Raion

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A raion (also rayon) is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet states (such as part of an oblast). The term is from the French "rayon" (meaning "honeycomb, department"), [1] which is both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district". [2]

Contents

A raion is a standardized administrative entity across most of the former Soviet Union and is usually a subdivision two steps below the national level. However, in smaller USSR republics, it could be the primary level of administrative division. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some of the republics kept the raion (e.g. Azerbaijan) while others dropped it (e.g. Armenia).

In Bulgaria, it refers to an internal administrative subdivision of a city not related to the administrative division of the country as a whole, or, in the case of Sofia municipality a subdivision of that municipality. [3]

Etymology

The word "raion" (or "rayon") is often used in translated form: Azerbaijani : rayon; Belarusian : раён, rajon; Bulgarian : район; Georgian :რაიონი, raioni; Latvian : rajons; Lithuanian : rajonas; Polish : rejon; Romanian : raion; Russian : райо́н and Ukrainian : райо́н, romanized: raion.

List of countries with raion subdivisions

Fourteen countries have or had entities that were named "raion" or the local version of it.

CountryFromUntilLocal nameCommentDetails
Abkhazia (partially recognised state)(existing)araion (араион)inherited from the Abkhaz ASSR Districts of Abkhazia
Armenia 1995inherited from the Armenian SSR Districts of Armenia
Austria ~ 1918Rayon, RajonUsed only by the k.k. Gendarmerie to designate police districts ("Behördenrayon", lit. authorities' raion).
Azerbaijan (existing)rayon, pl. rayonlar;inherited from the Azerbaijan SSR Districts of Azerbaijan
Belarus (existing) Belarusian : раён, rajoninherited from the Belorussian SSR Districts of Belarus
Bulgaria (existing)район, pl. райони (rayoni)raions are subdivisions of three biggest cities: Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. Sofia is subdivided to 24 raions (Sofia districts), Plovdiv - 6, Varna - 5 raions
China (existing)行政分区restricted to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as influenced by the USSR. The districts of Ürümqi City and Karamay City are called رايون (SASM/GNC/SRC and ULY: rayon) in Uyghur.
Crimea (Republic of Crimea - short lived Republic recognized by only a few UN member states)2014-03-162014-03-16inherited from Ukraine. The Republic is now split into the federal subjects of Russia named Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol
Estonia 1990 Estonian : rajoon, pl. rajoonidinherited from the Estonian SSR. In 1990 transformed into counties (Estonian : maakond) Counties of Estonia
Georgia 2006 Georgian :რაიონიraioniinherited from the Georgian SSR  ; 2006 as first-level entities reorganized into municipalities. A raioni remains a territorial subdivision of Georgia's capital, Tbilisi. Districts of Georgia
Kazakhstan (existing) Russian : райо́нinherited from the Kazakh SSR Districts of Kazakhstan
Latvia 2009-07-01rajons; pl. rajoniinherited from the Latvian SSR Districts of Latvia
Lithuania 1994 Lithuanian : rajonasinherited from the Lithuanian SSR. In 1994 transformed into district municipalities (Lithuanian : rajono savivaldybė) Municipalities of Lithuania
Moldova (existing) Romanian: raionintroduced in administrative reform in 2003 Districts of Moldova
Romania1968-02-16 Romanian : raionone of the Administrative divisions of the People's Republic of Romania Districts of the People's Republic of Romania
Russian Federation (existing) Russian : райо́нinherited from the Russian SFSR Districts of Russia
South Ossetia-Alania (partially recognised state)(existing)inherited from the South Ossetian AO Districts of South Ossetia
Soviet Union 1991-12-26 (end of entity)At various levels below the constituent republics.
Transnistria (breakaway territory; de jure part of Moldova)(existing)inherited from the Moldavian SSR Districts of Transnistria
Ukraine (existing) Ukrainian : райо́н490 raions were inherited from the Ukrainian SSR, which were replaced by 136 new raions in 2020. [4] Major Ukrainian cities are also subdivided into raions, constituting a total of 118 nationwide. Districts of Ukraine

