List of socialist states

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This is a combined map of all countries that declared themselves socialist states under any definition, at some point in their history, color-coded for the number of years they claimed they were socialist:
  Over 70 years
  60–70 years
  50–60 years
  40–50 years
  30–40 years
  20–30 years
  Under 20 years
Click on image to magnify.

The following is a list of self-declared socialist states—that is to say, past and present states that have declared themselves socialist or in the process of building socialism. Self-identification is the only criterion used by the list. Therefore, all countries that claimed to be socialist are included, even if their claims are disputed. All countries that did not claim to be socialist are excluded, even in cases where those countries were considered socialist by certain outside observers.

In addition, this list includes countries that are dictatorships, but state in their constitutions that they are based on socialism. As a result, this list is best understood as a list of countries that explicitly claim to be socialist, and does not reflect the actual state itself.

The majority of self-declared socialist countries have been Marxist–Leninist states following the model of the Soviet Union or a variant of People's democracy. They share a common definition of "socialism" and they refer to themselves as socialist states on the road to communism. For this reason, they are generally, albeit erroneously, called "communist states". Meanwhile, the countries in the Non-Marxist–Leninist category represent a wide variety of different interpretations of the word "socialism." In many cases, they do not define what they mean by it[citation needed].

A sovereign state is a different entity from the political party that rules that state at any given time. Thus, a country may be ruled by a socialist political party but without the country itself claiming to be socialist. This has occurred in both one-party and multi-party political systems. In particular, there are numerous cases of democratic socialist political parties winning elections in liberal democratic states and ruling for a number of terms until a different party wins the elections. For example, the Swedish Social Democratic Party has won most elections in Sweden since 1945, but the country never adopted socialism as its official ideology. This article does not list countries that do not have constitutional references to socialism, even in cases where those countries happen to be governed by socialist parties for a certain period of time. On the other hand, countries that do maintain constitutional references to socialism are always listed, even when those countries are ruled by non-socialist political parties. For example, India is a liberal democracy[citation needed]. that has been ruled by non-socialist parties on many occasions, but it is listed here because the Indian constitution makes references to socialism[citation needed]..

Marxist–Leninist[edit]

Current[edit]

Country Since Duration Party Head of party Head of state Head of government
 People's Republic of China 1 October 1949 67 years, 64 days Communist Party of China Xi Jinping
(since 2012)
Li Keqiang
(since 2012)
 Republic of Cuba 1 July 1966 50 years, 156 days Communist Party of Cuba Raúl Castro
(since 2006)
 Lao People's Democratic Republic 2 December 1975 41 years, 2 days Lao People's Revolutionary Party Bounnhang Vorachith
(since 2016)
Thongloun Sisoulith
(since 2016)
 Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2 July 1976 40 years, 155 days Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong
(since 2011)
Tran Dai Quang
(since 2016)
Nguyen Xuan Phuc
(since 2016)

Former[edit]

