An oblast (//, UK also //; plural oblasts, oblasti, or rarely oblasty; Russian and Ukrainian: область, romanized: oblast'; Belarusian: вобласць, romanized: voblasc'; Bulgarian: област, romanized: oblast; Kazakh: облыс, romanized: oblys; Kyrgyz: облус, romanized: oblus) is a type of administrative division in Bulgaria and several post-Soviet states, including Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Historically, it was used in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The term oblast is often translated in English as region or province. In some countries, oblasts are also known by cognates of the Russian term.
The English term oblast is borrowed from Russian: область, romanized: oblast', where it is inherited from Old East Slavic, in turn borrowed from Church Slavonic: область, romanized: oblastĭ, lit. 'power, empire', formed from the prefix oб-, оb- (cognate with Classical Latin: ob and Ancient Greek: ἐπί, ἔπι, romanized: epi) and Church Slavonic: власть, romanized: vlastĭ, lit. 'power, rule'. In Old East Slavic it was used alongside оболость, obolost', equivalent of об-, ob-, 'against' and волость, volost', 'territory, state, power', cognate with English wield; see volost.
Russian Empire edit
In the Russian Empire, oblasts were considered to be administrative units and were included as parts of Governorates General or krais. The majority of then-existing oblasts were on the periphery of the country (e.g. Kars Oblast or Transcaspian Oblast) or covered the areas where Cossacks lived.
Soviet Union edit
In the Soviet Union, oblasts were one of the types of administrative divisions of the union republics. As any administrative units of this level, oblasts were composed of districts (raions) and cities/towns directly under oblasts' jurisdiction. Some oblasts also included autonomous entities called autonomous okrugs. Because of the Soviet Union electrification program under the GOELRO plan, Ivan Alexandrov, as director of the Regionalisation Committee of Gosplan, divided the Soviet Union into thirteen European and eight Asiatic oblasts, using rational economic planning rather than "the vestiges of lost sovereign rights".
The names of oblasts did not usually correspond to the names of the respective historical regions, as they were created as purely administrative units. With a few exceptions, Soviet oblasts were named after their administrative centers.
In 1922, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was divided into 33 administrative divisions also called oblasts. In 1929, oblasts were replaced with larger administrative units known as banovinas.
During the Yugoslav Wars, several Serb Autonomous Oblasts were formed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. These oblasts were later merged into the Republic of Serbian Krajina and the Republika Srpska.
Modern oblasts edit
Since 1999, Bulgaria has been divided into 28 oblasts, usually translated as "provinces". Before, the country was divided into just nine units, also called oblasts.
Post-Soviet states edit
|Territorial entity||Local term||English term||Details||Comment|
|Armenia||marz||province or region||see: marz (country subdivision)||Oblast in the Russian version of a 1995 law.|
|Belarus||voblasts (voblasc) / oblast||region||see: regions of Belarus||Belarusian and Russian are both state languages.|
|Kazakhstan||oblys||region||see: regions of Kazakhstan|
|Kyrgyzstan||oblus / oblast||region||see: regions of Kyrgyzstan||Kyrgyz and Russian are both official languages|
|Russia||oblast||oblast or region||see: oblasts of Russia||According to the Constitution of Russia, oblasts are considered to be subjects of the Federation, which is a higher status than that of administrative units they had within the Russian SFSR before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The federal subject status gives the oblasts some degree of autonomy and gives them representation in the Federation Council.|
|Tajikistan||viloyat||region||see: regions of Tajikistan|
|Turkmenistan||welaýat||region||see: regions of Turkmenistan|
|Ukraine||oblast||oblast or region||see: oblasts of Ukraine||In Ukraine, an oblast (Ukrainian: область [ˈɔblɐsʲtʲ] ⓘ; in English called a province or region) refers to one of the country's 24 primary administrative units. Since Ukraine is a unitary state, the provinces (or regions) do not have much legal scope of competence other than that which is established in the Ukrainian Constitution and by law. Articles 140–146 of Chapter XI of the constitution deal directly with local authorities and their competency.|
|Uzbekistan||viloyat||region||see: regions of Uzbekistan|
See also edit
- Autonomous oblast
- Guberniya, an administrative unit, comparable to an oblast, of the Russian Empire, early Russian SFSR, and the Soviet Union
- Raion, district or sub-division of an Oblast
- Political divisions of Russia
- Chránená krajinná oblasť Horná Orava (the Horná Orava Protected Landscape Area) in Slovakia
- "oblast, n.", Oxford English Dictionary, July 2023, doi:10.1093/OED/6423855087, retrieved 2023-12-01
- "Oblast definition and meaning", Collins English Dictionary, retrieved 25 December 2022
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- Ekonomicheskoe raionirovanie Rossii, Gosplan, Moscow 1921
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