Oblast (Russian: Ирку́тская о́бласть,
Irkutskaya oblast) is a federal subject of
Russia (an oblast), located
Siberia in the basins of the Angara, Lena, and
Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. The administrative center is the city of
Irkutsk. Population: 2,428,750 (2010 Census).
3 Administrative divisions
6.1 Vital statistics
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Spring time at the
Irkutsk Botanic Garden. The pink blooming bushes in
the middle are a relic plant, Amygdalus pedunculata Pallas. Picea
pungens Engelm trees are seen in the backdrop.
Circum-Baikal Railway skirts the southwestern tip of Lake Baikal
Oblast borders with the
Republic of Buryatia
Republic of Buryatia and the Tuva
Republic in the south and southwest, with
Krasnoyarsk Krai in the
west, with the
Sakha Republic in the northeast, and with Zabaykalsky
Krai in the east.
The unique and world-famous
Lake Baikal is located in the southeast of
the region. It is drained by the Angara, which flows north across the
province; the outflow rate is controlled by the
Irkutsk Dam. The two
other major dams on the
Irkutsk Oblast's section of the Angara are at
Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk; both forming large reservoirs. The Lena has its
Oblast as well, and flows north-east into the
neighboring Sakha Republic.
Oblast consists mostly of the hills and broad valleys of the
Central Siberian Plateau
Central Siberian Plateau and of its eastern extension, the Patom
The climate varies from warm summer continental in the south to
continental-subarctic in the northern part (Köppen climate
classification: Dwc). For almost half the year, from mid-October until
the beginning of April, the average temperature is below 0 °C
(32 °F). Winters are very cold, with average high
Irkutsk of −14.9 °C (5.2 °F) and average
lows of −25.3 °C (−13.5 °F) in January. Summers are
warm but short: the average high in July is +24.5 °C
(76.1 °F) and the average low is +11.2 °C (52.2 °F).
However, by September, the weather cools down significantly to an
average daily high of +15.3 °C (59.5 °F) and an average
daily low of +2.5 °C (36.5 °F). More than half of
all precipitation falls in the summer months, with the wettest month
being July, with 96.2 millimeters (3.79 in) of rain. January is
the driest month, with only 11 millimeters (0.43 in) of
precipitation. Annual precipitation averages 419.8 millimeters
Mongolic-related Slab Grave cultural monuments are found in Baikal
territory. The territory of
Buryatia has been governed by the
Xiongnu Empire (209 BC-93 CE) and Mongolian
Xianbei state (93-234),
Rouran Khaganate (330-555),
Mongol Empire (1206-1368) and Northern
Yuan (1368-1691). Medieval Mongol tribes like Merkit, Bayads,
Barga Mongols and Tümeds inhabited in Buryatia. Today
Buryat-Mongols remained in the territory of the oblast.
Russian presence in the area dates to the 17th century, as the Russian
Tsardom expanded eastward following the conquest of the Khanate of
Sibir in 1582. By the end of the 17th century,
Irkutsk was a small
town, monasteries were being built, and suburbs and agricultural
settlements were being formed.
Since the 18th century, trades and crafts began to develop, and gold
and silversmiths appeared. As Russian state expanded to the East of
Irkutsk, the city became the capital of enormous territories from the
Yenisey River to the Pacific Ocean, and played an important role in
the exploration and securing of vast Eastern-Siberian and Far-Eastern
territories for Russia. Gradually,
Irkutsk gained more importance as
the main transportation and trade center of Eastern Siberia; it became
a center of trade routes from Kamchatka, Chukotka,
Mongolia, and China. The administrative importance of the city also
increased, and it became a center of a fifth of the provinces of
Siberia; in 1764 it became a center of an independent province.
Irkutsk the 18th century was a time of research expeditions. Vitus
Bering's first and second expeditions to the shores of
organized in Irkutsk.
A merchant class was formed in the city of Irkutsk. In the second half
of the eighteenth century, the
Irkutsk industrial and merchant
companies of Golikov, Trapeznikov, Bechevin, Milinikov, Sibirakov
began to explore the
Aleutian Islands and later Alaska. In 1799, the
merchant companies were united in a
Russian-American Company “for
the trades on the territory of the Aleutian and
Kuril islands and the
rest of the North-Eastern sea, belonging to
Russia by the right of
discovery.” Grigorii Ivanovich Shelikhov, an outstanding seafarer,
played an important role in controlling enormous spaces of the
northern part of the Pacific Ocean. He founded the first colonies of
Russian America through the Shelikhov-Golikov Company. In 1727, the
Irkutsk Eparchy was founded.