Country Full name From Until Duration Constitutional
statement
 Afghanistan Democratic Republic of Afghanistan 27 April 1978 30 November 1987 9 years, 217 days Preamble: "In the present stage, the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, as the initiator and coordinator of the policy of National Reconciliation, actively carries forward together with other political, national and democratic forces this humanitarian policy."[1]
Republic of Afghanistan 30 November 1987 28 April 1992 4 years, 150 days
Total 27 April 1978 28 April 19926645 14 years, 1 day
 Albania Democratic Government of Albania 29 November 1944 11 January 1946 1 year, 43 days Section 1, Article 1: "The People's Socialist Republic of Albania is a state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which expresses and defends the interests of all the working people.[2]
People's Republic of Albania 11 January 1946 28 December 1976 30 years, 352 days
People's Socialist Republic of Albania 28 December 1976 22 March 1992 15 years, 85 days
Total 29 November 1944 22 March 1992 47 years, 114 days
 Angola People's Republic of Angola 11 November 1975 27 August 1992 16 years, 290 days Section 1, Article 2: "All sovergenity is vested in the Angolan people. The MPLA, their legitimate representative constituted from a broad front including all patriotic forces engaged in the anti-imperialist struggle, is responsible for the political, economic, and social leadership of the nation."[3]
 Belarus /  Byelorussian SSR Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic 31 July 1920 25 August 1991 70 years, 344 days Section 1, Article 1: ""The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic is a socialist state expressing the will and interests of the workers, peasants and intelligentsia, the working people of all nationalities of the republic."[4]
 Benin People's Republic of Benin 30 November 1975 1 March 1990 14 years, 91 days Legally a socialist state.[citation needed]
 Bulgaria People's Republic of Bulgaria 15 September 1946 7 December 1990 44 years, 83 days Section 1, Article 1: ""The People's Republic of Bulgaria is a socialist state of the working people from town and village, headed by the working class."[5]
 Cambodia Democratic Kampuchea 17 April 1975 10 January 1979 3 years, 268 days Legally a socialist state from 1979 to 1989, ruled by a communist party from 1975 to 1989.[citation needed]
People's Republic of Kampuchea 10 January 1979 1 May 1989 10 years, 111 days
Total 17 April 1975 1 May 1989 14 years, 14 days
Congo-Brazzaville People's Republic of the Congo 3 January 1970 15 March 1992 22 years, 72 days Presidential oath: "I swear allegiance to the Congolese people, to the Revolution and to the Congolese Labor Party. I shall undertake, while guided by Marxist–Leninist principles, [...] to devote all my strength to the triumph of the proletarian ideals"[6]
 Czechoslovakia Czechoslovak Republic 9 June 1948 11 July 1960 12 years, 32 days Section 1, Article 1: "The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic is a socialist state founded on the firm alliance of the workers, farmers and intelligentsia, with the working class as its head."[7]
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic 11 July 1960 29 March 1990 29 years, 261 days
Total 9 June 1948 29 March 1990 41 years, 293 days
 Ethiopia Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia 28 June 1974 22 February 1987 12 years, 239 days Country declared Marxist–Leninist in 1974, the Workers' Party of Ethiopia becoming "the formulator of the country's development process and the leading force of the state and in society" in 1987.[8]
People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 22 February 1987 27 May 1991 4 years, 94 days
Total 28 June 1974 27 May 1991 16 years, 333 days
 East Germany German Democratic Republic 7 October 1949 3 October 1990 40 years, 361 days Section 1, Article 1: "The German Democratic Republic is a socialist state of workers and peasants. It is the political organization of the working people of town and country under the leadership of the working class and its Marxist–Leninist party."[9]
 Grenada People's Revolutionary Government of Grenada 13 March 1979 25 October 1983 4 years, 226 days
 Hungary Hungarian People's Republic 20 August 1949 23 October 1989 40 years, 64 days Section 1, Article 2: "The Hungarian People's Republic is a socialist state."[10]
 North Korea Democratic People's Republic of Korea 9 September 1948 19 February 1992[11] 43 years, 163 days Section 1, Article 1: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is an independent socialist state representing the interests of all the Korean people."[12]
 Mongolia Mongolian People's Republic 24 November 1924 12 February 1992 67 years, 80 days Section 1, Article 2: "The Mongolian People's Republic is state which exists and is developing in the form of people's democracy."[13]
 Mozambique People's Republic of Mozambique 25 June 1975 1 December 1990 15 years, 159 days Section 1, Article 2: "Power belongs to the workers and peasants united and led by FRELIMO and organs of people's power."[14]
 Poland Polish People's Republic 28 June 1945 30 December 1989 44 years, 185 days Section 1, Article 1: "The Polish People's Republic is a socialist state."[15]
 Romania Romanian People's Republic 30 December 1947 21 August 1965 17 years, 234 days Section 1, Article 3: "The leading force of society in the Socialist Republic of Romania is the Romanian Communist Party."[16]
Socialist Republic of Romania 21 August 1965 30 December 1989 24 years, 131 days
Total 30 December 1947 30 December 1989 42 years, 0 days
 Somalia Somali Democratic Republic 21 October 1969 26 January 1991 21 years, 97 days Section 1, Article 1: "The Somali Democratic Republic is a socialist state led by the working class, and is an integral part of the Arab and African entities."[17]
 Russia /  Soviet Union Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic 9 November 1917 30 December 1922 5 years, 51 days Section 1, Article 1: "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a socialist state of the whole people, expressing the will and interests of the workers, peasants, and intelligentsia, the working people of all the nations and nationalities of the country."[18]
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 30 December 1922 26 December 1991 68 years, 361 days
Total 9 November 1917 26 December 1991 74 years, 47 days
 Ukraine /  Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic 10 March 1919 24 August 1991 72 years, 167 days Section 1, Article 1: ""The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is the whole people state that expresses the will and interests of the workers, peasants and intellectuals, workers of the republic of all nationalities.[19]
 North Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam 2 September 1945 2 July 1976 30 years, 304 days Section 2, Article 9: "The Democratic Republic of Vietnam is advancing step by step from people's democracy to socialism by developing and transforming the national economy along socialist lines, transforming its backward economy into a socialist economy with modern industry and agriculture and an advanced science and technology."[20]
 South Yemen People's Republic of South Yemen 30 November 1967 1 December 1970 3 years, 1 day Section 1, Article 3: "The Yemeni Socialist Party, armed with the Scientific Socialism theory, is the leader and guide of society and state."[21]
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen 1 December 1970 22 May 1990 19 years, 172 days
Total 30 November 1967 22 May 1990 22 years, 173 days
 Yugoslavia Democratic Federal Yugoslavia 29 November 1943 29 November 1945 2 years, 0 days Section 1, Article 2: "The socialist system in Yugoslavia is based on relations between people acting as free and equal producers and creators, whose work serves exclusively to satisfy their personal and common needs."[22]
Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia 29 November 1945 7 April 1963 17 years, 129 days
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 7 April 1963 27 April 1992 29 years, 20 days
Total 29 November 1943 27 April 1992 48 years, 150 days

