Oblasts of Ukraine
Category Subdivision of a unitary state
Location  Ukraine
Created 1932 as part of the Ukrainian SSR
Number 24 (as at 1991)
Populations 904,000-4,450,000
Areas 3,130-12,800 (sq mi)
Government Oblast Council
Subdivisions 490 raions (districts)[nb 1]

An oblast (Ukrainian: область|) refers to one of Ukraine's 24 primary administrative units. Ukraine is a unitary state, thus, the provinces 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.

Although Ukraine is a unitary and indivisible state, political and social divisions exist between the northern and western and the southern and eastern portions of the country. This stems from the fact that the western oblasts were only annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent country of the Soviet Union in 1939-1940, whereas the rest of the country was under Soviet Ukrainian control since its inception in 1919.[1]

Along with the 24 oblasts, Ukraine also is subdivided into one autonomous republic (Crimea) and two cities with special status (Kiev, the capital, and Sevastopol, located on the Crimean peninsula, although politically separate from the autonomous republic itself). Each of these regions, as are the oblasts, are further subdivided into raions (districts), ranging in number from 11 to 27 per region (Kiev is divided into 10,[2] while Sevastopol only has four).

General characteristics[]

Template:Ukraine subdivisions sidebar

Map of the Okruhas of Ukraine in 1927.

Ukraine after 1935. First oblasts of Ukraine including recently created Donetsk and Chernihiv oblasts as well as border okrugs.

Border okrugs are liquidated and created four additional oblasts in 1937.

Creation of additional oblasts just before the World War II

Soviet Ukraine during the World War II

Post war divisions

An uncommon term in the English language is oblast, where in Ukraine the term is can imply a specific portion of the country, in addition to its use to describe Crimea, which stems mostly from the fact that Crimea was an administrative oblast of Ukraine since it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 up until Ukrainian independence in 1991.[1] The term oblast itself was first introduced in 1932 when the Ukrainian SSR was divided into seven oblasts replacing the previous subdivision system based on okrugs and encompassing 406 raions (districts).[1] The first oblasts were Vinnytsia Oblast, Kiev Oblast, Odessa Oblast, Kharkiv Oblast, and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Soon after that in the summer of 1932 there was formed Donetsk Oblast out of eastern parts of Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts and in the fall of 1932 there was formed Chernihiv Oblast on the border of Kiev and Kharkiv oblasts.

Between 1935-1938 there existed several newly created and self-governed okrugs. Upon liquidation of the okrugs in 1937-38 Kiev, Vinnytsia, Odessa, and Kharkiv oblasts were each split into four additional oblasts (Zhytomyr Oblast, Kamianets-Podilsky Oblast (later - Khmelnytsky), Mykolaiv Oblast, Poltava Oblast). Just before the World War II, the Donetsk Oblast was split into Stalin Oblast and Voroshylovhrad Oblast and the Kirovohrad Oblast was created out of portions of Kiev, Mykolaiv and Odessa oblasts.

During World War II Ukraine added eight additional oblasts of the West Ukraine and Bessarabia. Upon the occupation of Ukraine by the Nazi Germany the territory was split between General Government, Kingdom of Romania and Reichskommissariat Ukraine and carried out a completely different administrative division, see Reichskommissariat Ukraine. With the re-establishing of the Soviet power in the state after the war, the administrative division by oblast was resumed adding one more oblast—Zakarpattia. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian SSR; parts of the surrounding oblasts were incorporated into the Cherkasy Oblast, while Izmail Oblast was absorbed by Odessa Oblast. In 1959, Drohobych Oblast was merged with Lviv Oblast.

Most of Ukraine's oblasts are named after their respective administrative centers, which are also the largest and most developed city in a given region. Each province generally consists of about one to two million of people, ranging anywhere from as low as 904,000 in Chernivtsi Oblast to 4.4 million in the eastern oblast of Donetsk. Each oblast is generally subdivided into about 20 raions (mean average, can range anywhere from 11 in Chernivtsi to 27 in Kharkiv and Vinnytsia Oblasts).

