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Classification of inhabited localities in Russia

The classification system of inhabited localities in Russia and some other post-Soviet states has certain peculiarities compared with the classification systems in other countries.

Modern classification in Russia

During the Soviet time, each of the republics of the Soviet Union, including the Russian SFSR, had its own legislative documents dealing with classification of inhabited localities. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the task of developing and maintaining such classification in Russia was delegated to the federal subjects. While currently there are certain peculiarities to classifications used in many federal subjects, they are all still largely based on the system used in the RSFSR. In all federal subjects, the inhabited localities are classified into two major categories: urban and rural. Further divisions of these categories vary slightly from one federal subject to another, but they all follow common trends described below.

Urban localities

  • Cities and towns (город, gorod; pl. города, goroda). Cities and towns are classified by their level of jurisdiction (district/federal subject/federal). The Russian language has no separate words for "town" and "city" ("город" is used for both). Some translators prefer the word "city" for urban populated places with population of at least 100,000 persons.
  • Urban-type settlements (посёлок городского типа, posyolok gorodskogo tipa; pl. посёлки городского типа) is a type of smaller urban locality. This type of urban locality was first introduced in the Soviet Union in 1924, with the following subcategories:
  • Urban-type settlement proper—mostly urban population of 3,000–12,000.
  • Work settlement (рабочий посёлок, rabochy posyolok)—mostly urban population occupied in industrial manufacture.
  • Suburban (dacha) settlement (дачный посёлок, dachny posyolok)—typically, a suburban settlement with summer dachas.
  • Resort settlement (курортный посёлок, kurortny posyolok)—mostly urban population occupied in services.

    In 1957, the procedures for categorizing urban-type settlements were further refined.

    Rural localities

    Multiple types of rural localities exist, some common through the whole territory of Russia, some specific to certain federal subjects. The most common types include:
  • Villages (деревня, derevnya; pl. деревни, derevni)
  • Selos (село, selo; pl. сёла, syola), also translated as "village". Historically, a selo differed from a village in that it had an Orthodox church.
  • (Rural-type) settlements (посёлок (сельского типа), posyolok (selskogo tipa); pl. посёлки (сельского типа)). The "rural-type" (сельского типа) designation is added to the settlements the population of which is mostly occupied in agriculture, while posyolok (посёлок) proper indicates a mix of population working in agriculture and industry.
  • Stanitsas (станица, stanitsa; pl. станицы, stanitsy)—historically, a Cossack rural locality. The name is still currently in use, with the basic meaning of "village".
  • Slobodas (слобода, sloboda; pl. слободы, slobody)—historically, a settlement freed from taxes and levies for various reasons. The name is still currently in use with the basic meaning of "village".
  • Khutors (хутор, khutor; pl. хутора, khutora)—translated as "hamlet", "farmstead", or "village".
  • In some federal subjects, ethnic terminology is used in the Russian language. Such locality types include аул (aul), аал (aal), and кишлак (kishlak).

    Historical terms

  • Krepost (крепость, a fort), a fortified settlement
  • A Kremlin (fortification) (кремль, citadel), a major krepost, usually including a castle and surrounded by a posad
  • An ostrog, a more primitive kind of krepost which could be put up quickly within rough walls of debarked pointed timber
  • Posad (посад), a medieval suburban settlement
  • Mestechko (местечко, from miasteczko ), a small town in the Western Krai annexed during the partitions of Poland; typically a mestechko would have a Jewish majority
  • Pogost
  • Seltso, a type of rural locality in the Russian Empire and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
  • Pochinoks (починок, pochinok; pl. починки, pochinki)—a newly formed rural locality of one or several families. Pochinoks were established as new settlements and usually grow into larger villages as they developed.