Non-Marxist–Leninist[edit]

Current countries with constitutional references to socialism[edit]

Country Since Duration Form of government Constitutional
statement
 People's Republic of Bangladesh 11 April 1971 45 years, 237 days Multi-party system Preamble: "Further pledging that it shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realise through the democratic process, a socialist society free from exploitation, a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens;"[23]
 Republic of Guinea-Bissau 24 September 1973 43 years, 71 days Multi-party system [citation needed]
 Co-operative Republic of Guyana 6 October 1980 36 years, 59 days Multi-party system Preamble: "Convinced that the organisation of the State and society on socialist principles is the only means of ensuring social and economic justice for all of the people of Guyana; and, therefore, being motivated and guided by the principles of socialism"[24]
 Republic of India 18 December 1976 [25] 39 years, 352 days Multi-party system Preamble: "We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:"[26]
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea 19 February 1992 68 years, 86 days total;

24 years, 289 days since revision

One-party system Preamble: "The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the socialist motherland of Juche, which has applied the idea and leadership of Kim Il-sung."[27]
   Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal 20 September 2015 1 year, 75 days Multi-party system Section 1, Article 4: "Nepal is an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive democratic, socialism-oriented federal democratic republican state".
 Portuguese Republic 2 April 1976 40 years, 246 days Multi-party system Preamble: "The Constituent Assembly affirms the Portuguese people's decision to (...) open up a path towards a socialist society"[28]
 Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe 12 July 1975 41 years, 145 days Multi-party system [citation needed]
 Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 7 September 1978 38 years, 88 days Multi-party system Preamble: "[...] to constitute Sri Lanka into a democratic socialist republic whilst ratifying the immutable republican principles of representative democracy, and assuring to all peoples freedom, equality, justice, fundamental human rights and the independence of the judiciary"[29]
 United Republic of Tanzania 26 April 1964 52 years, 222 days Multi-party system Section 1, Article 3: "The United Republic is a democratic, secular and socialist state which adheres to multi-party democracy".[30]

Former[edit]

Country Full name From Until Duration Constitutional
statement
 Algeria People's Democratic Republic of Algeria 8 September 1963 23 February 1989 26 years, 76 days Preamble: "the democratic and popular Algerian Republic will direct its activities toward the construction of the country in accordance with the principles of socialism"[31]
 Burma Union of Burma 2 March 1962 3 January 1974 11 years, 307 days Chapter XVI General Provisions: "In order to overcome this deterioration and to build Socialism, the Revolutionary Council of the Union of Burma assumed responsibility as a historical mission, adopted the Burmese Way to Socialism, and also formed the Burma Socialist Programme Party."[32]
Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma 3 January 1974 18 September 1988 14 years, 259 days
Total 2 March 1962 18 September 1988 26 years, 200 days
 Cape Verde Republic of Cape Verde 5 July 1975 22 September 1992 17 years, 79 days [citation needed]
 Egypt Republic of Egypt 22 July 1957 22 February 1958 215 days Preamble: "The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic, socialist state based on the alliance of the working forces of the people."[33]
United Arab Republic 22 February 1958 2 September 1971 13 years, 192 days
Arab Republic of Egypt 2 September 1971 26 March 2007 35 years, 205 days
Total 22 July 1957 26 March 2007 49 years, 247 days
 Iraq Iraqi Republic 17 July 1968 9 April 2003 34 years, 266 days Chapter 1, Article 1: "Its [the country's] basic objective is the realization of one Arab State and the build-up of the socialist system."[34]
 Libya Libyan Arab Republic 1 September 1969 2 March 1977 7 years, 182 days Section 1, Article 6: "The aim of the state is the realization of socialism through the application of social justice which forbids any form of exploitation."[35]
Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 2 March 1977 15 April 1986 9 years, 44 days
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 15 April 1986 23 October 2011 25 years, 191 days
Total 1 September 1969 23 October 2011 42 years, 52 days
 Madagascar Democratic Republic of Madagascar 30 December 1975 12 September 1992 16 years, 257 days Malagasy constitutional referendum, 1975
 Seychelles Republic of Seychelles 5 June 1977 27 December 1991 14 years, 205 days Preamble: "Seychelles is declared to be a sovereign socialist republic,"[36]
 Sudan Democratic Republic of the Sudan 8 May 1973 10 October 1985 12 years, 155 days Preamble: "In the belief of our pursuit of freedom, socialism and democracy to achieve the society of sufficiency, justice and equality,"[37]
 Syria Syrian Arab Republic 8 March 1963 27 February 2012 48 years, 356 days Section 1, Article 8: "The leading party in the society and the state is the Socialist Arab Ba'ath Party. It leads a patriotic and progressive front seeking to unify the resources of the people's masses and place them at the service of the Arab nation's goals."[38]

