The post-Soviet states, also collectively known as the former Soviet Union (FSU) or former Soviet Republics, are the states that emerged and re-emerged from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its breakup in 1991, with Russia internationally recognised as the successor state to the Soviet Union after the Cold War. The three Baltic states were the first to declare their independence, between March and May 1990, claiming continuity from the original states that existed prior to their annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940. The remaining 12 republics all subsequently seceded. 12 of the 15 states, excluding the Baltic states, initially formed the CIS and most joined CSTO, while the Baltic states focused on European Union and NATO membership.
Several disputed states with varying degrees of recognition exist within the territory of the former Soviet Union: Transnistria in eastern Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in northern Georgia, Republic of Artsakh in southwestern Azerbaijan. Since 2014 the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in southeast Ukraine have claimed independence. All these polities (except Artsakh) relied by Russian military and financial aid, Artsakh is very integrated with Armenia, who also maintain close military cooperation with Russia. Also, prior to the Annexation of Crimea by Russia from Ukraine in March 2014, which is not recognized by most countries, it briefly declared its independence.
The 15 post-Soviet states are typically divided into the following five groupings. Each of these regions has its own common set of traits, owing not only to geographic and cultural factors but also to that region's history in relation to Russia. In addition, there are a number of de facto independent, but internationally unrecognized states (see the section Separatist conflicts below).
|Country||Coat of arms||Flag||Capital||Independence||Area (km²)||Area (mi²)||Population||Density
|Moscow||1991-12-12||17,098,242||6,601,668||123,123,123||8.42||21.8||January 1, 1234||Official estimate|
|Ukraine||Kiev||1991-08-24||603,628||233,062||45,377,581||75||194||April 1, 2014||Monthly official estimate|
(Republic of Belarus)
|Minsk||1991-08-25||207,600||80,155||9,765,469||46||119||July 1, 2014||Quarterly official estimate|
(Republic of Uzbekistan)
|Tashkent||1991-08-31||444,103||171,469||30,492,800||69||179||January 1, 2014||Official estimate|
(Republic of Kazakhstan)
|Astana||1991-12-16||2,724,900||1,052,090||17,186,000||6.31||16||February 1, 2014||Monthly official estimate|
|1991-04-09||69,700||26,911||4,490,500||64||166||January 1, 2014||Official estimate|
(Republic of Azerbaijan)
|Baku||1991-08-30||86,600||33,436||9,477,100||109||282||December 31, 2013||Official estimate|
(Republic of Lithuania)
|65,300||25,212||2,944,459||45||117||January 1, 2014||Monthly official estimate|
(Republic of Moldova)
|Chișinău||1991-08-27||33,843||13,067||3,550,900||105||272||January 1, 2017||Official estimate|
(Republic of Latvia)
|64,562||24,928||2,005,200||31||80||January 1, 2014||Monthly official estimate|
(Republic of Tajikistan)
|Dushanbe||1991-09-09||143,100||55,251||8,160,000||57||148||January 1, 2014||Official estimate|
(Republic of Armenia)
|Turkmenistan||Ashgabat||1991-10-27||491,210||189,657||5,240,000||10.7||27.7||July 1, 2013||UN estimate|
(Republic of Estonia)
|45,339||17,505||1,313,271||29||75||January 1, 2015||Official estimate|
|Total overall of the former USSR||Moscow||1991-12-26||22,307,815||8,613,096||292,610,734||13.1||34||Various Dates||Various Sources|
Area includes land and water.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union took place as a result and against the backdrop of general economic stagnation, even regression. As the Gosplan, which had set up production chains to cross SSR lines, broke down, the inter-republic economic connections were also disrupted, leading to even more serious breakdown of the post-Soviet economies.
Most of the formerly Soviet states began the transition to a market economy from a command economy in 1990-1991 and made efforts to rebuild and restructure their economic systems, with varying results. In all, the process triggered severe economic declines, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropping by more than 40% overall between 1990 and 1995. This decline in GDP was much more intense than the 27% decline that the United States suffered in the wake of the Great Depression between 1930 and 1934. The reconfiguration of public finance in compliance with capitalist principles resulted in dramatically reduced spending on health, education and other social programs, leading to a sharp increase in poverty and economic inequality. The economic shocks associated with wholesale privatization resulted in the excess deaths of roughly 1 million working age individuals throughout the former Soviet bloc in the 1990s.
The initial transition decline was eventually arrested by the cumulative effect of market reforms, and after 1995 the economy in the post-Soviet states began to recover, with GDP switching from negative to positive growth rates. By 2007, 10 of the 15 post-Soviet states had recovered and reached GDP greater than what they had in 1991. Only Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan had GDP significantly below the 1991 level. The recovery in Russia was marginal, with GDP in 2006-2007 just nudging above the 1991 level. Combined with the aftershocks of the 1998 economic crisis it led to a return of more interventionist economic policies by Vladimir Putin's administration.
