In Part 1, I looked at the rapid breakup and reassembly of the Russian Empire during the Russian Revolution. This post portrays with maps the breakup of the Soviet Union from 1989-1991. Again, the primary source of these maps is the wikipedia article Timeline of Russian History (20th century).
(East Germany is excluded — I didn’t have room on the map.)
Compared against the Russian Revolution, we see that many of the areas that broke apart — Ukraine, the Baltic States, the Caucasus, southern Central Asia — were the same “problem areas” during the Russian Revolution. I also find it interesting that Belarus and Kazakhstan were the very last to go independent, and the decision to separate from Mother Russia was controversial with many of the institutions and domestic powers-that-be at the time.
Looking at the geography of these two regions is, I believe, relevant to understanding the geographic dilemmas to Russia’s near future — to be addressed in Part 3.