Constitutional provisions and authority[]

The Ukrainian constitution establishes Ukraine as a unitary state. The specific text of the constitution that refers to the territorial structure is as follows.

The territorial structure of Ukraine is based on the principles of unity and indivisibility of the state territory, the combination of centralisation and decentralisation in the exercise of state power, and the balanced socio-economic development of regions that takes into account their historical, economic, ecological, geographical and demographic characteristics, and ethnic and cultural traditions.
Constitution of UkraineChapter IX: Territorial Structure of Ukraine, Article 132

Election results of the 2010 provincial administrative center mayoral elections and regional parliamentarian elections.

Each of Ukraine's oblasts have their own legislative and executive authority, most of which is subordinate to the central government authorities in Kiev. Each region is administered under laws passed by the Ukrainian government and the Constitution of Ukraine. Each region levies its own taxes and, in return, receive a portion of their budget from Kiev, which gives them a portion of the taxes they levy.[3]

Executive power each of the oblasts (as well as in other subdivisions of Ukraine) are exercised by local elected administrations.[4] The heads of local administrations are in turn appointed and dismissed by the President of Ukraine upon nomination by the Cabinet of Ministers.[4] Since Ukraine is a unitary state, there is little true political power and weight that these local administrations actually hold. Carrying out their authorities, the heads of local administrations are accountable to the President and are subordinate to higher bodies of executive leadership.[4]

Legislative power in the oblast governments is exercised by their respective oblast councils, which in turn supervise the activities of local administrations.[4] They also have considerable budgets managed by an oblast council (Ukrainian: обласна рада|) made up of people's deputies (representatives) voted into office in regional elections every 4 years, the last of which took place in 2010.


The name of each oblast is a relative adjective, formed by adding a feminine suffix to the name of respective center city. E.g. Poltava is a center of Poltavs'ka oblast' (Poltava Oblast). Most of them are also sometimes referred to in a feminine noun form, following the convention of traditional regional place names, ending with the suffix "-shchyna". E.g. Poltava Oblast is also called Poltavshchyna.

Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Two oblasts, Volyn and Zakarpattia, which retain the names of their respective historical regions, Volyn' (Volhynia) and Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia), whose respective capitals are Lutsk and Uzhhorod.[5]
  • Two cities: Kiev which is an independently administrated city from the surrounding Kiev Oblast and Sevastopol which is, while located on the Crimean peninsula, administratively not part of Crimea. Kiev is, however, also the administrative center of Kiev Oblast (administrative bodies of the oblast are situated inside the city).

Oblasts sometimes referred to as provinces, however, since historically provinces were part of the administrative division of the Russian Empire, territories of which today are often different. For example, the former Volhynian province encompasses the Rivne Oblast, the Volyn Oblast, and also includes some territories in the Ternopil Oblast.

List of former and renamed oblasts[]

Map of the administrative divisions of the Ukrainian SSR from 1946-1954 shows the Izmail Oblast and Drohobych Oblast.

Former Oblasts[]

  • Izmail Oblast (initially as Akkerman Oblast) existed in 1940-41 and 1944-54 (under Romanian occupation, later was added to Odessa Oblast)
  • Drohobych Oblast existed in 1939-41 and 1944-1959 (under German occupation, later was added to Lviv Oblast)
  • Crimean Oblast (1954 - 1991) was transformed into Crimean ASSR

Renamed Oblasts[]

  • Stalino Oblast was the name of Donetsk Oblast 1938-41 and 1943-61 (created out of the united Donetsk Oblast 1932-38, German occupation 1941-43)
  • Akkerman Oblast was the name of Izmail Oblast 1940
  • Stanislav Oblast was the name of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast 1939-41 and 1944-62 (German occupation 1941-44)
  • Kamianetsk-Podilska Oblast was the name of Khmelnytsky Oblast 1937-41 and 1944-54 (German occupation 1941-44, later transfer of administrative center to Khmelnytskyi)
  • Voroshylohrad Oblast was the name of Luhansk Oblast 1938-42, 1943–58 and 1970–90 (German occupation 1942-43)
  • Tarnopil Oblast was the name of Ternopil Oblast 1939-41 (renamed soon after World War II)

