A major feature of the Soviet Union was its multinational nature and state structure. In 1926, ethnic Russians made up only 47 per cent of the total population of the USSR, rising to 50.8 per cent in 1989. The next largest national group in 1989 was the Ukrainians, at 15.5 per cent. Then came Uzbeks (5.8 per cent), Belorussians (3.5 per cent), Kazakhs (2.8 per cent) and Tatars (2.3 per cent). The other nationals who had their ‘own’ republics in 1991 — Armenians, Tadzhiks, Azeris, Latvians, Georgians, Moldavians, Lithuanians, Turkmen, Kyrgyz and Estonians, each constituted less than 2 per cent of the total population. A further 69 nationalities were officially recognised on Soviet territory, meaning that the Soviet Union was a genuinely multinational state consisting of one major group (Russians) and numerous smaller ones.
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