Post-Soviet States (the former Soviet States )
The post-Soviet states, are the 15 sovereign states that were union republics of the Soviet Union; that emerged and re-emerged from the Soviet Union following its dissolution in 1991. Russia is the primary de facto internationally recognized successor state to the Soviet Union after the Cold War; while Ukraine has, by law, proclaimed that it is a state-successor of both the Ukrainian SSR and the Soviet Union which remained under dispute over formerly Soviet-owned properties. The three Baltic states were the first to declare their independence, between March and May 1990, claiming continuity from the original states that existed prior to their annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940. The remaining 12 republics all subsequently seceded12 of the 15 states, excluding the Baltic states, initially formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and most joined the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), while the Baltic states focused on European Union and NATO membership. EU officials have stressed the importance of Association Agreements between the EU and post-Soviet states.
Several disputed states with varying degrees of recognition exist within the territory of the former Soviet Union: Transnistria in eastern Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in northern Georgia and Artsakh in southwestern Azerbaijan. Since 2014, the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in far eastern Ukraine have claimed independence. All of these unrecognized states except Artsakh depend on Russian armed support and financial aid. Artsakh is integrated to Armenia at a de-facto level, which also maintains close cooperation with Russia. Prior to its annexation to Russia in March 2014, which is not recognized by most countries, Crimea briefly declared itself an independent state.
In the political language of Russia and some other post-Soviet states, the term near abroad refers to the independent republics – aside from Russia itself – which emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Increasing usage of the term in English is connected to foreign (Anglophone) assertions of Russia's right to maintain significant influence in the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared the region to be a component of Russia's "sphere of influence", and strategically vital to Russian interests. The concept has been compared to the Monroe Doctrine.