Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Soviet Union Administrative Divisions 1989.jpg
CategoryFederated state
Location Soviet Union
Created byTreaty on the Creation of the USSR
Created
  • 30 December 1922
Abolished by
Abolished
  • 6 September 1991
  • 26 December 1991
Number21 (as of 1933)
PopulationsSmallest: 1,565,662 (Estonian SSR)
Largest: 147,386,000 (Russian SFSR)
AreasSmallest: 29,800 km2 (11,500 sq mi) (Armenian SSR)
Largest: 17,075,400 km2 (6,592,800 sq mi) (Russian SFSR)
Government
Subdivisions

The Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Union Republics (Russian: Сою́зные Респу́блики, tr. Soyúznye Respúbliki) were national-based administrative units of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).[1] The Soviet Union was formed in 1922 by a treaty between the Soviet republics of Byelorussia, Russia, Transcaucasia, and Ukraine, by which they became its constituent republics.

For most of its history, the USSR was a highly centralized state despite its nominal structure as a federation of republics; the decentralization reforms during the era of perestroika and glasnost conducted by Mikhail Gorbachev are cited as one of the factors which led to the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

There were two very distinct types of republics in the Soviet Union: the larger union republics, representing the main ethnic groups of the Union and with the constitutional right to secede from it, and the smaller autonomous republics, located within the union republics and representing ethnic minorities.

The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, a relic of the Soviet-Finnish War, became the only union republic to be deprived of its status in 1956. The decision to downgrade Karelia to an autonomous republic within the RSFSR was made unilaterally by the central government without consulting its population.[citation needed]

Overview

See also: National delimitation in the Soviet Union, Korenizatsiya, and Religion in the Soviet Union

According to Article 76 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, a Union Republic was a sovereign Soviet socialist state that had united with other Soviet Republics in the USSR. Article 81 of the Constitution stated that "the sovereign rights of Union Republics shall be safeguarded by the USSR".[2]

In the final decades of its existence, the Soviet Union officially consisted of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). All of them, with the exception of the Russian Federation (until 1990), had their own local party chapters of the All-Union Communist Party.

Outside the territory of the Russian Federation, the republics were constituted mostly in lands that had formerly belonged to the Russian Empire and had been acquired by it between the 1700 Great Northern War and the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907.

In 1944, amendments to the All-Union Constitution allowed for separate branches of the Red Army for each Soviet Republic. They also allowed for Republic-level commissariats for foreign affairs and defense, allowing them to be recognized as de jure independent states in international law. This allowed for two Soviet Republics, Ukraine and Byelorussia, (as well as the USSR as a whole) to join the United Nations General Assembly as founding members in 1945.[3][4][5]

All of the former Republics of the Union are now independent countries, with ten of them (all except the Baltic states, Georgia and Ukraine) being very loosely organized under the heading of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Baltic states assert that their incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1940 (as the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian SSRs) under the provisions of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was illegal, and that they therefore remained independent countries under Soviet occupation.[6][7] Their position is supported by the European Union,[8] the European Court of Human Rights,[9] the United Nations Human Rights Council[10] and the United States.[11] In contrast, the Russian government and state officials maintain that the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states was legitimate.[12]

Constitutionally, the Soviet Union was a federation. In accordance with provisions present in the Constitution (versions adopted in 1924, 1936 and 1977), each republic retained the right to secede from the USSR. Throughout the Cold War, this right was widely considered to be meaningless; however, the corresponding Article 72 of the 1977 Constitution was used in December 1991 to effectively dissolve the Soviet Union, when Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus seceded from the Union.

In practice, the USSR was a highly centralised entity from its creation in 1922 until the mid-1980s when political forces unleashed by reforms undertaken by Mikhail Gorbachev resulted in the loosening of central control and its ultimate dissolution. Under the constitution adopted in 1936 and modified along the way until October 1977, the political foundation of the Soviet Union was formed by the Soviets (Councils) of People's Deputies. These existed at all levels of the administrative hierarchy, with the Soviet Union as a whole under the nominal control of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, located in Moscow within the Russian SFSR.

