In my work about Russian history, I want to write "Russia, former USSR". What word should I use instead of former, in Russian? I do have ideas about various options, like "которая раньше называлась", but these options are too primitive.

Thank you in advance!

  • 6
    Russia, former USSR can be translated differently, based on what you are trying to say. By itself the statements that "Russia was USSR" or that "Russia was called USSR" are incorrect. If anything, English-speaking media had a habit of referring to USSR as "Russia" over a long period of time, but if translated directly, this would sound more like a political trolling or inferior geography knowledge to a native speaker. Knowing the context for your text fragment might make it sound valid though e.g. when referring to people or institutes, like Russian (formerly USSR) News Agency.
    – DK.
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 4:22
  • 1
    Could you please provide some context?
    – Quassnoi
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 14:24
  • 2
    People, listen to @DK. It is silly to translate phrases without knowing the context. One of the golden rules of a translator. :)
    – tum_
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 11:59

6 Answers 6


The most approximate translation would be, i believe, is "бывший".
Russia, former USSR - Россия, бывший СССР. Is often used in this situation.
The simpler is better in most situations.

  • 5
    бывший, жи ши пиши с "и", this is the old first-grade saying.
    – d.k
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 2:01
  • Никак нет, исключения отсутствуют
    – L_Pav
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 2:21
  • Вот так вот, бывает!
    – L_Pav
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 2:23
  • 2
    Бывший is the first word which comes to mind but your title isn't quite correct because the formations are not equal. The latter is a part of the former. Did you think of that?
    – V.V.
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 4:45
  • 3
    @user3694243 если вы не согласны с правкой есть несколько способов что-то с этим сделать, но грубость точно в их число не входит.
    – shabunc
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 6:18

I guess, it is not correct. Russia had been a part of USSR. Russia hadn't changed its name while it was a part of USSR. I think right is 'Russia, the successor of the USSR'.


You may use the term Ex-USSR (or former USSR) to describe the territory, (people, cultural features/difference, etc.) on the territories which were belonging to USSR. But definitely not to describe Russia. Russia was РСФСР and it was the largest republic of the USSR. And as @Vladislav correctly noted, Russia is a successor of the USSR - Россия стала правопреемницей СССР. And Russia was separate country before the October Revolution and become RSFSR in the union with other republics.


In this certain case, you could use "ранее" - "Россия, ранее СССР". Not mentioning it is actually incorrect.


It is not really that often when you read such things in Russian. But if you really need to connect the idea of Russian past to its name, I would recommend Россия (бывший СССР).


You can write the following. Россия, бывший "Cоюз"

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