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A krai or kray (Russian: край) was a type of geographical administrative division in the Russian Empire and in the Russian SFSR,[citation needed] and is one of the types of the federal subjects of modern Russia.

Etymologically, the word is related to the verb "кроить" (kroit'), "to cut".[1] Historically, krais comprised vast territories located along the periphery of the Russian state , since the word krai also means border or edge, i.e., a place of the cut-off. In English the term is often translated as "territory". As of 2015 the administrative usage of the term is mostly traditional, as some oblasts also fit this description and there is no difference in legal status between the krais and the oblasts.[2]

See also

  • Kraj, an equivalent term used in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
  • Krajina
  • Kreis, an administrative unit in Germany
  • Ukraine
  • Marches (Mark, in German) compare to Denmark (literally - the borderland of Danes).


  1. Etymology of the word (Russian)
  2. 12 декабря 1993 г «Конституция Российской Федерации. Статья 5.», в ред. Федерального конституционного закона №5-ФКЗ от 21 июля 2007 г. (December 12, 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation. Article 5., as amended by the Federal Constitutional Law #5-FKZ of July 21, 2007. ).