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Post-Soviet states

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Post-Soviet states in alphabetical order: 1.  Armenia2.  Azerbaijan3.  Belarus 4.  Estonia • 5.  Georgia • 6.  Kazakhstan 7.  Kyrgyzstan • 8.  Latvia • 9.  Lithuania 10.  Moldova • 11.  Russia • 12.  Tajikistan 13.  Turkmenistan • 14.  Ukraine • 15.  Uzbekistan

The post-Soviet states are the 15 sovereign states that were union republics of the Soviet Union. They emerged from the Soviet Union after the dissolution in 1991.

They are also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad.[1]

Russia is the main de facto internationally recognized successor state to the Soviet Union after the Cold War. Ukraine has, by law, claimed that it is a state-successor of both the Ukrainian SSR and the Soviet Union which stayed under dispute over formerly Soviet-owned areas.<refOn Legal Succession of Ukraine, Articles 7 and 8.</ref>[2][3]

The three Baltic statesEstonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were the first to declare their independence from the USSR, between March and May 1990. They claimed continuity from the original states which existed before the annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940.[4][5] The remaining 12 republics all left after. All 12 of these republics joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and most of the 12 joining the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). However, the Baltic states focused on European Union (EU) and NATO membership.[6] EU officials have made clear the importance of Association Agreements between the EU and post-Soviet states.[7][8]

Many disputed states with varying degrees of recognition exist within the territory of the former Soviet Union. These are Transnistria in eastern Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in northern Georgia and Artsakh in southwestern Azerbaijan. Since 2014, the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in far eastern Ukraine have claimed independence. All of these unrecognized states except Artsakh depend on Russian armed support and financial aid. Artsakh is part of Armenia at a de facto level, which also maintains close cooperation with Russia. Before its annexation by Russia in March 2014, which was not recognized by most countries, Crimea shortly declared itself an independent state.[9]

Country comparison[change | change source]

The 15 states may be divided into four subregions. Not included in these categories are the several de facto independent states presently lacking international recognition (read below: Separatist conflicts).

Subregion Country Symbols Capital Form of
Independence Area[10] Population Ethnic majority, percent Density Notes
Coat of arms Flag km2 mi2 1989 now p/km2 p/mi2
Central Asia Kazakhstan
(Republic of Kazakhstan)
Astana Unitary dominant-party
presidential republic
December 16, 1991 2,724,900 1,052,090 19,000,336 39.7% Increase 69.6% 7 18 [11][12]
(Kyrgyz Republic)
Bishkek Unitary presidential
August 31, 1991 199,945 77,199 6,663,000 52.4% Increase 73.8% 33 85 [13][14]
(Republic of Tajikistan)
Dushanbe Unitary presidential
republic under a dictatorship
September 9, 1991 143,100 55,251 9,504,000 62.3% Increase 84.3% 64 166 [15][16]
(formerly the Republic of Turkmenistan)
Ashgabat Unitary presidential
republic under a hereditary
October 27, 1991 491,210 189,657 6,118,000 72.0% Increase 85.6% 11 28 [17][18]
(Republic of Uzbekistan)
Tashkent Unitary presidential
August 31, 1991 444,103 171,469 35,064,893 71.4% Increase 84.4% 76 197 [15][19]
Total Central Asia 4,003,258 1,545,667 76,350,229 59.6% Increase 79.5% 38.2 99
Eastern Europe Belarus
(Republic of Belarus)
Minsk Unitary presidential
republic under a dictatorship
December 10, 1991 207,600 80,155 9,349,645 77.9% Increase 84.9% 46 119 [20][21]
(Republic of Moldova)
Chișinău Unitary parliamentary
August 27, 1991 33,843 13,067 2,597,100 64.5% Increase 75.1% 79 205 [22][23]
(Russian Federation)
Moscow Federal semi-presidential
December 12, 1991 17,098,242 6,601,668 146,171,015 81.5% Decrease 77.7% 9 23 [24][25][26][27]
Ukraine Kyiv Unitary semi-presidential
August 24, 1991 603,700 233,090 41,383,182 72.7% Increase 77.5% 72 186 [28][29]
Total Eastern Europe 17,943,385 6,927,980 199,500,942 74.2% Increase 78.8% 51.5 133
Northeastern Europe Estonia
(Republic of Estonia)
Tallinn Unitary parliamentary
May 8, 1990 45,339 17,505 1,330,068 61.5% Increase 69.1% 29 75 [30][31]
(Republic of Latvia)
Riga Unitary parliamentary
May 4, 1990 64,562 24,928 1,882,200 52.0% Increase 62.2% 30 78 [15][32]
(Republic of Lithuania)
Vilnius Unitary semi-presidential
March 11, 1990 65,300 25,212 2,786,006 79.6% Increase 84.6% 43 111 [15][33]
Total Northeastern Europe 175,201 67,645 5,998,274 64.4% Increase 72.0% 34 88
South Caucasus Armenia
(Republic of Armenia)
Yerevan Unitary parliamentary
September 21, 1991 29,743 11,484 2,963,300 93.3% Increase 98.1% 100 259 [34][35]
(Republic of Azerbaijan)
Baku Unitary semi-presidential
republic under a hereditary
August 30, 1991 86,600 33,436 10,139,196 82.7% Increase 91.6% 115 298 [36][37]
(formerly the Republic of Georgia)
Tbilisi Unitary parliamentary
April 9, 1991 69,700 26,911 3,728,573 70.1% Increase 86.8% 53 137 [15][38]
Total South Caucasus 186,043 71,832 16,831,069 82.0% Increase 92.2% 89.3 231
Total former Soviet Union 22,307,815 8,613,096 296,582,638 50.6% Decrease 44.5% 9 23 [39]

