Monday, April 22, 2013

Two Districts Discontinued in Russia

The Church has recently discontinued two districts in Russia.  The Rostov Russia and Volgograd Russia Districts have been discontinued and branches that previously pertained to these districts now directly report to the Russia Rostov Mission.  The Rostov Russia District previously included six branches whereas the Volgograd Russia District previously included four branches.  No branches were closed as part of dissolution of either district.

The Church discontinuing both of these districts suggests that there are no prospects within the foreseeable future for either of these districts to become stakes and that district leadership was siphoning limited priesthood manpower that was in greater need for allocation to individual branches.  I was surprised with the close of both of these districts as both had at least four branches and appeared to have enough leadership manpower for both branch and district callings.  This decision is reminiscent of the Church discontinuing the Canje Guyana District in 2011 as both this district also had a sizable number of branches.  In the Guyana example, leadership development problems was the primary reason for the district closure.  In Russia, low member activity rates, few convert baptisms, and leadership development problems have been responsible for ongoing congregational consolidations and district closures.

There are now two stakes and five districts in Russia.


Downtownchrisbrown said...

Apparently another district, the Toliatti Russia district, was discontinued as well.

Mike Johnson said...

I have 7 missions, 2 stakes, 4 districts, 12 wards, and 86 branches in Russia.

Russia Moscow Mission:
Kaluga Branch
Lipetsk Branch
Lotoshino Branch
Nizhegorodsky Tsentralny Branch
Nizhegorodsky Verkhny Branch
Russia Moscow Mission Branch
Ryazan Branch
Smolensk Branch
Tula Branch
Tverskoy Branch
Voronezh Branch
Yaroslavsky Branch

Russia Novosibirsk Mission
Novosibirsk Russia District( Barnaul Altaisky Branch, Krasnoyarsk Branch, Novokuznetsky Branch. Novosibirsk 1st Branch, Novosibirsk 2nd Branch, Novosibirsk Russia District Branch, Omsk 1st Branch, Omsk 2nd Branch, Tomsk Branch)
Almaty Branch
Russia Novosibirsk Mission Branch

Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission:
Krasnodar Sentralny Branch
Novocherkassk Branch
Novorossiysk Branch
Rostov Selmash Branch
Rostov Severny Branch
Rostov Tsentralny Branch
Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission Branch
Shakhty Branch
Sochi Tsentralny Branch
Stavropol Branch
Taganrog Branch
Tuapse Branch
Volgograd Krasniarmesky Branch
Volgograd Traktorny Branch
Volgograd Tsentralny Branch
Volzhsky Branch
Zapadny Branch

Russia Samara Mission:
Samara Russia District (Avrory Branch, Bezymyansky Branch, Novokuybishevsk Branch)
Saratov Russia District (Balakovo Branch, Dachny Branch, Engels Branch, Marks Branch, Penza Branch, Saratov Russia District Branch, Solnichny Branch, Volzhski Branch
Zavodskoy Branch)
Izhevsk Branch
Kazan' Branch
Orenburg Branch
Russia Samara Mission Branch
Toliatti Branch
Ulianovsk Branch

Russia St Petersburg Mission:
Kaliningrad Branch
Novgorod Branch
Petrozavodsk Branch
Pskov Branch
Russia St Petersburg Mission Branch

Russia Vladivostok Mission:
Irkutsk Branch
Khabarovsk Branch
Nakhodka Branch
Russia Vladivostok Mission Branch
Ulan-Ude Branch
Ussuriysk Branch
Vladivostok Branch
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Branch

Russia Yekaterinburg Mission:
Yekaterinburg Russia District (Chelyabinsk Branch, Yekaterinburg 1st Branch, Yekaterinburg 2nd Branch, Yekaterinburg Russia District Branch)
Kurgan Tsentralny Branch
Perm Branch
Russia Yekaterinburg Mission Branch
Tyumen Tsentralny Branch
Ufa Branch

Moscow Russia Stake:
Arbatskii Ward
Kakhovski Ward
Moscow Ward (English)
Rechnoy Ward
Sokolnicheskii Ward
Zelenogradsky Ward
Perovo Branch
Podolsk Branch
Universitetski Branch

St Petersburg Russia Stake:
Avtovo Ward
Kolpino Ward
Nevsky Ward
Shuvalovsky Ward
St Petersburg Tsentralny Ward
Vyborg Ward
Gatchina Branch
Petergof Branch
Sestroretsk Branch

Mike Johnson said...