History

Raions in the Soviet Union

In the Soviet Union, raions were administrative divisions created in the 1920s to reduce the number of territorial divisions inherited from the Russian Empire and to simplify their bureaucracies. [5] The process of conversion to the system of raions was called raionirovanie ("regionalization"). It was started in 1923 in the Urals, North Caucasus, and Siberia as a part of the Soviet administrative reform and continued through 1929, by which time the majority of the country's territory was divided into raions instead of the old volosts and uyezds. [5]

The concept of raionirovanie was met with resistance in some republics, especially in Ukraine, where local leaders objected to the concept of raions as being too centralized in nature and ignoring the local customs. This point of view was backed by the Soviet Russian People's Commissariat of Nationalities. [5] Nevertheless, eventually all of the territory of the Soviet Union was regionalized.

Soviet raions had self-governance in the form of an elected district council (raysovet) and were headed by the local head of administration, who was either elected or appointed.

Raions outside the Soviet Union

Following the model of the Soviet Union raions have been introduced in Bulgaria, Romania. In China the term is used in Uyghur in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

In Romania they have been later replaced.

Raions after the dissolution of the Soviet Union

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, raions as administrative units continue to be used in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.

They are also used in breakaway regions: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria.

SetQuantityComment
Districts of Abkhazia 7first-level
Districts of Azerbaijan 59first-level, 18 other entities at that level exist
Districts of Belarus 118second-level below oblasts and Minsk City
Districts of Moldova 32first-level, 5 other entities at that level exist
Districts of South Ossetia 4first-level, 1 other entity at that level exists
Districts of Russia 1731 [nb 1] second-level below federal subjects
Districts of Transnistria 5first-level
Districts of Ukraine 136 and 118 city raionssecond-level, numbers as of 2020, including Sevastopol and Crimea

In Georgia they exist as districts in Tbilisi.

Modern raions

Abkhazia

Abkhazia is divided into seven districts.

Azerbaijan

Belarus

In Belarus, raions (Belarusian : раён, rajon [6] ) are administrative units subordinated to oblasts. See also: Category:Districts of Belarus.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, raions are subdivisions of three biggest cities: Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. Sofia is subdivided to 24 raions (Sofia districts), Plovdiv - 6, Varna - 5 raions.

Moldova

South Ossetia

Transnistria

Russia

Ukraine

In Ukraine, there are a total of 136 raions which are the administrative divisions of oblasts (provinces) and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Major cities of regional significance as well as the two national cities with special status (Kiev and Sevastopol) are also subdivided into raions (constituting a total of 118 nationwide).

Notes

  1. Including Crimea and Sebastopol.

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Ak-Dovurak Town in Tuva, Russia

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Lyelchytsy District District in Gomel, Belarus

Lyelchytsy District or Lieĺčycki Rajon is a district (raion) of Belarus located in the Gomel Region. Its administrative center is Lieĺčycki.

Loyew District District in Gomel, Belarus

Loyew District or Lójeŭski Rajon is a district (raion) of Belarus located in the Gomel Region. Its administrative center is Loyew.

Pruzhany District District in Brest, Belarus

Pruzhany District or Pruzhanski Rayon Belarusian: Пружанскі раён, romanized: Pružanski rajon; Russian: Пружа́нский райо́н, romanized: Pruzhansky rayon) is district (raion) of Brest Region, in Belarus. Its administrative center is Pruzhany.

Stolin District District in Brest, Belarus

Stolin District or Stolinski Rayon is district (raion) in the southeast of the Brest Region, Belarus. Its administrative center is in the city of Stolin. The region has a population of 89,000 people, of which 26,300 people live in urban areas.

Mongun-Tayginsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Mongun-Tayginsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the southwest of the republic. Its administrative center is the rural locality of Mugur-Aksy. Population: 5,661 (2010 Census); 5,938 ; 5,576 (1989 Census). The population of Mugur-Aksy accounts for 73.4% of the district's total population.

Districts of Belarus

Districts of Belarus (raion) are second-level administrative territorial entities of Belarus.

Barun-Khemchiksky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Barun-Khemchiksky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the west of the republic. The area of the district is 6,290 square kilometers (2,430 sq mi). Its administrative center is the rural locality of Kyzyl-Mazhalyk. Population: 12,847 (2010 Census); 12,683 ; 31,421 (1989 Census). The population of Kyzyl-Mazhalyk accounts for 39.5% of the district's total population.

