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Map of the alignments of Communist Governments in the Modern World (2008).

During the Cold War, the informal term "Soviet Empire" referred to the Soviet Unionmarker's influence over a number of smaller nations.

Though the Soviet Union was not ruled by an emperor and declared itself anti-imperialist, critics argue that it exhibited certain tendencies common to historic empires. Most scholars hold that the Soviet Union was a hybrid entity containing elements common to both multinational empires and modernizing nation states. Supporters of the Soviet Union, meanwhile, reject such claims and argue that the relationship between the Soviet Union and countries within its "empire" was in fact one of voluntary cooperation.


The Soviet Empire was said to consist of the following:

Member states of the Soviet Union

Over time the number of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union varied. The late Soviet Union included the following 15 republics.

Members of Comecon

States in red were members of the USSR, while states in light pink were satellites, and Yugoslavia, a communist country, but not a Soviet ally is in purple.
These countries were the closest allies of the Soviet Union. They were members of the Comecon, a Soviet-led economic community founded in 1949. In addition, the ones located in Eastern Europe were also members of the Warsaw Pact. They were sometimes called the Eastern bloc in English and were widely viewed as Soviet satellite states.

North Koreamarker was a Soviet ally, but always followed a highly isolationist foreign policy and therefore it did not join the Comecon or any other international organization of Communist states.

Soviet involvement in other countries

A number of countries had pro-Soviet governments for shorter periods of time during the Cold War. In the political terminology of the Soviet Union, these were "countries moving along the socialist road of development", as opposed to the "countries of developed socialism", listed above. Most received some aid, either military or economic, from the Soviet Union, and were influenced by it to varying degrees. Their support for the Soviet Union was short lived for various reasons; in some cases the pro-Soviet government lost power, while in other cases the same government remained in power but changed its relations with the Soviet Union.

Some of these countries were not Communist states. They are marked in italic.

Communist states opposed to the Soviet Union

Some Communist states were openly opposed to the Soviet Union and many of its policies. Though their forms of government may have been similar, they were completely sovereign from the USSR and held only formal ties. Relations were often tense, sometimes even to the point of armed conflict.

See also


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