The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (Russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects of the federation (Russian: субъекты федерации subyekty federatsii), are the constituent entities of Russia, its top-level political divisions according to the Constitution of Russia. Since March 18, 2014, the Russian Federation constitutionally has consisted of 85 federal subjects, although the two most recently added subjects are recognized by most states as part of Ukraine.
According to the Russian Constitution, the Russian Federation consists of republics, krais, oblasts, cities of federal importance, an autonomous oblast and autonomous okrugs, all of which are equal subjects of the Russian Federation. Three Russian cities of federal importance (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Sevastopol) have a status of both city and separate federal subject which comprises other cities and towns (Zelenograd, Troitsk, Kronstadt, Kolpino, etc.) within each federal city—keeping older structures of postal addresses. In 1993 the Russian Federation comprised 89 federal subjects. By 2008 the number of federal subjects had decreased to 83 because of several mergers. In 2014 Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea became the 84th and 85th federal subjects of Russia.
Every federal subject has its own head, a parliament, and a constitutional court. Each federal subject has its own constitution and legislation. Subjects have equal rights in relations with federal government bodies. The federal subjects have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly. They do, however, differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy (asymmetric federalism).
Post-Soviet Russia formed during the history of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic within the USSR and didn't change at the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1992 during so-called "parade of sovereignties", separatist sentiments and the War of Laws within Russia, the Russian regions signed the Federation Treaty (Russian: Федеративный договор Federativny Dogovor), establishing and regulating the current inner composition of Russia, based on the division of authorities and powers among Russian government bodies and government bodies of constituent entities. The Federation Treaty was included in the text of the 1978 Constitution of the Russian SFSR. The current Constitution of Russia, adopted by national referendum on 12 December 1993, came into force on December 25, 1993 and abolished the model of the Soviet system of government introduced in 1918 by Vladimir Lenin and based on the right to secede from the country and on unlimited sovereignty of federal subjects (in practice it was never allowed), which conflicts with country's integrity and federal laws. The new constitution eliminated a number of legal conflicts, reserved the rights of the regions, introduced local self-government and didn't grant the Soviet-era right to secede from the country. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the political system became de jure closer to other modern federal states with a republican form of government in the world. In the 2000s, following the policy of Vladimir Putin and of the United Russia party (dominant party in all federal subjects), the Russian parliament changed the distribution of tax revenues, reduced the number of elections in the regions and gave more power to the federal authorities.
There are several groupings of Russian regions:
An official government translation of the Constitution of Russia in Article 5 states: "1. The Russian Federation shall consist of republics, krays, oblasts, cities of federal significance, an autonomous oblast and autonomous okrugs, which shall have equal rights as constituent entities of the Russian Federation."
How to translate the Russian term was discussed during the 49th annual American Translators Association conference in Orlando, in which Tom Fennel, a freelance translator, argued that the term "constituent entity of the Russian Federation" should be preferred to "subject". This recommendation is also shared by Tamara Nekrasova, Head of Translation Department, Goltsblat BLP, who in her "Traps & Mishaps in Legal Translation" presentation in Paris stated that "constituent entity of the Russian Federation is more appropriate than subject of the Russian Federation (subject would be OK for a monarchy)".
|Rank (as given in constitution and ISO)||Russian (Cyrillic)||Russian (Latin)||English – official translation of the constitution ||English – unofficial translation of the constitution||ISO 3166-2:RU (ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-2 (2010-06-30))|
|N/A||субъект Российской Федерации||subʺyekt Rossiyskoy Federatsii||constituent entity of the Russian Federation||subject of the Russian Federation||(not mentioned)|
|4||город федерального значения||gorod federalʹnogo znacheniya||city of federal significance||city of federal importance||autonomous city|
(the Russian term used in ISO 3166-2 is автономный город avtonomnyy gorod)
|5||автономная область||avtonomnaya oblastʹ||autonomous oblast||autonomous region||autonomous region|
|6||автономный округ||avtonomnyy okrug||autonomous okrug||autonomous area||autonomous district|
Each federal subject belongs to one of the following types:
|The most common type of federal subject with a governor and locally elected legislature. Commonly named after their administrative centres.|
