Forces: Where the Soviet Union Lives On


November 1, 2005: The defunct Soviet Union lives on, after a fashion, in the sixteen military bases Russia still maintains in countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. For various reasons, these troops were allowed to remain after the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. These bases are manned by 40,000 soldiers and 25,000 civilians (most of them local, but many of them ethnic Russians whose families have long lived in the area). Some of the "host" nations are anxious to get their Russian "guests" to go home, but the Russians have been reluctant leave places like Georgia and Ukraine. Militarily, Russia is still much more powerful than the nations formed when the Soviet Union dissolved, so negotiations to get the remaining "Soviet" troops to go home, proceed slowly.




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