In Autumn 1991 the fifteen republics that had together constituted the Soviet Union, also known as the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, broke out of the union to become independent states, more or less overnight. In the course of a few months, Eastern Europe acquired six new countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. Central Asia got five new countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. And three new countries emerged in the Caucasus region: Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
5 things you didn’t know about the former Soviet Republic…
At its peak, the Soviet Union covered one sixth of the surface of the Earth, and was home to over a hundred ethnic groups.
Ashgabat in Turkmenistan has the most marble-clad buildings per square metre in the world, is the city with the greatest number of fountain pools in the world, is home to the world’s biggest enclosed Ferris Wheel (47.6m high), and has a building that incorporates the world’s largest architectural star.
More than three quarters of Kazakhstan is desert and it has on average fewer than six people per square kilometre. The country lost 10% of its population as a result of WWII, a loss on a par with Germany.
The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, today’s Kazakhstan, accounted for twelve percent of the total area of the Soviet Union, which was a staggering 22, 402, 200 square metres. By comparison, Russia is currently 17, 075, 200 square kilometres. In other words, Kazakhstan alone accounts for over half the territory lost by Russia in the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Gengis Khan invented the postal system in the 1200s, and his grandson Kublai Khan, who ruled the eastern section of the empire, introduced paper money as a universal means of payment.
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