If we are to translate it literally we'll get «неразвитые страны», but this has even more negative connotation for some russian speakers than «страны третьего мира» for which «undeveloped countries» acts almost like a euphemism.

I did come up with «страны не прошедшие стадию развития», which doesn't sound like an insult but is a little longish.

  • 3
    "Страны с большим потенциалом развития" :)
    – Artemix
    Sep 24, 2014 at 9:40

5 Answers 5


It seems that Wikipedia doesn't make a difference between terms 'undeveloped countries' and 'developing countries'. I never heard Russian equivalent of 'undeveloped countries'. So why not use the Russian equivalent of 'developing countries': 'развивающиеся страны'?


I'd use слаборазвитые страны. See this article in Wikipedia: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Развивающиеся_страны. The search for "undeveloped countries" in the English Wikipedia redirects to the article "Developing countries" which is the English counterpart of the article I gave the link to above.


The literal translation of underdeveloped countries would beнедоразвитые страны which is even worse. I would use страны динамичного развития or динамично-развивающиеся страны.

  • That's a good translation, but it has positive connotation, rather than a neutral one. Undeveloped doesn't mean the same as developing.
    – v010dya
    Sep 24, 2014 at 4:18
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    "Динамично развивающиеся страны" - 20 years ago I think it would be the term for Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan (see here, for instance).
    – Artemix
    Sep 24, 2014 at 5:06

You can say "Страны третьего мира" - third world countries

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    It is a bit outdated nowadays. "First world" was US and Western Europe, "Second" - USSR and Eastern Europe and "Third" - all other countries. Since "second" is now missing, all conception is now broken.
    – Artemix
    Sep 25, 2014 at 6:59

слаборазвитые страны and backward translation - south

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