Russia is a federation which consists of 89 subjects (Russian: субъект(ы); English transliteration: subyekty, sing. subyekt). These subjects are of equal federal rights in the sense that they have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament). However, they do differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy. Each subject of the federation belongs to one of the following categories:
- 21 republics (states) (Russian: республики, sing. республика; English transliteration: respubliki, sing. respublika) - nominally autonomous with supposed right to secede, each has its own constitution, president and parliament; is represented by the federal government in international affairs; and is supposedly home to a specific ethnic minority.
- 49 oblasts (provinces) (Russian: области, sing. область; English transliteration: oblasti, sing. oblast) - most common, regular administrative units with federally appointed governor and locally elected legislature.
- 6 krais (territories) (Russian: края, sing. край; English transliteration: kraya, sing. krai or kray, the latter being more grammatically correct, but less common) - similar to oblasts but usually more peripheral and less populated.
- 1 autonomous oblast (Russian: автономная область; English transliteration: avtonomnaya oblast).
- 10 autonomous districts (Russian: автономные округа, sing. автономный округ; English transliteration: avtonomnyye okruga, sing. avtonomny okrug) - more autonomous than oblasts but less than republics; usually with substantial or predominant ethnic minority.
- 2 federal cities (city states)(Russian: федеральные города, sing. федеральный город; English transliteration: federalnyye goroda, sing. federalny gorod) - major cities that function as separate regions.
Some of these subjects will be merged into larger territories (Krais) starting in 2004. The first new one to be formed will be the Perm Krai, comprising the current Perm Oblast and Autonomous district of the Komi-Permyaks (59 and 81 respectively in the map below). The new territory is scheduled to come into being on December 1, 2005. A referendum to decide on merging the Irkutsk Oblast with the Autonomous district of the Ust-Ordinsk Buryats into an Irkutsk Krai will be held in 2004. On April 17 2005, a referendum was held in the Autonomous districts of the Evenks and the Taymyr and the Krasnoyarsk Krai about incorporating the two former into the latter; the result was approval, and the merger is to take place on January 1 2007. Other projects include merging the Yamal Nenetses with the Tyumen Oblast to form a Tyumen Krai; uniting the Kamchatka Oblast and the Autonomous District of Koryakia; combining the Autonomous district of the Aga Buryats with the Chita Oblast; and even merging the existing Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts, the Komi Republic and the Autonomous district of the Nenetses to form a proposed Northern, or Arctic Krai, or a Republic of Pomors-Nenetses.
On April 17, 2005, a regional referendum was held to decide whether Evenkia and Taymyria should be merged into Krasnoyarsk Krai. According to the results of the referendum, the merger will take place on January 1, 2007.
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46