Along with the state administrative hierarchy, there existed a parallel structure of party organizations, which allowed the Politburo to exercise large amounts of control over the republics. State administrative organs took direction from the parallel party organs, and appointments of all party and state officials required approval of the central organs of the party.

Each republic had its own unique set of state symbols: a flag, a coat of arms, and, with the exception of Russia until 1990, an anthem. Every republic of the Soviet Union also was awarded with the Order of Lenin.

Union Republics of the Soviet Union

See also: Flag of the Soviet Union

Map of the Union Republics from 1956 to 1991, as numbered by the Soviet Constitution: 1. Russia, 2. Ukraine, 3. Belarus, 4. Uzbekistan, 5. Kazakhstan, 6. Georgia, 7. Azerbaijan, 8. Lithuania, 9. Moldova, 10. Latvia, 11. Kyrgyzstan, 12. Tajikistan, 13. Armenia, 14. Turkmenistan, 15. Estonia
Map of the Union Republics from 1956 to 1991, as numbered by the Soviet Constitution: 1. Russia, 2. Ukraine, 3. Belarus, 4. Uzbekistan, 5. Kazakhstan, 6. Georgia, 7. Azerbaijan, 8. Lithuania, 9. Moldova, 10. Latvia, 11. Kyrgyzstan, 12. Tajikistan, 13. Armenia, 14. Turkmenistan, 15. Estonia

The number of the union republics of the USSR varied from 4 to 16. From 1956 until its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union consisted of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics. (In 1956, the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, created in 1940, was absorbed into the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.) Rather than listing the republics in alphabetical order, the republics were listed in constitutional order, which, particularly by the last decades of the Soviet Union, did not correspond to order either by population or economic power.[citation needed]

Emblem Name Flag Capital Official languages Established Joined Sovereignty Independence Population
(1989)
Pop.
%
Area (km2)
(1991)
Area
%
Post-Soviet and de facto states
Emblem of the Armenian SSR.svg
Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Armenian SSR
Yerevan Armenian, Russian 2 December 1920 30 December 1922 23 August 1990 21 September 1991 3,287,700 1.15 29,800 0.13  Armenia 13
Emblem of the Azerbaijan SSR.svg
Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Azerbaijan SSR
Baku Azerbaijani, Russian 28 April 1920 30 December 1922 23 September 1989 30 August 1991 7,037,900 2.45 86,600 0.39  Azerbaijan
 Artsakh
7
Emblem of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (1981–1991).svg
Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Belarusian SSR
Minsk Byelorussian, Russian 31 July 1920 30 December 1922 27 July 1990 10 December 1991 10,151,806 3.54 207,600 0.93  Belarus 3
Emblem of the Estonian SSR.svg
Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic[a]
Flag of Estonian SSR
Tallinn Estonian, Russian 21 July 1940[b] 6 August 1940 16 November 1988 20 August 1991 1,565,662 0.55 45,226 0.20  Estonia 15
Emblem of the Georgian SSR.svg
Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Georgian SSR
Tbilisi Georgian, Russian 25 February 1921 30 December 1922 18 November 1989 9 April 1991 5,400,841 1.88 69,700 0.31  Georgia
 Abkhazia
 South Ossetia
6
Emblem of Kazakh SSR.svg
Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Kazakhstan SSR
Alma-Ata Kazakh, Russian 5 December 1936 25 October 1990 16 December 1991 16,711,900 5.83 2,717,300 12.24  Kazakhstan 5
Emblem of the Kirghiz SSR.svg
Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Kyrgyzstan SSR
Frunze Kirghiz, Russian 5 December 1936 15 December 1990 31 August 1991 4,257,800 1.48 198,500 0.89  Kyrgyzstan 11
Emblem of the Latvian SSR.svg
Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic[a]
Flag of Latvian SSR
Riga Latvian, Russian 21 July 1940[b] 3 August 1940 28 July 1989 4 May 1990 2,666,567 0.93 64,589 0.29  Latvia 10
Emblem of the Lithuanian SSR.svg
Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic[a]
Flag of Lithuanian SSR
Vilnius Lithuanian, Russian 21 July 1940[b] 5 August 1940 18 May 1989 11 March 1990 3,689,779 1.29 65,200 0.29  Lithuania 8
Emblem of the Moldavian SSR (1981-1990).svg
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Moldovan SSR
Kishinev Moldavian, Russian 2 August 1940 23 June 1990 27 August 1991 4,337,600 1.51 33,843 0.15  Moldova
 Transnistria
9
Coat of arms of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.svg
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Flag of Russian SFSR
Moscow Russian 7 November 1917 30 December 1922 12 June 1990 12 December 1991 147,386,000 51.40 17,075,400 76.62  Russia 1
Emblem of the Tajik SSR.svg
Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Tajikistan SSR
Dushanbe Tajik,
Russian
5 December 1929 24 August 1990 9 September 1991 5,112,000 1.78 143,100 0.64  Tajikistan 12
Emblem of the Turkmen SSR.svg
Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Turkmenistan SSR
Ashkhabad Turkmen, Russian 13 May 1925 27 August 1990 27 October 1991 3,522,700 1.23 488,100 2.19  Turkmenistan 14
Emblem of the Ukrainian SSR.svg
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Ukrainian SSR
Kiev Ukrainian, Russian 10 March 1919 30 December 1922 16 July 1990 24 August 1991 51,706,746 18.03 603,700 2.71  Ukraine
Russia Russia
2
Emblem of the Uzbek SSR.svg
Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Uzbekistan SSR
Tashkent Uzbek,
Russian
5 December 1924 20 June 1990 31 August 1991 19,906,000 6.94 447,400 2.01  Uzbekistan 4

