An assessment of four butterfly families in the scope of the fauna of the entire former Soviet Union (FSU), this text provides an historical review of lepidopterological research and of some of its key figures in Russia, dating back to the early-18th century. Altogether, over 400 butterfly species or sub-species, including four Central Asian species new to science, are documented from the FSU, each supplied with a brief account of its taxonomy, status, ecology, biology, variability, and distribution. Virtually each taxon is illustrated by 1:1 colour photographs of the male and female both from upperside and beneath, with several old and new type specimens involved. In the cases of sibling/similar forms, their genitalic distinguishing characters are depicted as well. Based on butterfly distribution patterns, a general zoogeographical division of the FSU is proposed. In addition, several dozen photographs display a number of habitats/landscapes supporting some of the more unusual butterflies in the FSU.