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The former USSR covered 22.4 million square kilometres and had a population of 288 362 296 in 1990. During 1984-1990 the former USSR consisted of 15 republics, which formed culturally, geographically and historically different regions. Yearly, approximately 45 000-50 000 males and 14 000-15 000 females committed suicide. Suicide rates in the former USSR during 1984-1990 varied greatly between different regions, from 3.5 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in the Caucasus (Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) to 11.8 in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), 18.1 in Moldova, 25.6 in the Slavic region (Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus) and 28.0 in the Baltic region (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia). The same pattern of great variation between different regions was observed for both men and women in the former USSR, with suicide rates for men ranging from 4.9 in the Caucasian region to 45.9 in the Baltics, and suicide rates for women ranging from 2.1 in the Caucasus to 12.3 in the Baltics.