Bizarre Borders - USSR

Samanyu Ram

December 23, 2022

The borders of the USSR, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, were a topic of great political and military importance during the Cold War. The Soviet Union was a federal socialist state consisting of 15 constituent republics, and its borders encompassed a vast territory spanning over 22 million square miles. These borders were a representation of the ideological divide between communism and capitalism during the Cold War.

The Soviet Union's borders were heavily influenced by the Russian Empire, which had expanded significantly during the 19th century through conquest and colonization. These territories included much of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. However, the Soviet Union also acquired new territories after the Russian Revolution in 1917, including the states of Belarus and Ukraine, which had previously been part of the Russian Empire. The Soviet Union's borders were not always stable, and there were several border disputes and conflicts with neighboring countries. One of the most significant border disputes occurred with China in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when the two countries fought over the ownership of several islands in the Amur and Ussuri Rivers. The dispute was eventually resolved through negotiations, but it highlighted the potential for border tensions between the two communist states.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union's borders were heavily fortified and guarded by the Soviet military. The border with the Western Bloc, which consisted of NATO countries, was particularly heavily guarded. The Iron Curtain, a term coined by Winston Churchill, referred to the physical and ideological divide between the Western Bloc and the Soviet Union. The Iron Curtain was not a physical blockade but a metaphor for the divisions between the two sides during the Cold War. The Soviet Union's borders with non-communist countries were not always peaceful. The Soviet Union was involved in several conflicts with neighboring countries, including the Soviet-Afghan War and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. These conflicts were motivated by the Soviet Union's desire to spread communism and maintain control over its neighboring states.

In addition to the physical borders of the Soviet Union, there were also ideological borders that divided the country from the rest of the world. The Soviet Union was a closed society, and citizens were heavily monitored and restricted in their freedom of movement and expression. The Soviet Union's borders were not only physical barriers, but they also represented the limitations placed on Soviet citizens by the state. The borders of the Soviet Union changed significantly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The constituent republics of the Soviet Union declared their independence, and the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The newly independent states inherited the borders of the Soviet Union, but many of these borders were disputed and have continued to be a source of conflict in the region.