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An Introduction to Breakaway Regions of the Former Soviet Union
(Released January 2009)

  by Fiona Allison  


Key Citations




Resources CultureGrams
eLibrary Resources


(Russian Federation)

map of Russia

Did You Know?
  • New Year's Day is the most popular holiday in Russia.
  • When entertaining, Russians put more food on the table than they can eat to indicate abundance.
  • Urban apartments are small and it is common for a family of three or more to live in a one- or two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom.
  • Victory Day (9 May) commemorates the end of World War II and is deeply important to most Russians.
flag of Russia
The flag of Russia, most recently adopted on 26 December 1991, features three horizontal stripes of white, blue, and red. The tricolor dates back to the rule of Peter the Great. White stands for nobility, blue for honesty, and red for courage and love.
Country and Development Data

Capital: Moscow
Latitude: 55.45
Longitude: 37.35
Population: 141,377,752 (rank=8)
Area, sq. mi.: 6,592,734 (rank=1)
Area, sq. km.: 17,075,200
Human Dev. Index rank: 67 of 177 countries
Adjusted for women: 58 of 156 countries
Real GDP per capita: $10,845
Adult literacy rate: 99% (male); 99% (female)
Infant mortality rate: 14 per 1,000 births
Life expectancy: 59 (male); 72 (female)



map of Georgia

Did You Know?
  • Walnuts are used extensively in Georgian cuisine.
  • Georgia's alphabet is one of the world's 14 original alphabets.
  • Georgians do not usually exchange gifts for Christmas.
  • It is improper to serve alcohol without first proposing a toast.
flag of Georgia
The flag of Georgia, most recently adopted on 14 January 2004, is a white rectangle with a large red cross in the center, which connects the four sides of the flag. Each of the corners of the flag also has a red cross in it. The flag's symbols may date back to the 14th century, but it was chosen in 2004 to represent the "Rose Revolution" that brought Mikhail Saakashvili's administration to power.
Country and Development Data

Capital: Tbilisi
Latitude: 41.43
Longitude: 44.49
Population: 4,646,003 (rank=115)
Area, sq. mi.: 26,912 (rank=118)
Area, sq. km.: 69,700
Human Dev. Index rank: 96 of 177 countries
Adjusted for women: NA
Real GDP per capita: $3,365
Adult literacy rate: 99% (male); 99% (female)
Infant mortality rate: 41 per 1,000 births
Life expectancy: 67 (male); 75 (female)



map of Moldova

Did You Know?
  • Moldavia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 as the Republic of Moldova.
  • Traditional dishes include mamaliga (cornmeal mush) with brânza (sheep cheese), mititei (grilled meat sausages), and placinte (flaky stuffed pastry).
  • It is considered an embarrassment for a man to admit that he cooks.
  • New Year's Day is a day for children to go to parties with Santa Claus and his granddaughter, Snow White.
flag of Moldova
The flag of Moldova, most recently adopted on 12 May 1990, features three vertical stripes-blue, yellow, and red-with a seal in the center. The colors show a kinship with Romania, which has the same banner, minus the emblem. The emblem of a Roman eagle demonstrates the heritage of the people of Moldova.
Country and Development Data

Capital: Chisinau
Latitude: 47.00
Longitude: 28.50
Population: 4,320,490 (rank=122)
Area, sq. mi.: 13,010 (rank=135)
Area, sq. km.: 33,700
Human Dev. Index rank: 111 of 177 countries
Adjusted for women: 96 of 156 countries
Real GDP per capita: $2,100
Adult literacy rate: 99% (male); 99% (female)
Infant mortality rate: 14 per 1,000 births
Life expectancy: 65 (male); 72 (female)

Excerpts taken from ProQuest's CultureGrams

eLibrary Resources
  1. Georgia-Ossetia-Rememberance

    A Georgian Orthodox priest serves at a mass grave of 51 inudentified Georgian soldiers killed in the South Ossetia conflict, during a ceremony in Tbilisi on September 17, 2008. NATO defence ministers are set to meet on September 18 in London for talks overshadowed by Georgia's conflict with Russia and the effects it will have on the military alliance's future. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed agreements on September 17 with the leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia formalizing military and economic ties with the two rebel regions in Georgia despite anger from Tbilisi and its Western allies.
    Nina Shlamova
    AFP/Getty Images 09-17-2008
  2. Year-2008-Georgia-Russia-Conflict

    YEAR-2008 A man pulls a cow in front of an Abkhaz tank in the remote Kodori Gorge of Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region outside the town of Chkhalta on August 14, 2008. The leaders of the rebel Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia vowed to push ahead with independence from Georgia, following talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. A top US official accused Russian troops of taking part in an attack that led Georgian troops to withdraw from the last part of the breakaway province of Abkhazia controlled by Tbilisi.
    Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images

  3. This picture taken on April 11, 2008 show Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin (R) talking with Igor Smirnov, the leader of the self-proclaimed republic of Transdniestr in Tighina city, Republic of Moldova. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on August 25, 2008 he saw "good chances" for solving the long-standing problem of Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestr, news agencies reported. Transdniestr fought a brief independence war after the Soviet Union's collapse but is not internationally recognised.
    Vadim Denisov/AFP/Getty Images

  4. This picture taken on on June 19, 2008 shows a woman and her daughter laying flowers at one of the common graves in the small Transdniestrian city of Bendery during a memorial ceremony devoted to the 16th anniversary of the armed conflict beginning between Moldova and Transdniestr. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on August 25, 2008 he saw "good chances" for solving the long-standing problem of Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestr, news agencies reported. The Russian-speaking province of Transdniestr declared unilateral independence from Romanian-speaking Moldova in 1990, leading to a war in 1992 in which several hundreds died before Russian forces intervened.
    Vadim Denisov/AFP/Getty Images
Resources taken from Proquest's eLibrary

  1. Tracey German
    Lecturer, Defence Studies Department, King's College London
    1. Chechnya
    2. Security in the Caucasus
    3. Russian politics and security in the post-Soviet era
    4. Energy issues in former Soviet states

  2. Jack Bielasiak
    Professor, Department of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington
    Professor Bielasiak's interests are in the fields of comparative politics, with a special interest in the process of democratization and in electoral and party systems. His major emphasis is on the transformation of post communist societies in East Europe and the former Soviet Union.

  3. Andrei P. Tsygankov
    Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, San Francisco State University
    My current research is in two related areas-- Russian foreign policy and Russian international relations theory.

Scholars taken from ProQuest's Community of Scholars