The Republic of Poland, a country in Central Europe, lies between Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and the Baltic Sea, Lithuania and Russia (in the form of the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave) to the north. Its location and accessible terrain has meant that the land has seen many wars fought over it, and its borders have shifted considerably over the centuries. Poland used to be a single-party state and a satellite state of the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1989. After the peaceful changes in 1989 the first free elections after the World War II were held in 1990. Poland was the first former Soviet bloc country to hold a free and democratic presidential election.