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The administrative division of the Russian FSR is highly complex. The Proclamation of the Rights of the Peoples of Russian, decreed by the Sovnarkom gave extensive autonomy and self rule to all ethnic and linguistics of the former Russian Empire. Also the mandate of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets to establish a federal socialist republic on the basis of a free union of the people of Russia. This established several territorial units with diverse autonomy.
The administrative division distinguishes:
- Non-autonomous territories. It is the basic organization of the Russian FSR. At the first level are oblasts (or krai in Northern Russia). These are subdivided into raion (or rayon). The raion have has component units, and organized hierarchically according to their administrative powers; Cities, Urban-type settlement and rural-type settlements. At each its habitants elected a Council, who designates an Administrative Council.
- Autonomous territories. These are territories where titular nationalities have internal autonomy. They are organized in autonomous socialist republics, autonomous oblast, and autonomous okrug. Below this levels there also exists national districts (population 5,000-50,000) and national townships (population 500-5,000).
Some nationalities, like the Turkic speaking ones (Tatar and Bashkir) or in the Caucasus, allied with the Bolsheviks in the civil war and welcomed the end of czarist repression. These became the initial autonomies and prototypes of national development.
For others a process of nation building process was necessary because a lack of a national or political self-consciousness. In these cases steps where made for national-building: a) Creation of written national language (if it had been lacking), national language planning, native-language press, and books written in the native language came with the national territory, b) primary schooling and alphabetization in national language, c) promotion and use of nationality languages in local administration, d) encouragement or creation, training and promotion of national elites to develop and take over the leading administrative and Party positions, sometimes in proportions exceeding the proportion of the native populations. In some cases, such as in the decossackization process, mass population transfers where obligatory mandated and executed in order to established well-defined national territorial units (national delimitation).
The ideal territorial sequence, depending on cultural, political and economical development, was of national district, autonomous okrug, autonomous oblast and finally autonomous socialist republic, Some, within Russia where only recognized cultural and educational rights and thereby established as national districts or townships. This was the case for Belorussians, Ukrainians, Volga-Germans, Yidisher (Yiddish speakers, i.e. Jews), Karelians, Koreans, and Mongolians.
The autonomous territories are the following:
|ASR||Date establishment||Administrative center||Area km²||Languages||Notes|
|Tatar||1919-1923||Kazan||68,000||Russian and Tatar||Merged with Bashkir ASR, becoming the Tatar-Bashkir ASR|
|Bashkir||1919-1923||Ufa||143,600||Russian and Bashkir||Merged with Tatar ASR, becoming the Tatar-Bashkir ASR|
|Dagestan||1921||Makhachkala||50,300||Russian, Aghul, Avar, Azeri, Chechen, Dargwa, Kumyk, Lak, Lezgian, Nogai, Rutul, Tabasaran, Tat and Tsakhur||Initialy divided in districts, later replaced by cantons and subcantons|
|Gorskaya||1921||Vladikavkaz||73.000||Russian, Karachay, Kabardin, Balkar, Ossetian, Ingush, Chechen, Abaza, Cherkess, Nogal||Comprises 7 okrugs and two cities (Grozny and Vladikavkaz)|
|Tuva||1922||Kyzyl||170,500||Russian and Tuvan|
|Buryat-Mongol||1922||Ulan-Ude||376.400||Russian and Buryat|
|Yakut||1922||Yakutsk||3,103,200||Russian and Sakha|
|Tatar-Bashkir||1923||Kazan||211,600||Russian, Tatar and Bashkir|
|Karelia||1923||Petrozavodsk||147,000||Russian, Finnish, Veps, Ingria|
|Udmurt||1936||Izhevsk||42,100||Russian and Udmurt|
|AO||Date establishment||Administrative center||Area km²||Languages||Notes|
|Chuvash||1920||Cheboksary||18,300||Russian and Chuvash||From 1923 is subordinated to Tatar-Bashkir ASR|
|Kalmyk||1921||Elista||76,000||Russian and Kalmyk|
|Adyghe||1921||Maykop||7,600||Russian and Adyghe|
|Mordovian||1922||Saransk||26,200||Russian and Mordivin|
|Mari||1922||Yoshkar-Ola||23,200||Russian and Mari|
|Udmurt||1923-1936||Izhevsk||42,100||Russian and Udmurt||In 1936 promoted to ASR of same name|
|1925||Gorno-Altaysk||92,600||Rusisan and Altai|
|Khakas||1928||Abakan||61,900||Russian and Khakas|
|Komi||1949||Syktyvkar||448,600||Russian and Komi|
|AOk||Date establishment||Administrative center||Area km²||Languages||Notes|
|Chukotka||1932||Anadyr||737,700||Russian and Chukchi||Subordinated to Magadan Oblast|
|Dolgan-Nenets||1932||Dudinka||862,100||Russian, Dolgan and Nenets||Subordinated to Krasnoyarsk Krai|
|Evenk||1932||Tura||767,600||Russian and Evenki||Subordinated to Krasnoyarsk Krai|
|Khanti-Mansi||1932||Khanty-Mansiysk||534,800||Russian, Khanty and Mansi||Subordinated to Tyumen Oblast|
|Komi-Peryak||1932-1949||Kudymkar||32,700||Russian and Komi (Komi-Peryak)||Subordinated to Perm Oblast. United in 1949 with Komi-Zyryan in the Komi AO|
|Komi-Zyryan||1932-1949||Syktyvkar||415,900||Russian and Komi (Komi-Zyryan)||Subordinated to Arkhangelsk Oblast. United in 1949 with Komi-Peryyak in the Komi AO|
|Koryak||1932||Palana||301,500||Russian, Koryak and Chukchi||Subordinated to Kamchatka Oblast|
|Nenets||1932||Naryan-Mar||176,700||Russian, Nenets and Komi||Subordinated to Arkhangelsk Oblast|
|Yamalo-Nenets||1932||Salekhard||750,300||Russian, Nenets, and Khanty||Subordinated to Tyumen Oblas|