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Useful Notes / The Glorious Federal Subjects

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"The Russian Federation shall consist of republics, krais, oblasts, cities of federal significance, an autonomous oblast and autonomous okrugs, which shall have equal rights as constituent entities of the Russian Federation."
Russian Constitution, Article V

Russia is a federation consisting of 83 federal subjects (Субъекты федерации) plus two more currently disputed with Ukraine, though recent years have seen the country becoming increasingly centralized that it acts more like provinces than federal subjects nowadays. Even without the change, the subjects are highly centralized by federation standards, since the nomination of the governor of each subject requires the approval of the President.

Nevertheless, each subject is still given devolved powers, which differ depending on what classification the subject get. There are six kinds of classification:

  • Oblast (Область, Province): The most numerous of the divisions. Each elects a governor and a local legislature, but uses the constitution of the Russian Federation.
  • Republic (Республика): Autonomous division that not only elects a governor and a local legislature, but also a different constitution. Each republic is created with an ethnic minority (i.e. non-Slavs) in mind, so the republic is allowed to adopt the minority's language as a secondary official language.
  • Krai (Край, Territory): Actually, the name is an Artifact Title, since it by all means has identical responsibilities as an oblast. It is only given a different name because it is located in frontier regions.
  • Autonomous okrug (Автономный округ, Autonomous district): This subject has a substantial ethnic minority, but not enough to be defined as a republic, so it gets the same responsibilities as an oblast. Some of the autonomous okrugs are sub-subjects to other subjects (in Soviet times all of them were), and some full subjects.
  • City of federal significance (Город федерального значения): Self-explanatory. This designates cities that are important enough not to be placed in other divisions.
  • Autonomous oblast (автономная область, Autonomous province): There is only one of this in Russia. Again it functions more like an oblast.

To ease the listing, the subjects will be divided based on the federal districts (федерального округа) dividing Russia into 8 regions. This division is not the same as an economic region, which divides Russia based on a particular industry that each region specializes. For republics and autonomous okrugs, the ethnic group that the subject is named after will also be listed.

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    Central Federal District (Центральный федеральный округ) 

Moscow (Москва)

Capital: It is the capital. (Just don't tell Saint Petersburg.)
Area: 2,511 km2 / 970 mi2 (83rd)
Population: 12,506,468
Year Established: 1154
Current mayor: Sergey Sobyanin

Belgorod Oblast (Белгородская область)

Capital & Largest City: Belgorod (Белгород)
Area: 27,100 km2 / 10,500 mi2 (67th)
Population: 1,532,526
Date Established: January 6, 1954
Current governor: Denis Butsayev (acting)

Bryansk Oblast (Брянская область)

Capital & Largest City: Bryansk (Брянск)
Area: 34,900 km2 / 13,500 mi2 (62nd)
Population: 1,278,217
Date Established: July 5, 1944
Current governor: Alexander Bogomaz

Vladimir Oblast (Владимирская область)

Capital & Largest City: Vladimir (Владимир)
Area: 29,000 km2 / 11,000 mi2 (66th)
Population: 1,443,693
Date Established: August 14, 1944
Current governor: Vladimir Sipyagin

The region of Vladimir-Suzdal is regarded as the birthplace of the Russian language. A major principality of the Kievan Rus', it was eventually absorbed by the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which claimed itself as its successor. The oblast hosts several historic monuments and churches recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Voronezh Oblast (Воронежская область)

Capital & Largest City: Voronezh (Воронеж)
Area: 52,400 km2 / 20,200 mi2 (51st)
Population: 2,335,380
Date Established: June 13, 1934
Current governor: Alexander Gusev

Ivanovo Oblast (Ивановская область)

Capital & Largest City: Ivanovo (Иваново)
Area: 21,800 km2 / 8,400 mi2 (74th)
Population: 1,061,651
Date Established: March 11, 1936
Current governor: Stanislav Voskresensky

Kaluga Oblast (Калужская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kaluga (Калуга)
Area: 29,800 km2 / 11,500 mi2 (65th)
Population: 1,010,930
Date Established: July 5, 1944
Current governor: Vladislav Shapsha

Kostroma Oblast (Костромская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kostroma (Кострома)
Area: 60,100 km2 / 23,200 mi2 (47th)
Population: 667,562
Date Established: August 13, 1944
Current governor: Sergey Sitnikov

Kursk Oblast (Курская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kursk (Курск)
Area: 29,800 km2 / 11,500 mi2 (64th)
Population: 1,127,081
Date Established: June 13, 1934
Current governor: Roman Starovoit

The village of Kalinovka near the border with Ukraine is the birthplace of Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev.

Lipetsk Oblast (Липецкая область)

Capital & Largest City: Lipetsk (Липецк)
Area: 24,100 km2 / 9,300 mi2 (72nd)
Population: 1,173,513
Date Established: January 6, 1954
Current head of the administration: Igor Artamonov

The oblast has large iron ore deposits and is the base of operations of Novolipetsk Steel, the country's leading steel producer.

Moscow Oblast (Московская область)

Capital: Krasnogorsk (Красногорск; it is the de facto capital and a Moscow suburb, so nobody cares. The government palace is closer to the Moscow border than to any residential non-Moscow district anyway.)
Largest City: Balashikha (Балашиха)
Area: 44,300 km2 / 17,100 mi2 (55th)
Population: 7,095,120
Date Established: January 14, 1929
Current head of the administration: Andrey Vorobyov

Sergiyev Posad, located 75 km northeast of Moscow, is a holy city of the Russian Orthodox Church and features the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Oryol Oblast (Орловская область)

Capital & Largest City: Oryol (Орёл)
Area: 24,652 km2 / 9,518 mi2 (71st)
Population: 786,935
Date Established: September 27, 1937
Current head of the administration: Andrey Klychkov

Ryazan Oblast (Рязанская область)

Capital & Largest City: Ryazan (Рязань)
Area: 39,600 km2 / 15,300 mi2 (58th)
Population: 1,154,114
Date Established: September 26, 1937
Current head of the administration: Nikolay Lyubimov

Smolensk Oblast (Смоленская область)

Capital & Largest City: Smolensk (Смоленск)
Area: 49,800 km2 / 19,200 mi2 (53rd)
Population: 985,537
Date Established: September 27, 1937
Current head of the administration: Alexey Ostrovsky

Tambov Oblast (Тамбовская область)

Capital & Largest City: Tambov (Тамбов)
Area: 34,300 km2 / 13,200 mi2 (63rd)
Population: 1,091,994
Date Established: September 27, 1937
Current head of the administration: Alexander Nikitin

Tver Oblast (Тверская область)

Capital & Largest City: Tver (Тверь)
Area: 84,100 km2 / 32,500 mi2 (38th)
Population: 1,353,392
Date Established: January 29, 1935
Current head of the administration: Igor Rudenya

Tula Oblast (Тульская область)

Capital & Largest City: Tula (Тула)
Area: 25,700 km2 / 9,900 mi2 (70th)
Population: 1,553,925
Date Established: September 26, 1937
Current head of the administration: Alexey Dyumin

Yaroslavl Oblast (Ярославская область)

Capital & Largest City: Yaroslavl (Ярославль)
Area: 36,400 km2 / 14,100 mi2 (61st)
Population: 1,272,468
Date Established: March 11, 1936
Current head of the administration: Dmitri Mironov

Yaroslavl is usually considered as the oldest city on the Volga river, and its historic sector is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rostov, a small city to the southwest, was the predecessor of the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal (see above).