During the 18th century, schools, professional-technical education
colleges, science museums, libraries, theaters, and book-printers were
developed in Irkutsk. Educational and cultural organizations were
opened. In 1725, the first school in Eastern Siberia, attached to the
Voznesensky monastery, was opened, and in 1754 sea (navigation)
schools and secondary schools were opened throughout
The 1780s were marked by the opening of the second public library in
province towns in Russia, as well as a regional museum and an amateur
Irkutsk outstanding representatives appeared, still
remembered today. These were an architect, geographer, historian
A.I.Losev, a writer I.T. Kalashnikov, and a teacher S.S.Schukin.
Siberian science buildings were first opened. A.G.Laxman, Lomonosov's
apprentice, one of the first Siberian mineralogists, worked in
The city landscape of
Irkutsk was changing. The Spassky church, the
oldest stone building in Eastern Siberia, the unique
Krestovozdvizhenskaya church, the “Prikaznaya izba” (order house),
the first stone construction, and the Triumph gate were built.
In the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century,
Oblast gradually increased in importance as a center of trade,
craft, and culture. It became the center of trade with
since the 1830s, a gold-manufacturing center of Eastern Siberia. In
Irkutsk became a center of Siberian general-governor unit, and
in 1822 it became a center of Eastern Siberian general–governor
unit. General-governors of Eastern
Siberia greatly influenced the
Irkutsk merchants explored the Yeniseysky and Leno-Vitimsky golden
regions, and with that they substantially increased their capitals,
which made them become the richest merchants in Siberia. The Irkutsk
merchant class began to play a major role in the city's development.
Intensive city construction was undertaken. Private residences,
hospitals, orphanages, and schools were being built, while significant
funds were spent on education and the development of science in the
The architecture of the city of
Irkutsk was being changed. The White
House, done in Russian classic style, the
Moscow Triumphal Gates – a
monument of the nineteenth century, were built in honor of the tenth
anniversary of Alexander I's reign.
In the second half of the nineteenth century the book printing were
released in Irkutsk, the first newspapers being, “
news” and “Amur”. The names of A.P.Schapov, M.B.Zagoskin,
V.I.Vagin were connected with the newspaper “Siberia”. In 1851,
the first scientific organization in Eastern
Siberia – the Siberian
branch of Russian geographical society, was opened. In 1877, it was
called the Eastern-Siberian branch. V.I.Dybovskii, A.L.Chekanovskii,
I.D.Cherskii, V.A.Obruchev, geologists, geographers and researchers of
Siberia, worked in
Oblast on exploring
Lake Baikal and the
The summer of 1879 could be considered to be a dramatic period in the
city of Irkutsk's history. During a July 22–24 fire almost all the
central parts of the city were burnt, and more than two thirds of city
buildings and 75 city districts were destroyed. The city began to
revive, getting a new look. Stone and wooden constructions built after
the fire have been preserved up to the present day. In 1898 the
arrival of the first train via the
Trans-Siberian Railway to Irkutsk
Oblast was a major event. The construction of the Trans-Siberian
Railway contributed to further city development.
Several politically exiled figures were connected with
Among the first of the exiled was A.N. Radischev, who lived in Irkutsk
for more than 3 months. Since the 1830s, the Decembrists lived in
settlements and in colonies in the
Irkutsk Oblast. The exiled houses
of Volkonsky and Trubetskoy later became house-museums. N. A. Panov,
I. V. Podzhio, A. Z. Muravyov, P. A. Mukhanov, A. P. Yushnevsky, V. A.
Bechasnov, the wife of Trubetskoy and their children stayed in Irkutsk
for the rest of their lives. In the late 1850s, the Petrashevtzy
appeared in Irkutsk. The exiled historian-democrat, A.P. Schapov,
lived here until his last days, and the Polish rebels and
revolutionaries (including the narodnik) also lived here.
A well-known Russian publicist of the nineteenth century, N.
Shelgunov, wrote about Irkutsk: “
Irkutsk is the only Siberian city,
which has the city character. ...As England created London, France -
Siberia – created Irkutsk.
Siberia is proud of Irkutsk,
“not to see this city” means “not to see Siberia”.
