Russia is made up of 83 federal entities. Some of them are called republics, others are regions and there are also autonomies
They all have equal representation in the Russian parliament but differ in the degree of autonomy they enjoy. Their administrative heads are often referred to as "governors", although their official titles vary – several republics have presidents. Moscow and St. Petersburg are federal cities and function as separate regions.
Federal entities have formed over the years. Some have historically been frontier regions, others evolved as homes to specific ethnic minorities. Under President Putin, the number of federal entities was reduced through several mergers and reshuffles. The idea was to bring down trade barriers and boost business development.
Russia's territory, including all its entities, is grouped into seven federal districts, each administered by an envoy appointed by the President. They act as a link between the federal entities and the federal government. Their key task is to make sure the federal entities comply with the federal laws.