According to my knowledge, borders between individual SSR's were generally open and consisted just of signs during Soviet times. With the breakup of the union, the problem of border security arose. Now, only the Russian-Belorussian border is free to cross, other borders being controlled borders with toll checkpoints and long queues.

My question is:

  • How did the border regime between the individual SSR's change during and after the breakup of the USSR? When were border controls imposed?
  • How did the first provisional border control posts look? How were roads changed to cater for the need to control traffic?

You are right, under USSR there was no internal borders. They were introduced after the break up of Soviet Union. The situation is probably different on different state borders. But I can describe the Ukrainian-Russian border. Visas are not required for Russians and Ukrainians. But one has to carry a passport. Both countries have the so-called "internal passport", an analog of ID. It is this passport which is required, not the international one. There are check points, where the passports are checked, questions can be asked, and baggage checked. All this was introduced very shortly after the break up of Soviet Union. You can only cross the border legally at the designated crossing points. But really until 2014 there was no control of illegal crossing. After the beginning of the war, they try to control illegal crossing. In particular, Ukraine builds a fence. The plans to introduce visas are also discussed in Ukraine.


Mind that in the USSR travel was seriously discouraged (and often not allowed at all) even between cities within the same SSR for most citizens. Not sure if this was true for the entirety of the lifetime of the USSR, but for a long time you needed a permit to travel at all.

That's where the internal passports came in, they were permits issued for typically a limited period and limited city pairs someone would be allowed to travel between.

I have traveled in the USSR and didn't see border posts between the SSRs, but the sample size was small. Simply put, there was no need for border posts as people were supposed to stay put and most of them did, because there'd be no real way to travel distances anyway what with fuel rationed, public transport between cities requiring you to show your internal passport, etc. etc.

After the USSR collapsed, border posts not dissimilar to those between any other country pair would have been set up as needed to enforce the travel agreements between those countries.

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