Unrecognized[edit]

These are territories which have claimed independence, declared themselves socialist under some interpretation of the term, and created stable institutions of governance that have lasted for a considerable period of time, but which are not recognized as independent states by the international community. According to international law, these territories belong to other states.

Ephemeral[edit]

These are short-lived political entities that emerged during wars or revolutions (mostly in the aftermath of World War I) and declared themselves socialist under some interpretation of the term, but did not survive long enough to create a stable government or achieve international recognition.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Afghanistan Section Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of Afghanistan (November 30, 1987)
  2. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania Section 1, Constitution of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania (December 28, 1976)
  3. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Angola Section 1, Constitution of the People's Republic of Angola (1976)
  4. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (April 14, 1978)
  5. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bulgaria Section 1, Constitution of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (May 18, 1976)
  6. ^ Presidential Oath Maarseveen written constitutions by H.Van Maarseveen and G.Van Der Tanq (Nov 21, 1978)
  7. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (July 11, 1960)
  8. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+et0127)
  9. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic Section 1, Constitution of the German Democratic Republic (October 7, 1974)
  10. ^ Article 2 of the Constitution of the Hungarian People's Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Hungarian People's Republic (August 20, 1949)
  11. ^ In 1992 all references to Marxism–Leninism in the DPRK constitution were dropped and replaced with Juche. It still is, officially at least, a socialist state. [1]
  12. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Section 1, Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (December 27, 1974)
  13. ^ Article 2 of the Constitution of the Mongolian People's Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Mongolian People's Republic (July 6, 1960)
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Article 3 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland Section 1, Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland (July 22, 1952)
  16. ^ Article 3 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Romania Section 1, Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Romania (August 21, 1965)
  17. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Somali Democratic Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Somali Democratic Republic (August 25, 1979)
  18. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Section 1, Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (October 7, 1977)
  19. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (April 20, 1978)
  20. ^ Article 9 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Section 1, Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (November 9, 1946)
  21. ^ Article 3 of the Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Section 1, Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (October 31, 1978)
  22. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Section 1, Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (April 7, 1963)
  23. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Section Preamble, Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (November 4, 1972)
  24. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana Section Preamble, Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (February 20, 1980)
  25. ^ 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India
  26. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of India Section Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of India (November 26, 1949)
  27. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Section Preamble, Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (September 9, 1948)
  28. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic Section Preamble, Constitution of the Portuguese Republic (April 25, 1976)
  29. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Section Preamble, Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (September 7, 1978)
  30. ^ Article 3 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania Section 1, Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (April 25, 1978)
  31. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria Section Preamble, Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria (August 28, 1963)
  32. ^ Article XVI of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma Section General Provisions, Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (March 2, 1974)
  33. ^ Article Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Egypt Section Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of Egypt (July 22, 1957)
  34. ^ Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Iraq Section 1, Constitution of the Republic of Iraq (September 21, 1968)
  35. ^ Article 5 of the Constitution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Section 1, Constitution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (December 11, 1969)
  36. ^ http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03050718.1979.9985562
  37. ^ Article 5 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Sudan Section 1, Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Sudan (March 13, 1973)
  38. ^ Article 5 of the Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic Section 1, Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic (April 12, 1973)
  39. ^ [3]