There are actually fifteen post-Soviet states:
- (1) Armenia,Â (2) Azerbaijan,Â (3) Belarus, (4) Estonia (which I would really love to discover one day), (5) Georgia, (6) Kazakhstan (which is enormous), (7) Kyrgyzstan, (8) Latvia, (9) Lithuania, (10) Moldova, (11) Russia, (12) Tajikistan, (13) Turkmenistan, (14) Ukraine and (15) Uzbekistan.
Of course, Russia is the most well-known country, probably followed by Ukraine and Estonia.
I did something interesting. I used the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)Â Democracy Index, a measure of the state of democracy in 167 countries, to categorise the fifteen countries:
- None of them is aÂ full democracy. Interestingly, Mauritius is one and is ranked 16th in the world. The one area where Mauritius could greatly improve is political participation by citizens.
- Three areÂ flawed democracies:Â Estonia (30th most democratic country in the world out of 167),Â Lithuania (37th) andÂ Latvia (40th).
- Five have aÂ hybrid regime: Moldova (78th),Â Georgia (79th),Â Ukraine (83rd),Â Kyrgyzstan (95th) andÂ Armenia (111th).
- And the seven remaining countries areÂ authoritarian:Â Russia (135th),Â Belarus (138th),Â Kazakhstan (141st),Â Azerbaijan (148th),Â Uzbekistan (158th),Â Tajikistan (159th) andÂ Turkmenistan (162nd).
Phew. Is this a consequence of the countries being so young? After all, the Soviet Union was dismantled in 1991 only. Or there another reason to explain why so few of them are democracies?
Anyway, here are their capitals:
- Flawed democracies:Â Estonia (Tallinn),Â Lithuania (Vilnius) andÂ Latvia (Riga).
- Hybrid regimes: Moldova (ChiÈ™inÄƒu),Â Georgia (Tbilisi),Â Ukraine (Kiev),Â Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek) andÂ Armenia (Yerevan).
- Authoritarian countries:Â Russia (Moscow),Â Belarus (Minsk),Â Kazakhstan (Astana),Â Azerbaijan (Baku),Â Uzbekistan (Tashkent),Â Tajikistan (Dushanbe) andÂ Turkmenistan (Ashgabat).
Phew (again). I am realising that I had never heard of e.g.Â ChiÈ™inÄƒu,Â Bishkek,Â Dushanbe or Ashgabat before.
I hope that I’ll have the opportunity to discover some of the these countries in the future. The democratic ones of course :-)