Chernivtsi Oblast

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Chernivtsi Oblast

Чернівецька область (in Ukrainian)
Chernivets’ka oblast’
Regiunea Cernăuți(in Romanian)
Chernivetska oblast [1]
Coat of Arms of Chernivtsi Oblast.svg
Coat of arms
Chernivtsi in Ukraine.svg
Coordinates: 48°17′N26°01′E / 48.28°N 26.01°E / 48.28; 26.01 Coordinates: 48°17′N26°01′E / 48.28°N 26.01°E / 48.28; 26.01
Country Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine
EstablishedAugust 9, 1940
Administrative center Chernivtsi
Largest cities Chernivtsi, Novodnistrovsk
   Governor Serhiy Osachuk [2] [3]
   Oblast council 64 seats
  Chairperson Ivan Muntyan (All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland")
  Total8,097 km2 (3,126 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 25th
 (2021) [4]
  TotalDecrease2.svg 896,566
  Rank Ranked 26th
  Annual growth
   Official language(s) Ukrainian
   Average salary UAH 785 (2006)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code +380-37
ISO 3166 code UA-77
Vehicle registration СЕ
Raions 11
Cities (total)11
  Regional cities 2
Urban-type settlements 8
FIPS 10-4 UP03

Chernivtsi Oblast (Ukrainian : Чернівецька область, Chernivetsʹka oblastʹ; Romanian : Regiunea Cernăuți) is an oblast (province) in Western Ukraine, consisting of the northern parts of the regions of Bukovina and Bessarabia. It has an international border with Romania and Moldova. The oblast is the smallest in Ukraine by area and population.


The oblast has a large variety of landforms: the Carpathian Mountains and picturesque hills at the foot of the mountains gradually change to a broad partly forested plain situated between the Dniester and Prut rivers. Its capital is the city Chernivtsi. The region spans 8,100 km². Population: 896,566 (2021 est.) [4]


Chernivtsi Oblast covers an area of 8,097 km2 (3,126 sq mi). It is the smallest oblast in Ukraine, representing 1.3% of Ukrainian territory.

In the oblast there are 75 rivers longer than 10 kilometers. The largest rivers are the Dnister (290 km, in the Oblast), Prut (128 km, in the Oblast) and Siret (113 km, in the Oblast). [5]

The oblast covers three geographic zones: a forest steppe region between Prut and Dnister rivers, a foothill region between the Carpathian Mountains and Prut river, and a mountain region known as the Bukovinian part of the Carpathian Mountains. [5]

Chernivtsi Oblast is bordered by Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ternopil Oblast, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Vinnytsia Oblast, Romania, and Moldova. Within the oblast the national border of Ukraine with Romania extends 226 km, and with Moldova 198 km (123 mi). [5]


Chernivtsi oblast was created on August 7, 1940 in the wake of the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. The oblast was organized out of the northeast part of Ținutul Suceava of Kingdom of Romania, joining parts of three historical regions: northern half of Bukovina, northern half of the Hotin County county of Bessarabia, and Hertza region, which was part of the Dorohoi county (presently Botoșani County) of proper Moldavia.

Archaeological sites in the region date back to 43,000-45,000 BC, with finds including a mammoth bone dwelling from the Middle Paleolithic. [6] The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture flourished in the area. In the Middle Ages, the region was inhabited by East Slavic tribes White Croats and Tivertsi. [7] From the end of the 10th century, it became a part of the Kievan Rus', then Principality of Halych, and in the mid-14th century of the Principality of Moldavia (which in the 16th century became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire). [7] In 1775, two counties of Moldavia, since then known as Bukovina, were annexed by the Habsburg Monarchy's Holy Roman Empire, which later became the Austrian Empire. In 1812, one half of Moldavia, since then known as Bessarabia, was annexed by the Russian Empire. Hertza region remained in Moldavia until its union with Wallachia in 1859, a union which in 1881 became the Kingdom of Romania. In 1918 both provinces of Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the Kingdom of Romania.