Change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in constant prices, 1991-2015
|Eastern European states|
*Economy of most Soviet republics started to decline in 1989-1990, thus indices for 1991 don't match pre-reform maximums.
**The year when GDP decline switched to GDP growth.
The post-Soviet states listed according to their Human Development Index scores (2015).
Very High Human Development:
High Human Development:
Medium Human Development:
A number of regional organizations and cooperating blocs have sprung up since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Only organizations that are mainly (or completely) composed of post-Soviet states are listed in this section; organizations with wider memberships are not discussed. The 15 post-Soviet states are divided in their participation to the regional blocs:
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) consists of 11 former Soviet Republics that differ in their membership status. As of December 2010, 9 countries have ratified the CIS charter and are full CIS members (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), one country (Turkmenistan) is an associate member, one country (Ukraine) is a founding and participating country, but legally not a member country, and one country (Georgia) left the organization in 2009. In 2014, Ukraine declined its CIS chairmanship and considered withdrawal from the organization.
In 1994, the CIS countries agreed to create a free trade area, but the agreements were never signed. On October 19, 2011 Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine signed a free trade agreement. Uzbekistan joined the free trade area in 2013.
The Eurasian Economic Community (EURASEC), formerly the CIS Customs Union, was established by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Ukraine and Moldova have observer status in the community; however, Ukraine has declared its desire not to become a full member state. Because having common borders with the rest of the community is a prerequisite for full membership, Moldova is barred from seeking it. Uzbekistan applied for membership in October 2005, when the process of merging Central Asian Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Community began; it joined on 25 January 2006. Uzbekistan subsequently suspended its membership in 2008.
On 10 October 2014 an agreement on the termination of the Eurasian Economic Community was signed in Minsk after a session of the Interstate Council of the EAEC. The Eurasian Economic Community was terminated from 1 January 2015 in connection with the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan created a customs union that entered into force in July 2010. Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan indicated interest in joining at the time. Russia has been eager for Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine to join the custom union instead of the European Union, and the Moldovan break-away state of Transnistria has supported this. In 2013, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia announced plans to seek membership, but division over the issue in Ukraine led to the 2014 Ukrainian revolution after the Ukrainian government backed out of an EU Eastern Partnership in favor of the union. In 2014, voters in the Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia rejected closer ties to the EU in favor of the union.
On 1 January 2012, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus established the Single Economic Space which ensures the effective functioning of a single market for goods, services, capital and labour, and to establish coherent industrial, transport, energy and agricultural policies. The agreement included a roadmap for future integration and established the Eurasian Economic Commission (modelled on the European Commission). The Eurasian Economic Commission serves as the regulatory agency for the Eurasian Customs Union, the Single Economic Space and the Eurasian Economic Union.
The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union of post-Soviet states. The treaty aiming for the establishment of the EAEU was signed on 29 May 2014 by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force on 1 January 2015. Treaties aiming for Armenia's and Kyrgyzstan's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union were signed on 9 October 2014 and 23 December respectively. Armenia's accession treaty came into force on 2 January 2015. Although Kyrgyzstan's accession treaty will not come into force until May 2015, provided it has been ratified, it will participate in the EAEU from the day of its establishment as an acceding state. Moldova and Tajikistan are prospective members.
Seven CIS member states, namely Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Armenia, have enhanced their military cooperation, establishing the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), this being an expansion of the previous Collective Security Treaty (CST). Uzbekistan which (alongside Georgia and Azerbaijan) withdrew from the CST in 1999, joined GUAM. Then in 2005 it withdrew from GUAM and joined the CSTO in 2006. On 28 June 2012, Uzbekistan suspended its membership in the CSTO.
Three former Soviet states are members of NATO: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Georgia, where both public opinion and the ruling government favor NATO membership, is in the Intensified Dialogue program with NATO. Ukraine also declared joining NATO as its geopolitical goal once again in 2017 (first time being right after the Orange revolution and in the beginning of presidency of Viktor Yushchenko), after the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, during which the government officially declared neutrality and ceased to seek NATO membership.
Four member states, namely Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova established the GUAM group that was largely seen as intending to counter Russian dominance in the region. Notably, these four nations do not participate in any of the other regional organizations that sprang up in the region since the dissolution of the Soviet Union (other than the CIS).
The Union of Russia and Belarus was originally formed on 2 April 1996 under the name Commonwealth of Russia and Belarus, before being tightened further on 8 December 1999. It was initiated by the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. On paper, the Union of Russia and Belarus intends further integration, beyond the scope of mere cooperation, including the introduction of the ruble as a common currency.
