Soviet Union Information Bureau
Area and Population
THE Union of Soviet Socialist Republics occupies the largest territory of any
country in the world, with the exception of the British Empire and all
dependencies, the land area is 8,144,228 square miles (21,352,572 square
kilometers). The land area of continental United States is less than 3,000,000
The population of the U.S.S.R., as of January I, 1928, according to the
estimate of the Central Statistical Board, was 149,900,000. According to the
census of 1926-27 it was 147,013,600 at the beginning of 1927. In 1914 the
population of the same territory was 138,200,000.
Under the census of 1926-27 the population included 71,024,300 men and
The density of population of the U.S.S.R., under the figures of the census of
1926-27, is 18.1 persons per square mile.
Owing to transfers of heavily populated territories to Poland, Finland and
the border states at the close of the World War, the present territory of the
Soviet Union is 93 per cent of that of the Tsarist Empire; the population is 82
per cent of that of the former Empire.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as established by the Treaty of
Union, July 6, 1923, was composed of four constituent republics:
1. The Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic
2. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
3. The Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic.
4. The White Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.
To these the following were added during 1925:
5. The Turkoman Soviet Socialist Republic.
6. The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
These two republics, in Central Asia, were formerly in the territory of the
|Area and Population of Constituent
||Area in Sq. Km.
||Number of Inhabitants
|Russian Socialist Federerated Soviet Republic
|White Russian Soviet Socialist Republic
|Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
|Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic
|Turkoman Soviet Socialist Republic
|Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
|Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
The Russian S.F.S.R. (Soviet Russia proper) contains nearly 70 per cent of
the population of the Soviet Union and includes 92 per cent of its territory.
The population under the census of December, 1926, was 100,858,000 and the area
19,757,953 square kilometers. Its territories stretch from the Latvian and
Finnish borders and the White Russian and Ukrainian lines on the west, to the
shores of the Pacific Ocean, and from the Arctic Ocean on the north to the
shores of the Black and Caspian seas and the borders of Persia, Afghanistan,
Mongolia and Manchuria on the south. It includes forty former provinces of
European Russia, three provinces of the Northern Caucasus, the greater part of
Siberia and the Far East. Its eleven autonomous republics and thirteen
autonomous areas are representative of its principal minor national groups.
White Russian S.S.R.
The White Russian S.S.R. [Byelorussia] was
proclaimed January 1, 1919. [Note: All of these
republics were given indepedence after the Soviet Revolution of November, 1917]
It had a population of 4,983,900 under the census of December, 1926, and an
area of 126,792 square kilometers. It occupies six former counties of the Minsk
province and parts of the old Smolensk, Vitebsk and Gomel provinces.
Under the Tsars White Russia was a pale of settlement of the persecuted
Jewish population. It suffered greatly from periodical pogroms and from
inter-racial struggles. Between 1914 and 1920 it was a field for military
The racial composition is: White Russians 72.2 per cent, Russians proper 14.1
per cent, Jews 10.6 per cent, Poles 2 per cent, other nationalities 1.1 per
The country is agricultural, the soil largely marshy and lacking in
fertility. The lack of land was so great that the expropriation of the large
holdings did not solve the problem. Some 250,000 acres have been added to the
farm lands by drainage, and this will be increased to 5,400,000 acres during the
next three years.
Principal industries: wood-working, linen, matches, leather, confections, oil
pressing, glass, paper, foodstuffs. During the past few years the following
industries have made large advances: machine building, knitting, tobacco,
The Ukrainian S.S.R. is the most densely populated of the Constituent
Republics with 19.7 per cent of the population of the Soviet Union in 2 per cent
of the area. Under the census of December, 1926, its population was 29,020,300,
with an area of 451,731 square kilometers. The Ukrainian S.S.R. was proclaimed
in December, 1917, and formed in December, 1919. It borders on the Black Sea,
with Poland and Rumania on its western and southwestern boundary respectively.
Of the total population 80 per cent are Ukrainians, 9.5 per cent Russians,
5.4 per cent Jews, 1.6 per cent Poles, and 3.5 per cent other nationalities:
Greeks, Bulgarians, Rumanians, Gypsies, etc. There are also about 5,000,000
Ukrainians living in other portions of the Soviet Union. The city population of
the Ukrainian S.S.R. includes 47.5 per cent Ukrainians, 25 per cent Russians,
22.7 per cent Jews. Three-fourths of the schools teach in the Ukrainian
language. In respect to occupation 85.2 per cent of the population are farmers,
6 per cent workers, 4.2 per cent office employees, 4.6 per cent in various
The Ukraine contains the famous black soil belt, the chief wheat-producing
section of the Soviet Union. Sugar beets and oil seeds are important crops and
livestock breeding is rapidly advancing.