    Northwestern Federal District (Северо-Западный федеральный округ) 

Saint Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург)

Capital: It is the capital. (Just don't tell Moscow.)
Area: 1,439 km2 / 556 mi2 (84th)
Population: 5,351,935
Date Established: May 27, 1703
Current governor: Alexander Beglov

Arkhangelsk Oblast (Архангельская область)

Capital & Largest City: Arkhangelsk (Архангельск)
Area: 587,400 km2 / 226,800 mi2 (8th)
Population: 1,185,536
Date Established: September 23, 1937
Current governor: Alexander Tsybulsky

The capital is historically an important seaport, serving as Russia's main port from all the way back in old Novgorodian era until Saint Petersburg was built. It was also the main entry point of supplies delivered by the Arctic Convoys during World War II. The oblast has one of Russia's two spaceports, the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. It also includes the Severny Island (the site of the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear bomb), the Solovetsky Islands (which host Orthodox monasteries recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Franz Joseph Land, a distant archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean that is the northernmost point of not just Russia, but also the Eastern Hemisphere.

The oblast administers the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, located to the northeast.

Vologda Oblast (Вологодская область)

Capital: Vologda (Вологда)
Largest City: Cherepovets (Череповец)
Area: 145,700 km2 / 56,300 mi2 (26th)
Population: 1,202,444
Date Established: September 23rd, 1937
Current governor: Oleg Kuvshinnikov

The Ferapontov Monastery, located 120 km northwest of the capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kaliningrad Oblast (Калининградская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kaliningrad (Калининград)
Area: 15,100 km2 / 5,800 mi2 (77th)
Population: 941,873
Date Established: April 7th, 1946
Current governor: Anton Alikhanov

The westernmost federal subject of Russia, this oblast is an exclave separated from the rest of the country, being oddly sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland. Before World War II, the territory was part of Germany, which had been ruling the territory since the middle of the 17th century, and was known as East Prussia. After WWII, the Soviets took East Prussia from the Nazis and evicted Germans from the area. Rather than dividing it up between Lithuania (which it absorbed) and Poland (which became a Soviet satellite), the Soviet Union took direct control of the region and populated it with ethnic Russians. During Soviet times, it being directly administered by the Russian SFSR was never an issue, since Lithuania was part of the Soviet Union, but things have become complicated since the Hole in Flag and Lithuania became independent. And awkward too, as Lithuania immediately declared itself an ally of the West, as did Poland.

The headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet is located here in the city of Baltiysk, which is also the only Baltic port in Russia that remains ice-free in the winter. The oblast and city were named after Mikhail Kalinin, the Soviet head of state from 1919 to 1946. Before it was occupied by the Soviets, the city was known as "Königsberg", a name that's still used colloquially by people in the region (usually in the form of "Kyonig"). It's one of the few Russian cities whose pre-Soviet names were not restored after the fall of communism.

The Curonian sand dune spit, which separates parts of the oblast from the Baltic Sea, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with Lithuania. There is another dune spit in the south with Poland, the Vistula Spit, but the Russian part is cut in the middle, making way for the port of Baltiysk.

Republic of Karelia (Республика Карелия, Karjalan tasavalta, Karjalan tazavaldu, Karjalan Tazovaldkund)

Capital & Largest City: Petrozavodsk (Петрозаводск, Petroskoi)
Ethnic group: Karelians
Area: 172,400 km2 / 66,600 mi2 (18th)
Population: 643,548
Date Established: July 16th, 1956
Current head of the administration: Artur Parfenchikov

This republic is part of the larger area of Karelia, which is split between Finland and Russia. Large portions of the area were occupied by the Finns during the Continuation War, who were bitter about the annexation of a large part of Finnish Karelia after the Winter War, and Finnish is still an officially recognized language in the republic. The "Karelian Question" on whether to regain control of the parts of Karelia lost to the Russians still remains a dispute in Finnish politics to this day. The Karelians, as well as the Vepsians also found in this republic, speak a Finnic language, of which Finnish and Estonian are a part of, and use the Latin alphabet for their languages, unlike the other minorities in Russia who use the Cyrillic alphabet. However, unlike Finns, who are Lutheran, most Karelians and Veps practice Orthodox Christianity.

The republic includes the two largest lakes in Europe, Lakes Ladoga and Onega. Lake Onega has numerous islands, one of which hosts wooden churches dating back to the 17th century. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From 1940 to 1956, Karelia was actually administered as a proper Soviet republic (the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic), in the same vein as Estonia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, etc. It's interesting to imagine if the arrangements were retained until the fall of communism, as perestroika would have meant the territory become an independent state, sandwiched between Russia and Finland and cutting Murmansk Oblast from the rest of Russia.

Komi Republic (Республика Коми, Коми Республика)

Capital & Largest City: Syktyvkar (Сыктывкар)
Ethnic group: Komi
Area: 415,900 km2 / 160,600 mi2 (11th)
Population: 901,189
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current head of the administration: Vladimir Uyba

The largest patch of virgin forest in Europe, the Virgin Komi Forest, is located in this federal subject in the northern Urals. It is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Leningrad Oblast (Ленинградская область)

Capital: Saint Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург)
Largest City: Gatchina (Гатчина)
Area: 84,500 km2 / 32,600 mi2 (39th)
Population: 1,716,868
Date Established: August 1st, 1927
Current governor: Aleksandr Drozdenko

Murmansk Oblast (Мурманская область)

Capital & Largest City: Murmansk (Мурманск)
Area: 144,900 km2 / 55,900 mi2 (25th)
Population: 795,409
Date Established: May 28th, 1938
Current governor: Andrey Chibis

Historically part of the Sápmi, the homeland of the Sami people of Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. The capital is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle.

Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Не́нецкий автоно́мный о́круг, Ненёцие автономной ӈокрук)

Capital & Largest City: Naryan-Mar (Нарьян-Мар, Няръяна мар)
Ethnic group: Nenets
Area: 176,700 km2 / 68,200 mi2 (20th)
Population: 42,090
Date Established: July 15th, 1929
Current governor: Yury Bezdutny

Novgorod Oblast (Новгородская область)

Capital & Largest City: Veliky Novgorod (Великий Новгород)
Area: 55,300 km2 / 21,400 mi2 (49th)
Population: 634,111
Date Established: July 5th, 1944
Current governor: Andrey Nikitin

Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest cities in Russia, with history dating back to the 9th century. Originally a seat of the Varangians, it was an influential principality within the Kievan Rus' and later evolved into the Novgorodian Republic, a vast state encompassing most of northern European Russia and stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Urals to the east. It was also the easternmost trading post of the Hanseatic League. Its influence began to wane as it involved itself in wars against Sweden, Norway, and the German crusaders in Livonia, and finally succumbed to Muscovite invasion in 1478. The historic remains of the city have been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.

Originally, the city was simply called Novgorod. It was renamed Veliky Novgorod ("Novgorod the Great") in 1999 to distinguish it from Nizhny Novgorod (also originally just Novgorod, but known as Gorky from 1932 to 1990), which grew into a much larger and more populous city. However, the oblast retains its old name, rather than going with the city's new designation.

Pskov Oblast (Псковская область)

Capital & Largest City: Pskov (Псков)
Area: 55,300 km2 / 21,400 mi2 (48th)
Population: 673,423
Date Established: August 23rd, 1944
Current governor: Mikhail Vedernikov

The westernmost federal subject in contiguous Russia, Pskov was Russia's western outpost and gateway to Europe for a long time. Like its previous overlord, Great Novgorod, from which it broke away to form an independent principality, it housed a trading post of the Hanseatic League. The historic churches of Pskov are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Southern Federal District (Южный федеральный округ) 

Sevastopol (Севастополь, Aqyar/Акъяр) (disputed with Ukraine)

Capital: N/A, coterminous
Area: 864 km2 / 334 mi2 (smallest)
Population: 443,211
Year Established: 1783
Current governor: Mikhail Razvozhaev

Sevastopol is the biggest city on Crimea, which is de jure part of Ukraine. However, Russia invaded the peninsula in 2014 and has been administering the whole region since then, despite international condemnation. The reason why Russia risked so much to claim control of the peninsula was because of its extremely strategic seaport, one that has been recognized and used since thousands of years ago, when Sevastopol was a Greek city-state called Chersonesos, whose ancient remains are preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even when it was still ruled by Ukraine, Russia used to lease the port to headquarter its Black Sea Fleet.

Adygea (Республика Адыгея, Адыгэ Республик)

Capital & Largest City: Maykop (Майкоп, Мыекъуапэ)
Ethnic group: Adyghe
Area: 7,600 km2 / 2,900 mi2 (81st)
Population: 439,996
Date Established: July 3rd, 1991
Current head of the administration: Murat Kumpilov

An ethnic Circassian enclave within Krasnodar Krai, although they only make up a quarter of the population. "Adyghe" is what Circassians call themselves; it refers to not just Circassians who live here, but also those living in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia.

Astrakhan Oblast (Астраханская область)

Capital & Largest City: Astrakhan (Астрахань)
Area: 44,100 km2 / 17,000 mi2 (54th)
Population: 1,010,073
Date Established: December 27th, 1943
Current governor: Igor Babushkin

This oblast is known for its connections to India.

Volgograd Oblast (Волгоградская область)

Capital & Largest City: Volgograd (Волгоград)
Area: 113,900 km2 / 44,000 mi2 (31st)
Population: 2,610,161
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current governor: Andrey Bocharov

The Volga Hydroelectric Station, Europe's largest, is located just north of the capital. The oblast also has a canal connecting the Volga and Don Rivers, making it an important shipping network. Outside Russia, it's undoubtedly famous for being the scene of the Battle of Stalingrad (Stalingrad was the name of both the city and oblast from 1925 to 1961), the single largest battle in history that marked a turning point in the Eastern Front of World War II.

Kalmykia (Республика Калмыкия, Хальмг Таңһч)

Capital & Largest City: Elista (Элиста, Элст)
Ethnic group: Kalmyks
Area: 76,100 km2 / 29,400 mi2 (42nd)
Population: 289,481
Date Established: July 29th, 1958
Current head of the administration: Batu Khasikov

This particular republic is an interesting one. While it is indeed part of Europe, you would not believe that looking at them, as they have a very East Asian-like culture, appearance and architecture with Tibetan Buddhism as their main religion (yes, you read that right, Tibetan Buddhism), being the only Buddhist-majority region in Europe and as if a part of The Far East was picked up and dropped in the middle of Europe. This is because the Kalmyks are a Mongolic ethnic group, who migrated to the region from China in the 17th century, brought their culture with them and embraced Buddhism. Their religion was repressed during the Tsarist and Soviet eras, but gained a large resurgence after the fall of the Soviet Union, with the Dalai Lama visiting the republic in 2004, and the largest Buddhist temple in Europe being opened in Elista in 2005. On another note, they are also known for hosting the 1998 XXXIII Chess Olympiad, with a complex known as the Chess City being built where it, the 2004 Women's World Chess Championship and the 2006 World Chess Championship were held, and are home to the hottest place in Russia, the town of Utta.

Krasnodar Krai (Краснодарский край)

Capital & Largest City: Krasnodar (Краснодар)
Area: 76,000 km2 / 29,000 mi2 (41st)
Population: 5,226,647
Date Established: September 13th, 1937
Current governor: Veniamin Kondratev

Notable for its Black Sea riviera, including the resort cities of Anapa, Tuapse, and Sochi, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and whose climate is positively tropical by Russian standards. It also hosts facilities belonging to the Black Sea Fleet.

Republic of Crimea (Республика Крым, Республіка Крим, Qırım Cumhuriyeti/Къырым Джумхуриети) (disputed with Ukraine)

Capital & Largest City: Simferopol (Симферополь, Сімферополь, Aqmescit/Акъмесджит)
Ethnic group: Crimean Tatars
Area: 26,100 km2 / 10,100 mi2 (69th)
Population: 1,913,731
Date Established: March 18th, 2014
Current head of the administration: Sergey Aksyonov

A peninsula located to the south of Ukraine and west of Krasnodar Krai. Although de jure part of Ukraine, Russia has been administering it since it invaded the peninsula in 2014, followed by a controversial referendum in which the overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to join Russia. Even though Russia blatantly flouted Ukraine's sovereignty, culturally and ethnically speaking, Crimea has always been a prickly situation for Ukraine. Most Crimeans are ethnically Russian, with Ukrainians only forming a quarter of the population, and even they also speak Russian. During Soviet era, Crimea was part of the Russian SFSR for the first 32 years of the Union's life and was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 on a strategic basis, since it has land connections with Ukraine. Obviously, at the time, Nikita Khrushchev (the Soviet premier who presided over the transfer) had no idea that the Hole in Flag would happen and Russia and Ukraine would become separate countries. In any case, Russia's control over Crimea meant that Ukraine was forced to relocate its Naval Forces HQ to Odesa, while Ukraine's eastern coast (specifically the Donetsk and Zaporizhia Oblasts) is effectively blockaded, since the Sea of Azov is now surrounded by Russian territory at three sides.

