Visualizing Which Countries Drink the Most Beer

  • 3 min read
  • Aug 05, 2022

Visualizing Which Countries Drink the Most Beer

Timeline: A Century of Unions in Europe (1920-2022)

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, starting one of the largest wars on European soil since World War II. The invasion reflects Russia’s long-held belief that Ukraine — and many former Soviet republics and satellite states — are still theirs to claim. But what is the “former glory” of Russia?

Of the former Soviet Union republics and satellite states, many have moved to join the European Union, becoming more “Westernized” in Putin’s eyes and further from Russian values. In fact, Ukraine recently confirmed its candidacy status in the EU.

Now a whole century has passed since the formation of the Soviet Union. A lot has changed since then, and this visual timeline shows how countries in and around Europe have aligned over the course of 100 years.

ℹ️ In the image above, the Soviet satellite countries are not shown as part of the Soviet Union, as they were never official republics. Candidate countries have not yet been shown to be in the EU accession process.

Soviet Union / Soviet Union

The Soviet Union, officially the USSR, was formed 100 years ago in 1922 and dissolved almost 70 years later in 1991. At its peak, it was home to 15 republics 286 million People, from the Pacific Ocean to the Ukraine, with virtual control and influence in Western countries stretched to East Germany.

Prominent leaders described both the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, from its founding under Vladimir Lenin to its dissolution under Mikhail Gorbachev. Latvia and Lithuania were among the first republics to move for sovereignty, marking the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Here’s a look at which modern-day countries were part of the Soviet Union.

Modern day country Named under the Soviet Union registery date The date of gaining independence
🇬🇪 Georgia Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic 1922 1991
🇺🇦 Ukraine Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic 1922 1991
🇦🇲 Armenia Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic 1922 1991
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic 1922 1991
🇧🇾 Belarus Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic 1922 1991
🇷🇺 Russia Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 1922 1991
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan Soviet Socialist Republic 1924 1991
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan Turkmenistan Soviet Socialist Republic 1924 1991
🇹🇯 Tajikistan Tajikistan Soviet Socialist Republic 1929 1991
🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic 1936 1991
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Soviet Socialist Republic 1936 1991
🇱🇹 Lithuania Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic 1940 1990
🇪🇪 Estonia Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic 1940 1991
🇱🇻 Latvia Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic 1940 1990
🇲🇩 Moldova Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic 1940 1991

In addition, there were several satellite states that had not officially joined the Soviet Union, but operated under heavy Soviet influence.

Modern day country The name of the country at that time
🇦🇱 Albania People’s Republic of Albania
🇵🇱 Poland People’s Republic of Poland
🇧🇬 Bulgaria People’s Republic of Bulgaria
🇷🇴 Romania People’s Republic of Romania
🇨🇿 Check Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic
🇸🇰 Slovakia Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic
🇩🇪 Germany East Germany (German Democratic Republic)
🇭🇺 Hungary People’s Republic of Hungary
🇸🇮 Slovenia Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
🇭🇷 Croatia Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
🇷🇸 Serbia Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
🇲🇪 Montenegro Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
🇲🇰 North Macedonia Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
🇲🇳 Mongolia People’s Republic of Mongolia

Today, there are still some countries that align with Putin and Russia over the EU.

Belarus, sometimes called “Europe’s last dictatorship”, shares a border with Ukraine and Russia, facilitating the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine. In addition, according to the Pentagon, Russian missiles were launched from Belarus.

European Union

The European Union was officially established in 1993 and has 27 member states. Some former republics of the Soviet Union, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are now part of the union. The last member to join was Croatia in 2013.

The European Union has its roots in the European Coal and Steel Community, which was formed in 1952 with Italy, France, West Germany and several other countries as its first members. There are currently six candidate countries to join the EU – all but one of which were former Soviet satellite states or official republics:

  • 🇦🇱 Albania
  • 🇲🇪 Montenegro
  • 🇲🇰 North Macedonia
  • 🇷🇸 Serbia
  • 🇹🇷 Turkey
  • 🇺🇦 Ukraine
  • 🇲🇩 Moldova

There are many reasons why countries decide to join the EU: common currency, easy movement of goods and people across national borders, and of course military protection.

However, in 2020, the UK officially left the union, making it the first country in history to do so. Here we take a look at all the member states of the European Union.

European Union member states Membership year Republic of the former Soviet Union? A satellite state of the former Soviet Union?
🇦🇹 Austria 1995 no no
🇧🇪 Belgium 1952 no no
🇧🇬 Bulgaria 2007 no Yeah
🇭🇷 Croatia 2013 no Yeah
🇨🇾 Cyprus 2004 no no
🇨🇿 Check 2004 no Yeah
🇩🇰 Denmark 1973 no no
🇪🇪 Estonia 2004 Yeah
🇫🇮 Finland 1995 no no
🇫🇷 France 1952 no no
🇩🇪 Germany 1952 no Yes (East Germany)
🇬🇷 Greece 1981 no no
🇭🇺 Hungary 2004 no Yeah
🇮🇪 Ireland 1973 no no
🇮🇹 Italy 1952 no no
🇱🇻 Latvia 2004 Yeah
🇱🇹 Lithuania 2004 Yeah
🇱🇺 Luxembourg 1952 no no
🇲🇹 Malta 2004 no no
🇳🇱 Holland 1952 no no
🇵🇱 Poland 2004 no Yeah
🇵🇹 Portugal 1986 no no
🇷🇴 Romania 2007 no Yeah
🇸🇰 Slovakia 2004 no Yeah
🇸🇮 Slovenia 2004 no Yeah
🇪🇸 Spain 1986 no no
🇸🇪 Sweden 1995 no no

Ukrainian landscape

The Iron Curtain that stretched across Europe, dividing the continent politically and ideologically, has since been pulled back. But the war in Ukraine is a threat to many in Europe, and countries such as Poland have expressed concern about conflict spillovers.

In late June, the European Council approved Ukraine’s bid for fast-track EU membership, but the process is likely to be long—it took Croatia, for example, 10 years to officially join at the normal pace.

Beyond other needs such as military support, joining the EU would allow Ukrainian refugees to easily migrate and work in other EU countries.

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