Russian Far East
|6,952,600 km2 (2,684,400 sq mi)
|1.1/km2 (3.0/sq mi)
The Russian Far East (Russian : Дальний Восток России) is a region in Northeast Asia. It is the easternmost part of Russia and the Asian continent; and is administered as a part of the Far Eastern Federal District, which is located between Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. The area's largest city is Khabarovsk, followed by Vladivostok. The region shares land borders with the countries of Mongolia, China, and North Korea to its south, as well as maritime boundaries with Japan to its southeast, and with the United States along the Bering Strait to its northeast.
Although the Russian Far East is often considered as a part of Siberia abroad, it has been historically categorized separately from Siberia in Russian regional schemes (and previously during the Soviet era when it was called the Soviet Far East).
In Russia, the region is usually referred to as simply the Far East (Russian: Дальний Восток, romanized: Dal'niy Vostok). What is known in English as the Far East is usually referred to as the Asia-Pacific Region (Азиатско-тихоокеанский регион, Aziatsko-tiho-okeanskiy region, abbreviated АТР (ATR)), or East Asia (Восточная Азия, Vostochnaya Aziya), depending on the context.
Russians reached the Pacific coast in 1647 with the establishment of Okhotsk, and the Russian Empire consolidated its control over the Russian Far East in the 19th century, after the annexation of part of Chinese Manchuria (1858-1860). Primorskaya Oblast was established as a separate administrative division of the Russian Empire in 1856, with its administrative center at Khabarovsk.
Several entities with the name "Far East" existed in the first half of the 20th century, all with rather different boundaries:
Until 2000 the Russian Far East lacked officially-defined boundaries. A single term "Siberia and the Far East" (Сибирь и Дальний Восток) often referred to Russia's regions east of the Urals without drawing a clear distinction between "Siberia" and "the Far East".
In 2000 Russia's federal subjects were grouped into larger federal districts, one of which, the Far Eastern Federal District, comprised Amur Oblast, the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Kamchatka Oblast with the Koryak Autonomous Okrug, Khabarovsk Krai, Magadan Oblast, Primorsky Krai, the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, and Sakhalin Oblast. In November 2018 Zabaykalsky Krai and the Republic of Buryatia were added; they had previously formed part of the Siberian Federal District.Since 2000, Russians have increasingly used the term "Far East" to refer to the federal district, though the term is often also used more loosely.
Defined by the boundaries of the federal district, the Far East has an area of 6.2 million square kilometres (2,400,000 sq mi)—over one-third of Russia's total area.
Russia in the early 1900s persistently sought a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean for the Imperial Russian Navy as well as to facilitate maritime trade. The recently established Pacific seaport of Vladivostok (founded in 1860) was operational only during the summer season, but Port Arthur (leased by Russia from China from 1896 onward) in Manchuria could operate all year. After the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the failure of the 1903 negotiations between Japan and the Tsar Nicholas II's government, Japan chose war to protect its domination of Korea and adjacent territories. Russia, meanwhile, saw war as a means of distracting its populace from government repression and of rallying patriotism in the aftermath of several general strikes. Japan issued a declaration of war on 8 February 1904. Three hours before Japan's declaration of war was received by the Russian government, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the Russian 1st Pacific Squadron at Port Arthur. Eight days later Russia declared war on Japan.
The war ended in September 1905 with a Japanese victory following the fall of Port Arthur and the failed Russian invasion of Japan through the Korean Peninsula and Northeast China; also, Japan had threatened to invade Primorsky Krai via Korea. The warring parties signed the Treaty of Portsmouth on 5 September 1905, and both Japan and Russia agreed to evacuate Manchuria and to return its sovereignty to China, but Japan was allowed to lease the Liaodong Peninsula (containing Port Arthur and Talien, aka Kwantung Leased Territory), and the Russian rail system in southern Manchuria with its access to strategic resources. Japan also received the southern half of the island of Sakhalin from Russia. In 1907 Japan forced Russia to confiscate land from Korean settlers (who formed the majority of Primorsky Krai's population) due to a fear of an invasion of Korea and of the ousting of Japanese troops by Korean guerrillas.[ citation needed ]
Between 1937 and 1939, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin deported over 200,000 Koreans to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, fearing that the Koreans might act as spies for Japan. Many Koreans died on the way in cattle trains due to starvation, illness, or freezing conditions. Soviet authorities purged and executed many community leaders; Koryo-saram were not allowed to travel outside of Central Asia for the next 15 years. Koreans were also not allowed to use the Korean language and its use began to become lost with the involvement of the Koryo-mar dialect and the use of Russian.
Development of numerous remote locations in the Soviet Far East relied on Gulag labour camps during Stalin's rule, especially in the region's northern half. After the death of Stalin in 1953 the large-scale use of forced labour waned and was superseded by volunteer employees attracted by relatively high wages.