Temporary Union Republics of the Soviet Union

Emblem Name Flag Capital Titular nationality Years of
membership
Population Area (km2) Soviet successor
Emblem of the Bukharan People
Bukharan People's Soviet Republic
Flag of the Bukharan People
Bukhara Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmens 1920–1925 2,000,000 182,193  Uzbek SSR
 Tajik SSR
 Turkmen SSR
Emblem of the Karelo-Finnish SSR.svg
Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Karelo-Finnish SSR.svg
Petrozavodsk Karelians, Finns 1940–1956 651,300
(1959)
172,400  Russian SFSR
Emblem of the Khorezm People
Khorezm People's Soviet Republic
Flag of Khiva 1920-1923.svg
Khiva Uzbeks, Turkmens 1920–1925 800,000 62,200  Turkmen SSR
 Uzbek SSR
Emblem of the Transcaucasian SFSR (1930-1936).svg
Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
Flag of the Transcaucasian SFSR (1925-1936).svg
Tiflis Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Georgians 1922–1936 5,861,600
(1926)
186,100  Armenian SSR
 Azerbaijan SSR
 Georgian SSR

Republics not recognized by the Soviet Union

Emblem Name Flag Capital Official languages Independence from Moldavian SSR declared Independence from USSR declared Population Area (km2) Post-Soviet states
Emblem of the Moldavian SSR (1981-1990).svg
Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (1952–1990).svg
Tiraspol Russian, Ukrainian, Moldovan 2 September 1990 25 August 1991 680,000
(1989)
4,163
(1989)
 Transnistria
 Moldova