The Soviet occupation began on June 28, 1940. In addition to Bessarabia, the USSR demanded Northern Bukovina as compensation for the occupation of Bessarabia by Romania from 1918 to 1940. Hertza region was not included in the demands that the Soviet Union addressed to Romania, but was occupied at the same time. Most of the occupied territories were organized on August 2, 1940 as the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, while the remainder, including the Chenivtsi Oblast, which was formed on August 7, 1940, were included in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Historical regions outlined: red: Northern Bukovina, blue: Hertza region, green: Northern Bessarabia. Tschernowitz historical.PNG
Historical regions outlined: red: Northern Bukovina, blue: Hertza region, green: Northern Bessarabia.

Throughout 1940-1941 several tens of thousands of Bukovinians were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan, some 13,000 of them on June 13, 1941 alone. This and later deportations were primarily based on social class difference, it targeted intellectuals, people employed previously by the state, businessmen, clergymen, students, railworkers. The majority of those targeted were ethnic Romanians, but there were many representatives of other ethnicities, as well. The protests of the Romanian population of Bukovina that found themselves under the Soviet rule brought about serious Soviet reprisals, including of ethnic character. In the winter and spring of 1941, the Soviet troops (NKVD) opened fire on many groups of locals trying to cross the border into Romania (for more, see: Fântâna Albă massacre).

Between September 17 and November 17, 1940, by a mutual agreement between USSR and Germany, 43,641 "ethnic Germans" from the Chernivtsi region were moved to Germany, although the total ethnic German population was only 34,500, and of these some 3,500 did not go to Germany. Upon their arrival in Germany, the Nazi government sent most of non-ethnic Germans to concentration camps.[ citation needed ] Only some of them were freed after the protests of the Romanian government.

During World War II, when the region returned under the control of the Romanian administration, the Jewish community of the area was largely destroyed by the deportations to ghettos and Nazi concentration camps, where about 60% died. Despite the anti-Semitic policies of the Ion Antonescu's government of Romania, the mayor of Cernăuți, Traian Popovici, now honored by Israel's Yad Vashem memorial as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, saved approximately 20,000 Jews.[ citation needed ]

In 1944, when the Soviet troops returned to Bukovina, many inhabitants fled to Romania, and Soviet persecutions resumed, with the result that the region was seriously depopulated. In demographic terms, these war-time and post-war-time factors changed the region's ethnic composition. Today the number of Jews, Germans and Poles is negligible, while the number of Romanians has decreased substantially.

Ruthenian communities in Bukovina date back to at least 16th century. In 1775, Ukrainians (Ruthenians) represented some 8,000 out of a 75,000 population of Bukovina. By 1918, as a result of immigration of Ukrainian peasants from nearby villages in Galicia and Podolia, there were over 200,000 Ukrainians, out of a total of 730,000. Most of Ukrainians settled in the northern parts of Bukovina. Their number was especially large in the area between the Dniester and Prut rivers, where they became a majority. A similar process occurred in Northern Bessarabia. Throughout the history of the region, there were no inter-ethnic clashes, while the city of Chernivtsi was known for its German-style architecture, for a highly cultivated society, and for ethnic tolerance. Small ethnic disputes were, however, present on occasion. In 1918, many Ukrainians in Bukovina wanted to join an independent Ukrainian state. After an initial period of free education in Ukrainian language, in late 1920s Romanian authorities attempted to switch all education to the Romanian language. In 1940-1941, the Soviet reprisals were more massive in the parts of the Chernivsti oblast were Romanians predominated; when, however, after 1944, Ukrainian anti-Soviet resistance rose up, Romanians and Ukrainians fought alongside against NKVD.

Many Ukrainians in the south-western mountain area of the Chernivtsi region belong to the Hutsul ethnic sub-group, a sophisticated cultural community inhabiting an area in the Carpathian Mountains in both Ukraine and Romania.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Chernivtsi Oblast, then part of the Ukrainian SSR, became part of the newly independent (August 24, 1991) Ukraine. It has a Ukrainian ethnic majority. In the referendum on December 1, 1991, 92% of Chernivtsi Oblast residents supported the independence of Ukraine, a wide support from both Ukrainians and Romanians.


Map of Chernivtsi Oblast. Chernivtsi Oblast 2020 subdivisions.jpg
Map of Chernivtsi Oblast.

