Lesson 6

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Lesson 6

    Lesson 6:




    This lesson is designed to familiarize students with the composition of the former Soviet

    Union and the break-up of the country into 15 independent nations. Students will locate

    former republics on a map of the former USSR, research basic information on the newly

    independent countries, and present their findings to the class.


    Students will:

    ? Locate the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union

    ? Locate the capitals of the newly independent nations

    ? Research basic information about each former republic


    ? “Mapping the Former Soviet Union” handout

    ? “Profiles of the Newly Independent States” handout

    ? Wall map from which students can identify nations of the Former Soviet



    1. Mapping the Former Soviet Union

    Using a wall map, have students place pins or stick-notes to identify everything in the

    “Mapping the Former Soviet Union” handout.

2. Reporting on the Former Soviet Union

    Using the internet, textbooks, and other resources, have students work in pairs to produce

    travel brochures about each of the 15 nations that were once Soviet satellites. Make sure

    that the students highlight the nation’s history, ethnic composition, language, culture and

    entry and independence from the Soviet Union. See the example (located below) of what

    to include.


    What is the Soviet Union? A teacher’s reference for students

    The Soviet Union formed in 1922 when Lenin took power. The Bolsheviks

    became Communists and embarked on a plot to overthrow capitalism. Originally,

    the USSR consisted of 4 republics. Because of military occupation and Russia’s

    strength, eleven more countries eventually joined the USSR. The Soviet Union

    was the largest country in the world, bordering 12 nations. Life in the Soviet

    Union was hard. The good intentions of communism would have brought

    everyone freedom and equality. But the leaders manipulated communism and it

    became a power struggle, leaving people poor no better off than before. Because

    of constitutional and economic conflict, the Soviet Union was on the brink of a

    civil war, and thus disintegrated in 1991.

    The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

3. Discussing the Former Soviet Union

    Discuss the multi- ethnic nature of the Soviet Union and Russia. What special challenges

    do these new nations now face that they are independent? (Possible Answers: difficulties

    of creating a new system of government, educational system, banking and currency

    system, import, and export markets, military and defense issues foreign relations with

    Russia and other nations, etc.)

Teacher’s Reference:

    Russia’s Relationship with former USSR republics

    The former republics of the USSR have had independence for a little less than two

    decades. Unfortunately, many of these republics are struggling to form governments and

    constitutions. Some countries still have dictators who abuse power like the leaders of the

    Soviet Union. Other countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought wars now that

    they are not governed by the USSR. All of the countries are still trying to recover from

    the effects of half a century of the USSR. However, many of these countries still maintain

    good relationships with Russia. Ukraine, for example, remains friendly with Russia,

    politically and economically.

The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

On a wall map, locate the following republics of the former Soviet Union.

    Note: These are the names of the republics before 1991. Several nations have changed their names since they have obtained independence. If so, label the new name.

    Label the following republics.

    Former Republics New Name

    ? Russia ? Russia

    ? Byelorussia ? Belarus

    ? Ukraine ? Ukraine

    ? Moldova ? Moldova

    ? Estonia ? Estonia

    ? Latvia ? Latvia

    ? Lithuania ? Lithuania

    ? Armenia ? Armenia

    ? Georgia ? Georgia

    ? Azerbaijan ? Azerbaijan

    ? Kazakhstan ? Kazakhstan

    ? Krygyzia ? Kyrgyzstan

    ? Turkmenistan ? Turkmenistan

    ? Uzbekistan ? Uzbekistan

    ? Tajikistan ? Tajikistan

    Label the following countries that share a border with one of these new nations.

    ? Romania

    ? Slovakia

    ? Iran

    ? Poland

    ? Norway

    ? Mongolia

    ? Hungary

    ? China

    ? North Korea

    ? Finland

    ? Turkey

    ? Afghanistan

    The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

Label the following nearby nations.

