Vladivostok (Russian: Владивосто́к, IPA: [vlədʲɪvɐˈstok] (listen), literally 'Ruler of the East', 'Rule the East', 'Lord of the East', or 'Expansion to the East') is a city and the administrative centre of the Far Eastern Federal District and Primorsky Krai, Russia, located around the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia's borders with China and North Korea. On Chinese maps from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Vladivostok is called Yongmingcheng (永明城 [Yǒngmíngchéng], "city of eternal light"). The population of the city as of 2019[update] was 605,049, up from 592,034 recorded in the 2010 Russian census. Harbin in China is about 515 kilometres (320 mi) away, while Sapporo in Japan is about 775 kilometres (482 mi) east across the Sea of Japan. The city is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet and is the largest Russian port on the Pacific coast.
Vladivostok was first named in 1859 along with other features in the Peter the Great Gulf area by Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky. The name was first applied to the bay but, following an expedition by Alexey Shefner in 1860, was later applied to the new settlement.
In Chinese, the city is in a place known since the Qing dynasty as Haishenwai (海參崴, Hǎishēnwǎi), from the Manchu Haišenwai (Manchu: ᡥᠠᡳᡧᡝᠨᠸᡝᡳ; Möllendorff: Haišenwai; Abkai: Haixenwai) or "small seaside village".
In China, Vladivostok is now officially known by the transliteration 符拉迪沃斯托克 (Fúlādíwòsītuōkè), although the historical Chinese name 海参崴 (Hǎishēnwