Национальные административно-территориальные образования - атавизм или потенциал для самоорганизации национальных меньшинств?
International legal acts enshrine the right of people to self-determination. At the same time the subjects and mechanisms of the realization of this right still remain uncertain. That is why self-determination can exercise to various ethnic communities, including national minorities. With regard to the latter, international legal practice proceeds from the guarantee of their right to participate in public decision-making through instituting the autonomies or local and autonomous bodies. Russian legal regulation is developing in a similar way. Russian historical and legal experience testifies using of special mechanisms aimed at preserving the identity, developing language and culture of compactly living national minorities. The national administrative-territorial unit is one of these instruments. The absence of any restrictions on the creation of national administrative-territorial entities characterizes the current stage of the constitutional and legal development of Russia. Moreover, some legal acts contain indirect references to the possibility of creating such settlements, where native language can use. At the same time, the analysis in the study makes it possible to distinguish three types of national administrative-territorial units in Russia: 1) settlements with a special status (transformed as a result of the merger of subjects), 2) settlements with an official "national" status and 3) settlements, which have this status de-facto because of the population, that lives in that area with another nationality. However, national administrative-territorial units create in most cases for indigenous small-numbered communities, while for national minorities the number of such settlements is much smaller. Moreover, regional and municipal legal acts of these territorial units practically do not contain special provisions related to the national characteristics of settlements, and this approach makes them equal to ordinary settlements. The Yakut legislation and municipal legal acts of the Vepsian national regions of the Republic of Karelia are exceptions here. Taking into account Russia's desire to preserve ethno-cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as its focus on protecting the cultural identity of all ethnic communities, it seems that the adoption of special legal regulation in the field of creating national administrative-territorial units would positively affect the achievement of the goals proclaimed in the Constitution of the Russian Federation.