Eastern Europe is an ambiguous term that refers to the eastern portions of the European continent. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic connotations. Russia, a transcontinental country with around 23 percent of its landmass situated in Eastern Europe, is the largest European country by area, spanning roughly 40 percent of Europe's total landmass; it is also the most populous European country, with the majority of its citizens residing in its European portion and consequently comprising over 15 percent of the continent's population.
According to the Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling University in the United States, there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"; a related paper published by the United Nations adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct".
One prominent definition describes Eastern Europe as an entity representing a significant part of European culture: the region of Europe with its main socio-cultural characteristics consisting of Slavic and Greek traditions as well as the influence of Eastern Christianity, historically developed through the post-split Eastern Roman Empire; and, to a lesser extent, Ottoman-era Turkish influence. Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less alike with the geopolitical term Eastern Bloc. Similarly, an alternative definition of the same era designates the then-communist European states outside of the former Soviet Union as comprising Eastern Europe. Such definitions are often seen as outdated since the end of the Cold War in 1991, but are still sometimes used for statistical purposes or in colloquial discussions.