The Independent Republics


Describe the geography of Ukraine.
Compare the geography of Belarus and Moldovia.
List the major geographic features of the Caucasus republics.
Identify the unique geographical characteristics of the Central Asian republics.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 15: The Independent Republics

Until 1991, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova were part of the Soviet Union. The rich soil of Ukraine has earned it the name "breadbasket of Europe." Belarus maintains a Communist government and close ties to Russia. Moldova suffers from disagreements among different ethnic groups.

Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. They are dominated by the Caucasus Mountains. Until 1991 these small republics were part of the Soviet Union. Armenia and Georgia both have a Christian heritage, while Azerbaijan is a Muslim country. Agriculture is important in all three countries. Azerbaijan has made agreements with foreign companies to develop deposits of oil and natural gas that lie under the Caspian Sea.

The five nations of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan were all part of the former Soviet Union. Kazakhstan has rich deposits of oil and other mineral resources. The country, however, must find solutions for environmental problems caused by rapid industrialization. Most of the countries are poor, and most people are farmers.

     Quick Notes


Ukraine's landscape consists of lowlands, highlands, a coastal plain, and a central plains area.
Ukraine is called the breadbasket of Europe because of its fertile farmland.
Ukraine's capital, Kiev, was the center of an early Slavic civilization.

Belarus and Moldova

The major economic activities of Belarus are farming, manufacturing, and service industries.
Moldovans have strong ties to Romanians in language and culture.
The Caucasus Republic
The Caucasus Mountains cover most of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
The people of Armenia and Georgia have separate cultures, languages, and heritages.
Located on the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan is a major oil-producing country.

The Central Asian Republics

Mountains, deserts, and plains form the landscapes of the Central Asian republics.
Most of the peoples of the Central Asian republics practice the Islamic religion.
Farmers in these republics depend on irrigation to grow cotton, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

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