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]

Post-Soviet states States established following the disestablishment of the Soviet Union

The post-Soviet states, also collectively known as the former Soviet Union (FSU) or former Soviet Republics, and in Russian as the "near abroad" are the sovereign states that emerged and re-emerged from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its breakup in 1991, with Russia internationally recognised as the successor state to the Soviet Union after the Cold War. The three Baltic states were the first to declare their independence, between March and May 1990, claiming continuity from the original states that existed prior to their annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940. The remaining 12 republics all subsequently seceded. 12 of the 15 states, excluding the Baltic states, initially formed the CIS and most joined CSTO, while the Baltic states focused on European Union and NATO membership.

An oblast is a type of administrative division of Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union and Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

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The term "raion" also can be used simply as a kind of administrative division without anything to do with ethnicity or nationality. 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).

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Azerbaijan is administratively divided into the following subdivisions:

Administrative divisions of Armenia

Armenia is subdivided into eleven administrative divisions. Of these, ten are provinces, known as marzer (մարզեր) or in the singular form marz (մարզ) in Armenian.

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]

Sofia Capital Municipality is a obshtina (municipality) in Sofia City Province, Western Bulgaria. It is named after its administrative centre - the city of Sofia, which is also the capital of Sofia City Province and Sofia Province and the capital of Bulgaria as well.

Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. Politically, administratively and economically, Bulgaria is a highly centralised state. Sofia Municipality is the only municipality in Sofia City Province, which is distinct from Sofia Province, which surrounds but does not include the capital itself. Besides the city proper, the 24 districts of Sofia Municipality encompass three other towns and 34 villages. Each of them has its own district mayor who is elected in a popular election. The head of the Sofia Municipality is its mayor. The assembly members are chosen every four years. The current mayor of Sofia is Yordanka Fandakova.

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.

Azerbaijani language Turkic language

Azerbaijani or Azeri, sometimes also Azeri Turkic or Azeri Turkish, is a term referring to two Turkic lects that are spoken primarily by the Azerbaijanis, who live mainly in Transcaucasia and Iran. Caucasian Azerbaijani and Iranian Azerbaijani have significant differences in phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, and sources of loanwords. ISO 639-3 groups the two lects as a "macrolanguage".

Belarusian language east Slavic language

Belarusian is an official language of Belarus, along with Russian, and is also spoken in Russia, Poland and Ukraine. Before Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the language was only known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, transliterating the Russian name, белорусский язык Belorusskiy yazyk, or alternatively as White Ruthenian or White Russian. Following independence, it has acquired the additional name Belarusian.

Bulgarian language South Slavic language

Bulgarian, is an Indo-European language and a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family.

The source of the word in French, rayon , comes from pre-medieval Frankish *hrāta 'honeycomb' and is not related with the English region or its source, Latin regio .

Frankish, also known as Old Franconian or Old Frankish, was the West Germanic language spoken by the Franks between the 4th and 8th century. The language itself is poorly attested, but it gave rise to numerous loanwords in Old French. After the 8th century Frankish developed into Franconian dialects in what today is the Netherlands, parts of Belgium and parts of Western Germany. Franconian dialects later developed into the Dutch language and took part in the forming of the German language. Franconian dialects are still spoken in larger parts of Germany. Old Dutch is the term for different Old Franconian dialects that were spoken in the Low Countries until about the 12th century when it evolved into Middle Dutch dialects.

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)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 : rajooninherited from the Estonian SSR. In 1990 transformed into district municipalities (Estonian : maakond) Districts 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) Districts of Lithuania
Moldova (existing) Moldovan: 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)inherited from the Ukrainian SSR, there are a about 500 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 111 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. [4] 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. [4]

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

North Caucasus Geographic region

The North Caucasus or Ciscaucasia is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Sea of Azov and Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east, in Russia. Geographically, the Northern Caucasus includes the Russian republics and krais of the North Caucasus. As part of the Russian Federation, the Northern Caucasus region is included in the North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts and consists of Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the constituent republics, approximately from west to east: the Republic of Adygea, Karachay–Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia–Alania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and the Republic of Dagestan.

Siberia Geographical region in Russia

Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has historically been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century.

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 Commissariat of Nationalities. [4] 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 second-level below federal subjects
Districts of Transnistria 5first-level
Districts of Ukraine 490 and 118 city raionssecond-level, numbers as of 2004, 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 [5] ) 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 450 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 111 nationwide).

Notes

  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. 1 2 3 James R. Millar. Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. New York, 2004. ISBN   0-02-865693-8
  5. 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.

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References