Raion: Wikis

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A raion (or rayon) (Russian and Ukrainian: райо́н, pronounced [raˈjon]; Azerbaijani: rayon; Belarusian: раён; Georgian: რაიონი, raioni; Latvian: rajons; Lithuanian: rajonas; Romanian: raion) is a type of administrative unit of some post-Soviet states. The term, which is from French rayon 'honeycomb, department,'[1] describes both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is almost always translated as "district". A raion is usually an entity two steps below the national level.

Contents

History

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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.[2] 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.[2]

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.[2] 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.

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

Modern raions

Raions in Belarus

In Belarus, raions are administrative units subordinated to voblasts.

Raions in the Russian Federation

Administrative raions

In modern Russia, division into administrative raions largely remained unchanged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Raion can be an administrative division of a federal subject or of a big city. In some federal subjects, however, the terminology changed to reflect national specifics:

Municipal raion

A municipal raion (municipal district) (муниципа́льный райо́н) is a type of municipal formation which comprises a group of urban and/or rural settlements, as well as inter-settlement territories, sharing a common territory. The concept of the municipal districts was introduced during the 2004 municipal reform.

Municipal districts are commonly formed within the boundaries of existing administrative districts, although in practice there are some exceptions to this rule—Neryungrinsky Municipal District in the Sakha Republic, for example, is formed around the town of Neryungri, which neither has a status of nor is a part of any administrative district.

Raions in Ukraine

In Ukraine, raions are administrative divisions of oblasts, big cities, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1961, repr. 1981), s.v. raion.
  2. ^ a b c James R. Millar. Encyclopedia of Russian History. Macmillan Reference USA. New York, 2004. ISBN 0028656938

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