An oblast (UK: /ˈɒblɑːst/, US: /ˈɑːblæst/) is a type of administrative division of Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union and Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Official terms in successor states of the Soviet Union differ, but some still use a cognate of the Russian term, e.g., voblast (voblasts, voblasts', [ˈvobɫasʲtsʲ]) is used for regions of Belarus, and oblys (plural: oblystar) for regions of Kazakhstan.
The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is, nevertheless, often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region". The last translation may lead to confusion, because "raion" may be used for other kinds of administrative subdivision, which may be translated as "region", "district", or "county" depending on the context.
Since 1999, Bulgaria has been divided into 28 oblasts, usually translated as "provinces". Before, the country was divided into just nine units, also called oblast.
In the Russian Empire, oblasts were considered to be administrative units and were included as parts of Governorates General or krais. The majority of then-existing oblasts were on the periphery of the country (e.g. Kars Oblast or Transcaspian Oblast) or covered the areas where Cossacks lived.
In the now-dissolved Soviet Union, oblasts were one of the types of administrative divisions of the union republics. As any administrative units of this level, oblasts were composed of districts (raions) and cities/towns directly under oblasts' jurisdiction. Some oblasts also included autonomous entities called autonomous okrugs. Because of the Soviet Union electrification program under the GOELRO plan, Ivan Alexandrov, as director of the Regionalisation Committee of Gosplan, divided the Soviet union into thirteen European and eight Asiatic oblasts, using rational economic planning rather than "the vestiges of lost sovereign rights".
The names of oblasts did not usually correspond to the names of the respective historical regions, as they were created as purely administrative units. With a few exceptions, Soviet oblasts were named after their administrative centers.
The oblasts in other post-Soviet countries are officially called:
|Territorial entity||Local term||English term||Details||Comment|
|Armenia||marz||province or region||see Marz (country subdivision)||Oblast in the Russian version of a 1995 law.|
|Belarus||voblast (vobłaść) / oblast||region||see Regions of Belarus||Russian and Belarusian are both state languages.|
|Kazakhstan||oblys||region||see Regions of Kazakhstan|
|Kyrgyzstan||oblus / oblast||region||see Regions of Kyrgyzstan||Kyrgyz and Russian are both official languages|
|Russia||oblast||oblast or region||see Oblasts of Russia||According to the Constitution of Russia, oblasts are considered to be subjects of the Federation, which is a higher status than that of administrative units they had within the Russian SFSR before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The federal subject status gives the oblasts some degree of autonomy and gives them representation in the Federation Council.|
|Tajikistan||viloyat||region||see Regions of Tajikistan|
|Turkmenistan||welaýat||region ||see Regions of Turkmenistan|
|Ukraine||oblast||oblast or region||see Oblasts of Ukraine|
|Uzbekistan||viloyat||region||see Regions of Uzbekistan|
During the Yugoslav Wars, several Serbian Autonomous Oblasts were formed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. These oblasts were later merged into the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the Republika Srpska.
Amur Oblast (Russian: Аму́рская о́бласть, tr. Amurskaya oblast, IPA: [ɐˈmurskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), located on the banks of the Amur and Zeya Rivers in the Russian Far East. The administrative center of the oblast, the city of Blagoveshchensk, is one of the oldest settlements in the Russian Far East, founded in 1856. It is a traditional center of trade and gold mining. The territory is accessed by two railways: the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal–Amur Mainline. As of the 2010 Census, the oblast's population was 830,103.Amur Krai (Аму́рский край) or Priamurye (Приаму́рье) were unofficial names for the Russian territories by the Amur River used in the late Russian Empire that approximately correspond to modern Amur Oblast.Arkhangelsk Oblast
Arkhangelsk Oblast (Russian: Арха́нгельская о́бласть, Arkhangelskaya oblast) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). It includes the Arctic archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, as well as the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea. Arkhangelsk Oblast also has administrative jurisdiction over Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Including Nenetsia, Arkhangelsk Oblast has an area of 587,400 km2. Its population (including Nenetsia) was 1,227,626 as of the 2010 Census.The city of Arkhangelsk, with a population of 348,716 as of the 2010 Census, is the administrative center of the oblast. The second largest city is the nearby Severodvinsk, home to Sevmash, the main shipyard for the Russian Navy. Among the oldest populated places of the oblast are Kholmogory, Kargopol, and Solvychegodsk; there are a number of Russian Orthodox monasteries, including the Antoniev Siysky Monastery and the World Heritage Site of the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea.
