Satellite state is a political term that refers to a country which is formally independent, but under heavy influence or control by another country. The term was coined by analogy to stellar objects orbiting a larger object, such as smaller moons revolving around larger planets, and is used mainly to refer to Central and Eastern European countries of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, or Mongolia between 1924 and 1990. It implied that the countries in question were "satellites" under the hegemony of the Soviet Union. Other countries in the Soviet sphere of influence during the Cold War - such as North Korea (especially in the decades surrounding the Korean War) and Cuba (particularly after joining the Comecon) and Israel under US influence - were often labelled satellite states. In Western propaganda, the term has seldom been used to refer to states other than those in the Soviet orbit. In Soviet propaganda, the term was used to refer to the states in the orbit of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
A satellite nation is a country that is dominated politically and economically by another nation. In times of war, satellite nations sometimes serve as a buffer between an enemy country and the nation commanding the satellite.
Satellite state is one of several contentious terms used to describe the (alleged) subordination of one state to another. Other such terms include puppet state and neo-colony. In general, the term satellite state implies deep ideological allegiance to the hegemonic power, whereas puppet state implies political and military dependence and neo-colony implies (abject) economic dependence. Depending on which aspect of dependence is being emphasised, a state may fall into more than one category. Some scholars use the term client state as a general category for all such subordinate states.