Federal districts of Russia
The federal districts (Russian: федера́льные округа́, federalnyye okruga) are president's groupings of federal subjects of Russia for the convenience of operation and governing by a Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. The institution of Plenipotentiary Representatives and federal districts was created in 2000 by presidential decree "in order to ensure implementation of the President of the Russian Federation of its constitutional powers". Plenipotentiary Representatives are appointed by the President and are employees of the Presidential Administration.
Federal districts are not created by the Russian constitution or any law and are not the constituent units of Russia. Each district includes several federal subjects and each federal district has a presidential envoy (whose official title is Plenipotentiary Representative). The official task of the Plenipotentiary Representative is simply to oversee the work of federal agencies in the regions, although in practice this oversight is extensive and of considerable consequence.
Federal districts' envoys serve as liaisons between the federal subjects and the federal government and are primarily responsible for overseeing the compliance of the federal subjects with federal laws.
List of federal districts
|Name of district||Area
(2010 Russian Census)
|Central Federal District||652,800||38,438,600||18||Moscow|
|Southern Federal District||418,500||13,856,700||6||Rostov-on-Don|
|Northwestern Federal District||1,677,900||13,583,800||11||Saint Petersburg|
|Far Eastern Federal District||6,215,900||6,291,900||9||Khabarovsk|
|Siberian Federal District||5,114,800||19,254,300||12||Novosibirsk|
|Ural Federal District||1,788,900||12,082,700||6||Yekaterinburg|
|Volga Federal District||1,038,000||29,900,400||14||Nizhny Novgorod|
|North Caucasian Federal District||170,700||9,496,800||7||Pyatigorsk|
The federal districts were created in May 2000 by Vladimir Putin as a part of a wider program designed to reassert federal authority. This wider program of reform included the Federation Council becoming indirectly elected, the scrutinizing of republican constitutions and regional charters, and the President gaining the right to dissolve subjects' parliaments and dismiss subjects' governments if they disobey federal law. The federal districts have vague legal standing for they are not provided by the constitution and their creation rests only on the president's decree. According to the legislative order established post 1991, and reiterated many times by all branches of power, including the Constitutional Court, the president's decrees are only meant to temporarily fill the gaps in legislation. On January 19, 2010, new North Caucasian Federal District was split from Southern Federal District.
In June 2011, the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev mentioned that a plan exists to create the Capital Federal District which would include the territories of the federal city of Moscow and of Moscow Oblast.
The Plenipotentiary Representatives and their staff ascertain the extent of a subjects' violation of federal laws and norms. They also oversee the process of correction at a closer level than can the federal institutions in Moscow. They are therefore central to Putin's reassertion of federal authority. The creation of the federal districts has assisted in restricting laws and practices of the subjects which contravene federal law, for instance, the curtailment of citizens rights, the authoritarian practices of subjects' governors (or, in case of republics, their presidents), the manipulation of police and the control of the judiciary by subjects' governments, the strict control of journalism, and the manipulation of elections.
Federal agencies, particularly in the justice system, had been "captured" by subjects' governments during the segmented federalism of the Yeltsin period. This process is being forestalled as Plenipotentiary Representatives ensure that agencies do the work for which they are intended rather than being brought under the influence of powerful local elites with vested interests.
The Plenipotentiary Representatives are overseeing a system of rotation of federal employees throughout the regions in order to avoid them becoming dependent on local leaders.
The federal districts coincide closely with the Interior Ministry forces' military regions and the Defense Ministry regions. This allows the Plenipotentiary Representatives to have direct access to the command structure of the military and security apparatus. This sends a clear message to the subjects that they must cooperate with the federal government, and is very useful for the Plenipotentiary Representatives.
Presidential plenipotentiary envoys
- Central Federal District
- Southern Federal District
- Northwestern Federal District
- Far Eastern Federal District
- Siberian Federal District
- Urals Federal District
- Volga Federal District
- North Caucasian Federal District
- Alexander Khloponin (since January 2010)
- Economic regions of Russia, similar grouping of the federal subjects of Russia for economic and statistical purposes.
- Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).