Scientists often distinguish three groups of countries in the post-socialist area. The hub of the first group is Russia, the country that – as a self-contained entity – has often been a core subject of the traditional so-called ‘East European studies’. In spite of all the difficulties following the demise of the Soviet Union, the political leaders of Russia managed to maintain strong ties with a small circle of states (e.g. with Belarus or Kazakhstan). The second group is comprised of the countries of East Central Europe (that is the Baltic states, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia) which, slowly but surely, have stopped being the subject of interest of East European studies. Their membership in the EU and their political aversion to Russia has led to the situation whereby the most important coordinates of their political development are being determined in Brussels and in cooperation with the other members of the EU.