Current leaders[change | change source]

Heads of state[change | change source]

Heads of government[change | change source]

Politics[change | change source]

Regarding political freedom in the former Soviet republics, Freedom House's 2021 report listed the following:

Similarly, the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders in 2022 recorded the following for press freedom:[41]

It has been said that several post-Soviet states did not change leadership for decades since their independence, such as Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan until his surprise resignation in 2019,[42] and Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, until his death in September 2016.[43] All of these had originally more limited terms but through decrees or referendums prolonged their stay in office (a practice also followed by Presidents Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus and Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan). Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan had served as President since its independence until he was forced to resign as a result of the Kyrgyz revolution of 2005.[44] Saparmurat Niyazov in Turkmenistan ruled from independence until his death in 2006, creating a personality cult around himself.[45] His successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, has kept a personality cult of his own that has replaced the worshipping of Niyazov.[46]

The issue of dynastical succession has been another thing affecting the politics of some post-Soviet States. Heydar Aliyev, after creating an extensive and ongoing cult of personality, handed the Presidency of Azerbaijan to his son, Ilham Aliyev. Theories about the children of other leaders in Central Asia being groomed for succession abound.[47] The participation of Akayev's son and daughter in the 2005 Kyrgyz parliamentary elections boosted fears of dynastic succession being used in Kyrgyzstan as well, and may have contributed to the anti-Akayev climate that led to his overthrow.

Separatist conflicts[change | change source]

Economic, political, national, military, and social problems have all been reasons of separatism in the post-Soviet era. In many cases, problems because of reasons such as ethnic divisions existed before the fall of the Soviet Union, and upon the fall of the union were brought into the open.[48] Such territories and resulting military conflicts have so far been:

Current self-declared states[change | change source]

Region Country name
Coat of arms
Flag Capital Independence Recognition Area[10] Population Density
km2 mi2 p/km2 p/mi2
Eastern Europe Transnistria
(Transnistrian Moldavian Republic)
Tiraspol 25 August 1991
(from  Moldova)
Not recognised 4,163 1,607 306,000 73.5 190.4
(Donetsk People's Republic)
Donetsk 12 May 2014
(from  Ukraine)
Limited 7,853 3,032 2,302,444 293.19 759.4
(Luhansk People's Republic)
Luhansk 12 May 2014
(from  Ukraine)
8,377 3,234 1,464,039 174.77 452.7
South Caucasus Artsakh
(Republic of Artsakh)
Stepanakert 10 December 1991
(from  Azerbaijan)
Not recognised 11,458 4,424 150,932 13.17 34.1
South Ossetia
(Republic of South Ossetia –
the State of Alania)
Tskhinval 21 December 1991
(from  Georgia)
Limited 3,900 1,506 53,532 13.73 35.6
(Republic of Abkhazia)
Sukhumi 23 July 1992
(from  Georgia)
8,660 3,344 254,246 29.36 76.0
  •  Transnistria, which is de facto independent from Moldova. It declared independence in 1990, because of its majority Russian-speaking population fearing union with Romania. A ceasefire between Transnistrian forces and Moldovan forces has been in place since 1992.
  •  Donetsk People's Republic and  Luhansk People's Republic, states which declared independence from Ukraine in 2014 and were recognized by Russia on 22 February 2022. They were formally annexed by Russia on 30 September 2022.
  •  Republic of Artsakh, which is de facto independent from Azerbaijan. Ethnic conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis began in 1988, and expanded into a war which lasted until a ceasefire in 1994. Attempts at negotiating a final peace and many bursts of violence have continued since then.[49]
  •  South Ossetia, which is de facto independent from Georgia. The region stated its goal to seek independence in 1990, leading to a conflict which led to a ceasefire in 1992. Separatism became powerful after the election of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in 2004, and a referendum in 2006 was in favour of declaring independence. The 2008 war between Georgian forces and the separatist and Russian forces led to Russia's recognition of South Ossetia's independence.[50]
  •  Abkhazia, which is de facto independent from Georgia. Tensions in the area broke out when Georgia sent in troops in 1992 to control groups who wanted separation. The troops and most of the Georgian and Mingrelian speaking population were forced out in 1993, and the region declared independence in 1999. The 2008 war between Georgian forces and the separatist and Russian forces led to Russia's recognition of Abkhazia's independence.[51]