In the early nineteenth century the city was considerably changed,
especially its center. Large buildings were being built, mason streets
were being made, cab drivers and street lights appeared. The water
supply and the first electrification stations were built. The Irkutsk
Regional museum was stamped with the names of Siberian researchers on
its walls (1883), the building of the first public community, city
theater (1897), Kazan' cathedral, made in new Byzantine style (1893),
and the Roman Catholic cathedral (1895) completed an architectural
style of the city. In 1908 a monument to Alexander III was opened on
the Angara embankment.
The city was damaged and influenced by the political events of the
twentieth century – the Russian revolution, the 1917 October
Revolution, the Civil war and the Great Patriotic War.
Since the 1930s the industrial construction of the city had begun.
Mechanical engineering plants, the air plant, brick and concrete
plants, tea fabric, and food industry plants were being built.
Economic development of the city contributed to scientific,
educational and cultural development. The first Higher education in
Irkutsk State University was founded in 1918. Its
departments were developing as independent institutes: medical,
pedagogical, finance-economical. In 1930 the metallurgic institute was
opened, in 1934 the agricultural institute was organized.
Since the 1950s a rapid development of the city of
Irkutsk took place.
In 1947 streetcar routes were opened in the city and trolleybus routes
were opened in 1972. In 1958 a TV center was established. The city's
larger districts and micro regions construction period began. New
districts such as Baykalsky, Solnechny, Yubileyny, Primorsky,
Akademgorodok and others were created.
Main article: Administrative divisions of
The main industries of
Oblast are metals, energy, logging, oil
and fuels, machine-building, chemicals, food industry, and
hydroelectricity. The average wages in
Oblast are 10% higher
Russia overall.
Building of the Government of
During the Soviet period, the high authority in the oblast was shared
between three persons: The first secretary of the
Committee (who in reality had the biggest authority),
the chairman of the oblast Soviet (legislative power), and the
Chairman of the oblast Executive Committee (executive power). Since
1991, CPSU lost all the power, and the head of the Oblast
administration, and eventually the governor was appointed/elected
alongside elected regional parliament.
The Charter of
Oblast is the fundamental law of the region.
The Legislative Assembly of
Oblast is the province's standing
legislative (representative) body. The Legislative Assembly exercises
its authority by passing laws, resolutions, and other legal acts and
by supervising the implementation and observance of the laws and other
legal acts passed by it. The highest executive body is the Oblast
Government, which includes territorial executive bodies such as
district administrations, committees, and commissions that facilitate
development and run the day to day matters of the province. The Oblast
administration supports the activities of the Governor who is the
highest official and acts as guarantor of the observance of the oblast
Charter in accordance with the Constitution of Russia.
Population: 2,428,750 (2010 Census); 2,581,705 (2002
Census); 2,830,641 (1989 Census).
District in 2007
The oblast is very thinly populated, with a population density of 3.5
people per square kilometer, compared to a national average of 8.7.
Irkutsk is the administrative center and largest city, with 612,973
residents. Other large cities are
Bratsk (238,825 people), Angarsk
Ust-Ilimsk (83,635 people), and Usolye-Sibirskoye
Most of the population are ethnic Russians. A minority group, the
Buryats, have a special
Ust-Orda Buryat Okrug
Ust-Orda Buryat Okrug inside the oblast.
Russians and other Slavic/Germanic groups make up 93.5% of the
population, according to the 2010 Census, while
Buryats are 3.3%.
Tofalars number 837, an increase from 722 in 1989.
One small ethnic group, concentrated in three villages (Pikhtinsk,
Sredne-Pikhtinsk, and Dagnik) in
Zalarinsky District is the so-called
"Bug Hollanders": descendants of Polish-speaking
Lutheran farmers who
had moved to
Siberia from the then Russian
Volhynia in 1911-1912 in
search of affordable land. Although they had long
lost German (or Dutch) language of their ancestors (even in the early
twentieth century they spoke Ukrainian and read Polish), they were
still considered ethnic Germans, and during
World War II
World War II were usually
drafted for work in labor camps, instead of front-line military
Oblast registered natural population growth in 2008, the first
time after 1993. Still, the future prospects for population growth
Irkutsk seems bleak. In 2007, women in
Irkutsk were having an
average of 1.602 children each. Fertility rate was extremely low in
urban areas, where women were having just 1.477 children each. In
rural areas however, the fertility rate was slightly above replaceable
levels. In rural areas of
Irkutsk Oblast, women were having an average
of 2.165 children each. (Figures are not available for 2008, although
Russia as a whole fertility rates for 2008 were approx. 6% higher
than that in 2007, and for
Irkutsk 9% higher).