Plesetsk Cosmodrome is one of three spaceports in Russia (the other two are Kapustin Yar in Astrakhan Oblast and Yasny in Orenburg Oblast).City of regional significance (Ukraine)
City of regional significance (Ukrainian: Місто обласного значення, Misto oblasnoho znachennya) is a city municipality that is designated as a separate district within its region (i.e. oblast, Crimea). In Crimea, these cities are referred to as cities of republican significance, while in regular oblasts those municipalities are referred to as cities of oblast significance. The designation of regional significance was created with the introduction of oblasts in 1932.
Such city municipality is complex and usually combines the city proper as well as the adjacent populated places. The city of regional (oblast) significance is governed by a city council known as mis'krada which is chaired by a mayor. There are instances where a municipality may include only the city alone (city proper), while in others instances a municipality may consists of its own subdivisions such as districts in city, similarly to the cities with special status or even other cities which carry designation of cities of district significance.Donetsk Oblast
The Donetsk Oblast (Ukrainian: Доне́цька о́бласть, translit. Donets'ka oblast'; Russian: Доне́цкая о́бласть, tr. Donetskaya oblast', IPA: [dɐˈnʲɛtskəjə ˈobɫəsʲtʲ]), also referred to as Donechyna (Ukrainian: Донеччина, translit. Donechchyna; Russian: Донетчина, tr. Donetchina; literally: Donetsia), is an oblast (province) of eastern Ukraine. It is the most populated oblast, with around 4.5 million residents. Its administrative center is Donetsk; however, its Regional State Administration was temporarily relocated to Mariupol because of the ongoing crisis in Donetsk. Historically, the region is an important part of the Donbas region. Until November 1961, it bore the name Stalino Oblast as Donetsk was then named "Stalino", in honour of Joseph Stalin. As part of the De-Stalinization process, it was renamed as its administrative center after Siversky Donets, the main artery of East Ukraine.
The oblast is known for its urban sprawl of Donetsk-Makiivka and Horlivka-Yenakieve and it is often associated with coal mining industry.
On April 7, 2014, following the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Russian-backed militants occupying the Donetsk Oblast administrative building declared independence from Ukraine and staged an unrecognized referendum on separating from Ukraine on 11 May 2014. Subsequently, the War in Donbass started. After Donetsk fell to the insurgents, the Donetsk Oblast administration was relocated to Mariupol and later to Kramatorsk.Federal subjects of Russia
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:
Federal subjects should not be confused with the eight federal districts which are not subdivisions of Russia — the federal districts are much larger and each encompasses many federal subjects. Federal districts were created by Executive Order of the President of Russia especially for presidential envoys.
Time zones are defined by the Order of the federal government.
The composition of judicial districts is defined by the federal law "On arbitration courts".
Economic regions are administered by the Ministry of Economic Development.
The Ministry of Defense uses the terminology of Military districts.Jewish Autonomous Oblast
The Jewish Autonomous Oblast (JAO; Russian: Евре́йская автоно́мная о́бласть, Yevreyskaya avtonomnaya oblast; Yiddish: ייִדישע אװטאָנאָמע געגנט, yidishe avtonome Gegnt) is a federal subject of Russia in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast in Russia and Heilongjiang province in China. Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan.
At its height in the late 1940s, the Jewish population in the region peaked at around 46,000–50,000, around 25% of the entire population. As of the 2010 Census, JAO's population was 176,558 people, or 0.1% of the total population of Russia. By 2010, according to data provided by the Russian Census Bureau, there were only 1,628 Jews remaining in the JAO (less than 1% of the population), while ethnic Russians made up 92.7% of the JAO population.Judaism is practiced by only 0.2% of the population of the JAO.Article 65 of the Constitution of Russia provides that the JAO is Russia's only autonomous oblast. It is one of two official Jewish territories in the world, the other being Israel.Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad (Russian: Калининград, IPA: [kəlʲɪnʲɪnˈɡrat]) is a city in the administrative centre of Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.
