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.

The majority of self-declared socialist countries have been Marxist–Leninist states inspired by the example of the Soviet Union. 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 called "communist states" by Western sources (although they do not use that name for themselves). 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.

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 single-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 that has been ruled by non-socialist parties on many occasions, but it is listed here because the Indian constitution makes references to socialism.



CountrySincePartyHead of partyHead of stateHead of government
 People's Republic of China1 October 1949Communist Party of ChinaXi Jinping
(since 2012)
Li Keqiang
(since 2012)
 Republic of Cuba1 July 1961Communist Party of CubaRaúl Castro
(since 2006)
 Lao People's Democratic Republic2 December 1975Lao People's Revolutionary PartyChoummaly Sayasone
(since 2006)
Thongsing Thammavong
(since 2010)
 Socialist Republic of Vietnam2 July 1976Communist Party of VietnamNguyen Phu Trong
(since 2011)
Truong Tan Sang
(since 2011)
Nguyen Tan Dung
(since 2006)


CountryFull nameFromUntilConstitutional
 AfghanistanDemocratic Republic of Afghanistan27 April 197830 November 1987Preamble: "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 Afghanistan30 November 198728 April 1992
 AlbaniaDemocratic Government of Albania29 November 194411 January 1946Section 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 Albania11 January 194628 December 1976
People's Socialist Republic of Albania28 December 197622 March 1992
 AngolaPeople's Republic of Angola11 November 197527 August 1992Section 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]
 BeninPeople's Republic of Benin30 November 19751 March 1990Legally a socialist state
 BulgariaPeople's Republic of Bulgaria15 September 19467 December 1990Section 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."[4]
People's Republic of Kampuchea CambodiaDemocratic Kampuchea17 April 197510 January 1979Legally a socialist state from 1979 to 1989, ruled by a communist party from 1975 to 1989
People's Republic of Kampuchea10 January 19791 May 1989
Congo-BrazzavillePeople's Republic of the Congo3 January 197015 March 1992Presidential 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"[5]
 CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovak Republic9 June 194811 July 1960Section 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."[6]
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic11 July 196029 March 1990
 EthiopiaProvisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia28 June 197422 February 1987Country 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.[7]
People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia22 February 198727 May 1991
 East GermanyGerman Democratic Republic7 October 19493 October 1990Section 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."[8]
 HungaryHungarian People's Republic20 August 194923 October 1989Section 1, Article 2: "The Hungarian People's Republic is a socialist state."[9]
 North KoreaDemocratic People's Republic of Korea9 September 194819 February 1992[10]Section 1, Article 1: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is an independent socialist state representing the interests of all the Korean people."[11]
 MongoliaMongolian People's Republic24 November 192412 February 1992Section 1, Article 2: "The Mongolian People's Republic is state which exists and is developing in the form of people's democracy."[12]
 MozambiquePeople's Republic of Mozambique25 June 19751 December 1990Section 1, Article 2: "power belongs to the workers and peasants united and led by FRELIMO and organs of people's power."[13]
 PolandPolish People's Republic28 June 194519 July 1989Section 1, Article 1: "The Polish People's Republic is a socialist state."[14]
 RomaniaRomanian People's Republic30 December 194721 August 1965Section 1, Article 3: "The leading force of society in the Socialist Republic of Romania is the Romanian Communist Party."[15]
Socialist Republic of Romania21 August 196521 December 1989
 SomaliaSomali Democratic Republic21 October 197626 January 1991Section 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."[16]
 Soviet UnionUnion of Soviet Socialist Republics30 December 192226 December 1991Section 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."[17]
 North VietnamDemocratic Republic of Vietnam2 September 194530 April 1975Section 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."[18]
 South YemenPeople's Democratic Republic of Yemen30 November 196722 May 1990Section 1, Article 3: "The Yemeni Socialist Party, armed with the Scientific Socialism theory, is the leader and guide of society and state."[19]
 YugoslaviaDemocratic Federal Yugoslavia29 November 194329 November 1945Section 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."[20]
Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia29 November 19437 April 1963
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia7 April 196327 April 1992


Current countries with constitutional references to socialism[edit]

