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Russia is a federation which since March 1, 2008 consists of 83 federal subjects (members of the Federation).These federal subjects are of equal federal rights in the sense that they have equal representation-two delegates each-in the Federation Council (upper house of the Federal Assembly). They do, however, differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy.

Six types of federal subjects are distinguished-21 republics, 9 krais, 46 oblasts, 2 federal cities, 1 autonomous oblast, and 4 autonomous okrugs.

Autonomous okrugs are the only ones that have a peculiar status of being federal subjects in their own right, yet at the same time they are considered to be administrative divisions of other federal subjects (with Chukotka Autonomous Okrug being the only exception).