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Communist Countries: Past & Present

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  • 0:00 What Is Communism?
  • 0:40 Communist Countries in…
  • 3:02 Communist Countries in…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Have you ever wondered how many communist nations exist to this day, and how many there were in the past? This lesson goes over the most prominent communist nations past and present.

What Is Communism?

Communism and capitalism are two different sides of a system of socioeconomic organization. Communism is a kind of theory or system that purports ownership of all property, resources, and so forth should belong to a community or to the entire state, and where society is controlled by a single political party. That's the simple version of it, of course. This lesson isn't about elucidating the nuances of what communism actually is. It's about showcasing the communist countries that have existed in the past, and those that continue to exist today.

Communist Countries in the Past

Perhaps the most important communist country of all time, at least in the past, was that of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and abbreviated as CCCP using Cyrillic letters. So if you see someone wearing a shirt with CCCP written on it, you know what it refers to.

The Soviet Union was created in 1922 and dissolved in 1991. Its capital was Moscow, now part of Russia, and besides Russia consisted of 14 additional Soviet Socialist Republics that are now independent countries, including:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Moldova
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

The Soviet Union was humongous. It occupied almost 1/6th of the Earth's entire land surface, and covered 11 of the world's 24 time zones. Its population reached a peak of a bit less than 300 million before its collapse. It was the Western world's archrival for world economic, military, and ideological domination for much of the 20th century.

The Soviet Union also heavily influenced many other European nations that were once communist as well. These included the likes of Poland, Albania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and East Germany.

Of course, communism wasn't limited to just Europe, as it had spread to many parts of the world. Some former communist nations found outside Europe were African nations such as:

  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Congo-Brazzaville
  • Ethiopia
  • Mozambique
  • Somalia

As well as former communist Asian and Middle Eastern nations like:

  • Afghanistan
  • Cambodia
  • Mongolia
  • North Vietnam
  • South Yemen

Communist Countries in the Present

There aren't as many communist nations left in the world as there once were before the breakup of the Soviet Union. In fact, the USSR's troubles and eventual breakup in 1991 caused a domino effect all over the world, as many communist nations fell within two years on either side of this year.

Not all fell, however. The remaining communist nations are a bit controversial, as some claim that the economic and even political structures in these countries no longer truly represent communism. Nonetheless, they have deep roots in communism.

The most important remaining communist nation is without a doubt China, or the People's Republic of China, a country whose communist forces officially took power in 1949. It's now the world's second largest country, behind Russia, and the most populous country in the world, with a population of over 1.3 billion people.

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