Vital statistics for 2012
Births: 38 516 (15.9 per 1000)
Deaths: 33 495 (13.8 per 1000) 
Total fertility rate:
2009 - 1.88 2010 - 1.82 2011 - 1.86 2012 - 1.97 2013 - 1.98
2014 - 1.97 2015 - 2.01 2016 - 1.98(e)
Population: 2,424,456 (2012)
Urban Pop: 1,929,263 (2012)
Rural Pop: 495,193 (2012)
Birth rate: 15.2 (2010)
Urban Birth Rate: 14.2 (2010)
Rural Birth Rate: 19.1 (2010)
Deaths: 35,105 (2010)
Death rate: 14.4 (2010)
Urban Death Rate: 14.1 (2010)
Rural Death Rate: 15.7 (2010)
TFR: 1.768 children per women. (2009)
Urban TFR: 1.611 children per women. (2009)
Rural TFR: 2.421 children per women. (2009) 
Natural Growth Rate: +0.11% per year (+0.01% in Urban areas &
+0.34% in Rural areas).
Oblast as of 2012 (Sreda Arena Atlas)
Rodnovery and other native faiths
Spiritual but not religious
Atheism and irreligion
Other and undeclared
According to a 2012 survey 28.1% of the population of Irkutsk
Oblast adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 7% are unaffiliated
generic Christians, 6% are Orthodox
Christian believers without
belonging to any church or are members of other (non-Russian) Orthodox
churches, 2% of the population adheres to the Slavic native faith
(Rodnovery), and 1% to Islam. In addition, 37% of the population
declares to be "spiritual but not religious", 17% is atheist, and 1.9%
follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.
Despite its remoteness,
Irkutsk was reported in 2004 to have the
HIV infection rate in Russia. Tens of thousands of drug
addicts, mostly ethnic
Russians in their mid to late teens are
infected. The number of reported AIDS cases increased by more than
10,000% during the 1999-2000 period. Although the epidemic, which
started in 1999, is reported to have slowed down,
Irkutsk will lose
tens of thousands of its working age population from 2010 onwards.
This is one of the reasons Irkutsk's male life expectancy, at 53
years, is one of the lowest in all of Russia. Preventive measures are
in place to prevent the spread of the epidemic to the generation which
was born after the breakup of the USSR.
Music of Irkutsk
List of Chairmen of the Legislative Assembly of
^ Article 4 of the Charter of
Oblast states that the
oblast may have an anthem, providing a law is adopted to that effect.
As of 2015, no such law is in place.
^ Президент Российской
Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая
2000 г. «О полномочном представителе
Президента Российской Федерации в
федеральном округе». Вступил в
силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован:
"Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст.
2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian
Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the
Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian
Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).
^ Госстандарт Российской
Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995
г. «Общероссийский классификатор
2. Экономические районы», в ред.
Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (
Gosstandart of the Russian
Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian
Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as
amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
^ Resolution of September 26, 1937
^ Charter of
Irkutsk Oblast, Article 2
^ Charter of
Irkutsk Oblast, Article 14
^ Official website of the Government of
Irkutsk Oblast. Sergey
Levchenko, Governor of
Oblast (in Russian)
^ a b Charter of
Irkutsk Oblast, Article 9
^ Федеральная служба государственной
статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21).
"Территория, число районов, населённых
пунктов и сельских администраций по
субъектам Российской Федерации (Territory,
Number of Districts, Inhabited Localities, and Rural Administration by
Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation)".
Всероссийская перепись населения 2002
Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal
State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
^ a b c d
Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011).
"Всероссийская перепись населения 2010
года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census,
vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись
населения 2010 года (2010 All-
Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved June
^ The density value was calculated by dividing the population reported
by the 2010 Census by the area shown in the "Area" field. Please note
that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the
infobox is not necessarily reported for the same year as the
Oblast Territorial Branch of the Federal State Statistics
Service. Численность постоянного
населения Иркутской области (на
начало года) (in Russian)
^ Правительство Российской
закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об
исчислении времени», в ред.
