Plan of Study
Describe the geography of
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 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.
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
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
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
Most of the peoples of the Central Asian republics practice the Islamic
Farmers in these republics depend on irrigation to grow cotton, grains,
fruits, and vegetables.