Crimea has a long history of being settled by colonists from distant empires, including the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Italians, and Turks, and is now famous for its riviera, with resorts dotting all along the southern coast. It was the site of The Crimean War, pitting Russia against Britain, France, Sardinia, and the Ottoman Empire over rights of Orthodox Christians in Palestine. The peninsula is the home of the Crimean Tatars, who inherited control over it from the Golden Horde in 1441 and ruled it for three centuries under Ottoman Turkish protection. During World War II, Joseph Stalin accused them of plotting with the Nazi Germans and deported them all to Central Asia, where many of them perished. Under Leonid Brezhnev, some of them were allowed to return, but the others remain in Central Asia (mainly in Uzbekistan).

Rostov Oblast (Ростовская область)

Capital & Largest City: Rostov-on-Don (Ростов-на-Дону)
Area: 100,800 km2 / 38,900 mi2 (33rd)
Population: 4,277,976
Date Established: September 13th, 1937
Current governor: Vasily Golubev

The capital is the biggest city and administrative center of the Southern Federal District. Its location along the river Don (hence the name) and proximity to the Sea of Azov make it an important shipping center. Also known for its Cossacks host, one that rose independently of the more renowned Zaporozhia Cossacks in modern-day Ukraine.

    North Caucasian Federal District (Северо-Кавказский федеральный округ) 

Dagestan (Республика Дагестан, Дагъистаналъул Жумгьурият, Дагъистанес Республика, Дагъыстан Жумгьурият, Республика Дагъустан, Дагъустаннал Республика, Дагъустан Республика, Дагыстан Республикасы, Дехастан пачхьалкъ, Дағыстан Республикасы/Dağıstan Respublikası)

Capital & Largest City: Makhachkala (Махачкала, МахІачхъала, ГIянжи-Къала, Анжикъала, Магьачкъала, Анжи, Мягьячгъала, Mahaçqala, ХӀинжа-ГӀала)
Ethnic group: Avars, Dargins, Kumyks, Lezgins, Laks, Azerbaijanis, Tabasarans, Chechens, Nogais, Aguls, Rutuls, Tsakhurs, and Tats
Area: 50,300 km2 / 19,400 mi2 (52nd)
Population: 2,910,249
Date Established: January 20th, 1921
Current head of the administration: Sergey Melikov (acting)

The southernmost federal district of Russia, it is an extremely heterogeneous republic located on the coast of the Caspian Sea, being inhabited mainly by indigenous Caucasian and Turkic tribes, chief among them the Avars, Dargins, and Kumyks. It has been hit hard by the spillover of the Islamist insurgency happening in neighboring Chechnya, especially in later years; it was, for a time, considered the most dangerous place in the federation. By the late 2010s, however, it seems that the normalcy has returned in Dagestan.

On a positive note, Derbent in the south is a very colorful city and claims itself to be the oldest settlement in Russia. It was a Persian-speaking city that was ceded by Iran to Russia in the early 19th century. Since then, the city has seen migration of Azerbaijanis and Caucasian tribes which completely eclipsed the original Persian population. Its historic parts are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ingushetia (Республика Ингушетия, Гӏалгӏай Мохк)

Capital: Magas (Магас)
Largest City: Nazran (Назрань, Наьсаре)
Ethnic group: Ingush
Area: 3,000 km2 / 1,000 mi2 (82nd)
Population: 412,529
Date Established: June 4th, 1992
Current head of the administration: Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov

As with its neighbors, Chechnya and Dagestan, it was a flashpoint of the attempted rebellion and eventually war involving Caucasian separatists who wanted to secede from Russia in the 1990s and 2000s. Like Chechnya, it is among the least Russified places in Russia; according to the 2010 census, Russians form less than 1% of Ingushetia's population.

Kabardino-Balkaria (Кабардино-Балкарская Республика, Къэбэрдей-Балъкъэр Республикэ, Къабарты-Малкъар Республика)

Capital & Largest City: Nalchik (Нальчик, Налщӏэч)
Ethnic group: Kabardins and Balkars
Area: 12,500 km2 / 4,800 mi2 (79th)
Population: 859,939
Date Established: January 5th, 1936
Current head of the administration: Kazbek Kokov

The Kabardians are the largest subgroup of the Circassians (also known as Adyghe), a Caucasian people idealized as lust objects by Europeans during the early modern period. Fun fact: the term "Caucasian" became widely used to refer to Europeans/Middle Easterners thanks to the Circassians, because they were thought to exemplify the peak of the "Caucasian race". On a less joyful note, hundreds of thousands of Circassians suffered expulsion by Russia during the Ottoman-Russian wars of the early 19th century. The survivors settled throughout the territories of the Ottoman Empire, some of whom found work as guards of nobles and kings. Notably, the monarch of Jordan has a special contingent consisting of Circassian guards.

Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, is located on the border of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. The mountain is usually climbed from the side of this republic, as the route is located near a settlement, as opposed to the other side.

Karachay-Cherkessia (Карачаево-Черкесская Республика, Кbарачай-Черкес Республика, Къэрэшей-Шэрджэс Республикэ, Къарча-Черкес Республика, Карашай-Шеркеш Республика)

Capital & Largest City: Cherkessk (Черкесск)
Ethnic group: Karachays and Cherkess
Area: 14,100 km2 / 5,400 mi2 (78th)
Population: 477,859
Date Established: July 3rd, 1991
Current head of the administration: Rashid Temrezov

North Ossetia–Alania (Республика Северная Осетия — Алания, Республикæ Цæгат Ирыстон — Алани)

Capital & Largest City: Vladikavkaz (Владикавказ, Дзæуджыхъæу)
Ethnic group: Ossetians
Area: 8,000 km2 / 3,000 mi2 (80th)
Population: 712,980
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current head of the administration: Vyacheslav Bitarov

The only Indo-Iranian republic of Russia, North Ossetia and South Ossetia were originally just Ossetia, but in 1922, were split into two separate entities, with North Ossetia remaining part of Russia, while South Ossetia became part of Georgia. Today, North Ossetia remains a republic, while South Ossetia is now a de facto independent country currently claimed by Georgia. The Ossetians are interesting in that despite being northwest of Iran and located in Europe, they actually speak an Eastern Iranian language, related to Pashto in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Pamir languages in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Xinjiang, and their language is not mutually intelligible with any other Iranian language. This is because the Ossetians are a remnant of the Scythians, specifically a branch of the Sarmatians who fled south after the Huns destroyed their kingdom and settled in the North Caucasus, managing to retain their culture unlike the rest of the Sarmatians.