Since July 2020, Chernivtsi Oblast is administratively subdivided into 3 raions (districts). These are

At the locality level, the territory of the oblast is divided among 11 cities, 8 urban-type settlements, and 252 communes.

Urban settlements

Population and demographics

Ethnic divisions in Chernivtsi Oblast at the end of the Soviet Period , with Ukrainians, Romanians, Russians and Jewish areas depicted in white, blue, red, and yellow respectively. Note that the Moldovans, which represented 9% of the region's population according to the last Soviet census (1989), are shown as Romanians. Bucovina-ethnic.png
Ethnic divisions in Chernivtsi Oblast at the end of the Soviet Period , with Ukrainians, Romanians, Russians and Jewish areas depicted in white, blue, red, and yellow respectively. Note that the Moldovans, which represented 9% of the region's population according to the last Soviet census (1989), are shown as Romanians.
Ethnic division of the Chernivtsi Oblast according to the latest 2001 Ukrainian census results. Areas inhabited by Ukrainians, Romanians, Moldovans, Russians, and other ethnicities are depicted in yellow, blue, green, red, and white respectively. Circle sizes represent total population size in each area. Some consider Romanians and Moldovans to form a single ethnic group. EthnicChernivtsi 2001UkrCensus.png
Ethnic division of the Chernivtsi Oblast according to the latest 2001 Ukrainian census results. Areas inhabited by Ukrainians, Romanians, Moldovans, Russians, and other ethnicities are depicted in yellow, blue, green, red, and white respectively. Circle sizes represent total population size in each area. Some consider Romanians and Moldovans to form a single ethnic group.
Largest settlements in the region
# City Population
1 Chernivtsi 240,621 (2001)
2 Storozhynets 14,693 (2001)
3 Khotyn 11,216 (2001)
4 Novodnistrovsk 10,342 (2001)
5 Sokyriany 10,258 (2001)

According to the latest Ukrainian Census (2001), [9] Ukrainians represent about 75% (689.1 thousands) of the population of Chernivtsi Oblast. 12.5% (114.6 thousands) reported themselves as Romanians, 7.3% (67.2 thousand) as Moldovans, and 4.1% (37.9 thousands) as Russians. The other nationalities, such as Poles, Belarusians, and Jews sum up to 1.2%.

The separate categories for the Moldovans and Romanians as two ethnicities has been criticized by Romanian organizations in Ukraine. [10] However, all census respondents had to write in their ethnicity (no predetermined set of choices existed), and could respond or not to any particular census question, or not answer any questions at all. [11] Also, no allegation of counting fraud were brought up. However, Interregional Union, one of Romanian communities in Ukraine criticized what they see as the continuous usage of Romanians and Moldovans as two separate ethnic groups.

According to the Romanian census of 1930, the territory of the future Chernivtsi Oblast had 805,642 inhabitants in that year, out of which 47.6% were Ukrainians, and 28.2% were Romanians. The rest of the population was 88,772 Jews, 46,946 Russians (among them an important community of Lipovans), around 35,000 Germans, 10,000 Poles, and 10,000 Hungarians. [10]

During the inter-war period, Cernăuți County had a population of 306,975, of which 136,380 were Ukrainians, and 78,589 were Romanians. Storojineţ County had 77,382 Ukrainians and 57,595 Romanians. (The three other counties of Bukovina, which remained in Romania, had a total of 22,368 Ukrainians). The northern part of the Hotin County had approximately 70% Ukrainians and 25% Romanians. Herţa region, smaller by area and population, was virtually 100% Romanian.

Major demographic changes occurred during the Second World War. Immediate after the Soviet takeover of the region in 1940 the Soviet government deported or killed about 41,000 Romanians (see Fântâna Albă massacre ), while at the same time further encouraging an influx of Ukrainians from the Ukrainian SSR. Most Poles were deported by the Soviet authorities, while most Germans forcibly returned to Germany. After the Kingdom of Romania took control of the region during the war (1941–1944), the Jewish community of the area was largely destroyed by the deportations to ghettos and concentration camps.

The languages of the population closely reflect the ethnic composition with over 90% within each of the major ethnic groups declaring their national language as the mother tongue.