Former self-declared states[change | change source]

Region Country name
Coat of arms
Flag Capital Independence Fate Area[10] Population Density
km2 mi2 p/km2 p/mi2
Eastern Europe Gagauzia
(Gagauz Republic)
Comrat 19 August 1990
(from  SSR Moldova)
Reincorporated into Moldova
as an autonomy in 1994
1,848 714 134,132 72.58 188.0
(Republic of Crimea)
Simferopol 17 March 2014
(from  Ukraine)
Joined Russia after a
referendum on the next day
26,100 10,077 1,913,731 73.32 189.9
Central Asia Tatarstan
(Republic of Tatarstan)
Kazan 21 March 1992
(from  Russia)
Reincorporated into Russia
after peaceful negotiations in 1994
68,000 26,255 3,786,488 55.68 144.2
South Caucasus Chechnya
(Chechen Republic of Ichkeria)
Grozny 8 June 1991
(from  Russian SFSR)
Disestablished in 2000
after the Second Chechen War
15,300 5,907 1,103,686 72.14 186.8
(Толъш-Мъғонә Мохтарә Республикә)
Lankaran June 1993
(from  Azerbaijan)
Reincorporated into Azerbaijan in August 1993 7,465 2,882 960,000 128.6 333.1
  • Gagauzia Gagauz Republic, declared itself the "Gagauz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic" within Moldova on 12 November 1989, and the "Gagauz Soviet Socialist Republic", independent of Moldova but still within the Soviet Union, on 19 August 1990, but was reintegrated into Moldova as an autonomous region on 23 December 1994.[52][53][54]
  •  Tatarstan, declared itself to be a sovereign state after a referendum on 21 March 1992. Negotiations with Russia led to the signing of a treaty in 1994 which ended Tatarstan's de facto independence, but reserved significant autonomy for the Tatarstan government. In 2002 a new constitution was enacted for Tatarstan which removed the prior constitution's declaration that Tatarstan was a sovereign state.
  •  Republic of Crimea. The entire Crimean Peninsula has been outside the control of Ukrainian authorities since late February 2014, when Russian special forces and pro-Russian militias occupied the region.[55][56][57][58][59] In March 2014, a popular referendum in favor of accession to Russia was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, although Ukraine[60] and most of the international community refused to recognize the vote. The next day, the Republic of Crimea declared independence, and within days Russia absorbed the peninsula. Ukraine continues to claim Crimea as an integral part of its territory.
  • Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, where Dzhokhar Dudayev declared independence from Russia in 1991, leading to a violent war between local separatist forces and the Russian army. Russia first invaded in 1994, withdrawing after a deal for increased autonomy was granted in 1996. Tensions have continued in the years since then, and the conflict has spilled over into neighbouring regions such as Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia–Alania. Russia claims that the situation in Chechnya has normalised.[61]
  • Talysh-Mughan, declared independence from Azerbaijan, that lasted from June to August 1993.[62]

Civil wars[change | change source]

Civil wars unrelated to separatist movements have occurred twice in the region:

Colour revolutions[change | change source]

Since 2003, a number of (largely) peaceful "colour revolutions" have happened in some post-Soviet states after disputed elections, with popular protests bringing into power the former opposition.

Related articles[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

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  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Area includes land and water.
  11. Population data as of February 1, 2014.
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  13. Population data as of 2015.
  14. "Official estimate". Stat.kg. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Population data as of January 1, 2014.
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  17. Population data as of July 1, 2013.
  18. UN estimate
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  27. Includes the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, claimed by Ukraine.
  28. Population data as of April 1, 2014.
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  30. Population data as of January 1, 2015.
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  34. Population data as of 2012.
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  40. 40.0 40.1 Holds both presidency and executive powers as the Prime Minister of Turkmenistan role was abolished.
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  54. Zabarah, Dareg (2012). "Opportunity structures and group building processes: An institutional analysis of the secession processes in Pridnestrovie and Gagauzia between 1989 and 1991". Soviet and Communist Studies. 45 (1–2). According to the first point of its declaration, the Gagauz Republic "is a sovereign, socialist, soviet and multinational state
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