Федерального закона №271-ФЗ от 03
июля 2016 г. «О внесении изменений в
Федеральный закон "Об исчислении
времени"». Вступил в силу по
истечении шестидесяти дней после дня
официального опубликования (6 августа
2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская
газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian
Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31,
2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #271-FZ
of July 03, 2016 On Amending Federal Law "On Calculating
Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the
^ Official throughout the Russian Federation according to
Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia.
^ "IRKUTSK, Weather History and Climate Data". Retrieved December 5,
^ "IRKUTSK, Weather History and Climate Data". Retrieved December 5,
^ "IRKUTSK, FORMER UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS Weather History
and Climate Data". Retrieved December 5, 2015.
^ History of Mongolia, Volume I, 2003
^ a b History of Mongolia, Volume II, 2003
^ "Essay about Irkutsk". Retrieved December 5, 2015.
Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004).
"Численность населения России,
субъектов Российской Федерации в
составе федеральных округов, районов,
городских поселений, сельских
населённых пунктов – районных
центров и сельских населённых пунктов
с населением 3 тысячи и более
человек" [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal
Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural
Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with
Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская
перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia
Population Census of 2002] (in Russian). Retrieved August 9,
^ Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись
населения 1989 г. Численность
наличного населения союзных и
автономных республик, автономных
областей и округов, краёв, областей,
районов, городских поселений и
сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989:
Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous
Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and
Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers].
Всесоюзная перепись населения
1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian).
Институт демографии Национального
Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at
the National Research University: Higher School of Economics].
Retrieved August 9, 2014.
^ Olga Solovyova (Ольга Соловьева) "Bug 'Hollanders'"
(БУЖСКИЕ ГОЛЕНДРЫ) (in Russian)
^ "Естественное движение населения в
разрезе субъектов Российской
Федерации". Retrieved December 5, 2015.
^ "Каталог публикаций::Федеральная
служба государственной статистики".
Retrieved December 5, 2015.
^ "Интерактивная витрина". Retrieved December 5,
^ a b c "Arena: Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia".
^ 2012 Arena Atlas Religion Maps. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27/08/2012.
Retrieved 21/04/2017. Archived.
Russia Sees an AIDS 'Explosion'" Washington Post, June 13, 2004
^ "AEGIS Security & Investigations - Los Angeles Private
Investigator". AEGIS. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
^ "AIDS Epidemic Explodes in Eastern Europe". TheBody.com. Retrieved
December 5, 2015.
HIV infection epidemic in the city of
Irkutsk under the
conditions of drug abuse prevalence]". Zh. Mikrobiol. Epidemiol.
Immunobiol. (4): 38–9. 2000. PMID 10994102.
Russians dying of AIDS, drugs and despair". Retrieved
December 5, 2015.
^ "WWW Irkutsk: AIDS problem in Irkutsk". Retrieved December 5,
Законодательное Собрание Иркутской
области. Постановление №9/5-ЗС от 15
апреля 2009 г. «Устав Иркутской
области», в ред. Закона №2-У от 14
декабря 2017 г. «О поправках к Уставу
Иркутской области». Вступил в
силу по истечении десяти дней после
дня официального опубликования.
Опубликован: "Областная", №45, 24 апреля
2009 г. (Legislative Assembly of Irkutsk
Oblast. Resolution #9/5-ZS of April 15, 2009
Irkutsk Oblast, as amended by the Law #2-U
of December 14, 2017 On the Amendments to the Charter of
Irkutsk Oblast. Effective as of the day following a ten-day
period after the day of the official publication.).
Центральный исполнительный комитет
СССР. Постановление от 26
сентября 1937 г. «О разделении
Восточно-Сибирской области на
Иркутскую и Читинскую области». (Central
Executive Committee of the
USSR. Resolution of September 26, 1937 On
Splitting East Siberian
Irkutsk and Chita Oblasts. ).
Brumfield, William. Irkutsk: Architectural Heritage in Photographs
(Moscow: Tri Kvadrata Publishing, 2006) ISBN 978-5-94607-061-4
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Official website of
Oblast (in Russian)
Kommersant.com. Information about
"Irkutsk. A governor-generalship and a government of Eastern
Siberia". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
Subdivisions of Russia
Ukraine and considered by most of the international
community to be part of Ukraine
2Administratively subordinated to Tyumen Oblast
3Administratively subordinated to Arkhangelsk Oblast
Internal additional non-constitutional divisions by different
Economic regions (by Ministry of Economic Development)
Military districts (by Ministry of Defence)
Federal districts (by President)
Judicial districts (by law "On ar