Other non-union Soviet republics

Emblem Name Flag Capital Created Defunct Successor states Modern states
Red star.svg
Bavarian Soviet Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Munich 1919  Weimar Republic  Germany
Red star.svg
Bremen Soviet Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Bremen 1919  Weimar Republic  Germany
Chinese Soviet Republic
Ruijin
Bao'an
Yan'an
1931 1937  China  People's Republic of China
 Republic of China (disputed)
Far Eastern Republic
Verkhneudinsk
Chita
1920 1922  Russian SFSR  Russia
Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Kharkiv December 1917 March 1918 Ukrainian People's Republic  Ukraine
Commune of the Working People of Estonia
Narva
1918 1919  Estonia
Red star.svg
Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Helsinki 1918 Kingdom of Finland  Finland
Galician Soviet Socialist Republic
Ternopil 1920  Polish Republic  Ukraine
Red star.svg
Hungarian Soviet Republic
Budapest 1919  Hungarian Republic  Hungary
Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic
Riga
Dvinsk
Rezhitsa
1918 1920  Latvia
Red star.svg
Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
Vilnius 1918 1919 Litbel  Lithuania
Socialist Soviet Republic of Lithuania and Belorussia
Vilnius
Minsk
Smolensk
1919  Lithuania
 Polish Republic
 Byelorussian SSR
 Lithuania
 Belarus
No image.svg
Limerick Soviet Limerick 1919  United Kingdom  Ireland
Mughan Soviet Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Lankaran 1919  Azerbaijan DR  Azerbaijan
Odessa Soviet Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Odessa 1918  Ukrainian People's Republic  Ukraine
Persian Socialist Soviet Republic
Rasht 1920 1921 Qajar Persia  Iran
Red star.svg
Slovak Soviet Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Prešov 1919 Czechoslovak Republic  Slovakia
Taurida Soviet Socialist Republic
Socialist red flag.svg
Simferopol 1918 Crimean Regional Government  Ukraine
Emblem of the Tuvan People
Tuvan People's Republic
Flag of the Tuvan People
Kyzyl
1921 1944  Russian SFSR  Russian Federation
Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets
Flag of Ukrainian People
Kyiv (Kharkiv) December 1917 March 1918 Ukrainian People's Republic  Ukraine

The Turkestan Soviet Federative Republic was proclaimed in 1918 but did not survive to the founding of the USSR, becoming the short-lived Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the RSFSR. The Crimean Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Socialist Republic of Taurida) was also proclaimed in 1918, but did not become a union republic and was made into an autonomous republic of the RSFSR, although the Crimean Tatars had a relative majority until the 1930s or 1940s according to censuses. When the Tuvan People's Republic joined the Soviet Union in 1944, it did not become a union republic, and was instead established as an autonomous republic of the RSFSR.

The leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, Todor Zhivkov, suggested in the early 1960s that the country should become a union republic, but the offer was rejected.[16][17][18] During the Soviet–Afghan War, the Soviet Union proposed to annex Northern Afghanistan as its 16th union republic in what was to become the Afghan Soviet Socialist Republic.[19]

Unrealized Soviet states

Workers' communes

Autonomous Republics of the Soviet Union

See also: Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics

Several of the Union Republics themselves, most notably Russia, were further subdivided into Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics (ASSRs). Though administratively part of their respective Union Republics, ASSRs were also established based on ethnic/cultural lines.