Stavropol Krai (Ставропольский край)

Administrative Centre: Pyatigorsk (Пятиго́рск, Псыхуабэ)
Capital & Largest City: Stavropol (Ставрополь)
Area: 66,500 km2 / 25,700 mi2 (45th)
Population: 2,786,281
Date Established: October 17th, 1924
Current governor: Vladimir Vladimirov

The federal subject is the birthplace of two General Secretaries of the Soviet Union: Yuri Andropov and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Chechnya (Чеченская Республика, Нохчийн Республика)

Capital & Largest City: Grozny (Грозный, Соьлжа-ГӀала)
Ethnic group: Chechens
Area: 17,300 km2 / 6,700 mi2 (76th)
Population: 1,436,981
Date Established: January 10th, 1993
Current head of the administration: Ramzan Kadyrov

This republic has a notorious reputation as the site of one of the most violent post-Soviet conflicts, The Chechnya Wars. After the fall of communism, the Chechens attempted to break away from Russia — twice — only to get beaten back, but not before they caused an internal breakdown of order involving mercenaries, Islamic fundamentalists, bombings, and assassinations that lasted for more than two decades. Eventually, Russia agreed to leave Chechnya alone on the condition that it will not attempt to break away again. It's also worth mentioning that with most Russians leaving to escape the wars, Chechnya is among the least Russified places in Russia, with ethnic Chechens virtually dominating the region.

    Volga Federal District (Приволжский федеральный округ) 

Bashkortostan (Республика Башкортостан, Башҡортостан Республикаhы)

Capital & Largest City: Ufa (Уфа, Өфө)
Ethnic group: Bashkirs
Area: 143,600 km2 / 55,400 mi2 (27th)
Population: 4,072,292
Date Established: November 28th, 1917
Current head of the administration: Radiy Khabirov

Sort of a twin to Tatarstan, like the Volga Tatars, Bashkortostan's ethnic population, the Bashkirs, are cultural Muslims who have lived under Russian domination for more than four centuries.

Kirov Oblast (Кировская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kirov (Киров)
Area: 120,800 km2 / 46,600 mi2 (30th)
Population: 1,341,312
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current governor: Igor Vasilyev

The town of Sovetsk (previously Kukarka) about 138 km to the southwest of the capital is the birthplace of Vyacheslav Molotov, the third Soviet premier and long-serving foreign minister who, alongside Nazi foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that envisaged the invasion and partition of Poland, beginning World War II.

Mari El (Республика Марий Эл, Марий Эл Республик, Мары Эл Республик)

Capital & Largest City: Yoshkar-Ola (Йошкар-Ола)
Ethnic group: Mari
Area: 23,200 km2 / 9,000 mi2 (73rd)
Population: 696,459
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current head of the administration: Alexander Yevstifeyev

Mordovia (Республика Мордовия, Мордовия Республиксь)

Capital & Largest City: Saransk (Саранск, Саранск ошсь, Саран ош)
Ethnic group: Mordvins
Area: 26,200 km2 / 10,100 mi2 (68th)
Population: 834,755
Date Established: December 20th, 1934
Current head of the administration: Artyom Zdunov (acting)

Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (Нижегородская область)

Capital & Largest City: Nizhny Novgorod (Нижний Новгород)
Area: 76,900 km2 / 29,700 mi2 (40th)
Population: 3,310,597
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current governor: Gleb Nikitin

The capital is the administrative center of the Volga Federal District and its largest city, as well as being the fifth-largest in Russia. It is known for its automobile and industrial sectors, earning the nickname "Russian Detroit". From 1932 to 1990, it was a closed city called Gorky, after socialist writer Maxim Gorky, who was born in the city. Upon the fall of communism, the city's previous name was restored, albeit prefixed with "Nizhny" (Lower) to distinguish it from the much older but less populous city of Novgorod in the northwest (which itself got prefixed with "Veliky").

Orenburg Oblast (Оренбургская область)

Capital & Largest City: Orenburg (Оренбург)
Area: 124,000 km2 / 48,000 mi2 (29th)
Population: 2,033,072
Date Established: December 7th, 1934
Current governor: Denis Pasler

Located on the European side of the Ural river, Orenburg was founded first as a Cossack outpost against the nomadic Kazakhs to the east and south and then, after Central Asia was subjugated, a trading station and railway junction to Russia's possessions in Central Asia. After the foundation of the Soviet Union, it briefly served as the capital of the Kirghiz ASSR (modern-day Kazakhstan), before it was ultimately incorporated into Russia proper while the ASSR moved its capital city to Kyzylorda.

Penza Oblast (Пензенская область)

Capital & Largest City: Penza (Пенза)
Area: 43,200 km2 / 16,700 mi2 (56th)
Population: 1,386,186
Date Established: February 4th, 1939
Current governor: Ivan Belozertsev

Perm Krai (Пермский край)

Capital & Largest City: Perm (Пермь)
Area: 160,600 km2 / 62,000 mi2 (24th)
Population: 2,635,276
Date Established: December 1st, 2005
Current governor: Dmitry Makhonin

This federal subject is the namesake for the Permian geologic period, named by Scottish geologist Roderick Murchinson after he undertook an expedition to the area.

Samara Oblast (Самарская область)

Capital & Largest City: Samara (Самара)
Area: 53,600 km2 / 20,700 mi2 (50th)
Population: 3,215,532
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current governor: Dmitry Azarov

Saratov Oblast (Саратовская область)

Capital & Largest City: Saratov (Саратов)
Area: 100,200 km2 / 38,700 mi2 (32nd)
Population: 2,521,892
Date Established: December 5th, 1936
Current governor: Valery Radayev

Tatarstan (Республика Татарстан, Татарстан Республикасы)

Capital & Largest City: Kazan (Казань, Казан)
Ethnic group: Tatars
Area: 68,000 km2 / 26,000 mi2 (44th)
Population: 3,786,488
Date Established: May 27th, 1920
Current head of the administration: Rustam Minnikhanov

The ancestral homeland of the Volga Tatars, Russia's largest minority. Most Tatars are nominal Muslims, though they are extremely Westernized, having been living under Russian rule for more than four centuries, and see Islam more as a cultural heritage rather than a religious one. As a result, despite religious differences, Tatar-Russian marriages are frequent (a saying in Russia is that if you scratch a Russian hard enough, a Tatar will come underneath) and Tatar communities are widely dispersed throughout the federation. The capital, Kazan, is unofficially considered the "third capital of Russia", after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and hosts one of the holiest icons in the Russian Orthodox Church, Our Lady of Kazan.

Tatarstan was the heart of Volga Bulgaria, a medieval Turkic state famous for controlling the trade nexus in the Volga Basin. Both Tatars and Chuvash claim themselves as successor to the Volga Bulgars, with equally compelling reasons (Chuvash win in the linguistic aspect, since their language is the closest to the extinct Bulgar language, but Tatars win in the cultural aspect, since the Bulgars were Muslims). And yes, they ultimately had the same origin as the Bulgars who founded and gave Bulgaria its name, though the Balkan Bulgars lost their identity centuries before their Volga cousins did, with the South Slavs taking over their state early on.

