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Eastern was used then; I think DoDo doesn't want it to be used now, because it had a political reality rather than a geographic one, and thus, as the political reality no longer exists, the expression should make no sense today.
In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
FWIW, Soviet is -wrongly or rightly- often used in reference to an aesthetic or culture or other intangibles and not simply in reference to a political entity. Which is why I don't "spontaneously" differentiate between the bloc and the Union when talking about aesthetic or culture or other intangibles.
Dodo doesn't like Eastern because it is technically in Central Europe.
"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
I try to tread very carefully when using the word Soviet to describe...well...the countries formerly in the Soviet bloc, because I have a Polish sister in law who regards the Soviet period as a period of occupation. She is in her 50's now, and though I can empathise with some of the individual incidents she has related, it's hard for me even to imagine the cumulative effect of the atmosphere in which she grew up. It is extremely painful for her to hear Poland, to her ears, lumped in with the USSR.
You're right, we could use a less clumsy term for "countries that used to be in the former Soviet bloc with varying degrees of oppression and enthusiasm and aren't in the former Soviet bloc any more."
But in using Soviet as a geographical term, you're rubbing up against some fairly fresh historical wounds. I'm not telling you you can't (as if I'd dare), but it is a word that has the potential to carry a lot more emotional meaning for your reader than it does for you (or me).
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