According to the constitution of the USSR, autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and autonomous okrugs had the right, by means of a referendum, to independently resolve the issue of staying in the USSR or in the seceding union republic, as well as to raise the issue of their state-legal status.[20]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2017)
Emblem Name Flag Years of
membership
Capital Official languages Area (km2) Soviet Socialist Republic Post-Soviet subjects
Emblem of the Abkhaz ASSR (1978–1992).svg
Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Abkhaz ASSR.svg
1931–1992 Sukhumi Abkhazian, Georgian, Russian 8,600  Georgian SSR  Abkhazia
Emblem of the Adjar ASSR.svg
Adjar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Adjarian ASSR.svg
1921–1990 Batumi Georgian, Russian 2,880  Georgian SSR  Adjara
Coat of arms of Bashkir ASSR.svg
Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Bashkir ASSR.svg
1919–1991 Ufa Bashkir, Russian 143,600  Russian SFSR  Bashkortostan
Coat of arms of the Buryat ASSR.svg
Buryat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Buryat ASSR.svg
1923–1990 Ulan-Ude Buryat, Russian 69,857  Russian SFSR  Buryatia
Coat of arms of Chechen-Ingush ASSR.png
Checheno-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR.svg
1936–1944
1957–1991
Grozny Chechen, Ingush, Russian 19,300  Russian SFSR  Chechnya
 Ingushetia
Coat of Arms of Chuvash ASSR (1978-1992).svg
Chuvash Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Chuvash ASSR.svg
1925–1992 Cheboksary Chuvash, Russian 18,300  Russian SFSR  Chuvashia
Emblem of the Dagestan ASSR (1978-1991).svg
Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Dagestan ASSR.svg
1921–1991 Makhachkala Aghul, Avar, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Kumyk, Lezgian, Lak, Nogai, Tabasaran, Tat, Russian 50,300  Russian SFSR  Dagestan
Gorno-Altai Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic[note 1] 1990–1991 Gorno-Altaysk Altai, Russian[citation needed] 92,600  Russian SFSR  Altai Republic
Coat of Arms of Kabardino-Balkar ASSR.png
Kabardino-Balkarian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Kabardino-Balkar ASSR.svg
1936–1944
1957–1991
Nalchik Kabardian, Karachay-Balkar, Russian 12,500  Russian SFSR  Kabardino-Balkaria
Coat of arms of Kalmyk ASSR.svg
Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Kalmyk ASSR.svg
1935–1943
1958–1991
Elista Kalmyk Oirat, Russian 76,100  Russian SFSR  Kalmykia
QoraqalpogistonASSRgerbi.png
Karakalpak Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Karakalpak ASSR.svg
1932–1991 Nukus Karakalpak (1956-1980s), Russian 165,000  Uzbek SSR  Karakalpakstan
Coat of arms of Karelian ASSR.svg
Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Karelian ASSR.svg
1923–1940
1956–1991
Petrozavodsk Finnish (1956-1980s), Russian 147,000  Russian SFSR  Karelia
Coat of arms of Komi ASSR.svg
Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Komi ASSR.svg
1936–1990 Syktyvkar Komi, Russian 415,900  Russian SFSR  Komi Republic
Coat of arms of Mari ASSR.svg
Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Mari ASSR.svg
1936–1990 Yoshkar-Ola Mari (Meadow and Hill variants), Russian 23,200  Russian SFSR  Mari El
Coat of Arms of Mordovian ASSR.png
Mordovian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Mordovian ASSR.svg
1934–1990 Saransk Erzya, Moksha, Russian 26,200  Russian SFSR  Mordovia
Coat of Arms of Nakhichevan ASSR.png
Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Nakhichevan ASSR.svg
1921–1990 Nakhichevan Azerbaijani, Armenian, Russian 5,500  Azerbaijan SSR  Nakhchivan
Coat of arms of North Ossetian ASSR.svg
North Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the North Ossetian ASSR.svg
1936–1993 Ordzhonikidze Ossetian, Russian 8,000  Russian SFSR  North Ossetia
Coat of Arms of Tatarstan ASSR.png
Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Tatar ASSR.svg
1920–1990 Kazan Tatar, Russian 68,000  Russian SFSR  Tatarstan
Coat of arms of the Tuvan ASSR (1978-1992).svg
Tuvan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Tuvan ASSR (1978-1992).svg
1961–1992 Kyzyl Tuvan, Russian 170,500  Russian SFSR  Tuva
Coat of Arms of Udmurt ASSR.png
Udmurt Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Udmurt ASSR.svg
1934–1990 Izhevsk Udmurt, Russian 42,100  Russian SFSR  Udmurtia
Emblem of the Yakut ASSR.svg
Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Yakut ASSR.svg
1922–1991 Yakutsk Yakut, Russian 3,083,523  Russian SFSR  Sakha Republic

