The Soviet State: A Study of Bolshevik Rule

By Bertram W. Maxwell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

REORGANIZATION OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

When the Bolsheviks came into power, they found the tsarist administrative organization consisting of the guberniya (provvince), uyezd (district), volost (canton), and selo (village), but from the very earliest time of their accession to power they attempted to reorganize the political division of the country in accordance with economic needs. They claimed that the old administrative division was used by the autocracy merely for imposing its will upon the masses through the instrumentality of bureaucracy, but because of the magnitude of the task and precarious internal conditions, the old order was to a great extent retained. As far back as 1919, however, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee appointed a commission for the purpose of formulating a basic plan for the administrative-economic reorganization of the country. The commission brought in a plan upon which was based the work of reorganization begun in 1923 and completed in 1929. In accordance with the original plan every administrative division was to be a homogeneous unit, both from an economic and a natural standpoint, and it had to be a complete unit different from the surrounding divisions. Within this unit there were to be formed in accordance with the same principle, sub-regions or circuits (okrug) which were to embrace a territory considerably smaller than the old guberniya (province). In addition there were to be formed raions which were to cover a territory slightly smaller than the old uyezd (district). Between the years 1923-1929 the Soviet government proceeded to reorganize some parts of the country where the old division was abolished and the new order introduced. In other sections the old order was left intact. Hence before 1930 there were the following

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