According to the Russian Constitution, the Russian Federation consists of republics, krais, oblasts, cities of federal importance, an autonomous oblast and autonomous okrugs, all of which are equal subjects of the Russian Federation. Three Russian cities of federal importance (Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Sevastopol) have a status of both city and separate federal subject which comprises other cities and towns (Zelenograd, Troitsk, Kronstadt, Kolpino, etc.) within each federal city – keeping older structures of postal addresses. In 1993 the Russian Federation comprised 89 federal subjects. By 2008 the number of federal subjects had decreased to 83 because of several mergers. In 2014 Sevastopol and the Republic of Crimea became the 84th and 85th federal subjects of Russia.
Every federal subject has its own head, a parliament, and a constitutional court. Each federal subject has its own constitution and legislation. Subjects have equal rights in relations with federal government bodies. The federal subjects have equal representation—two delegates each—in the Federation Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly. They do, however, differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy (asymmetric federalism).
Post-Soviet Russia formed during the history of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic within the USSR and didn't change at the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1992 during so-called "parade of sovereignties", separatist sentiments and the War of Laws within Russia, the Russian regions signed the Federation Treaty (Russian: Федеративный договор Federativny Dogovor), establishing and regulating the current inner composition of Russia, based on the division of authorities and powers among Russian government bodies and government bodies of constituent entities. The Federation Treaty was included in the text of the 1978 Constitution of the Russian SFSR. The current Constitution of Russia, adopted by national referendum on 12 December 1993, came into force on December 25, 1993 and abolished the model of the Soviet system of government introduced in 1918 by Vladimir Lenin and based on the right to secede from the country and on unlimited sovereignty of federal subjects (in practice it was never allowed), which conflicts with country's integrity and federal laws. The new constitution eliminated a number of legal conflicts, reserved the rights of the regions, introduced local self-government and didn't grant the Soviet-era right to secede from the country. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the political system became de jure closer to other modern federal states with a republican form of government in the world. In the 2000s, following the policy of Vladimir Putin and of the United Russia party (dominant party in all federal subjects), the Russian parliament changed the distribution of tax revenues, reduced the number of elections in the regions and gave more power to the federal authorities.
There are several groupings of Russian regions:
An official government translation of the Constitution of Russia in Article 5 states: "1. The Russian Federation shall consist of republics, krays, oblasts, cities of federal significance, an autonomous oblast and autonomous okrugs, which shall have equal rights as constituent entities of the Russian Federation."