In the Donetz Basin the Ukraine has a huge storage of coal, iron and other
metals. Here are produced 75 per cent of the coal mined in the country, 70 per
cent of the iron and a large proportion of the manganese, and there are heavily
developed chemical and dye industries, salt mines, etc. Electric power
development is making rapid advances and in the rural districts over 200,000
farms are supplied with current. On the Dnieper River the largest hydroelectric
development in Europe is under construction, with an ultimate capacity of
The Transcaucasian Republic represents a union of three Soviet Socialist
Republics: Azerbaijan, formed April, 1920; Armenia, formed December, 1920; and
Georgia, formed February, 1921. In December, 1922, the First Transcaucasian
Soviet Congress resulted in the federation of the three in a single Constituent
Republic. The population under the census of December, 1926, was 5,850,700 and
the area 184,492 square kilometers. Azerbaijan has a population of 2,313,200,
capital Baku. Armenia has a population of 875,000, capital Erivan. Georgia has a
population of 2,660,900, capital Tiflis. Azerbaijan contains one autonomous
republic and Georgia two.
In addition to Armenians, Azerbaijan Turks, Georgians, Russians, Germans,
Greeks and Persians, the conglomerate population includes many small
nationalities such as Abkhasians, Adjarians, Aisors (Assyrians), Jews, Kurds,
Ossetes, Talyshes, Tats, etc. Each of the nationalities maintains its own
language, customs and habits. Some of them, like the Georgians and Armenians,
have civilizations over a thousand years old, while others until recently have
had no written language.
The Tsarist Government played one nationality against the other on the
principle of "divide and rule."
Azerbaijan has at Baku the most important oil field in the world; Georgia in
Chiaturi possesses the greatest known deposits of manganese. Other industries
include copper mining, cotton ginning, silk spinning, leather factories, tanning
plants, saw mills, dairies. Many new electrification projects are recently
completed or in construction. Newly discovered natural riches include deposits
of lead, zinc, silver, asbestos and pumice stone. Cotton is the principal crop.
Uzbek S.S.R. and Turkoman S.S.R.
These two republics in Central Asia were organized in 1924.
The Uzbek S.S.R. had a population of 5,270,200 under the census of December,
1926, and an area of 340,388 square kilometers. The Turkoman S.S.R. had a
population of 1,030,500 and an area of 491,216 square kilometers. The area
includes a new regrouping of Khiva and Bokhara.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Tsarist Government conquered
this territory and suppressed all national independence and culture.
Cotton is the chief crop. Vineyards, fruit orchards and silk growing are also
important. Irrigation is a necessity to agriculture and many large projects are
under way. The five-year plan calls for an extension of the irrigated area to
There is a marked development in cotton textile plants, ginning, coal mining,
the oil industry, and the salt industry.
Autonomous Republics and Areas
The eleven Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics in the R.S.F.S.R. with their
capitals and total populations are as follows:
The thirteen Autonomous Areas in the R.S.F.S.R., with the administrative
center and total population of each, follow:
|Autonomous Areas of the R.S.F.S.R.
|The autonomous S.S.R., in the Ukrainian
|The three Autonomous Republics in the
|The two Autonomous Areas in the
|Mountain Karabakh (Azerbaijan)
|South Ossetian (Georgia)
|The Autonomous Republic in the Uzbek S.S.R.
The divisions and subdivisions among the Constituent Republics of the
U.S.S.R. correspond to racial or geographical demarkations. The autonomous
republics and areas enjoy the greatest degree of self-government within their
domestic spheres. Each has control over its own school system. Each of the
several score of nationalities within the Soviet Union has complete freedom to
use its own language in written or spoken form, including its use in the courts
and schools, and to develop its own peculiar social usages. Compulsory
Russification ended with the formation of the Soviet State.
Each constituent republic retains the right of free withdrawal from the
Every citizen of the U.S.S.R. is completely free to conform to any religion
or sect, or to none.
Ownership of all land and natural resources rests with the State in trust for
all the people. Otherwise private property is recognized in the Civil Code.
The population of the U.S.S.R. is composed of 182 different nationalities,
speaking 149 different languages or dialects. Under the census of December,
1926, the following thirty nationalities composed 97.6 per cent of the total
||Per cent of Total Population
(Southwest Siberia and Central Asia)
|Uzbeks (Central Asia)
|Tartars (Middle Volga and Crimea)
|MordvinianS (Middle Volga)
|Germans (Lower Volga)
|Chuvashes (Middle Volga)
|Ta] iks (Central Asia)
|Poles (chiefly Ukraine and White Russia)
|Kirghizes (Central Asia)
|Turkomans (Central Asia)
|Votyaks (Eastern Russia)
|Man (Eastern Russia)
|Chechens (Northern Caucasus)
|Moldavians (Southwestern Ukraine)
|Karelians (Northwestern Russia)
|Meshcheriaks (Eastern Russia)
|Buryats (Eastern Siberia)
|Circassians (Northern Caucasus)
|Yakuts (Eastern Siberia)
|Greeks (South Russia and Ukraine)
|Principal Cities and Population
||Census of December, 1926
||Urban Census of 1923
The population of Moscow January 1, 1928, was 2,142,000, and that of
A number of cities have been renamed since the Revolution. The following are
the principal changes:
Some of the Autonomous Areas have no urban settlements, and in such cases their
administrative centers are towns outside their own borders. This is the case
with the Adigheh Area, the Chechen Area, the Circassian Area, the Kanchal Area,
the Ingush Area and the North-Ossetian Area.
Not to be confounded with the Cossacks.
They are sometimes erroneously referred to as Tartars.
They are also called "Zyrians" or "Sryenians".