The New Eurasia: A Guide to the Republics of the Former Soviet Union

By David T. Twining | Go to book overview

1
The Former Soviet Union

The decline and fall of the Soviet Union is the major event of the twentieth century. To a large extent, the country has been replaced by a Commonwealth of Independent States that represents a new experiment in governance for the many peoples inhabiting this vast land. The new states of Eurasia started here, with a country of a new type that set out to revolutionize the world. Its story is the precursor to all that follows.


BASIC DATA

Total Area: 8,650,000 square miles (22,402,200 square kilometers; land area, 8,599,000 square miles [22,272,000 square kilometers]). It occupied one-sixth of the globe's inhabited land and is slightly less than 2.5 times the size of the United States. Some 10 percent of the land is arable. Until December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union was the largest country in the world.

Population: 293,047,571, with an annual growth rate of 0.7 percent. The population was composed of more than 100 ethnic groups, most of them small in number. Some 72 percent of the total population were Eastern Slavs, of whom more than 70 percent (just over 50 percent of the total population) were Russians. The remainder were Belorussians and Ukrainians. Other ethnic groups belonged to Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Caucasian, Indo-European, and other linguistic families. The primary language was Russian; and for the many ethnic groups speaking languages from Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Caucasian, Indo-European, and other linguistic families, Russian was the predominant second language. The Soviet Union had the third largest population in the world, after China and India.

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The New Eurasia: A Guide to the Republics of the Former Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Maps xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Key Terms xix
  • Notes xx
  • 1 - The Former Soviet Union 1
  • Notes 30
  • 2 - The Russian Federation 35
  • Notes 55
  • 3 - The Baltic States 63
  • Notes 79
  • 4 - Western Region 83
  • Notes 109
  • 5 - The Caucasus 115
  • Notes 136
  • 6 - Central Asia 139
  • Notes 173
  • 7 - The Debris of the Former Soviet Union 179
  • Notes 190
  • 8 - Selected Biographies 195
  • Notes 199
  • For Further Reading 201
  • Index 205
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