In the Middle Ages it was the site of the Old Prussian settlement Twangste. In 1255, during the Northern Crusades, a new fortress named Königsberg was built by the Teutonic Knights. Königsberg became the capital of the Duchy of Prussia, a fiefdom of Poland from 1525 to 1657, and later East Prussia, Germany. It was heavily damaged during World War II, and its population fled or were removed by force. Königsberg became a Russian city, renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. At the 2010 Census, Kaliningrad's population was 431,902.Kaliningrad Oblast
Kaliningrad Oblast (Russian: Калинингра́дская о́бласть, Kaliningradskaya oblast), often referred to as the Kaliningrad Region in English, or simply Kaliningrad, is a federal subject of the Russian Federation that is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. As an oblast, its constitutional status is equal to each of the other 84 federal subjects. Its administrative center is the city of Kaliningrad, formerly known as Königsberg. It is the only Baltic port in the Russian Federation that remains ice-free in winter. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 941,873.The oblast is an exclave, bordered by Poland to the south and Lithuania to the east and north, so residents may only travel visa-free to the rest of Russia via sea or air. The territory was formerly the northern part of East Prussia, with the southern part now being Poland's Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. With the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the territory was annexed by the Soviet Union. Following the post-war migration and Flight and expulsion of Germans (1944–50), the territory was populated with citizens from the Soviet Union. Today virtually no ethnic Germans remain; most of the several thousand who live there are recent immigrants from other parts of the former Soviet Union.
Early in the 21st century, the hitherto fledgling economy of Kaliningrad Oblast became one of the best performing economies in Russia. This was helped by a low manufacturing tax rate related to its "Special Economic Zone" (SEZ) status. As of 2006, one in three televisions manufactured in Russia came from Kaliningrad. The territory's population was one of the few in Russia that was expected to show strong growth after the collapse of the USSR.Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast (Russian: Ленингра́дская о́бласть, tr. Leningradskaya oblast’, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgratskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). It was established on August 1, 1927, although it was not until 1946 that the oblast's borders had been mostly settled in their present position. The oblast was named after the city of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). Unlike the city, the oblast retains the name of Leningrad.
The oblast overlaps the historic region of Ingria and is bordered by Finland (Kymenlaakso and South Karelia) in the northwest and Estonia (Ida-Viru County) in the west, as well as five federal subjects of Russia: the Republic of Karelia in the northeast, Vologda Oblast in the east, Novgorod Oblast in the south, Pskov Oblast in the southwest, and the federal city of Saint Petersburg in the west.
The first governor of Leningrad Oblast was Vadim Gustov (in 1996–1998). The current governor, since 2012, is Aleksandr Drozdenko.
The oblast has an area of 84,500 square kilometers (32,600 sq mi) and a population of 1,716,868 (2010 Census); up from 1,669,205 recorded in the 2002 Census. The most populous town of the oblast is Gatchina, with 88,659 inhabitants (as of the 2002 Census). Leningrad Oblast is highly industrialized.List of cities and towns in Russia
This is a list of cities and towns in Russia. According to the data of 2010 Russian Census, there are 1,110 cities and towns in Russia. After the Census, Innopolis, a town in the Republic of Tatarstan, was established in 2012 and granted town status in 2014.List of cities in Ukraine
This is a complete list of cities in Ukraine. On 1 January 2010 there were 459 cities (Ukrainian: мiсто, misto) in Ukraine. City status is granted on the decision of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada). The city status is only partially related to the size of a populated place in Ukraine.
There are three categories of cities that depends on status of those cities in the country and in the table below are indicated by a respective letter as a city status (see legends below for the city status lettering identification). All cities have some level of significance. Any settlement that obtains city status becomes a city of district (район, raion) subordinance. The cities of regional significance can either be of oblast subordinance or republican subordinance (in Crimea). The cities of national significance are officially known as the cities with special status. The significance of a city does not relate to whether the city is an administrative center and such industrial cities like Kryvyi Rih, Mariupol, Makiivka, Horlivka, Kamianske and others have the same level of significance as the regional administrative centers.
