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Baltic Republics

The term Baltic Republics referred to the three Soviet Republics of Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR[?], and Lithuanian SSR[?]. The independent states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, but regained their independence in 1991 and are now referred to as the Baltic States.

In the USSR the term "republic" described the territorial division entity. It was used in the same meaning as the "state" in USA. There were also so called "autonomous republics", counterpart of USA term "county".

In theory the countries incorporated into USSR kept their sovereignty, so formally there was, for example the Soviet Socialist Republic of Latvia (or for that matter Ukraine or Kirghizia), a seemingly independent member of the Soviet Union. It was all a polite fiction as the USSR was a uniform centralized state ruled from Moscow. So in a way Soviet "republics" are similar to ancient Roman "provinces". Much more seldom the term "republic" was used to refer to the type of government.

See also: Baltic Sea, Northeastern Europe

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