|Nominally autonomous, each has its own constitution and legislature; is represented by the federal government in international affairs; is meant to be home to a specific ethnic minority.|
|Essentially the same as oblasts. The title "krai" ("frontier" or "territory") is historic, related to geographic (frontier) position in a certain period of history. The current krais are not related to frontiers.|
|With a substantial or predominant ethnic minority.|
|Major cities that function as separate regions.|
1 autonomous oblast
|The only autonomous oblast is the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.|
|Federal district||Economic region||Area
|01||Adygea, Republic of||Maykop||Southern||North Caucasus||7,600||447,109||1922|
|02||Bashkortostan, Republic of||Ufa||Volga||Ural||143,600||4,104,336||1919|
|03||Buryatia, Republic of||Ulan-Ude||Far Eastern||East Siberian||351,300||981,238||1923|
|04||Altai Republic||Gorno-Altaysk||Siberian||West Siberian||92,600||202,947||1922|
|05||Dagestan, Republic of||Makhachkala||North Caucasian||North Caucasus||50,300||2,576,531||1921|
|06||Ingushetia, Republic of||Magas
(Largest city: Nazran)
|North Caucasian||North Caucasus||4,000||467,294||1992|
|07||Kabardino-Balkar Republic||Nalchik||North Caucasian||North Caucasus||12,500||901,494||1936|
|08||Kalmykia, Republic of||Elista||Southern||Volga||76,100||292,410||1957|
|09||Karachay-Cherkess Republic||Cherkessk||North Caucasian||North Caucasus||14,100||439,470||1957|
|10||Karelia, Republic of||Petrozavodsk||Northwestern||Northern||172,400||716,281||1956|
|12||Mari El Republic||Yoshkar-Ola||Volga||Volga-Vyatka||23,200||727,979||1920|
|13||Mordovia, Republic of||Saransk||Volga||Volga-Vyatka||26,200||888,766||1930|
|14||Sakha (Yakutia) Republic||Yakutsk||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||3,103,200||949,280||1922|
|15||North Ossetia-Alania, Republic of||Vladikavkaz||North Caucasian||North Caucasus||8,000||710,275||1924|
|16||Tatarstan, Republic of||Kazan||Volga||Volga||68,000||3,779,265||1920|
|17||Tuva Republic||Kyzyl||Siberian||East Siberian||170,500||305,510||1944|
|19||Khakassia, Republic of||Abakan||Siberian||East Siberian||61,900||546,072||1930|
|20||Chechen Republic||Grozny||North Caucasian||North Caucasus||15,300||1,103,686||1991|
|22||Altai Krai||Barnaul||Siberian||West Siberian||169,100||2,607,426||1937|
|75||Zabaykalsky Krai||Chita||Far Eastern||East Siberian||431,500||1,155,346||2008|
|41||Kamchatka Krai||Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||472,300||358,801||2007|
|23||Krasnodar Krai||Krasnodar||Southern||North Caucasus||76,000||5,125,221||1937|
|24||Krasnoyarsk Krai||Krasnoyarsk||Siberian||East Siberian||2,339,700||2,966,042||1934|
|25||Primorsky Krai||Vladivostok||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||165,900||2,071,210||1938|
|26||Stavropol Krai||Stavropol||North Caucasian||North Caucasus||66,500||2,735,139||1934|
|27||Khabarovsk Krai||Khabarovsk||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||788,600||1,436,570||1938|
|28||Amur Oblast||Blagoveshchensk||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||363,700||902,844||1932|
|31||Belgorod Oblast||Belgorod||Central||Central Black Earth||27,100||1,511,620||1954|
(Largest city: Cherepovets)
|36||Voronezh Oblast||Voronezh||Central||Central Black Earth||52,400||2,378,803||1934|
|38||Irkutsk Oblast||Irkutsk||Siberian||East Siberian||767,900||2,581,705||1937|
(Largest city: Novokuznetsk)
|46||Kursk Oblast||Kursk||Central||Central Black Earth||29,800||1,235,091||1934|
|47||Leningrad Oblast||Largest city: Gatchina[b]||Northwestern||Northwestern||84,500||1,669,205||1927|
|48||Lipetsk Oblast||Lipetsk||Central||Central Black Earth||24,100||1,213,499||1954|
|49||Magadan Oblast||Magadan||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||461,400||182,726||1953|
|50||Moscow Oblast||Largest city: Balashikha[c]||Central||Central||44,300||6,618,538||1929|
|52||Nizhny Novgorod Oblast||Nizhny Novgorod||Volga||Volga-Vyatka||76,900||3,524,028||1936|
|53||Novgorod Oblast||Veliky Novgorod||Northwestern||Northwestern||55,300||694,355||1944|
|54||Novosibirsk Oblast||Novosibirsk||Siberian||West Siberian||178,200||2,692,251||1937|
|55||Omsk Oblast||Omsk||Siberian||West Siberian||139,700||2,079,220||1934|
|61||Rostov Oblast||Rostov-on-Don||Southern||North Caucasus||100,800||4,404,013||1937|
|65||Sakhalin Oblast||Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||87,100||546,695||1947|
|68||Tambov Oblast||Tambov||Central||Central Black Earth||34,300||1,178,443||1937|
|70||Tomsk Oblast||Tomsk||Siberian||West Siberian||316,900||1,046,039||1944|
|72||Tyumen Oblast||Tyumen||Ural||West Siberian||1,435,200||3,264,841||1944|
|79||Jewish Autonomous Oblast||Birobidzhan||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||36,000||190,915||1934|
|83||Nenets Autonomous Okrug||Naryan-Mar||Northwestern||Northern||176,700||41,546||1929|
|86||Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Yugra||Khanty-Mansiysk
(Largest city: Surgut)
|87||Chukotka Autonomous Okrug||Anadyr||Far Eastern||Far Eastern||737,700||53,824||1930|
|89||Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug||Salekhard
(Largest city: Noyabrsk)
|82||Crimea, Republic of[d]||Simferopol||Southern||North Caucasus||26,964||1,966,801||2014|
b. ^ According to Article 13 of the Charter of Leningrad Oblast, the governing bodies of the oblast are located in the city of St. Petersburg. However, St. Petersburg is not officially named to be the administrative center of the oblast.
