Administrative and Territorial Divisions
With a few changes of status, most of the Soviet-era administrative and territorial divisions of the Russian Republic were retained in constituting the Russian Federation. In 1996 there were eighty-nine administrative territorial divisions: twenty-one republics, six territories (kraya
; sing., kray
), forty-nine oblasts (provinces), one autonomous oblast, and ten autonomous regions (okruga
; sing., okrug
). The cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg have separate status at the oblast level. Population size and location have been the determinants for a region's designation among those categories. The smallest political division is the rayon
), a unit roughly equivalent to the county in the United States.
The republics include a wide variety of peoples, including northern Europeans, Tatars, Caucasus peoples, and indigenous Siberians. The largest administrative territorial divisions are in Siberia. Located in east-central Siberia, the Republic of Sakha, formerly known as Yakutia, is the largest administrative division in the federation, twice the size of Alaska. Second in size is Krasnoyarsk Territory, which is southwest of Sakha in Siberia. Kaliningrad Oblast, which is somewhat larger than Connecticut, is the smallest oblast, and it is the only noncontiguous part of Russia. The two most populous administrative territorial divisions, Moscow Oblast and Krasnodar Territory, are in European Russia.