County (Ukrainian: povit; Russian: uezd; Polish: powiat). Administrative-territorial entity introduced in Ukrainian territories in the second half of the 14th century, first in the territories under Poland and then in the territories under the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the second half of the 16th century the county system became the basis of the administrative-territorial system in all Ukrainian lands within the Polish Commonwealth. The county was not only an administrative but also a judicial territorial unit. The county was administered by the starosta. In 1772 there were 27 counties and lands (zemli) in the Ukrainian territories that belonged to the Polish Commonwealth.
In the Hetman state the county system was introduced in the 1760s (while the regimental system and company system were preserved) in connection with the judicial reforms of Hetman Kyrylo Rozumovsky. In 1782 counties became administrative and financial entities there as well. The county system was introduced to Slobidska Ukraine and southern Ukraine somewhat later (after 1775) and to Right-Bank Ukraine in the 1790s. The administrative and police authority in the counties was in the hands of the ispravnik. The county assemblies of the nobility and the marshal of the nobility elected by them were institutions of estate self-government. County zemstvo assemblies and county zemstvo executives were the basis of zemstvo self-government. In 1913 there were 126 counties in Ukrainian territories belonging to the Russian Empire, 99 of which were in the territories that eventually formed the Ukrainian SSR.
In Galicia and Bukovyna under Austrian rule the counties were under the jurisdiction of county heads. County self-government was realized through county councils and county departments, which were headed by county marshals. In 1914 there were 59 counties in Galicia, 34 in Transcarpathia, and 10 in Bukovyna.
The county system was retained by the Ukrainian National Republic. In Western Ukrainian territories under Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania it was preserved until 1939. In the Ukrainian territories within the USSR, however, the county and gubernia system was replaced in 1924–5 (and in the Voronezh region and Kursk region in 1929) by the raion and okruha (later oblast) system (see Administrative-territorial division).
Encyclopedia of Ukraine