CountrySinceForm of governmentConstitutional
 People's Republic of Bangladesh11 April 1971Multi-party systemPreamble: "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;"[21]
 Cooperative Republic of Guyana6 October 1980Multi-party systemPreamble: "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"[22]
 Republic of India18 December 1976 [23]Multi-party systemPreamble: "We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a one Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:"[24]
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea19 February 1992One-party systemPreamble: "The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the socialist motherland of Juche, which has applied the idea and leadership of Kim Il-Sung."[25]
 Portuguese Republic2 April 1976Multi-party systemPreamble: "The Constituent Assembly affirms the Portuguese people’s decision to [...] ensure the primacy of a democratic state based on the rule of law and open up a path towards a socialist society,"[26]
 Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka7 September 1978Multi-party systemPreamble: "[...] 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"[27]
 United Republic of Tanzania26 April 1964Multi-party systemSection 1, Article 3: "The United Republic is a democratic, secular and socialist state which adheres to multi-party democracy".[28]


CountryFull nameFromUntilConstitutional
 AlgeriaPeople's Democratic Republic of Algeria8 September 196323 February 1989Preamble: "the democratic and popular Algerian Republic will direct its activities toward the construction of the country in accordance with the principles of socialism"[29]
 BurmaSocialist Republic of the Union of Burma2 March 196223 September 1988Chapter 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."[30]
 EgyptRepublic of Egypt22 July 195722 February 1958Preamble: "The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic, socialist state based on the alliance of the working forces of the people."[31]
United Arab Republic22 February 19582 September 1971
Arab Republic of Egypt2 September 197126 March 2007
 IraqRepublic of Iraq17 July 19689 April 2003Chapter 1, Article 1: "Its [the country's] basic objective is the realization of one Arab State and the build-up of the socialist system."[32]
 LibyaLibyan Arab Republic1 September 19692 March 1977Section 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."[33]
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya2 March 197723 October 2011
 SudanDemocratic Republic of Sudan8 May 197310 October 1985Preamble: "In the belief of our pursuit of freedom, socialism and democracy to achieve the society of sufficiency, justice and equality,"[34]
 MadagascarDemocratic Republic of Madagascar30 December 197512 September 1992Legally a socialist single-party state.
 SyriaSyrian Arab Republic8 March 196327 February 2012Section 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."[35]


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]


  1. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of Afghanistan (November 30, 1987)
  2. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania (December 28, 1976)
  3. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the People's Republic of Angola (1976)
  4. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (May 18, 1976)
  5. ^ Presidential Oath Maarseveen written constitutions by H.Van Maarseveen and G.Van Der Tanq (Nov 21, 1978)
  6. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (July 11, 1960)
  7. ^
  8. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the German Democratic Republic (October 7, 1974)
  9. ^ Article 2, Section 1, Constitution of the Hungarian People's Republic (August 20, 1949)
  10. ^ 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]
  11. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (December 27, 1974)
  12. ^ Article 2, Section 1, Constitution of the Mongolian People's Republic (July 6, 1960)
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Article 3, Section 1, Constitution of the People's Republic of Poland (July 22, 1952)
  15. ^ Article 3, Section 1, Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Romania (August 21, 1965)
  16. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the Somali Democratic Republic (August 25, 1979)
  17. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (October 7, 1977)
  18. ^ Article 9, Section 1, Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (November 9, 1946)
  19. ^ Article 3, Section 1, Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (October 31, 1978)
  20. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (April 7, 1963)
  21. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (November 4, 1972)
  22. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (February 20, 1980)
  23. ^ 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India
  24. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of India (November 26, 1949)
  25. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (September 9, 1948)
  26. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Portuguese Republic (April 25, 1976)
  27. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (September 7, 1978)
  28. ^ Article 3, Section 1, Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (April 25, 1978)
  29. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria (August 28, 1963)
  30. ^ Article XVI, Section General Provisions, Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (March 2, 1974)
  31. ^ Article Preamble, Section Preamble, Constitution of the Republic of Egypt (July 22, 1957)
  32. ^ Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of the Republic of Iraq (September 21, 1968)
  33. ^ Article 5, Section 1, Constitution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (December 11, 1969)
  34. ^ Article 5, Section 1, Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Sudan (March 13, 1973)
  35. ^ Article 5, Section 1, Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic (April 12, 1973)
  36. ^ [3]