Below is the list of all cities estimated by population in 2014 and compared to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, except for Chernobyl which population is an unofficial estimate.Moscow Oblast
Moscow Oblast (Russian: Моско́вская о́бласть, tr. Moskovskaya oblast, IPA: [mɐˈskofskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]), or Podmoskovye (Russian: Подмоско́вье, IPA: [pədmɐˈskovʲjə], literally "around/near Moscow"), is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). With a population of 7,095,120 (2010 Census) living in an area of 44,300 square kilometers (17,100 sq mi), it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and is the second most populous federal subject. The oblast has no official administrative center; its public authorities are located in Moscow and across other locations in the oblast.Moscow Oblast borders Tver Oblast in the northwest, Yaroslavl Oblast in the north, Vladimir Oblast in the northeast and east, Ryazan Oblast in the southeast, Tula Oblast in the south, Kaluga Oblast in the southwest, and Smolensk Oblast in the west. In the center stands the federal city of Moscow, which is a separate federal subject in its own right. The oblast is highly industrialized, with its main industrial branches being metallurgy, oil refining, and mechanical engineering, food, energy, and chemical industries.Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (Russian: Нижегоро́дская о́бласть, Nizhegorodskaya oblast), also known as Nizhegorod Oblast, is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). Its administrative center is the city of Nizhny Novgorod. It has a population of 3,310,597 as of the 2010 Census. From 1932 to 1990 it was known as Gorky Oblast.
The oblast is crossed by the Volga River. Apart from Nizhny Novgorod's metropolitan area (including Dzerzhinsk, Bor and Kstovo) the biggest city is Arzamas. Near the town of Sarov there is the Serafimo-Diveyevsky Monastery, one of the largest convents in Russia, established by Saint Seraphim of Sarov. The Makaryev Monastery opposite of the town of Lyskovo used to be the location of the largest fair in Eastern Europe. Other historic towns include Gorodets and Balakhna, located on the Volga to the north from Nizhny Novgorod.Oblasts of Ukraine
An oblast (Ukrainian: область), in English referred to as a region, refers to one of Ukraine's 24 primary administrative units. Ukraine is a unitary state, thus, the regions do not have much legal scope of competence other than that which is established in the Ukrainian Constitution and by law. Articles 140-146 of Chapter XI of the constitution deal directly with local authorities and their competency.
Oblasts are further subdivided into raions (districts), ranging in number from 11 to 27 per entity.Raions of Ukraine
Raions of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Райони України) are the second level of administrative division of Ukraine, below the oblast, and are the most common division of regions of Ukraine. Equivalent type of regional subdivision are also raions in city (Raions of cities in Ukraine), and cities of regional significance (City of regional significance (Ukraine)).
Raions are one of three types of administrative divisions of regions of Ukraine and second level in the administrative divisions of Ukraine.Rostov Oblast
Rostov Oblast (Russian: Росто́вская о́бласть, tr. Rostovskaya oblast, IPA: [rɐˈstofskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), located in the Southern Federal District. The oblast has an area of 100,800 square kilometers (38,900 sq mi) and a population of 4,277,976 (2010 Census), making it the sixth most populous federal subject in Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Rostov-on-Don, which also became the administrative center of the Southern Federal District in 2002.Sverdlovsk Oblast
Sverdlovsk Oblast (Свердло́вская о́бласть, Sverdlovskaya oblast) is a federal subject (an oblast) of Russia located in the Ural Federal District. It's administrative center is the city of Yekaterinburg, formerly known as Sverdlovsk. It's population is 4,297,747 (according to the 2010 Census).Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains (; Russian: Ура́льские го́ры, tr. Uralskiye gory, IPA: [ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ]; Bashkir: Урал тауҙары, Ural tauźarı), or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan.
The mountain range forms part of the conventional boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia. Vaygach Island and the islands of Novaya Zemlya form a further continuation of the chain to the north into the Arctic Ocean.
The mountains lie within the Ural geographical region and significantly overlap with the Ural Federal District and with the Ural economic region. They have rich resources, including metal ores, coal, and precious and semi-precious stones. Since the 18th century the mountains have contributed significantly to the mineral sector of the Russian economy.Volga River
The Volga (; Russian: Во́лга, IPA: [ˈvoɫɡə] (listen); Tatar: İdel, Ätil, İtil; Chuvash: Atăl, Kazakh: Edil) is the longest river in Europe with a catchment area of 1,350,000 square kilometres. It is also Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and drainage basin. The river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, and is widely regarded as the national river of Russia.
Eleven of the twenty largest cities of Russia, including the capital, Moscow, are located in the Volga's drainage basin.
Some of the largest reservoirs in the world are located along the Volga. The river has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture and is often referred to as Волга-матушка Volga-Matushka (Mother Volga) in Russian literature and folklore.