During the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the Soviets occupied Bolshoy Ussuriysky Island, Yinlong Island, and several adjacent islets to separate the city of Khabarovsk from the territory controlled by a possibly hostile power. [ better source needed ]
Indeed, Japan turned its military attention to Soviet territories. Conflicts between the Japanese and the Soviets frequently happened on the border of Manchuria between 1938 and 1945. The first confrontation occurred in Primorsky Krai, the Battle of Lake Khasan (July–August 1938) involved an attempted military incursion of Japanese-controlled Manchukuo into territory claimed by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the beliefs of the Japanese side that the Soviet Union had misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the 1860 Treaty of Peking between Imperial Russia and Manchu China. Primorsky Krai was always threatened by a Japanese invasion despite the fact that most of the remaining clashes occurred in Manchukuo.
The clashes ended shortly before and after the conclusion of World War II (see Soviet–Japanese War) when a war-weakened Japan found its territories of Manchukuo, Mengjiang, Korea, and South Sakhalin invaded by Soviet and Mongolian troops (August 1945).
Both the Soviet Union and Japan regarded the Primorsky Krai as a strategic location in World War II, and clashes over the territory were common. The Soviets and the other Allies considered it a key location for the planned invasion of Japan through Korea; Japan viewed it as a key location to begin a mass invasion of Eastern Russia. The Primorsky Krai served as the Soviet Union's Pacific headquarters in the war to plan an invasion for allied troops of Korea in order to reach Japan.
After the Soviet invasion, the USSR returned Manchukuo and Mengjiang to China; Korea became liberated. The Soviet Union also occupied and annexed Japan's Kuril Islands and southern Sakhalin. The planned Soviet invasion of Japan proper never happened.
During the Korean War, Primorsky Krai became the site of extreme security concern for the Soviet Union.
Vladivostok became the site of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in 1974. At the time, the Soviet Union and the United States decided quantitative limits on various nuclear weapons systems and banned the construction of new land-based ICBM launchers. Vladivostok and other cities in Primorsky Krai soon[ when? ] became closed cities because of the bases of the Soviet Pacific Fleet.
Incursions of American reconnaissance aircraft from Alaska sometimes happened. Concerns of the Soviet military caused the infamous Korean Air Lines Flight 007 incident in 1983.
In 2016, President Vladimir Putin proposed the Russian Homestead Act to populate the Russian Far East.
According to the 2021 Census, the Far Eastern Federal District had a population of 7.98 million. Most of it is concentrated in the southern parts. Given the vast territory of the Russian Far East, 6.3 million people translates to slightly less than one person per square kilometer, making the Russian Far East one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world. The population of the Russian Far East has been rapidly declining since the dissolution of the Soviet Union (even more so than for Russia in general), dropping by 14% in the last fifteen years. The Russian government had been discussing a range of re-population programs to avoid the forecast drop to 4.5 million people by 2015, hoping to attract in particular the remaining Russian population of the near abroad but eventually agreeing on a program to resettle Ukrainian Illegal immigrants.
Ethnic Russians and Ukrainians make up the majority of the population.
75% of the population is urban. The largest cities are:
The original population groups of the Russian Far East include (grouped by language group):
The region was not connected with the rest of Russia via domestic highways until the M58 highway was completed in 2010.
Uniquely for Russia, most cars have right-hand drive (73% of all cars in the region),though traffic still flows on the right-hand side of the road.
Railways are better developed. The Trans-Siberian Railway and Baikal–Amur Mainline (since 1984) provide a connection with Siberia (and the rest of the country). The Amur–Yakutsk Mainline is aimed to link the city of Yakutsk to the Russian railway network. Passenger trains connect to Nizhny Bestyakh as of 2013.
Like in nearby Siberia, for many remote localities, aviation is the main mode of transportation to/from civilisation, but the infrastructure is often poor.
Maritime transport is also important for delivering supplies to localities at (or near) the Pacific and Arctic coasts, and for shipping exports, especially oil, gas and ores.
Khabarovsk Krai is a federal subject of Russia. It is located in the Russian Far East and is administratively part of the Far Eastern Federal District. The administrative centre of the krai is the city of Khabarovsk, which is home to roughly half of the krai's population and the largest city in the Russian Far East. Khabarovsk Krai is the fourth-largest federal subject by area, and had a population of 1,343,869 as of 2010.
Primorsky Krai, informally known as Primorye, is a federal subject of Russia, located in the Far East region of the country and is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District. The city of Vladivostok on the southern coast of the krai is its administrative center, and is one of the two largest cities in the Russian Far East together with Khabarovsk. The krai has the largest economy among the federal subjects in the Russian Far East, and a population of 1,845,165 as of the 2021 Census.
The Far Eastern Republic, sometimes called the Chita Republic, was a nominally independent state that existed from April 1920 to November 1922 in the easternmost part of the Russian Far East. Although nominally independent, it largely came under the control of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), which envisaged it as a buffer state between the RSFSR and the territories occupied by Japan during the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922. Its first president was Alexander Krasnoshchyokov.