National Structure of Chernivtsi Oblast (2001 Census) [12]
Raions/CitiesTotal Ukrainians Russians Romanians Moldovans Other
Hertsa Raion 32,3161,61629929,55475691
Hlyboka Raion 72,67634,02587732,9234,425426
Kelmentsi Raion 48,46847,2616072547798
Khotyn Raion 72,39866,060927595,102250
Kitsman Raion 72,88471,80567411688201
Novoselytsia Raion 87,46129,7031,2355,90450,329290
Putyla Raion 25,35225,18298192033
Sokyriany Raion 48,88943,9273,044431,681194
Storozhynets Raion 95,29556,7861,36735,0953071,740
Vyzhnytsia Raion 59,99358,92463119658184
Zastavna Raion 56,26155,7333353855100
city of Chernivtsi 236,691189,02126,73310,5533,8296,555
city of Novodnistrovsk 10,3449,0131,0543098149

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.7% Increase2.svg (male 77,507/female 73,270)
15-64 years: 69.7% Steady2.svg (male 304,793/female 325,677)
65 years and over: 13.6% Decrease2.svg (male 41,980/female 80,871) (2013 official)

Median age

total: 36.9 years Increase2.svg
male: 34.5 years Increase2.svg
female: 39.4 years Increase2.svg (2013 official)


Khotyn Fortress Xotin1.JPG
Khotyn Fortress

On the territory of the Chernivtsi region there are 836 archeological monuments (of which 18 have national meanings), 586 historical monuments (2 of them have national significance), 779 monuments of architecture and urban development (112 of them national significance), 42 monuments of monumental art.

Related Research Articles

Bessarabia Historical region in present-day Moldova and Ukraine

Bessarabia is a historical region in Eastern Europe, bounded by the Dniester river on the east and the Prut river on the west. About two thirds of Bessarabia lies within modern-day Moldova, with the Ukrainian Budjak region covering the southern coastal region and part of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast covering a small area in the north.

Bukovina historical region situated in Northern Romania and Southwestern Ukraine

Bukovina is a historical region, variously described as in Central or Eastern Europe. The region is located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians and the adjoining plains, today divided between Romania and Ukraine.

Chernivtsi City in Ukraine, center of Chernivtsi Oblast

Chernivtsi is a city in western Ukraine. It is situated on the upper course of the Prut River, and is the administrative center of Chernivtsi Oblast (province), which includes the Ukrainian part of Bukovina. Chernivtsi is also the administrative center of Chernivtsi Raion and hosts the administration of the Chernivtsi urban hromada, one of the hromadas of Ukraine. At the time of the 2001 Ukrainian Census, the population of the city was 240,600. The current population is 265,471

Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic

The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union which existed from 1940 to 1991. The republic was formed on 2 August 1940 from parts of Bessarabia, a region annexed from Romania on 28 June of that year, and parts of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, an autonomous Soviet republic within the Ukrainian SSR.

Hertsa Raion Former subdivision of Chernivtsi Oblast, Ukraine

Hertsa Raion was an administrative raion (district) in the southern part of Chernivtsi Oblast in western Ukraine, on the Romanian border. The region had an area of 308.7 square kilometres (119.2 sq mi) and the administrative center in the city of Hertsa. It was one of the three raions of Ukraine with the majority of ethnic Romanian population. The raion was abolished on 18 July 2020 as part of the administrative reform of Ukraine, which reduced the number of raions of Chernivtsi Oblast to three. The area of Hertsa Raion was merged into Chernivtsi Raion. The last estimate of the raion population was 33,175

Budjak Historical region situated in southern Ukraine

Budjak or Budzhak, historically known as Bessarabia until 1812, is a historical region in Ukraine and Moldova. Lying along the Black Sea between the Danube and Dniester rivers, this sparsely populated multi-ethnic 600,000-people region of 13,188 km2 is located in the southern part of historical Bessarabia. Nowadays, the larger part of the region is included in Ukraine's Odessa Oblast, while the rest is included in the southern districts of Moldova. The region is bordered to the north by the rest of Moldova, to the west and south by Romania, and to the east by the Black Sea and the rest of Ukraine.

