What were the national animals of the Soviet Union? At YPT, we love symbols, flags, and national icons. But one of the aspects we haven’t delved into as much is national animals. Generally signifying the character and wildlife of a country, a national animal is a sacred symbol. So, in classic YPT style, we’re going to cover the national animals of every former Soviet state!
National Animals of the Soviet Union
National Animal of Armenia – Golden Eagle
The national animal of Armenia is the mighty Golden Eagle. The Armenian nation chose the eagle as their national animal due to its unique features in the form of courage, wisdom, power, nobility, and patience among the animal kingdom.
National Animal of Azerbaijan – Karabakh Horse
When it comes to national animals of the Soviet Union, we tip our hats to Azerbaijan. Throughout the Soviet Union and today, the Karabakh Horse has remained a national animal of Azerbaijan. This was chosen due to its unique appearance, extraordinary workability, agility, speed and spirit. The Karabakh horse is a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse developed in the now-disputed region of Karabakh many years ago.
National Animal of Kazakhstan – Golden Eagle
National animals of the Soviet Union! We had to get to Kazakhstan at some point. Ah Kazakhstan, home to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, it’s a country that places a lot of stock in its national animal: the golden eagle. Sharing the same national animal as Armenia, Kazakhstan went one step further and put the national animal on the Kazakhstan flag in 1992. But the eagle goes back long before then and was used in the flags of various Kazakh tribes over the centuries. The Golden Eagle represents Kazakhstan’s strength, independence, freedom and flight into the future. Achievement unlocked, we did not mention Borat once.
National Animal of Kyrgyzstan – Snow Leopard
Today, the national anthem of the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan is the Maghor Goat. But back in the Soviet Union, it was the Snow Leopard. Known as the most beautiful and spiritual medium-sized wild cat, Snow Leopard was chosen on account of its bravery, wildness, fearlessness, and beauty.
National Animal of Georgia – What National Animal?
Interestingly, the Caucasus country of Georgia doesn’t have an official national animal. However, if you ask Georgians, they will often tell you it’s widely accepted, albeit unofficially, to be the wolf. The wolf goes way back in Georgian history. For example, in Svaneti, the wolf is of huge significance and has a place in thousand years of traditions that were kept safe in the mountains.
National Animal of Latvia – White Wagtail
The Baltic country of Latvia has a great population of various birds. So it’s no surprise that their national animal is of the winged variety. Frequently mentioned in Latvian folk songs as a symbol of hard work and diligence, the White Wagtail was chosen as the national bird of Latvia in 1960.
National Animal of Lithuania – White Stork
Lithuania, neighbouring Latvia, also has a large population of various birds. So they took the same route of choosing one for their national animal. The white stork was declared as the national animal of Lithuania in 1973. Lithuanians believe the white stork brings harmony to families on whose land they nest and also believe that storks can bring babies when they nest on the land of someone who’s infertile.
National Animal of Estonia -European Wolf
The one Baltic country that had to be awkward and choose an animal that wasn’t a bird was Estonia. Instead, they chose the wolf. The Estonian people proudly see the wolf as a natural component of Estonian nature. Interestingly, the Estonian language even has over 500 different names and stories for this magnificent animal.
National Animal of Tajikistan – Marco Polo Sheep
Whilst the Caspian Tiger is the modern national animal of Tajikistan, back in the USSR the Marco Polo sheep took its place amongst the national animals of central Asia. These mountain sheep have roamed the Pamir mountains for centuries. Unfortunately, when the USSR collapsed, the Marco Polo sheep became prime animals to be hunted and were threatened with being wiped out.
National Animal of Turkmenistan – Golden Horse
A country with golden statues in the streets wouldn’t be complete without a golden horse as its national animal, would it? The Ahalteke is a Turkmen horse breed that was accepted as the national animal of Turkmenistan during the USSR. Known for having speed, endurance, intelligence, and a distinctive metallic sheen, it’s a pretty classy national animal. After the USSR, the Turkmenistan leader switched things up and replaced the golden horse with dogs as the national animal.
National Animal of Uzbekistan – Turkestan Sand Cat
Arguably one of the cutest national animals on this list, the Turkestan Sand Cat was accepted as the national animal of Uzbekistan during the Soviet Union. The sand cat resides in the Karakum & Kyzylkum Deserts. These nocturnal kitties are small with long hair between their toes to protect their feet from the hot sand.
National Animal of Belarus – European bison
One of the most endangered mammal species in the world, even more so than the Black Rhino in Africa, is the European Bison. An animal of great importance for the sustainable endurance of European biodiversity, especially when it comes to plants. The European bison become an iconic species for nature conservation due to its rarity and impressive appearance. As such, Belarus chose it as their national animal in the USSR and it remains the same today.
National Animal of Moldova – Eurasian Aurochs
Commonly known as aurochs, this animal is natively found in Africa, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, parts of North America, South America and also Oceania. It is also Moldova’s national animal and is well accepted by the people of Moldova for its multiple values and that is the reason it designates as the official national animal of the country. It is also the national animal of Madagascar and Nepal.
National Animal of Ukraine – Rufous Nightingale
The country with the most heartwarming story behind national animals in Ukraine. Ukrainians consider the Nightingale to be a holy bird that is a symbol of kindness and love. There is also an interesting folklore tale about the nightingale. Centuries ago these birds lived only in India and flew all over the world to collect diverse songs for an Indian king. Once the bird visited Ukraine, it found that there were only sad Ukrainian songs there, as Ukrainian people worked hard relentlessly.
The bird decided to cheer them up with its melodious singing. People revived and surprised their overseas guest with their new cheerful songs. Since then every spring nightingales return to Ukraine to hear lovely Ukrainian songs. In Ukrainian folklore, the nightingale is a symbol of volition, high inspiration and unsurpassed talent. This bird is often mentioned in Ukrainian songs and poems as a harbinger of spring. Nightingale patterns are also popular in decorating Ukrainian embroidered art.
National Animal of Russia – Brown Bear
When it comes to national animals of the Soviet Union it should be remembered that Russia was its own republic, point made. So, finally, we reach the end of our national animals of the USSR. It wouldn’t be right to finish off with any other country than Mother Russia! Many of you probably knew already, but the national animal of Russia, both then and now, is the mighty brown bear.
As well as being the national animal, Russians themselves respect the bear for its raw power and cunning, and bears are very often used as mascots or as a part of a design on a logo. After the USSR, the bear was taken up as the symbol of the United Russia Party, which has dominated political life in Russia since the early 2000s.’
National animals of the Soviet Union – National animal of the USSR
So, we have covered the nationals animals of the Soviet Union, as in the 15 constituent republics, but the USSR was itself a country. So, what was the national animal of the USSR? I’m not gonna lie we did a lot of research on this matter, but there is scant information on the subject. To some extents with Russia being the dominant republic of the USSR the bear was kinda the national animal, but officially at least it was not.
From what we can gather the national bird of the Soviet Union was the Paragon Falcon, pretty cool by any standard. But the national animal of the Soviet Union? Well, it was the “Working Horse”, and when it comes to national animals of the Soviet Union, nothing says communism more than a working horse!
And that is our guide to the national animals of the Soviet Union! Want to see the old USSR for yourself? Check out our Soviet Tours.