Outer Manchuria, sometimes called Russian Manchuria, refers to a region in Northeast Asia that is now part of the Russian Far East but historically formed part of Manchuria. While Manchuria now more normatively refers to Northeast China, it originally included areas consisting of Priamurye between the left bank of Amur River and the Stanovoy Range to the north, and Primorskaya which covered the area in the right bank of both Ussuri River and the lower Amur River to the Pacific Coast. The region was ruled by a series of Chinese dynasties and the Mongol Empire, but control of the area was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Qing China during the Amur Annexation in the 1858 Treaty of Aigun and 1860 Treaty of Peking, with the terms "Outer Manchuria" and "Russian Manchuria" arising after the Russian annexation. The same general area became known as Green Ukraine after a large number of settlers from Ukraine came to the region.
Green Ukraine, also known as Zelenyi Klyn or Zakytaishchyna, is a historical Ukrainian name for the land in the Russian Far East area between the Amur River and the Pacific Ocean, an area roughly corresponding to Outer Manchuria.
Primorskaya Oblast was an administrative division of the Russian Empire and the early Russian SFSR, created on October 31, 1856 by the Governing Senate. The name of the region literally means "Maritime" or "Coastal." The region was established upon a Russian conquest of Daur people that used to live along Amur River. Before the Russian conquest of Russian Manchuria, the territory belonged to the Chinese region of Manchuria.
The Far Eastern economic region is one of twelve economic regions of Russia.
The Siberian grouse, also known as Siberian spruce grouse, Amur grouse, or Asian spruce grouse, is a short, rotund forest-dwelling grouse. A sedentary, non-migratory bird, it is the only member of the genus Falcipennis. The spruce grouse of North America, which physically looks similar, is now placed in the monotypic genus Canachites.
OJSC Dalsvyaz is a telecommunications service provider active in the Russian Far East. It is part of Svyazinvest Holdings, which is Russia's largest telecommunications holding company, and which owns many large regional telecommunications service providers in Russia.
The Far Eastern Military District was a military district of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In 2010 it was merged with the Pacific Fleet and part of the Siberian Military District to form the new Eastern Military District.
The 11th Red Banner Air and Air Defence Forces Army is a formation of the Russian Aerospace Forces, located in the Russian Far East, whose zone of responsibility covers the Eastern Military District. The 11th Army Air Force and Air Defense Army was reformed within the Eastern Military District on 14 August 2015.
The Sakhalin–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok pipeline is a pipeline for natural gas in Russia, transporting Sakhalin's gas to the most populated and industrialized regions of the Russian Far East. It is also projected to become a part of an international export route, carrying Russian gas to East Asian countries, such as the People's Republic of China, South Korea and Japan. The pipeline is owned and operated by Gazprom. It was opened on 8 September 2011.
Far Eastern Krai or Far Eastern Territory was a krai of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic of the Soviet Union from 1926 to 1938. Its capital was Khabarovsk. It was the largest administrative-territorial unit of the Soviet Union after the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, occupying 12% of its territory. On October 20, 1938, the Far Eastern Krai was divided into Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krais.
Far Eastern Railway is a railway in Russia that crosses Primorsky Krai, Khabarovsk Krai, Amur Oblast, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and Yakutia.
Between 1858 and 1860, the Russian Empire annexed territories adjoining the Amur River belonging to the Chinese Qing dynasty through the imposition of unequal treaties. The 1858 Treaty of Aigun, signed by the general Nikolay Muravyov representing the Russian Empire and the official Yishan representing Qing China, ceded Priamurye—a territory stretching from the Amur River north to the Stanovoy Mountains, but the Qing government initially refused to recognize the treaty's validity. Two years later, the Second Opium War concluded with the Convention of Peking, which affirmed the previous treaty as well as an additional cession including the entire Pacific coast to the Korean border, as well as the island of Sakhalin to Russia. These two territories roughly correspond to modern-day Amur Oblast and Primorsky Krai, respectively. Collectively, they are often referred to as Outer Manchuria, part of the greater region of Manchuria.
The East Asian snowstorms of 2009–2010 were heavy winter storms, including blizzards, ice storms, and other winter events, that affected East Asia from 8 May 2009 to 28 February 2010. The areas affected included Mongolia, China, Nepal, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, Kuril Islands, Sea of Okhotsk, Primorsky, and Sakhalin Island.
The Eastern Military District is a military district of Russia.
The temperate rainforests of the Russian Far East are within the Russian federal subjects Primorsky Krai and Khabarovsk Krai and contains the Sikhote-Alin mountain range. Found within the Russian Federation, this area is one of the most productive and diverse forests in the world and also contains one of the highest endangered species densities on Earth. While most temperate rainforests around the world have retained only a fraction of their historical range, these forests maintain the majority of their former range and almost all of their historical biodiversity. The region is also notable for having what has become the last remaining large tract of viable habitat for the critically endangered Amur tiger and Amur leopard.
Paul Simon Unterberger was a Russo-German military and state leader, military governor of the Primorskaya Oblast (1888–1897), Nizhny Novgorod Governor (1897–1905), Military ataman of the Ussuri Cossack Host, Amur Governor-General (1905–1910), General Engineer.