Tatarstan also has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Kazan Kremlin, the island-monastery of Sviyazhsk, and the ruins of Bolghar.

Udmurtia (Удмуртская Республика, Удмурт Элькун)

Capital & Largest City: Izhevsk (Ижевск, Иж/Ижкар)
Ethnic group: Udmurts
Area: 42,100 km2 / 16,300 mi2 (57th)
Population: 1,521,420
Date Established: December 28th, 1934
Current head of the administration: Alexander Brechalov

This republic is known in the world as the birthplace of the AK-47 assault rifle.

Ulyanovsk Oblast (Ульяновская область)

Capital & Largest City: Ulyanovsk (Ульяновск)
Area: 37,300 km2 / 14,400 mi2 (59th)
Population: 1,292,799
Date Established: January 19th, 1943
Current governor: Sergey Morozov

The capital is best known as the birthplace and childhood home of Vladimir Lenin (born Vladimir Ulyanov), the first premier of the Soviet Union, for whom the city and oblast were renamed; before 1924, the city was called Simbirsk. Alexander Kerensky, the premier of the short-lived provisional government that Lenin overthrew during Red October, was also born in Simbirsk.

Chuvashia (Чувашская Республика, Чӑваш Республики)

Capital & Largest City: Cheboksary (Чебоксары, Шупашкар)
Ethnic group: Chuvash
Area: 18,300 km2 / 7,100 mi2 (75th)
Population: 1,251,619
Date Established: June 15th, 1925
Current head of the administration: Oleg Nikolayev

Alongside Tatarstan, Chuvashia was part of Volga Bulgaria, a medieval Turkic hegemon in the Volga Basin. Since the Chuvash lived on the periphery of the state, they were not converted to Islam and continued to practice Tengrism until the Russian conquest, when they were belatedly proselytized to Orthodox Christianity. The Chuvash speak a highly divergent Turkic language that is unintelligible to pretty much any other language in the family. It is not a descendant of Common Turkic, the proto-language for all other surviving Turkic languages, and linguists believe that it might have diverged from the others in the 2nd millennium BCE, during the truly ancient prehistory of Turkic nomads in Eurasia. Since written records of Chuvash only appeared in the 18th century CE, nobody knows what it looked like in its formative years. The most notable characteristic of Chuvash is that the sound z in Common Turkic is rendered as r in Chuvash, hence why it is sometimes called an Oghur language (whereas Common Turkic renders the word as Oghuz).

    Ural Federal District (Уральский федеральный округ) 

Kurgan Oblast (Курганская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kurgan (Курган)
Area: 71,000 km2 / 27,000 mi2 (43rd)
Population: 910,807
Date Established: February 6th, 1943
Current governor: Vadim Shumkov

Sverdlovsk Oblast (Свердловская область)

Capital & Largest City: Yekaterinburg (Екатеринбург)
Area: 194,800 km2 / 75,200 mi2 (17th)
Population: 4,297,747
Date Established: January 17th, 1934
Current governor: Yevgeny Kuyvashev

Both the city and oblast were known as "Sverdlovsk" from 1924 to 1991, after Soviet politician Yakov Sverdlov. The city regained its old name after that, but the oblast did not. "Yekaterinburg", meanwhile, is derived from the name of Peter the Great's wife. Located at the eastern edge of the Urals, placing it in North Asia, Yekaterinburg's nickname is the "Window to Asia". It is the fourth biggest Russian city and the administrative center of the Ural Federal District. The oblast is rich in mineral resources and considered an industrial center.

Yekaterinburg is where Nicholas II and his family were put in house arrest after the fall of the Romanov dynasty and where they ultimately met their end.

Tyumen Oblast (Тюменская область)

Capital & Largest City: Tyumen (Тюмень)
Area: 1,435,200 km2 / 554,100 mi2 (3rd)
Population: 3,395,755
Date Established: August 14th, 1944
Current governor: Alexander Moor

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the region of Tyumen was controlled by the Khanate of Sibir. One of the many successors of the Golden Horde, it was the northernmost Muslim state in history and populated mainly by Siberian Tatars. In the late 16th century, the khanate was conquered by Russia. Under Tsar Feodor I, the Russians founded Tyumen (from Turkic tumen, meaning "ten thousand"), its first Siberian settlement. It is from the Khanate of Sibir that we get the term "Siberia" to refer to the North Asian region.

The oblast administers both the Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets Automonous Okrugs. Pokrovskoye, a village to the east of the capital, is the birthplace of the infamous mystic Grigori Rasputin.

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (Ханты-Мансийский автономный округ — Югра)

Capital: Khanty-Mansiysk (Ханты-Мансийск, Ёмвош/Ёмвоҷ, Абга)
Largest City: Surgut (Сургут)
Ethnic group: Khanty and Mansi
Area: 534,800 km2 / 206,500 mi2 (9th)
Population: 1,532,243
Date Established: December 10th, 1930
Current governor: Natalya Komarova

Home to Russia's oil industry. Lukoil, a global oil producer, took its name from three cities in the okrug: Langepas, Uray, and Kogalym, coupled with the English word "oil".

The Khanty and Mansi, each forming a tiny percentage of the population, are the closest relatives of the Hungarians, and it is believed that the nomadic ancestors of the Hungarians originally came from somewhere around here, before they migrated to the Western Urals and eventually Europe proper from the 6th century onward.

Chelyabinsk Oblast (Челябинская область)

Capital & Largest City: Chelyabinsk (Челябинск)
Area: 87,900 km2 / 33,900 mi2 (36th)
Population: 3,476,217
Date Established: January 17th, 1934
Current governor: Alexey Texler

An industrial-oriented oblast and home to several nuclear reactors, it was the site of 1957 Kyshtym disaster, the third-worst nuclear accident in history (after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster). The capital also experienced a meteor strike in 2013, which damaged buildings and injured over 1,500 people.

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (Ямало-Ненецкий автономный округ, Ямалы-Ненёцие автономной ӈокрук)

Capital: Salekhard (Салехард, Саля'хард)
Largest City: Noyabrsk (Ноябрьск)
Ethnic group: Nenets
Area: 750,300 km2 / 289,700 mi2 (5th)
Population: 522,904
Date Established: December 10th, 1930
Current governor: Dmitry Artyukhov

The center of natural gas extraction and production in Russia, with both Gazprom and Novatek, to name a few, operating in the okrug.

