An oblast ( // ; also UK: // ) 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, oblys (plural: oblystar) for regions of Kazakhstan, and oblusu (облусу) for regions of Kyrgyzstan.
The term is 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 division, 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 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|
Viloyat and welaýat are derived from the Turkish language term vilayet , itself derived from the Arabic language term wilāya (ولاية)
In 1922, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was divided into 33 administrative divisions called oblasts. In 1929, oblasts were replaced with larger administrative units known as banovinas.
During the Yugoslav Wars, several Serb 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.
|Look up oblast in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Russia is divided into several types and levels of subdivisions.
Urban-type settlement is an official designation for a semi-urban settlement, used in several Eastern European countries. The term was historically used in Bulgaria, Poland, and the Soviet Union, and remains in use today in 10 of the post-Soviet states.
At the top level of administration, Belarus is divided into six oblasts (regions) and the city of Minsk, which has a special status being the capital of Belarus. Minsk is also the capital of Minsk Region.
Okrug is an administrative division of some Slavic states. The word "okrug" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "district", or "region".
A governorate, or a guberniya, was a major and principal administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire. Unlike Russia where gubernias were abolished in 1929, in Ukraine subdivision of gubernias was abolished in 1925. The term is usually translated as government, governorate, or province. A governorate was ruled by a governor, a word borrowed from Latin gubernator, in turn from Greek kybernetes. Sometimes the term guberniya was informally used to refer to the office of a governor.
An Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was a type of administrative unit in the Soviet Union (USSR) created for certain nations. The ASSRs had a status lower than the constituent union republics of the USSR, but higher than the autonomous oblasts and the autonomous okrugs.
A krai is a type of federal subject of Russia. The country is divided into 85 federal subjects, of which nine are krais. Oblasts, another type of federal subject, are legally identical to krais and the difference between a political entity with the name "krai" or "oblast" is purely traditional, similar to the commonwealths in the United States; both are constituent entities equivalent in legal status in Russia with representation in the Federation Council. During the Soviet era, the autonomous oblasts could be subordinated to republics or krais, but not to oblasts. Outside of political terminology, both words have very similar general meaning and can often be used interchangeably.
Autonomous okrug, occasionally referred to as "autonomous district", "autonomous area", and "autonomous region", is a type of federal subject of Russia and simultaneously an administrative division type of some federal subjects. As of 2014, Russia has four autonomous okrugs of its 85 federal subjects. The Chukotka Autonomous Okrug is the only okrug which is not subordinate to an oblast. The other three are Arkhangelsk Oblast's Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and Tyumen Oblast's Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug.
Ukraine has several levels of administrative subdivisions. The first level of subdivision consists of 27 regions:
An oblast, 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.
A raion is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet states. The term is from the French "rayon", which is both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district".
Selsoviet is a shortened name for a rural council and for the area governed by such a council (soviet). The full names for the term are, in Belarusian: се́льскi саве́т, Russian: се́льский сове́т, Ukrainian: сільська́ ра́да. Selsoviets were the lowest level of administrative division in rural areas in the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, they were preserved as a third tier of administrative-territorial division throughout Ukraine, Belarus, and some of the federal subjects of Russia.
Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Russian SFSR (1921–45) and the Ukrainian SSR (1991) located on the Crimean Peninsula.
National delimitation in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was the process of specifying well-defined national territorial units from the ethnic diversity of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its subregions. The Russian-language term for this Soviet state policy was razmezhevanie, which is variously translated in English-language literature as "national-territorial delimitation" (NTD), "demarcation", or "partition". National delimitation formed part of a broader process of changes in administrative-territorial division, which also changed the boundaries of territorial units, but was not necessarily linked to national or ethnic considerations. National delimitation in the USSR was distinct from nation-building, which typically referred to the policies and actions implemented by the government of a national territorial unit after delimitation. In most cases national delimitation in the USSR was followed by korenizatsiya (indigenization).
Lyelchytsy District or Lieĺčycki Rajon is a district (raion) of Belarus located in the Gomel Region. Its administrative center is Lieĺčycki.
Baranavichy Oblast was a territorial unit in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic created after the annexation of West Belarus into the BSSR in November 1939. The administrative centre of the province was the city of Baranavichy.
The Border Agreement between Poland and the USSR of 16 August 1945 established the borders between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Republic of Poland. It was signed by the Provisional Government of National Unity formed by the Polish communists. According to the treaty, Poland officially accepted the ceding its pre-war Eastern territory to the USSR (Kresy) which was decided earlier in Yalta already. Some of the territory along the Curzon line, established by Stalin during the course of the war, was returned to Poland. The treaty also recognised the division of the former German East Prussia and ultimately approved the finalised delimitation line between the Soviet Union and Poland: from the Baltic sea, to the border tripoint with Czechoslovakia in the Carpathians. The agreement entered into force on 5 February 1946.
Administrative divisions development in Ukraine reviews the history of changes in the administrative divisions of Ukraine, in chronological order.
An okruha, okruh (округ), or okrug is a one the historical administrative division of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic that existed between 1923 and 1930. The system was intended as a transitional system between the Russian Imperial division of governorates and the modern equivalent of oblasts.