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Russia is divided into several types and levels of subdivisions.
Russia is a federation which since March 1, 2008 consists of 83 federal subjects (members of the Federation). These federal subjects are of equal federal rights in the sense that they have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council (upper house of the Federal Assembly). They do, however, differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.
Autonomous okrugs are the only ones that have a peculiar status of being federal subjects in their own right, yet at the same time they are considered to be administrative divisions of other federal subjects (with Chukotka Autonomous Okrug being the only exception).
Prior to the adoption of the 1993 Constitution of Russia, the administrative-territorial structure of Russia was regulated by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR of August 17, 1982 "On the Procedures of Dealing with the Matters of the Administrative-Territorial Structure of the RSFSR". The 1993 Constitution, however, did not identify the matters of the administrative-territorial divisions as the responsibility of the federal government or as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the federal subjects. This was interpreted by the governments of the federal subjects as a sign that the matters of the administrative-territorial divisions became solely the responsibility of the federal subjects. As a result, the modern administrative-territorial structures of the federal subjects vary significantly from one federal subject to another. While the implementation details may be considerably different, in general, however, the following types of high-level administrative divisions are recognized:
- raions (administrative districts)
- cities/towns and urban-type settlements of federal subject significance
- closed administrative-territorial formations
Autonomous okrugs and okrugs are intermediary units of administrative divisions, which include some of the federal subject's raions and cities/towns/urban-type settlements of the federal subject significance.
- Autonomous okrugs, while being under the jurisdiction of another federal subject, are still constitutionally recognized as federal subjects on their own right. Chukotka Autonomous Okrug is an exception to this description in that it is not administratively subordinated to any other federal subject of Russia.
- Okrugs are usually former autonomous okrugs which lost their federal subject status due to mergers with other federal subjects.
Typical lower-level administrative divisions include:
- selsoviets (rural councils)
- towns and urban-type settlements of the administrative district significance
- city districts