Former Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2018)
Emblem Name Flag Capital Titular nationality Years of
membership
Population Area (km2) Soviet Socialist Republic Post-Soviet states
Coat of arms of Crimean ASSR.svg
Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Crimean ASSR (1938).svg
Simferopol Crimean Tatars
Russians
1921–1945
1991–1992
1,126,000
(1939)
26,860  Russian SFSR
 Ukrainian SSR
 Ukraine
 Russia
Kabardin Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Kabardin ASSR (1954-1957).svg
Nalchik Kabardians 1944–1957 420,115
(1959)
12,470  Russian SFSR  Russia
Coat of arms of the Kirghiz ASSR (1921-1925).gif
Kirghiz Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic
Flag of The Kazakh Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic (1920-36).svg
Alma-Ata Kazakhs 1920–1925 6,503,000
(1926)
2,960,000  Russian SFSR  Kazakhstan
 Uzbekistan
 Russia
Coat of Arms of the Kazakh ASSR (1927-1937).gif
Kazakh Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic 1925–1936
Kirghiz Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic
Flag of the Kirghiz ASSR (1929-1937).svg
Frunze Kyrgyz 1926–1936 993,000
(1926)
196,129  Russian SFSR  Kyrgyzstan
Coat of Arms of Moldavian ASSR (1927-1938).png
Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Moldavian ASSR (1925-1932).svg
Tiraspol Moldovans 1924–1940 599,150
(1939)
8,288  Ukrainian SSR  Transnistria
 Moldova
 Ukraine
Mountain Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic Vladikavkaz Balkars, Chechens, Ingush, Kabardians, Karachays, Ossetians, Terek Cossacks 1921–1924 1,286,000
(1921)
74,000  Russian SFSR  Russia
Coat of Arms of Tajik ASSR.png
Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (1924-1929).svg
Dushanbe Tajiks 1924–1929 740,000
(1924)
 Uzbek SSR  Tajikistan
Emblem of the Turkestan ASSR.svg
Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Turkestan Autonomous SSR Flag.svg
Tashkent Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Turkmens 1918–1924 5,221,963
(1920)
 Russian SFSR  Kazakhstan
 Uzbekistan
 Turkmenistan
 Tajikistan
 Kyrgyzstan
Coat of arms of Volga German ASSR.svg
Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Volga German ASSR.svg
Engels Soviet Germans 1923–1941 606,532
(1939)
27,400  Russian SFSR  Russia

Dissolution of the Soviet Union

Further information: Dissolution of the Soviet Union

Country emblems of the Union republics, before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Note that the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (fifth in the second row) no longer exists as a political entity of any kind, and the emblem is unofficial.
Country emblems of the Union republics, before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Note that the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (fifth in the second row) no longer exists as a political entity of any kind, and the emblem is unofficial.

Starting in the late 1980s, under the rule of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet government undertook a program of political reforms (glasnost and perestroika) intended to liberalise and revitalise the Union. These measures, however, had a number of unintended political and social effects. Political liberalisation allowed the governments of the union republics to openly invoke the principles of democracy and nationalism to gain legitimacy. In addition, the loosening of political restrictions led to fractures within the Communist Party which resulted in a reduced ability to govern the Union effectively. The rise of nationalist and right-wing movements, notably led by Boris Yeltsin in Russia, in the previously homogeneous political system undermined the Union's foundations. With the central role of the Communist Party removed from the constitution, the Party lost its control over the State machinery and was banned from operating after an attempted coup d'état.

