From 1978–1988, the Soviet Union transported 11 citizens of 10 nations closely allied to the USSR in the Soyuz crewed vehicle. All of them flew as a result of the Interkosmos program. These space travelers have usually been referred to as "cosmonauts".
In 1982, as an extension of the Intercosmos program, the Soviet Union began to fly the citizens of countries not part of the Soviet bloc, starting with Jean-Loup Chrétien of France. The USSR and later Russia have transported 49 citizens of 18 other nations on the Soyuz vehicle, usually as part of a commercial arrangement, including seven space tourists flying through the Space Adventures contract. Since 2001, the Soyuz has been used to transport ESA, JAXA, and NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. These space travelers are not always referred to as "cosmonauts", especially if they belong to another space program; e.g., NASA employees are almost always referred to as "astronauts", even if they are flying on a Russian vehicle.
All Soviet and RKA cosmonauts have been born within the borders of the U.S.S.R.; no cosmonaut who was born in independent Russia has yet flown. Many cosmonauts, however, were born in Soviet territories outside the boundaries of Russia, and may be claimed by various Soviet successor states as nationals of those states. All claimed Soviet or Russian citizenship at the time of their space flights.