A raion (or rayon) is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet countries. The term, which is from French rayon 'honeycomb, department,' describes both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district". Raion also can be used simply as a second degree of administrative division without anything to do with ethnicity or nationality. A raion is usually an administrative entity two steps below the national level, however in smaller countries it could be the primary level of administrative division.
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. 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.
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. 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 in the People's Republic of Romania
See: Districts of Azerbaijan
- Districts of Latvia until July 1, 2009.
In modern Russia, division into administrative raions largely remained unchanged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The term "raion" is used to refer to an administrative division of a federal subject or to a district of a big city. In two federal subjects, however, the terminology was changed to reflect national specifics:
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.
- 6 мая 2001 г. «Конституция Республики Тыва», в ред. Конституционного закона №1419 ВХ-2 от 10 июля 2009 г «О внесении изменений в статью 113 Конституции Республики Тыва». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Тувинская правда", 15 мая 2001 г. (May 6, 2001 Constitution of the Tyva Republic, as amended by the Constitutional Law #1419 VKh-2 of July 10, 2009 On Amending Article 113 of the Constitution of the Tyva Republic. Effective as of the official publication date).
Slavic terms for country subdivisions Current Historical
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