Bay-Tayginsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Bay-Tayginsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the west of the republic. The area of the district is 7,922.82 square kilometers (3,059.02 sq mi). Its administrative center is the rural locality of Teeli. Population: 10,803 (2010 Census); 12,321 ; 13,401 (1989 Census). The population of Teeli accounts for 31.4% of the district's total population.

Erzinsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Erzinsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the south and southeast of the republic. The area of the district is 11,081.45 square kilometers (4,278.57 sq mi). Its administrative center is the rural locality of Erzin. As of the 2010 Census, the total population of the district was 8,280, with the population of Erzin accounting for 38.5% of that number.

Ovyursky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Ovyursky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the southwest of the republic. The area of the district is 4,400 square kilometers (1,700 sq mi). Its administrative center is the rural locality of Khandagayty. Population: 7,022 (2010 Census); 7,930 ; 8,868 (1989 Census). The population of Khandagayty accounts for 45.7% of the district's total population.

Piy-Khemsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Piy-Khemsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the north of the republic. The area of the district is 9,200 square kilometers (3,600 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Turan, Tuva Republic. Population: 10,092 (2010 Census); 11,431 ; 14,236 (1989 Census). The population of Turan accounts for 49.4% of the district's total population.

Tes-Khemsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Tes-Khemsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the south of the republic. The area of the district is 6,680 square kilometers (2,580 sq mi). Its administrative center is the rural locality of Samagaltay. Population: 8,174 (2010 Census); 8,908 ; 10,413 (1989 Census). The population of Samagaltay accounts for 39.6% of the district's total population.

Todzhinsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Todzhinsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the northeast of the republic. The area of the district is 44,800 square kilometers (17,300 sq mi). Its administrative center is the rural locality of Toora-Khem. Population: 6,020 (2010 Census); 5,931 ; 6,448 (1989 Census). The population of Toora-Khem accounts for 39.7% of the district's total population.

Ulug-Khemsky District District in Tuva Republic, Russia

Ulug-Khemsky District is an administrative and municipal district, one of the seventeen in the Tuva Republic, Russia. It is located in the center of the republic and borders Krasnoyarsk Krai in the north, Kyzylsky and Chedi-Kholsky Districts in the east, Ovyursky and Tes-Khemsky Districts in the south, and Chaa-Kholsky District in the west. The area of the district is 5,335.40 square kilometers (2,060.01 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Shagonar. As of the 2010 Census, the total population of the district was 19,266, with the population of Shagonar accounting for 56.9% of that number.

Sug-Aksy Selo in Tuva, Russia

Sug-Aksy is a rural locality and the administrative center of Sut-Kholsky District of Tuva, Russia. Population: 3,184 (2010 Census); 3,077 (2002 Census); 3,045 (1989 Census).

Toora-Khem Selo in Tuva, Russia

Toora-Khem is a rural locality and the administrative center of Todzhinsky District of Tuva, Russia. Population: 2,387 (2010 Census); 2,233 (2002 Census); 1,851 (1989 Census).

References

  1. Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1961, repr. 1981), s.v. raion.
  2. Saunders, R.A., Strukov, V. Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation . "Scarecrow Press", 2010, ISBN   978-0-8108-5475-8, S. 477.
  3. "Lex.bg - Закони, правилници, конституция, кодекси, държавен вестник, правилници по прилагане". lex.bg. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  4. "Україна з новим адмінтерустроєм: парламент створив 136 нових районів та ліквідував 490 старих". Decentralization Reform (in Ukrainian). 17 July 2020.
    "The council reduced the number of districts in Ukraine: 136 instead of 490". Ukrainska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 17 July 2020.
  5. 1 2 3 James R. Millar. Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. New York, 2004. ISBN   0-02-865693-8
  6. According to the Instruction on Latin Transliteration of Geographical Names of the Republic of Belarus, Decree of the State Committee on Land Resources, Surveying and Cartography of the Republic of Belarus dated 23.11.2000 No. 15 Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine recommended for use by the Working Group on Romanization Systems of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) — "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-24. Retrieved 2009-07-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). See also: Instruction on transliteration of Belarusian geographical names with letters of Latin script; Romanization of Belarusian.