The Economic Cooperation Organization was originally formed in 1985 by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan but in 1992 the organization was expanded to include Afghanistan and the six primarily Muslim former Soviet republics: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Community of Democratic Choice (CDC) was formed in December 2005 at the primary instigation of Ukraine and Georgia, and composed of six post-Soviet states (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and three other countries of Eastern and Central Europe (Slovenia, Romania and the Republic of Macedonia). The Black Sea Forum (BSF) is a closely related organization. Observer countries include Armenia, Bulgaria, and Poland.
Just like GUAM before it, this forum is largely seen as intending to counteract Russian influence in the area. This is the only international forum centered in the post-Soviet space in which the Baltic states also participate. In addition, the other three post-Soviet states in it are all members of GUAM.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), is composed of China and five post-Soviet states, namely Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The organization was founded in 2001, though its predecessor, the Shanghai Five grouping, has existed since 1996. Its aims revolve around security-related issues such as border demarcation, terrorism and energy.
Apart from above, the former Soviet republics also hold membership in a number of multinational organizations such as:
It has been remarked that several post-Soviet states have not changed leadership since their independence, such as Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan and Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, until his death in September 2016. 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, Emomalii Rahmon of Tajikistan and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia.) Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan had likewise served as President since its independence until he was forced to resign as a result of the Kyrgyz revolution of 2005. Saparmurat Niyazov in Turkmenistan ruled from independence until his death in 2006, creating a personality cult around himself.
The issue of dynastical succession has been another element affecting the politics of some post-Soviet States. Heydar Aliyev, after constructing 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. 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.
Economic, political, national, military, and social problems have all been factors in separatism in the Post-Soviet space. In many cases, problems due to factors such as ethnic divisions existed before the fall of the Soviet Union, and upon the fall of the union were brought into the open. Such territories and resulting military conflicts have so far been:
Civil wars unrelated to separatist movements have occurred twice in the region:
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.
There is a significant Russophone population in most of the post-Soviet states, whose political position as an ethnic minority varies from country to country. While Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to Russia, have kept Russian as an official language, the language lost its status in other post-Soviet states after the end of the Soviet Union. It maintains semi-official status in all CIS member states, because it is the organisation's official working language, but in the three Baltic States, the Russian language is not recognized in any official capacity. Georgia, since its independence from the CIS in 2009, has begun operating its government almost exclusively in the Georgian language.
While the Soviet system placed severe restrictions on religious intellectual life, traditions continued to survive. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Islamic movements have emerged alongside ethnic and secular ones. Vitaly Naumkin gives the following assessment: "Throughout the time of change, Islam has served as a symbol of identity, a force for mobilization, and a pressure for democracy. This is one of the few social disasters that the church has survived, in which it was not the cause. But if successful politically, it faces economic challenges beyond its grasp."
The Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) plus Azerbaijan from Southern caucasus are Muslim, except for their dwindling Russian and other European minorities. The Baltic States are historically Western Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic), which adds another layer of pro-Western orientation to those countries, although the vast majority of what was the Protestant population (Estonia and northern Latvia) there is now irreligious. The dominant religion in the remaining former Soviet countries (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine) is Orthodox Christianity. In most countries, religiosity has increased since the Soviet collapse.
Ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union a certain number of people have expressed a longing for the Soviet period and its values. The level of post-Soviet nostalgia varies across the former republics. For example, certain groups of people may blend the Soviet and post-Soviet experience in their daily lives.[clarification needed].
A 2016 poll of Russian citizens conducted by Levada Center showed that the majority viewed the collapse of the USSR negatively and felt that it could have been avoided, and an even greater number would openly welcome a revival of the Soviet system.
Signed agreement opens up new possibilities for Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, starting from 1st January 2015
Kyrgyzstan is among the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC). Kyrgyzstan will participate in the governing bodies of the EAEC since the start of the Union - from 1 January 2015.
Eurasian Economic Union added December 23 Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday a signed a treaty to join the Eurasian Economic Union, expanding the membership of Moscow-led project to five even as its unity is strained by the market turmoil gripping Russia.
Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan agreed to a January 1 inauguration.
But on 19 August 1990, the Gagauz elite, led by President Stepan Topal and Supreme Soviet Chairperson Mihail Kendighelean, quickly took the next step, declaring Gagauzia to be independent of Moldova and subject only to central Soviet authority
On 12 November 1989, a “Gagauz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” was proclaimed by an assembly in Comrat ... In reaction to the Moldovan declaration of sovereignty, on 19 August 1990 the Gagauz leadership proclaimed a “Gagauz Soviet Socialist Republic”, which would be independent from Moldova, but part of the Soviet Union ... on 23 December 1994 the Moldovan Parliament passed the “Law on the Special Juridical Status of Gagauzia (Gagauz-Yeri)”
According to the first point of its declaration, the Gagauz Republic “is a sovereign, socialist, soviet and multinational state