c. ^ According to Article 24 of the Charter of Moscow Oblast, the governing bodies of the oblast are located in the city of Moscow and throughout the territory of Moscow Oblast. However, Moscow is not officially named to be the administrative center of the oblast.
e. ^ In February 2000, the former code of 20 for the Chechen Republic was cancelled and replaced with code 95. License plate production was suspended due to the Chechen Wars, causing numerous issues, which in turn forced the region to use a new code.
Starting in 2005, some of the federal subjects were merged into larger territories. In this process, six very sparsely populated subjects (comprising in total 0.3% of the population of Russia) were integrated into more populated subjects, with the hope that the economic development of those territories would benefit from the much larger means of their neighbours. The merging process was finished on 1 March 2008. No new mergers have been planned since March 2008. The six territories became "administrative-territorial regions with special status". They have large proportions of minorities, with Russians being a majority only in three of them. Four of those territories have a second official language in addition to Russian: Buryat (in two of the merged territories), Komi-Permian, Koryak. This is an exception: all the other official languages of Russia (other than Russian) are set by the Constitutions of its constituent Republics (Mordovia, Chechnya, Dagestan etc.). The status of the "administrative-territorial regions with special status" has been a subject of criticism because it does not appear in the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
|Date of referendum||Date of merger||Original entities||Original codes||New code||Original entities||New entity|
|2003-12-07||2005-12-01||1, 1a||59 (1), 81 (1a)||90||Perm Oblast (1) + Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug (1a)||Perm Krai|
|2005-04-17||2007-01-01||2, 2a, 2b||24 (2), 88 (2a), 84 (2b)||24||Krasnoyarsk Krai (2) + Evenk Autonomous Okrug (2a) + Taymyr Autonomous Okrug (2b)||Krasnoyarsk Krai|
|2005-10-23||2007-07-01||3, 3a||41 (3), 82 (3a)||91||Kamchatka Oblast (3) + Koryak Autonomous Okrug (3a)||Kamchatka Krai|
|2006-04-16||2008-01-01||4, 4a||38 (4), 85 (4a)||38||Irkutsk Oblast (4) + Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous Okrug (4a)||Irkutsk Oblast|
|2007-03-11||2008-03-01||5, 5a||75 (5), 80 (5a)||92||Chita Oblast (5) + Agin-Buryat Autonomous Okrug (5a)||Zabaykalsky Krai|
In addition to those six territories that entirely ceased to be subjects of the Russian Federation and were downgraded to territories with special status, another three subjects have a status of subject but are simultaneously part of a more populated subject:
With an estimated population of 49348 as of 2018, Chukotka is currently the least populated subject of Russia that is not part of a more populated subject. It was separated from Magadan Oblast in 1993. Chukotka is one of the richest subjects of Russia (with a GRP per capita equivalent to that of Australia) and therefore does not fit in the pattern of merging a subject to benefit from the economic dynamism of the neighbour.
In 1992, Ingushetia separated from Chechnya, both to stay away from the growing violence in Chechnya and as a bid to obtain the Eastern part of Northern Ossetia (it did not work: the Chechen conflict spread violence to Ingushetia, and North Ossetia retained its Prigorodny_District). Those two Muslim republics, populated in vast majority (95%+) by closely related Vainakh people, speaking Vainakhish languages, remain the two poorest subjects of Russia, with the GRP per capita of Ingushetia being equivalent to that of Iraq. According to 2016 statistics, however they are also the safest regions of Russia, and also have the lowest alcohol consumption, with alcohol poisoning at least 40 times lower than the national average.
In 2011-2012, the territory of Moscow increased by 140% (to 2511 km²) by acquiring part of Moscow Oblast.
In 2016, Russian senators suggested two new possible mergers (not appearing on the above map), but with no active step taken so far.