Thursday, July 16, 2009

Krasnodar, Krasnodar Krai, Russia

This postcard comes all the way from Russia! This is from Krasnodar in Krasnodar Krai (aka Kuban Province). Thanks so much Vladimir! I will definitely be sending you some postcards in return for more postcards from Southern Russia!

Only geography nerds need to continue reading:

Political subdivisions of Russia, to my understanding, work as follows: Russia is divided into 83 subyekty or "subjects," which we will call the state-equivalent. There are different types of subjects, and this one comes from a krai (of which there are 9 total). Krai is Russian for "territory," because these regions used to be frontier regions. There are also 46 oblasts, which are essentially the same thing as krais, but oblast means "territory" in a more general sense, rather than a frontier sense. Moscow and St. Petersburg get their own classification as federal cities. This covers all the Russian-controlled subjects. These subjects are further subdivided into administrative regions. These regions are further divided into okrugs, which traditionally means "county," but these are counties in name and history only, as the russian government in the 1920s went to administrative regions instead.

So these administrative divisions are the county-equivalents. The Krasnodar administrative division is (obviously) the administrative center of the Krasnodar Krai.

So what about these other subjects? Russia has 21 semi-autonomous regions called "republics." The boundaries of these republics are generally drawn around an ethnic minority who lives there. The republic has their own constitution, their own parliament, and governs their own affairs, but the federal government of Russia still represents them in international affairs. They are probably the closest thing to what we have in the states, minus the ethnic grouping part.

There is also one completely autonomous oblast subject (jewish) in the southeast corner of Russia. Then, last but not least, there are 4 autonomous okrugs. These four are all in the far north and are mostly indigenous people (similar to our Native American reservations). They are more autonomous than the republics, but less autonomous than the jewish oblast.

Russia is such a large country, I always wondered how they worked everything politically. Now I know!

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