Several disputed states with varying degrees of recognition exist within the territory of the former Soviet Union: Transnistria in eastern Moldova, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in northern Georgia, Republic of Artsakh in southwestern Azerbaijan. Since 2014 the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic in southeast Ukraine have claimed independence. All these polities (except Artsakh) relied on Russian military and financial aid, Artsakh is very integrated with Armenia, who also maintain close military cooperation with Russia. Prior to the Annexation of Crimea by Russia from Ukraine in March 2014, which is not recognized by most countries, it briefly declared its independence.
The 15 post-Soviet states are typically divided into the following five groupings. Each of these regions has its own common set of traits, owing not only to geographic and cultural factors but also to that region's history in relation to Russia. In addition, there are a number of de facto independent, but internationally unrecognized states (see the section Separatist conflicts below).