    Siberian Federal District (Сибирский федеральный округ) 

Altai Republic (Республика Алтай, Алтай Республика, Алтай Республикасы)

Capital & Largest City: Gorno-Altaysk (Горно-Алтайск, Туулу Алтай)
Ethnic group: Altaians
Area: 92,600 km2 / 35,800 mi2 (35th)
Population: 206,168
Date Established: July 1st, 1922
Current head of the administration: Oleg Khorokhordin

The Altai (literally "gold mountain") are believed to be the homeland or near-homeland of the original Turkic peoples. The mountains are sacred in Tengrism. They, as well as surrounding environment, have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. "Altai" is also the namesake of the now-discredited Altaic language family, which hypothesizes that the languages of Central, North and East Asia (including Uralic, Turkic, Mongolic, Japonic, Koreanic, and Tungusic) are part of a single family.

Altai Krai (Алтайский край)

Capital & Largest City: Barnaul (Барнаул)
Area: 169,100 km2 / 65,300 mi2 (22nd)
Population: 2,419,755
Date Established: September 28th, 1937
Current governor: Viktor Tomenko

This krai is the birthplace of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47.

Irkutsk Oblast (Иркутская область)

Capital & Largest City: Irkutsk (Иркутск)
Area: 767,900 km2 / 296,500 mi2 (5th)
Population: 2,428,750
Date Established: September 26th, 1937
Current governor: Igor Kobzev

Kemerovo Oblast (Кемеровская область)

Capital & Largest City: Kemerovo (Кемерово)
Area: 95,500 km2 / 36,900 mi2 (34th)
Population: 2,763,135
Date Established: January 26th, 1943
Current governor: Sergey Tsivilyov

Krasnoyarsk Krai (Красноярский край)

Capital & Largest City: Krasnoyarsk (Красноярск)
Area: 2,339,700 km2 / 903,400 mi2 (2nd)
Population: 2,828,187
Date Established: December 7th, 1934
Current governor: Alexander Uss

The world's third and Russia's second largest subnational division, it is a very large and long oblast, stretching from near the border with Mongolia all the way north to the shores of the Arctic Ocean, including the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya. The city of Norilsk is the northernmost city with a population over 100,000 and has the world's northernmost custom-built mosque, the Nord Kamal Mosque.note  Contains some of Russia's largest gold mines, operated by Polyus, Russia's premier gold producer.

The village of Bolshaya Tes in Novosyolovsky District is the birthplace of Konstantin Chernenko, the second-to-last General Secretary of the Soviet Union. A remote area of eastern Krasnoyarsk Krai was site of the infamous Tunguska event. Meanwhile, the northern Putorana Plateau, a mountainous area near Norilsk that is rich in nickel deposits, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Novosibirsk Oblast (Новосибирская область)

Capital & Largest City: Novosibirsk (Новосибирск)
Area: 178,200 km2 / 68,800 mi2 (19th)
Population: 2,665,911
Date Established: September 28th, 1937
Current governor: Andrey Travnikov

Having a population numbering more than 1.6 million, Novosibirsk is the country's third-largest city and the largest city of not only the Siberian Federal District, of which it is the administrative center, but also the entirety of Asian Russia. Unsurprisingly, it is an extremely important hub city in the region; it was, after all, founded as a transit point of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Its rapid growth, focus on industrialization, and its location in the middle of nowhere has earned it comparisons with Chicago.

Omsk Oblast (Омская область)

Capital & Largest City: Omsk (Омск)
Area: 139,700 km2 / 53,900 mi2 (28th)
Population: 1,977,665
Date Established: December 7th, 1934
Current governor: Alexander Burkov

Tomsk Oblast (Томская область)

Capital & Largest City: Tomsk (Томск)
Area: 316,900 km2 / 122,400 mi2 (16th)
Population: 1,047,394
Date Established: August 13th, 1944
Current governor: Sergey Zhvachkin

Tuva (Республика Тыва, Тыва Республика)

Capital & Largest City: Kyzyl (Кызыл)
Ethnic group: Tuvans
Area: 170,500 km2 / 65,800 mi2 (21st)
Population: 307,930
Date Established: March 31st, 1992
Current head of the administration: Sholban Kara-ool

One of the claimed geographical centers of Asia, with an obelisk, "The Center of Asia" being built in commemoration of it in the capital, Kyzyl. Before the 20th century, the region, known as Tannu Uriankhai, was a province of Qing China. After the Xinhai Revolution, the region broke away and considered joining its neighbor, Mongolia, who also broke away and formed an independent state, but later made agreements to become a protectorate of the Russian Empire in 1914 and, seven years later, a satellite state of the Soviet Union (Mongolia later became a Soviet satellite itself in 1924). Unlike Mongolia, however, Tannu Tuva (as the state was known by then) eventually chose to relinquish its independence completely and join the USSR in 1944.

The indigenous people, Tuvans, are one of the few Turkic ethnic groups whose national religion is Buddhism; they converted to Tibetan Buddhism in the 17th century under the influence of their neighbors, the Mongols. Still, shamanism continues to play a role in the daily life of Tuvans. The Tuvans are also known for their throat-singing, which is also practiced in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, with Sainkho Namtchylak and Kongar-ool Ondar becoming well known in the West.

On another note, Tuva shares the Uvs Lake endorheic basin region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Mongolia.

Khakassia (Республика Хакасия, Хакас Республиказы)

Capital & Largest City: Abakan (Абакан, Ағбан)
Ethnic group: Khakas
Area: 61,900 km2 / 23,900 mi2 (46th)
Population: 532,403
Date Established: July 3rd, 1991
Current head of the administration: Valentin Konovalov

The Sayano-Shusenskaya Dam, located on the border with Krasnoyarsk Krai, is the largest power plant in Russia.

    Far Eastern Federal District (Дальневосточный федеральный округ) 

Amur Oblast (Амурская область)

Capital & Largest City: Blagoveshchensk (Благовещенск)
Area: 363,700 km2 / 140,400 mi2 (14th)
Population: 830,103
Date Established: October 20th, 1932
Current governor: Vasily Orlov

Buryatia (Республика Бурятия, Буряад Улас, Буриад Улс)

Capital & Largest City: Ulan-Ude (Улан-Удэ, Улаан Үдэ хото, Улаан-Үд)
Ethnic group: Buryats
Area: 351,300 km2 / 135,600 mi2 (15th)
Population: 972,021
Date Established: May 30th, 1923
Current head of the administration: Alexey Tsydenov

One of Russia's two Mongol republics, alongside Kalmykia. The Buryats are a subgroup of the Mongols who live around the famed Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Their land was part of Mongolia until it was detached and conquered by the Russians in the late 17th century.