    ? Sweden

    ? Pakistan

    ? Japan

    ? Bulgaria The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.


    into Country Geography People Religion


    11,503 square miles Population: 2,991,360 Gregorian 1936 Armenia Armenian 93% Christian Slightly larger than Maryland Azeri 1%

     4% Kurds

    Capital: Yerevan

    Languages: Armenian,


    33,428 square miles Population: 7,868,385 Muslim 1936 Azerbaijan Azeri 90%

    Slightly larger than Maine Dagestani 3.2%

     Russian 2.5%

    Capital: Baku

    Languages: Azeri, Russian 80,134 square miles Population: 10,310,520 Eastern 1924 Belarus 81% Belorussian Orthodox Slightly smaller than Kansas 11% Russian

     7% Polish, Ukrainian Capital: Minsk

    Languages: Belorussian, Russian 45,100 square miles Population: 1,341,664 Lutheran 1940 Estonia 65%Estonian

    Slightly larger than 28% Russian

    Vermont/New Hampshire 2.5% Ukrainian

Capital: Tallinn Languages: Estonian, Russian,

    Ukrainian, Finnish

    69,904 square miles Population: 4,693,892 Georgian 1936 Georgia 70% Armenian Orthodox, Slightly larger than South 8% Armenian Muslim, Carolina 6% Russian Russian

     6% Azeri Orthodox, Capital: Tblisi Armenian

    Languages: Georgian, Russian,


    1,048,878 square miles Population: 15,143,704 Muslim 1936 Kazakhstan Kazakh 53%

    Slightly larger than four times Russian 30%

    the size of Texas Ukrainian 3.7%

    Capital: Almaty Languages: Kazakh, Russian 76,621 square miles Population: 5,081,429 Muslim 1936 Kyrgyzstan 65% Kyrgyz Russian Slightly smaller than South 12% Russian Orthodox Dakota 13% Uzbek

Capital: Bishkek Languages: Kyrgyz, Uzbek,


    The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

    64,100 square miles Population: 2,306,306 Lutheran, 1940 Latvia 58% Latvian Roman Slightly larger than West 30% Russian Catholic Virginia 4% Belorussian Russian

     3% Ukrainian Orthodox Capital: Riga

    Languages: Latvian, Lithuanian, 65,200 square miles Population: 3,607,899 Lutheran, 1940 Lithuania 81% Lithuanian Roman Slightly larger than West 9% Russian Catholic Virginia 7% Polish

    Capital: Vilnius Languages: Lithuanian, Polish,


    33,700 square miles Population: 4,446,455 Eastern 1940 Moldova 65% Moldovan/ Orthodox Slightly smaller than twice the Romanian

    size of Hawaii 14% Ukrainian

     13% Russian

    Capital: Chinean 5.2% Gagauz

    Languages: Moldovan, Russian,


    6,591,027 square miles Population:143,782,338 Russian 1924 82% Russian Orthodox, Russia Slightly more than 1.8 times 4% Tatar Muslim, the size of US Georgian


    Languages: Russian Capital: Moscow Jewish, 55,237 square miles Population: 7,011,556 Muslim 1929 Tajikistan 65% Tajik

    Slightly smaller than 25% Uzbek

    Wisconsin 3% Russian

    Languages: Tajik, Russian Capital: Dunshabe

    188,407 square miles Population: 4,863,169 Muslim 1925 Turkmenistan 73% Turkmen

    Slightly larger than California 10% Russian

     9% Uzbek

    Capital: Ashkabad

    Languages: Turkmen, Russian,


    233,028 square miles Population: 47,732,079 Ukrainian 1925 Ukraine 78% Ukrainian Orthodox Slightly smaller than Texas 17% Russian

    Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Capital: Kiev

    Romanian, Polish

    172,696 square miles Population: 26,410,416 Muslim 1925 Uzbekistan 80% Uzbek Slightly larger than California 5.5% Russian

     5% Tajik

    Capital: Tashkent 3% Kazakh

    Languages: Uzbek, Russian,


    The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

The Center For Teaching International Relations. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.

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