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Which Countries Were Part of the Soviet Union?

Diana Bocco
Updated May 23, 2024
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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 USSR went through many changes, which included variations in border limits, territorial annexations, and political control. At the time of its creation in 1922, the USSR 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 USSR: 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 Arctic Ocean to the Afghan border. The 150 ethnic groups that formed the republic accounted for a total population of 293 million, most of whom 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.

The liberalization movements started by many of the republics were a major factor in the dissolution of the USSR. As perestroika came into effect, allowing the different republics to gain financial control of their own territories, the fractures of the republic 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 gave birth to the Cold War.

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Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco , Former Writer
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.

Discussion Comments

By anon291368 — On Sep 14, 2012

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

By ysmina — On Aug 25, 2012

@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.

By discographer — On Aug 25, 2012

@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.

By bear78 — On Aug 24, 2012

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.

By anon190857 — On Jun 27, 2011

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

By stolaf23 — On Oct 10, 2010

@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.

By Catapult — On Oct 10, 2010

@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.

By dudla — On Mar 17, 2008

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.

Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco

Former Writer

Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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