The German Democratic Republic widely referred to as East Germany is a socialist state in central Europe. East Germany share a border more than a thousand miles long with the Federal Republic of Germany to the west, the Czech Republic to the southeast, Poland to the east, and the Baltic Sea to the north. Governed by the Socialist Unity Party, the German Democratic Republic maintains close ties with the Soviet Union, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Syria. East Germany is a member of the UN and the People's International Freedom Organization. The East German economy has been hampered by sanctions from the European Union, the United States of America, and Canada.