On April 26, 1986, all four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactors suffered catastrophic meltdowns. Faced with a crisis never seen before, the Soviet Union tried as desperately as they could to evacuate Ukraine and all surrounding SSRs to prevent a massive loss of life. The mass evacuations failed, as the fallout had already spread all over the surrounding area before Kiev's borders could be secured. Over the next few years, the massive amount of fallout would decimate the European ecosystem and cause the crippling of numerous national economies from the costs of healthcare and infrastructure repair.
By the year 2012, the Soviet Union had collapsed. All of the SSRs, hoping to start a new age away from the horrors of the crippled Soviet economy, had declared independence. Economic comebacks in the former SSRs however, have been rare. The Russian SSR had been weakened, later turning into the Second Russian Republic, this time without the territory of the Yakut ASSR, which had declared independence during the Soviet Collapse in 1989.
All of Eastern Europe has become sparsely populated, mainly due to the high amount of radioactivity being extremely harmful to humans and the land. Most notably, Finland has united with Sweden due to the fallout severely affecting the farmland in the region and causing cancer in hundreds of thousands, causing an economic downturn almost as bad as the Soviet Union had.
Greece, already severely in debt due to healthcare costs to keep the radiation-plagued alive, was hit hard by the need for economic bailouts from other countries, after reaching the one trillion mark. In 2011, after a series of riots that rocked Athens, an uprising began to overthrow the current government and install a governing body that knew how to handle the economic crisis. Unfortunately, one of the main ideas of these rebels was for all healthcare relating to radiation sickness to be cut 75%.
The United States is doing incredibly well, now with the burden of the Cold War ending early. Due to rising concern that if the USA intervened in the ongoing European economic crisis, they would suffer the same fate, economic isolationism became an important factor in future elections. This worked out for the better for America, as Laissez Faire candidates from the Libertarian party became increasingly involved in national politics, further influencing the government to stay out of European troubles. To this date, America has only intervened in Europe twice, once when severe fallout hit Finland, and second when Poland threatened to cut off economic support to Lithuania.
The world of The Wasteland is a strange place. Only time will tell if Europe recovers.