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Which Countries Were Part of the Soviet Union?

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, a major former Soviet Republic on the Black Sea.
Kazakhistan is one of the sparsely populated countries that broke away from the former Soviet Union's interior region.
The Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia were among the first to leave the Soviet Union.
The space station Mir was a source of pride for the Soviet Union.
Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia were all part of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union exerted influence through its military might.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2014
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The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, also known as the Soviet Union or the USSR, was the world's largest and longest-lived socialist state. From 1922 to 1991, the Soviet Union went through many changes, which included variations in border limits, territorial annexations, and political control. At the time of its creation in 1922, the Soviet Union was a single unit that included Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, along with the Transcaucasian Republics, which included Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

Additional changes were made to the Soviet Union group throughout the year, until the final group was announced in 1956. By then, 15 countries had become part of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Russia was the most powerful of all the republics, and the one maintaining control over the territory and the main political decisions.

Until its fall in 1991, the Soviet Union covered 8,649,500 sq mi (22,402,200 square kilometers) and extended from the Artic Ocean to the Afghan border. The 150 ethnic groups that formed the Soviet Union accounted for a total population of 293 million, much of which lived in what is now Russia. Of the republics that were part of the Soviet Union, many were formed as new territories were acquired during the war, while others came to be when the central government decided to split an existing republic into two or more different zones.

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The liberalization movements started by many of the republics were a major factor in the dissolution of the Soviet Union; as the perestroika came into effect, allowing the different republics to gain financial control of their own territories, the fractures of the Union became larger and larger. When the Soviet Union finally dissolved in 1991, Russia took responsibility for all debts, treaties, and properties that originally belonged to the Union. As the main executor during the Soviet Union period, Russia also became the one in charge of making political and financial decisions, including the political moves that give birth to the Cold War.

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anon291368
Post 9

What's the main reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union?

ysmina
Post 8

@catapult, @alisha-- Czechoslovakia was never part of the Soviet Union! It was a Soviet Union ally and a "satellite state" so to speak, but never formally in the USSR. It was a Communist state and was heavily influenced by the Soviet Union but never a part of it.

I think you guys are getting confused because during World War II, there was a part of Czechoslovakia that was annexed to the USSR. But aside from this, Czechoslavakia always remained an independent nation although it was always under the threat of USSR. It was a forced ally. And after the fall of the Soviet Union, it did divide into two independent nations-- Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.

discographer
Post 7

@Catapult-- That's interesting. We briefly went over the Soviet Union in class this week. My professor also mentioned that fifteen new countries were born after the fall of the Soviet Union. I don't think he mentioned Czech Republic either.

I wonder if Czechoslovakia was part of another Soviet Union country? It's kind of odd that it isn't being mentioned among former Soviet Union countries.

bear78
Post 6

I didn't realize that Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union until I met my friend who is from there. My family is originally Turkish and Azerbaijanis are also ethnically Turkish. But the alphabet used in Azerbaijan is very different from the Turkish alphabet. It has letters that are found in the Russian language. And many Azerbaijanis actually speak Russian.

The other thing I noticed is that Azerbaijanis have Muslim or Turkish names but their last names are like a mixture of Turkish and Russian. For example, the last name "Efendiyev." "Efendi" is a Turkish word, but it was added "-yev" to give it a Russian sound.

I'm guessing that other countries that used to be a part of the Soviet Union were similarly influenced. And even if you don't know about their history, you can make out that they were part of the Soviet Union at some point.

anon190857
Post 4

@Catapult: Czechoslovakia was never a part of the Soviet Union, however it was a part of the Warsaw Pact.

stolaf23
Post 3

@Catapult, I personally know someone currently volunteering for the Peace Corps in Moldova. Many of these countries, as you said, are still highly influenced by the years they were controlled by Soviet Union communists, though they are now just as influenced by the western world.

Catapult
Post 2

@dudla, I also noticed that Czechoslovakia, as it was called in Soviet times, is missing from this article's list. It should also be noted about that country that after the Soviet Union collapse, it was split into two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I am currently a volunteer in Slovakia, and it is important to remember that it, in addition to the other countries mentioned here, is now independent and unique in many ways, though it was influenced in many ways by the former soviet union.

dudla
Post 1

In 1945 or 1946, Ruthenia, a region which prior to that was part of Czechoslovakia was annexed by the Soviet Union. Currently Ruthenia is part of the Ukraine.

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