Satellite state

Satellite state

A satellite state (sometimes referred to as a client state) is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country. The term was coined by analogy to stellar objects orbiting a larger object, such as smaller moons revolving around larger planets, and is used mainly to refer to Central and Eastern European countries [1] of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War or to Mongolia between 1924 and 1990, for example.[citation needed] As used for Central and Eastern European countries it implies that the countries in question were "satellites" under the hegemony of the Soviet Union. In some contexts it also refers to other countries in the Soviet sphere of influence during the Cold War—such as North Korea (especially in the years surrounding the Korean War) and Cuba (particularly after it joined the Comecon). In Western usage, the term has seldom been applied to states other than those in the Soviet orbit. In Soviet usage, the term was applied to the states in the orbit of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.[citation needed]

In times of war or political tension, satellite states sometimes serve as a buffer between an enemy country and the nation exerting control over the satellite.[2] "Satellite state" is one of several contentious terms used to describe the (alleged) subordination of one state to another. Other such terms include puppet state and neo-colony. In general, the term "satellite state" implies deep ideological allegiance to the hegemonic power, whereas puppet state implies political and military dependence, and neo-colony implies (often abject) economic dependence. Depending on which aspect of dependence is being emphasised, a state may fall into more than one category.


Soviet satellite states

Post World War I

When the Outer Mongolian Revolution of 1921 broke out, Mongolian revolutionaries expelled Russian White Guards (during the Russian Civil War of 1917-1923 following the Communist October Revolution of 1917) from Mongolia, which became independent when the Qing Empire of China collapsed in 1911, with the assistance of the Soviet Red Army. The revolution also officially ended Chinese sovereignty over Mongolia, which had existed since 1691. Although the theocratic Bogd Khaanate of Mongolia still nominally continued, with successive series of violent struggles, Soviet influence got ever stronger, and after the Bogd Khaan's (Great Khan, or Emperor) death, the Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed on November 26, 1924. Although nominally independent, Mongolia was a satellite state of the Soviet Union from 1921 until 1990.

During the Russian Civil War, the Soviet Red Army troops took Tuva in January 1920, which was also part of the Qing Empire of China and a protectorate of Imperial Russia. The Tuvan People's Republic, was proclaimed independent in 1921 and was a satellite state of Soviet Union until its annexation in 1944 by the Soviet Union.

Thus Soviet satellite states in Asia included:

Post World War II

At the end of World War II, most eastern and central European countries were occupied by the Soviet Union.[3] The Soviets remained in these countries after the war's end.[4] Through a series of coalition governments including Communist parties, and then a forced liquidation of coalition members unliked by the Soviets, Stalinist systems were established in each country.[4] Stalinists gained control of existing governments, police, press and radio outlets in these countries.[4] Soviet satellite states in Europe included:[4][5][6][7]

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is sometimes also referred to as a Soviet satellite,[4][5] though it broke from the Soviet Union in the 1948 Tito-Stalin split and subsequently helped to form the Non-Aligned Movement. The People's Republic of Albania, under the leadership of Stalinist Enver Hoxha, broke ties with the Soviet Union in 1960 following the Soviet de-stalinization.[8] These countries were all members of the Eastern Bloc.

Post–Cold War use of the term

Commentators have sometimes expressed concern that United States military and diplomatic interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere might lead, or perhaps has led, to the equivalent of satellite states.[9][10] William Pfaff has warned that a permanent American presence in Iraq would "turn Iraq into an American satellite state."[11] The term has also been used to describe the relationship between Lebanon and Syria, as Syria has been accused of intervening in Lebanese political affairs.[12]

See also



  • Langley, Andrew (2006), The Collapse of the Soviet Union: The End of an Empire, Compass Point Books, ISBN 0756520096 
  • Merkl, Peter H. (2004), German Unification, Penn State Press, ISBN 0271025662 
  • Olsen, Neil (2000), Albania, Oxfam, ISBN 0855984325 
  • Rajagopal, Balakrishnan (2003), International law from below: development, social movements, and Third World resistance, Cambridge University Press,, ISBN 0521016711 
  • Rao, B. V. (2006), History of Modern Europe Ad 1789-2002: A.D. 1789-2002, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd, ISBN 1932705562 
  • Wettig, Gerhard (2008), Stalin and the Cold War in Europe, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 0742555429 
  • Wood, Alan (2005), Stalin and Stalinism, Routledge, ISBN 9780415307321 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • satellite state — or satellite country noun One which relies on and obeys the dictates of a larger, more powerful state • • • Main Entry: ↑satellite …   Useful english dictionary

  • satellite state — satelitinė valstybė statusas T sritis Politika apibrėžtis Silpnesnė valstybė, esanti galingesnės valstybės įtakos zonoje ar visiškai nuo jos priklausoma. Metafora kilo iš didelių ir mažų dangaus kūnų bei didelių ir mažų valstybių panašumų… …   Politikos mokslų enciklopedinis žodynas

  • satellite state — n. country which is in a formal manner sovereign but in fact is controlled or ruled by a larger neighboring predominant power …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Satellite (disambiguation) — Satellite may refer to:* Artificial satellite, an object placed into orbit by human endeavor ** Satellite imagery, images taken by such satellites * Natural satellite, an object naturally occurring in orbit (E.g.: a moon, a planet, a comet, an… …   Wikipedia

  • satellite — sat‧el‧lite [ˈsætlaɪt] noun 1. [countable, uncountable] a machine that has been sent into space and goes around the Earth, used for radio, television, and other electronic communication: • a satellite communications company • They provide news… …   Financial and business terms

  • satellite country — satellite state or satellite country noun One which relies on and obeys the dictates of a larger, more powerful state • • • Main Entry: ↑satellite …   Useful english dictionary

  • satellite — 1. noun 1) the satellite orbited the earth Syn: space station, space capsule, spacecraft; communications satellite, weather satellite 2) the two small satellites of Mars Syn: moon, secondary planet 3) Bulgaria was then a Russian satellite …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • satellite — n. & adj. n. 1 a celestial body orbiting the earth or another planet. 2 an artificial body placed in orbit round the earth or another planet. 3 a follower; a hanger on. 4 an underling; a member of an important person s staff or retinue. 5 (in… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Satellite village — A satellite village is a term for one or more settlements that have arisen within the outskirts of a larger one. ee also* Satellite stateExternal links* [ definition of satellites… …   Wikipedia

  • State Space Agency of Ukraine — Державне космічне агентство України Established February 1992 (as National Space Agency of Ukraine) Headquarters Kiev Primar …   Wikipedia