Jewish Autonomous Oblast (Еврейская автономная область, ‏יידישע אויטאנאמע געגנט)

Capital & Largest City: Birobidzhan (Биробиджан, ביראָבידזשאַן‏‎)
Area: 36,000 km2 / 14,000 mi2 (60th)
Population: 176,558
Date Established: May 7th, 1934
Current governor: Rostislav Goldshteyn

This is the only Autonomous Oblast in Russia, and one of the only two official Jewish territories in the world, the other being Israel. It was originally founded by Komzet (the Committee for the Settlement of Toiling Jews on the Land) to resettle Soviet Jews into a designated territory, though in actuality, it was an outpost to strengthen the Soviet Union's Far Eastern border. However, despite the name, less than 1% of the population is actually Jewish, with most of the ethnic Jews having emigrated from the region long ago, though Yiddish is still an official language in the Oblast, and there are recent attempts to revive Jewish culture in it.

Zabaykalsky Krai (Забайкальский край)

Capital & Largest City: Chita (Чита)
Area: 431,500 km2 / 166,600 mi2 (12th)
Population: 1,107,107
Date Established: March 1st, 2008
Current governor: Natalia Zhdanova

The Daursky Nature Reserve, a dry steppe region on the border with Mongolia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kamchatka Krai (Камчатский край)

Capital & Largest City: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Петропавловск-Камчатский)
Area: 472,300 km2 / 182,400 mi2 (10th)
Population: 322,079
Date Established: July 1st, 2007
Current governor: Vladimir Solodov

This krai is well known for its volcanic activity, being part of the Ring of Fire of the Pacific with around 160 volcanoes, including the largest volcano in the Northern Hemisphere, Klyuchevskaya Sopka, being located here, 29 of them still active with 19 of the volcanoes being included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the most volcanic area of Eurasia, gaining the nickname of the "land of fire and ice". It and Chukotka are the Asian part of Eskimo Land, with a notable Aleut (who also live in Alaska) and Itelmen population living in the krai, and the krai is also well known for its diverse and abundant wildlife, particularly its brown bears, as well as its ocean life, with it containing the world's greatest diversity of salmonid fish and many species of whales and seals being encountered here.

Magadan Oblast (Магаданская область)

Capital & Largest City: Magadan (Магадан)
Area: 461,400 km2 / 178,100 mi2 (11th)
Population: 156,996
Date Established: December 3rd, 1953
Current governor: Sergey Nosov

Primorsky Krai (Приморский край)

Capital & Largest City: Vladivostok (Владивосток)
Area: 165,900 km2 / 64,100 mi2 (23rd)
Population: 1,956,497
Date Established: October 20th, 1938
Current governor: Oleg Kozhemyako

Located on the western coast of the Sea of Japan, this krai has Russia's only border with North Korea, and is the largest economy of the Russian Far East. The capital, Vladivostok, is home to the Russian Pacific Fleet, and is the largest Russian port in the Pacific. The Bikin National Park, an old-growth forest on the border with China, is one of the last remaining refuges of the endangered Siberian tigers and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sakha (Yakutia) (Республика Саха (Якутия), Саха Өрөспүүбүлүкэтэ (Саха Сирэ))

Capital & Largest City: Yakutsk (Якутск, Дьокуускай)
Ethnic group: Yakuts
Area: 3,083,523 km2 / 1,190,555 mi2 (largest)
Population: 958,528
Date Established: April 27th, 1922
Current head of the administration: Aysen Nikolayev

This republic is known for being the largest administrative division in the world, dwarfing many countries in size, and being home to the two coldest permanently inhabited settlements on Earth, Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk, with the capital of the Republic, Yakutsk, being the second coldest large city in the world after Norilsk in Krasnoyarsk. It's also the northern and easternmost Turkic region in the world, and was home to the last stage of the Russian Civil War, the Yakut Revolt.

The town of Mirny in western Yakutia is home to the headquarters of Alrosa, the world's leading diamond mining company. A natural attraction in the subject is the Lena Pillars, a rock formation in the middle Lena river a bit south of Yakutsk, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012.

Sakhalin Oblast (Сахалинская область)

Capital & Largest City: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Южно-Сахалинск)
Area: 87,100 km2 / 33,600 mi2 (37th)
Population: 497,973
Date Established: October 20th, 1932
Current governor: Valery Limarenko

Russia's only insular first-level administrative division, consisting of the titular island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, located in the Sea of Okhotsk. In the 19th century, both were the subject of a Russo-Japanese rivalry over land rights. In 1875, Russia and Japan agreed to delimit territories, with Russia gaining the whole of Sakhalin and Japan gaining the whole of the Kuril Islands. Following the Russo-Japanese War, the Treaty of Portsmouth ceded the southern half of Sakhalin to Japan. Calling it the "Karafuto Prefecture", Japan settled thousands of Koreans to the island to work as indentured laborers. World War II ended Japanese domination over Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, but one third of the Koreans were left behind in Sakhalin, where they remain to this day. Before WWII, the Ainu used to live in Sakhalin and the Kuril as well (alongside Hokkaido, they made up the traditional Ainu homeland), the vast majority of whom were evacuated to Japan after the Soviets asserted control.

Though Japan dropped its claim over Sakhalin, it continues to claim four islands of the Kuril archipelago. The dispute is the reason why, unlike the other Allied Powers, the Soviet Union never signed a peace treaty with Japan, and continues to be a significant roadblock in Russo-Japanese relations.

Khabarovsk Krai (Хабаровский край)

Capital & Largest City: Khabarovsk (Хабаровск)
Area: 788,600 km2 / 304,500 mi2 (4th)
Population: 1,343,869
Date Established: October 20th, 1938
Current governor: Mikhail Degtyarev (acting)

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (Чукотский автономный округ, Чукоткакэн автономныкэн округ)

Capital & Largest City: Anadyr (Анадырь, Кагыргын)
Ethnic group: Chukchi
Area: 737,700 km2 / 284,800 mi2 (7th)
Population: 50,526
Date Established: December 10th, 1930
Current governor: Roman Kopin

The easternmost federal subject of Russia and point of Asia and the Far East, this okrug borders The United States by the Bering Strait, with the village of Uelen being the closest Asian settlement to North America and the easternmost settlement of Russia and all of Asia. It's the only autonomous okrug that is not included in or subordinate to another federal subject, and is the second least populated federal subject after the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the least densely populated one. The Chukchi of this okrug are the closest Asiatic relatives to the Inuit and Native Americans of the Americas, and Yupik peoples, who are also found in Alaska, live here as well, along with the related Chaplino, Naukan and Sirenik peoples.

Wrangel Island, an uninhabited barren island in the Arctic Ocean, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Scientists have proposed that it was the last place on Earth where mammoths survived, until 2000 BCE (in other words, when the Pyramid of Giza was completed, mammoths still existed on the island, and would continue to exist for the next 500 years!).

Alternative Title(s): Federal Subjects Of Russia, Russian Federal Subjects, Krais Of Russia, Russian Krais, Republics Of Russia, Russian Republics, Russian Autonomous Okrugs, Autonomous Okrugs Of Russia, Oblasts Of Russia, Russian Oblasts