastern Bloc began to truly fall apart. After the Berlin Wall came down and reunified East and West Germany, the Soviet Union – and the Eastern Block – collapsed.

Which Countries Were Part of the Eastern Bloc?

The roster of Eastern Bloc countries can vary significantly depending upon the source and the time period one is discussing. Most versions of the term include the 15 former Soviet republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia (modern-day Belarus), Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia (Kyrgyzstan), Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia (Moldova), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenia (Turkmenistan), Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Most definitions also include Mongolia and/or Yugoslavia and Albania, though the latter two countries had reduced ties to the USSR from the 1960s onward.

Broader definitions of the Eastern Bloc may also include any of a wide range of allied states viewed as aligned with the USSR at one time or another, including not only the countries that signed the Warsaw Pact and/or the Comecon agreement, but several countries that had become part of the Non-Aligned Movement. Examples of Allied or Satellite countries that may or may not be considered part of the Eastern Bloc include: Afghanistan, Albania (until 1961), Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, China (until 1961), Congo (Republic of the Congo), Cuba, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic), East Germany (Germany), Ethiopia, Grenada, Hungary, Kampuchea (Cambodia), Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, North Korea, Poland (until 1989), Romania, Somalia (until 1977), South Yemen, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia (until 1948).

  • Definitions of the Eastern Bloc differ slightly by source and the time period one is discussing. The strictest definitions of the term include only the Warsaw pact countries and Mongolia. The broadest definitions may include every country listed, including those that declared themselves part of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Terminology:
  • USSR: The 15 sovereign republics that made up the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991-92.
  • Allied States: Countries that lay within the Soviet sphere of influence but which were not part of the USSR.
  • Warsaw Pact (1955-1991): Military alliance between the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern Europe.
  • Comecon (1949-1991): The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, an international economic coalition led by the USSR.

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Warsaw Pact Member
Comecon Member
Timeline of Inclusion
RussiaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1922-1991; previously as the Russian SFSR, 1917-1922
UkraineUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
UzbekistanUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
KazakhstanUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
AzerbaijanUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
TajikistanUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
BelarusUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
KyrgyzstanUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
TurkmenistanUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
GeorgiaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
MoldovaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
ArmeniaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
LithuaniaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
LatviaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
EstoniaUSSRYes - as USSRYes - as USSR1947-1991
ChinaAllied states1949-1961
EthiopiaAllied states1987-1991, previously as Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia, 1974-1987
VietnamAllied statesYes1976-1989, previously as North Vietnam 1945-1976 and South Vietnam 1975-1976
AfghanistanAllied states1978-1991
PolandAllied statesYes1947-1989
AngolaAllied states1975-1991
MozambiqueAllied states1975-1990
North KoreaAllied states1948-1990, previously as Soviet Civil Administration in Korea, 1945-1948
SyriaAllied statesfrom 1963
RomaniaAllied statesYesYes1947-1989, limited participation in Warsaw Pact activities after 1964
SomaliaAllied states1969-1991; severed alignment 1978
BeninAllied states1975-1990
CubaAllied statesYesfrom 1959
HungaryAllied statesYesYes1949-1989
LaosAllied states1975-1989
BulgariaAllied statesYesYes1946-1990
Republic of the CongoAllied states1969-1991
MongoliaAllied statesYes1924-1990
AlbaniaAllied statesYes1946-1991, ceased participating in Comecon and Warsaw Pact activities in 1961, then officially withdrew in 1968 from the WP and in 1987 from Comecon
Cape VerdeAllied states1975−1991
GrenadaAllied states1979-1983
showing: 36 rows

Why was it called the Eastern Bloc?

The Eastern Bloc was a group of Communist nations that were once in Europe and Asia. Once the Berlin Wall came down, the Eastern Bloc collapsed.

How many Eastern Bloc countries were there?

European and Asian countries that comprised the nations controlled by China and the USSR. Fifteen countries were officially in the Eastern Bloc with another 24 allied nations.

Frequently Asked Questions