Throughout this period of turmoil, the Soviet government attempted to find a new structure that would reflect the increased authority of the republics. Some autonomous republics, like Tatarstan, Checheno-Ingushetia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, Transnistria, Gagauzia sought the union statute in the New Union Treaty. Efforts to found a Union of Sovereign States, however, proved unsuccessful and the republics began to secede from the Union. By 6 September 1991, the Soviet Union's State Council recognized the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania bringing the number of union republics down to 12. On 8 December 1991, the remaining leaders of the republics signed the Belavezha Accords which agreed that the USSR would be dissolved and replaced with a Commonwealth of Independent States. On 25 December, President Gorbachev announced his resignation and turned all executive powers over to Yeltsin. The next day the Council of Republics voted to dissolve the Union. Since then, the republics have been governed independently with some reconstituting themselves as liberal parliamentary republics and others, particularly in Central Asia, devolving into highly autocratic states under the leadership of the old Party elite.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c The annexation of the Baltic republics in 1940 is considered an illegal occupation by the current Baltic governments and by a number of foreign countries.[6][9][10][11][13][14][15] The Soviet Union considered the initial annexation legal, but officially recognized their independence on 6 September 1991, three months prior to its final dissolution
  2. ^ a b c Not internationally recognized, independent republic continued de jure.
  1. ^ Known as Oyrot Autonomous Oblast in 1922-1948 and Gorno-Altai Autonomous Oblast in 1948-1990.

References

  1. ^ Hough, Jerry F (1997). Democratization and revolution in the USSR, 1985-1991. Brookings Institution Press. p. 214. ISBN 0-8157-3749-1.
  2. ^ Federalism and the Dictatorship of Power in Russia By Mikhail Stoliarov. Taylor & Francis. 2014. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-415-30153-4. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Walter Duranty Explains Changes In Soviet Constitution". Miami News. 6 February 1944. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  4. ^ "League of Nations Timeline - Chronology 1944". Indiana.edu. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  5. ^ "United Nations - Founding Members". Un.org. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b "The Occupation of Latvia at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia". Am.gov.
  7. ^ "Estonia says Soviet occupation justifies it staying away from Moscow celebrations". Pravda.Ru. 3 May 2005. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  8. ^ Motion for a resolution on the Situation in Estonia by the EU
  9. ^ a b European Court of Human Rights cases on Occupation of Baltic States
  10. ^ a b "UNITED NATIONS Human Rights Council Report". Ap.ohchr.org. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  11. ^ a b "U.S.-Baltic Relations: Celebrating 85 Years of Friendship" (PDF). U.S. Department of State. 14 June 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  12. ^ Russia denies Baltic 'occupation' by BBC News
  13. ^ European parliament: Resolution on the situation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (No C 42/78) (1983). Official Journal of the European Communities. European Parliament.
  14. ^ Aust, Anthony (2005). Handbook of International Law. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-53034-7.
  15. ^ Ziemele, Ineta (2005). State Continuity and Nationality: The Baltic States and Russia. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 90-04-14295-9.
  16. ^ Elster, Jon (1996). The roundtable talks and the breakdown of communism. University of Chicago Press. p. 179. ISBN 0-226-20628-9.
  17. ^ Held, Joseph (1994). Dictionary of East European history since 1945. Greenwood Press. p. 84. ISBN 0-313-26519-4.
  18. ^ Gökay, Bülent (2001). Eastern Europe since 1970. Longman. p. 19. ISBN 0-582-32858-6.
  19. ^ Soviets may be poised to annex the Afghan North - Chicago Tribune. 19 August 1984. Retrieved on 10 December 2016. "Miraki said then-Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev urged Afghan President Babrak Karmal to win Afghan Communist Party approval for Moscow's annexation of eight northern provinces and their formation into the 16th Soviet republic, the Socialist Republic of Afghanistan. The defector said Brezhnev envisioned the southern half of the country as a powerless, Pa-than-speaking buffer with U.S.-backed Pakistan."
  20. ^ "СОЮЗ СОВЕТСКИХ СОЦИАЛИСТИЧЕСКИХ РЕСПУБЛИК. ЗАКОН О порядке решения вопросов, связанных с выходом союзной республики из СССР" (in Russian). Retrieved 13 June 2022.

Further reading