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Etymologically, the word is related to the verb "кроить" (kroit'), i.e., "to cut".1 Historically, krais were vast territories located along the periphery of Russia, 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". Currently 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
Kraj, an equivalent term used in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
^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. ).