The history of the Jews in Bessarabia, a historical region in Eastern Europe, dates back hundreds of years.

Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union

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Historical regions of Romania

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Hertsa City in Chernivtsi Oblast, Ukraine

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Soviet deportations from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina

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Hertza region Ukrainian region composed of the Hertsa town and its surroundings

Hertza region is a region around the town of Hertsa within Chernivtsi Raion in the southern part of Chernivtsi Oblast in southwestern Ukraine, near the border with Romania. With an area of around 304 km2 (117 sq mi), it has a population of about 32,300 people, 93% of whom are ethnic Romanians.

Transnistria Governorate Territory in southwest Ukraine conquered by the Axis Powers and administered by Romania (1941-44)

The Transnistria Governorate was a Romanian-administered territory between the Dniester and Southern Bug, conquered by the Axis Powers from the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa and occupied from 19 August 1941 to 29 January 1944. Limited in the west by the Dniester river, in the east by the Southern Bug river, and in the south by the Black Sea, it comprised the present-day region of Transnistria and territories further east, including the Black Sea port of Odessa, which became the administrative capital of Transnistria during World War II.

This article represents an overview on the history of Romanians in Ukraine, including those Romanians of Northern Bukovina, Zakarpattia Oblast, and Budjak in Odessa Oblast, but also those Romanophones in the territory between the Dniester River and the Southern Bug River, who traditionally have not inhabited any Romanian state, but have been an integral part of the history of modern Ukraine, and are considered natives to the area. There is an ongoing controversy whether Moldovans are part of the larger Romanian ethnic group or a separate ethnicity.

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The Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina took place from June 28 to July 4, 1940, as a result of the ultimatum by the Soviet Union to Romania on June 26, 1940, that threatened the use of force. Bessarabia had been part of the Kingdom of Romania since the time of the Russian Civil War and Bukovina since the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, and Hertza was a district of the Romanian Old Kingdom. Those regions, with a total area of 50,762 km2 (19,599 sq mi) and a population of 3,776,309 inhabitants, were incorporated into the Soviet Union. On October 26, 1940, six Romanian islands on the Chilia branch of the Danube, with an area of 23.75 km2 (9.17 sq mi), were also occupied by the Soviet Army.

Romanians of Chernivtsi Oblast

The ethnic Romanians of Chernivtsi Oblast in Ukraine comprise a significant portion of the Romanian diaspora in Ukraine.

Cernăuți County County in Romania

Cernăuți County was a county (județ) of Romania, in Bukovina, with the capital city at Cernăuți. The area was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 and again in 1944, and has been part of Ukraine since 1991.

The union of Bessarabia with Romania was proclaimed on April 9 [O.S. March 27] 1918 by Sfatul Țării, the legislative body of the Moldavian Democratic Republic. This state had the same borders of the region of Bessarabia, which was annexed by the Russian Empire following the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812 and organized first as an Oblast and later as a Governorate. Under Russian rule, many of the native Tatars were expelled from parts of Bessarabia and replaced with Moldavians, Wallachians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians, Lipovans, Cossacks, Gagauzes and other peoples, although colonization was not limited to formerly Tatar-inhabited lands. Russia also tried to integrate the region by imposing the Russian language in administration and restricting education in other languages.

Moldovans in Ukraine

Moldovans in Ukraine are the third biggest minority recorded in the 2001 All Ukrainian Census after Russians and Belarusians. Unlike many other minorities, Moldovans often live in the countryside (71.5%) rather than in a city (28.5%), the majority in the northern and southern historical region of Bessarabia.

Greater Moldova Moldovan irredentist concept

Greater Moldova or Greater Moldavia in an irredentist concept according to which the territories of the Republic of Moldova should be expanded to the lands that used to belong to the Principality of Moldavia, specifically including Western Moldavia and the whole of Bessarabia, as well as Bukovina and the Hertza region and, sometimes, parts of Transylvania. The idea of Greater Moldova was briefly promoted by the Soviet Moldavian politician Nikita Salogor in the aftermath of World War II, and has seen some marginal resurgence in the 21st century.


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  6. Molodova I and V (Ukraine)
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  8. Distribution of the population by nationality and native language Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
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See also