Selsoviet (Belarusian: сельсавет; Russian: сельсовет, tr. selsovet, IPA: [ˈsʲelʲsɐˈvʲɛt]; Ukrainian: сільрада, silrada) is a shortened name for a rural council and for the area governed by such a council (soviet). The full names for the term are, in Belarusian: се́льскi Саве́т, Russian: се́льский Сове́т, Ukrainian: сільська́ ра́да. Selsoviets were the lowest level of administrative division in rural areas in the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, they were preserved as a third tier of administrative-territorial division throughout Ukraine, Belarus, and some of the federal subjects of Russia.
The name refers to the local rural self-administration, the rural soviet (council), a part of the Soviet system of administration. A selsoviet was headed by a chairman, who had to be appointed by higher administration.
For a considerable period of Soviet history, passports of rural residents were stored in selsoviet offices, and people could not move outside their area of residence without the permission of selsoviet.
Selsoviets in Russia
In modern Russia, a selsoviet is a type of an administrative division of a district in a federal subject of Russia, which is equal in status to a town of district significance or an urban-type settlement of district significance, but is organized around a rural locality (as opposed to a town or an urban-type settlement). In some federal subjects, selsoviets were replaced with municipal rural settlements, which, in turn, were granted status of administrative-territorial units.
Prior to the adoption of the 1993 Constitution of Russia, this type of administrative division had a uniform definition on the whole territory of the Russian SFSR. After the adoption of the 1993 Constitution, the administrative-territorial structure of the federal subjects is no longer identified as the responsibility of the federal government or as the joint responsibility of the federal government and the federal subjects. This state of the matters is traditionally interpreted by the governments of the federal subjects as a sign that the matters of the administrative-territorial divisions are the sole responsibility of the federal subjects themselves. As a result, the modern administrative-territorial structures of the federal subjects vary significantly from one federal subject to another; that includes the manner in which the selsoviets are organized and the choice of a term to refer to such entities.
As of 2013, the following types of such entities are recognized:
- Inhabited locality (населённый пункт): in Krasnoyarsk Krai (together with selsoviets)
- Rural administration (сельская администрация): in the Republic of Kalmykia and in Tula Oblast (together with rural okrugs, rural territories, and volosts)
- Rural administrative okrug (сельский административный округ): in Bryansk Oblast
- Rural okrug (сельский округ): in the Mari El Republic, the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, and the Sakha Republic; in Krasnodar Krai (together with stanitsa okrugs); in Belgorod, Kaliningrad, Kirov, Omsk, Ryazan, Tula (together with rural administrations, rural territories, and volosts), Tyumen, Ulyanovsk, and Yaroslavl Oblasts
- Rural settlement (сельское поселение): in the Altai and the Chuvash Republics; in Amur, Moscow, Rostov, Smolensk, Tver, and Voronezh Oblasts
- Rural territory (сельская территория): in Kemerovo Oblast and Tula Oblast (together with rural administrations, rural okrugs, and volosts)
- Rural-type settlement administrative territory (административная территория – посёлок сельского типа): in the Komi Republic (together with selo administrative territories)
- Selo administrative territory (административная территория – село): in the Komi Republic (together with rural-type settlement administrative territories)
- Selsoviet (сельсовет): in the Republics of Bashkortostan, Buryatia (together with somons), Dagestan, Khakassia (together with settlement councils), Mordovia, and the Udmurt Republic; in Altai (together with settlement administrations), Krasnoyarsk (together with inhabited localities), and Stavropol Krais; in Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Kursk, Lipetsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Orenburg (together with settlement councils), Oryol, Penza, Tambov, Volgograd, and Vologda Oblasts; in Nenets Autonomous Okrug (together with settlements)
- Settlement (поселение): in Kostroma and Novgorod Oblasts
- Settlement (посёлок): in Nenets Autonomous Okrug (together with selsoviets)
- Settlement administration (поселковая администрация): in Altai Krai (together with selsoviets)
- Settlement council (поссовет): in the Republic of Khakassia (together with selsoviets) and in Orenburg Oblast (together with selsoviets)
- Settlement municipal formation (муниципальное образование со статусом поселения): in Leningrad Oblast
- Somon (сомон): in the Republic of Buryatia (together with selsoviets)
- Sumon (сумон): in the Tyva Republic
- Stanitsa okrug (станичный округ): in Krasnodar Krai (together with rural okrugs)
- Territorial okrug (территориальный округ): in Murmansk Oblast
- Volost (волость): in Pskov Oblast and Tula Oblast (together with rural administrations, rural okrugs, and rural territories)
- Rural council (in other countries)
- "Энциклопедический словарь конституционного права". Статья "Административно-территориальное устройство". Сост. А. А. Избранов. — Мн.: Изд. В.М. Суров, 2001.