I am wondering what is going on that 3 of the 7 districts were discontinued and now there are a lot of branches directly reporting to missions. I know that some districts were merged some time ago, ostensibly to prepare for the creation of stakes.

I can't remember which were discontinued back then, but I remember thinking the consolidated districts would have to be unwieldy.

Mike Johnson said...

And the Samara District also being discontinued as well? Something is going on in Russia. Perhaps these districts were too spread out to be effective. I don't know.

Two of the three remaining districts in Russia are large with a lot of branches in them:

9 in Novosibirsk
9 in Saratov
4 in Yekaterinburg

One branch in each district is an administrative branch with one or more groups under the branch.

John Pack Lambert said...

There are two large issues, and I think some of our discussion is not making it clear which one we are talking about. There is geographical largeness and there is unit or membership largeness. I wonder if the mission leadership may have decided that some districts were too geographically large to be effectively administered. It might be quite difficult for distirct leadership to effectively oversee the church in far-flung districts.

Ray said...

Perhaps another reason for district consolidation would be leadership moving away from the area--perhaps to the major cities for better job opportunities or even to another country. Even if district leaders didn't move but just branch leadership moved away, district leaders would have to step in to run the branches and no one would be available to staff the districts (although missionaries have been used in years past to run branches).

James Miller said...

The discontinuation has less to do with geography and more to do with membership and leadership. The Samara, Toliatti, Rostov, and Volgograd districts were all centralized in urban areas without any far-flung branches. The Novosibirsk District, on the other hand, was reorganized in recent years to cover a massive geographic area (Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk). I'm not sure what the exact situation was in the discontinued districts, but area and mission leaders likely wanted to put their experienced district leaders to work in the individual branches where they were more needed.

John Pack Lambert said...


Good point. It may also be a decision by the mission president that it is better to not have the missionaries running a branch, even if it means that there are not discticts.

Mike Johnson said...

Rostov might be the most surprising because it was a district with a fairly large number of tightly compact branches. I had wondered how close they were to becoming a stake. Volgograd as well.

Samara was a district of 3 tightly packed branches. The Toliatti branch is not that far away from the Samara branches. I don't recall what branches were in the Toliatti district, but the closest branch to the Toliatti branch that is not one of the three that had been in the Samara district is the Ulyanovsk Branch about 200 km from Toliatti. So, I would not consider the Toliatti District to have been a tightly packed district.

Four districts were dissolved, 2 in each of 2 missions. It is possible that what motivated the Rostov-na-Donu Mission President may have been different from what motivated the Samara Mission President.

James Miller said...

The Toliatti District was actually comprised of only two branches in the city itself (the third branch in the city was combined with the other two in 2012). Ulyanovsk was just a mission branch.

I'm still wondering what the closure of these 4 districts means for the aggressive consolidation strategy that Europe East Area leaders have pursued over the past 5 years. Except for Toliatti, no branches were discontinued or combined in this organizational rearrangement. In the past, district closures or consolidations have usually been accompanied by consolidating several branches in a city into one or two. This time around, the branches were largely left alone. These district closures to me seem more targeted at strengthening the existing branches rather than consolidating small, possibly weak branches. Are we starting to reach the end of unit consolidations in Europe East?

It's also interesting to note that two of the remaining districts-Novosibirsk and Saratov-are the districts, from what I understand, that Church leaders think will become the next stakes in Russia.

symphonyofdissent said...

The Novosibirsk district was created about a year and a half ago with the goal to become a stake within 2-3 years. Although it covers a big area it seems to be successful so far. However, the leadership drain for leaders called to district callings is quite a problem.