List of regions[]

Template:Politics of Ukraine

Region Area (sq mi) Population (2010) Pop. density Administrative centers Raions/Districts Oblast cities[nb 2]
Autonomous Republic Crimea Autonomous Republic of Crimea 10,038.0 1,965,031 195.76 Simferopol 14 11
 Cherkasy Oblast 8,069.5 1,291,135 160.00 Cherkasy 20 6
 Chernihiv Oblast 12,303.1 1,104,241 89.75 Chernihiv 22 3
 Chernivtsi Oblast 3,126.3 903,782 289.09 Chernivtsi 11 2
 Dnipropetrovsk Oblast 12,322.1 3,344,073 271.39 Dnipropetrovsk 22 13
 Donetsk Oblast 10,238.3 4,448,031 434.45 Donetsk 18 28
 Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast 5,366.8 1,380,770 257.28 Ivano-Frankivsk 14 5
 Kharkiv Oblast 12,129.4 2,755,177 227.15 Kharkiv 27 7
22x20px Kherson Oblast 10,988.9 1,091,151 99.30 Kherson 18 3
 Khmelnytskyi Oblast 7,971.1 1,331,534 167.05 Khmelnytskyi 20 6
 Kiev Oblast 10,861.4 1,719,602 158.32 Kiev 25 13
 Kirovohrad Oblast 9,493.5 1,014,809 106.90 Kirovohrad 21 4
 Luhansk Oblast 10,302.7 2,300,412 223.28 Luhansk 18 4
 Lviv Oblast 8,429.8 2,545,634 301.98 Lviv 20 9
 Mykolaiv Oblast 9,497.3 1,186,452 124.93 Mykolaiv 19 5
 Odessa Oblast 12,861.1 2,387,636 185.65 Odessa 26 7
 Poltava Oblast 11,099.7 1,493,668 134.57 Poltava 25 5
 Rivne Oblast 7,740.2 1,152,576 148.91 Rivne 16 4
 Sumy Oblast 9,202.4 1,166,765 126.79 Sumy 18 7
 Ternopil Oblast 5,337.1 1,086,694 203.61 Ternopil 17 1
 Vinnytsia Oblast 10,236.7 1,646,250 160.82 Vinnytsia 27 6
 Volyn Oblast 7,777.6 1,038,223 133.49 Lutsk 16 4
 Zakarpattia Oblast 4,933.2 1,246,323 252.64 Uzhhorod 13 5
 Zaporizhia Oblast 10,494.3 1,805,431 172.04 Zaporizhia 20 5
 Zhytomyr Oblast 11,518.2 1,283,201 111.41 Zhytomyr 23 5
Kiev Kyiv City 323.9 2,782,016 8589.12 Kyiv 10 1
Sevastopol Sevastopol City 416.6 380,301 912.87 Sevastopol 4 2

See also[]

  • Administrative divisions of Ukraine
  • Ukrainian historical regions
  • List of etymologies of country subdivision names: "Ukraine"


  1. ^ A total of 490 raions exist within the first-level subdivisions of Ukraine, including the 24 oblasts and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
  2. ^ Technically speaking, these cities are called "cities of oblast subordinance" (Ukrainian: Міста обласного значення|) and are subordinate to their respective oblast authorities rather than the raion (district) authorities that they are geographically located in.
  1. ^ a b c "Ukraine Regions". Statoids. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Decrees of Kiev City Council Kiev City Council decree No. 280/1257: Description of New Administrative Raions of the City of Kyiv. Passed on 2001-04-27. (Ukrainian)
  3. ^ Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter IX: Territorial Structure of Ukraine, Article 143
  4. ^ a b c d "The Constitution of Ukraine" (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Ukraine". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Oblasts of Ukraine. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.