Oblasts of Ukraine

Last updated
Oblasts of Ukraine
CategorySubdivision of a unitary state
LocationFlag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine
Created27 February 1932(88 years ago) (1932-02-27)
Number24 (as of 1991)
Populations904,374 (Chernivtsi) – 4,165,901 (Donetsk)
Areas8,100 km2 (3,126 sq mi) (Chernivtsi) – 33,300 km2 (12,860 sq mi) (Odessa)
GovernmentOblast State Administration,
Oblast Council
Subdivisions136 raions (districts) [nb 1]

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. [1]

General characteristics

In Ukraine the term Oblast denotes a primary administrative division. Under the Russian Empire and into the 1920s, Ukraine was divided between several Governorates. The term oblast itself was first introduced in 1932 by Soviet authorities when the Ukrainian SSR was divided into seven oblasts replacing the previous subdivision system based on okruhas and encompassing 406 raions (districts). [2] The first oblasts were Vinnytsia Oblast, Kyiv Oblast, Odessa Oblast, Kharkiv Oblast, and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Soon after that in the summer of 1932 Donetsk Oblast was formed out of eastern parts of Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts; in the fall of 1932 Chernihiv Oblast was formed on the border of Kyiv and Kharkiv oblasts.

Between 1935–1938 there existed several newly created and self-governed special border okrugs located along the western border of the Soviet Union in Ukraine and Belarus. Upon liquidation of the okrugs in 1937-38 Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Odessa, and Kharkiv oblasts were each split into four additional oblasts (Zhytomyr Oblast, Kamianets-Podilsky Oblast (later  Khmelnytskyi), Mykolaiv Oblast, Poltava Oblast). Just before the World War II, the Donetsk Oblast was split into Stalino Oblast and Voroshylovhrad Oblast and the Kirovohrad Oblast was created out of portions of Kyiv, Mykolaiv and Odessa oblasts.

During World War II Ukraine added eight additional oblasts of the West Ukraine and Bessarabia. Upon the occupation of Ukraine by the Nazi Germany the territory was split between General Government, Kingdom of Romania and Reichskommissariat Ukraine and carried out a completely different administrative division, see Reichskommissariat Ukraine. With the re-establishing of the Soviet power in the state after the war, the administrative division by oblast was resumed adding one more oblast—Zakarpattia. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian SSR; parts of the surrounding oblasts were incorporated into the Cherkasy Oblast, while Izmail Oblast was absorbed by Odessa Oblast. In 1959, Drohobych Oblast was merged with Lviv Oblast.

Most of Ukraine's oblasts are named after their respective administrative centers, which are also the largest and most developed city in a given region. Each region generally consists of about one to two million of people, ranging anywhere from as low as 904,000 in Chernivtsi Oblast to 4.4 million in the eastern oblast of Donetsk. Each oblast is generally subdivided into about 20 raions (mean average, can range anywhere from 11 in Chernivtsi to 27 in Kharkiv and Vinnytsia Oblasts).

First oblasts of Ukraine in 1932

Later there were added

Further division in 1937-38

In 1938 there were added

New creations and World War II territorial expansions in 1939-40

In 1940 there were added

Post World War II


Constitutional provisions and authority

The Ukrainian constitution establishes Ukraine as a unitary state. The specific text of the constitution that refers to the territorial structure is as follows.

The territorial structure of Ukraine is based on the principles of unity and indivisibility of the state territory, the combination of centralisation and decentralisation in the exercise of state power, and the balanced socio-economic development of regions that takes into account their historical, economic, ecological, geographical and demographic characteristics, and ethnic and cultural traditions.

Election results of the 2015 regional parliamentarian elections Vibori do OMSU 2015 Oblradi.PNG
Election results of the 2015 regional parliamentarian elections

Each of Ukraine's oblasts have their own legislative and executive authority, most of which is subordinate to the central government authorities in Kyiv. Each region is administered under laws passed by the Ukrainian government and the Constitution of Ukraine. Each region levies its own taxes and, in return, receive a portion of their budget from Kyiv, which gives them a portion of the taxes they levy. [3]

Executive power each of the oblasts (as well as in other subdivisions of Ukraine) are exercised by local elected administrations. [4] The heads of local administrations are in turn appointed and dismissed by the President of Ukraine upon nomination by the Cabinet of Ministers. [4] [5] Since Ukraine is a unitary state, there is little true political power and weight that these local administrations actually hold. Carrying out their authorities, the heads of local administrations are accountable to the President and are subordinate to higher bodies of executive leadership. [4] According to the Constitution the head of the heads of the local Oblast administrations should resign after a new President is elected. [6]

Legislative power in the oblast governments is exercised by their respective oblast councils, which in turn supervise the activities of local administrations. [4] They also have considerable budgets managed by an oblast council (Ukrainian : обласна рада) made up of people's deputies (representatives) voted into office in regional elections every 4 years, the last of which took place in 2020.


