Eastern European history

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Eastern European history is a subcategory of historical studies whose research and teaching object is the history of Eastern Europe or individual countries or regions of Eastern Europe, East Central Europe and Southeast Europe . For political, regional and linguistic reasons, it is regarded as an independent subject. It has a close professional relationship with Russian and Slavonic Studies .


In detail, Eastern European history includes the history of the following countries and regions:

The focus is on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union . In addition, the history of the countries that were absorbed in Russia and the neighboring countries are taken into account in research and teaching. Eastern European history is often equated with the history of the Slavic peoples , but non-Slavic peoples such as Hungarians, Romanians, Albanians and the Baltic peoples also live in Eastern Europe.

The history of Eastern Europe does not stop at Europe's geographical eastern border in Russia on the Urals, but affects the entire area of ​​Russia including Siberia. In addition, it also includes the history of the successor states of the Soviet Union, i.e. the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Status and meaning

During the time of the division of Europe and the Cold War , the study of the history and politics of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe gained enormous political importance. At the universities of the Federal Republic of Germany as well as in other western countries, chairs for Eastern European history and Slavic studies were established. In addition, several institutes for research into the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries were set up, such as the Eastern Europe Institute and the Southeast Institute in Munich and the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies in Cologne. The study of Eastern Europe has often been equated with research into the Soviet Union and communism, with Sovietology and Kremlin.

After the turning point in Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989–1991, interest in the history of Russia and the other countries of Eastern Europe waned. Many chairs for the history of Eastern Europe were abolished. The subject is on the defensive and has often appeared as a subdivision in General History. Some special institutes were also closed: the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies (BIOst) in Cologne was closed. Parts of the staff and the areas of responsibility of the Cologne Federal Institute and the Munich Southeast Institute have been integrated into the Berlin Science and Politics Foundation (SWP).

Research into the history of Eastern Europe is still considered important because of the linguistic, social and political characteristics of the region. The interests of the subject are represented in German-speaking countries by the Association of Eastern European Historians (VOH).


  • Klaus Zernack: Eastern Europe. An introduction to its history . Munich 1977.
  • Erwin Oberländer : History of Eastern Europe. On the development of a historical discipline in Germany, Austria and Switzerland 1945–1990 . Stuttgart 1991.
  • Dittmar Dahlmann (Ed.): One Hundred Years of Eastern European History. Past, present and future . Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2005.
  • Ekaterina Emeliantseva, Arie Malz, Daniel Origin: Introduction to Eastern European History . Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich 2008.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ VOH - Association of Eastern European Historians eV - Home. Retrieved June 28, 2020 .
  2. Eastern European History. Retrieved December 19, 2019 .