The name of each oblast is a relative adjective, formed by adding a feminine suffix to the name of respective center city. E.g. Poltava is a center of Poltavs'ka oblast' (Poltava Oblast). Most of them are also sometimes referred to in a feminine noun form, following the convention of traditional regional place names, ending with the suffix "-shchyna". E.g. Poltava Oblast is also called Poltavshchyna.

Exceptions to this rule include:

List of former and renamed oblasts

Map of the administrative divisions of the Ukrainian SSR from 1946-1954 shows the Izmail Oblast and Drohobych Oblast Ukraine 1946-1954.png
Map of the administrative divisions of the Ukrainian SSR from 1946–1954 shows the Izmail Oblast and Drohobych Oblast

Former Oblasts

Renamed Oblasts

The Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and Kirovohrad Oblast are pending renaming following the renaming of their capital cities to Dnipro and Kropyvnytskyi.

List of oblasts

Region HASC Area (km2)Population (2019)Pop. densityAdministrative centerRaions/DistrictsCities of regional significance [nb 2]
Flag of Cherkasy Oblast.svg  Cherkasy Oblast CK20,8911,206,35161.80 Cherkasy 206
Flag of Chernihiv Oblast.svg  Chernihiv Oblast CH31,851.31,005,74534.67 Chernihiv 223
Flag of Chernivtsi Oblast.svg  Chernivtsi Oblast CV8,093.6904,374111.67 Chernivtsi 112
Flag of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.svg  Dnipropetrovsk Oblast DP31,900.53,206,477104.83 Dnipro 2213
Flag of the Donetsk Region.svg  Donetsk Oblast DT26,505.74,165,901167.81 Donetsk 1828
Flag of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.svg  Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast IF13,894.01,373,25299.38 Ivano-Frankivsk 145
Flag of Kharkiv Oblast.svg  Kharkiv Oblast KK31,401.62,675,59887.74 Kharkiv 277
Flag of Kherson Oblast.svg  Kherson Oblast KS28,4491,037,64038.35 Kherson 183
Flag of Khmelnytskyi Oblast.svg  Khmelnytskyi Oblast KM20,636.21,264,70564.52 Khmelnytskyi 206
Flag of Kiev Oblast.svg  Kyiv Oblast KV28,118.91,767,94061.15 Kyiv 2513
Flag of Kirovohrad Oblast.svg  Kirovohrad Oblast KH24,577.5945,54941.29 Kropyvnytskyi 214
Flag of Luhansk Oblast.svg  Luhansk Oblast LH26,672.52,151,83386.25 Luhansk 1814
Flag of Lviv Oblast.svg  Lviv Oblast LV21,823.72,522,021116.65 Lviv 209
Flag of Mykolaiv Oblast.svg  Mykolaiv Oblast MY24,587.41,131,09648.25 Mykolaiv 195
Flag of Odesa Oblast.svg  Odessa Oblast OD33,295.92,380,30871.71 Odessa 267
Flag of Poltava Oblast.svg  Poltava Oblast PL28,735.81,400,43951.98 Poltava 255
Flag of Rivne Oblast.svg  Rivne Oblast RV20,038.51,157,30157.52 Rivne 164
Flag of Sumy Oblast.svg  Sumy Oblast SM23,823.91,081,41848.97 Sumy 187
Flag of Ternopil Oblast.svg  Ternopil Oblast TP13,817.11,045,87978.65 Ternopil 171
Flag of Vinnytsia Oblast.svg  Vinnytsia Oblast VI26,501.61,560,39462.12 Vinnytsia 276
Flag of Volyn Oblast.svg  Volyn Oblast VO20,135.31,035,33051.56 Lutsk 164
Flag of Transcarpathian Oblast.svg  Zakarpattia Oblast ZK12,771.51,256,80297.59 Uzhhorod 135
Flag of Zaporizhia Oblast.svg  Zaporizhzhia Oblast ZP27,168.51,705,83666.45 Zaporizhzhia 205
Flag of Zhytomyr Oblast.svg  Zhytomyr Oblast ZT29,819.21,220,19343.03 Zhytomyr 235

See also

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  1. A total of 136 raions exist within the first-level subdivisions of Ukraine, including the 24 oblasts and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
  2. "cities of oblast significance" is a translation of Ukrainian: Міста обласного значення.
  1. Decrees of Kyiv City Council Archived 2007-07-07 at the Wayback Machine Kyiv City Council decree No. 280/1257: Description of New Administrative Raions of the City of Kyiv. Passed on 2001-04-27. (in Ukrainian)
  2. "Ukraine Regions". Statoids. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  3. Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter IX: Territorial Structure of Ukraine, Article 143
  4. 1 2 3 4 "The Constitution of Ukraine". pravnyk.info (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  5. Poroshenko to sign Saakashvili’s resignation if Cabinet submits motion, Interfax-Ukraine (7 November 2016)
  6. (in Ukrainian) City Champion. How Klitschko kept Kyiv, Ukrayinska Pravda (30 January 2020)
  7. "Ukraine". The World Factbook . Central Intelligence Agency . Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  8. Ukraine, The World Factbook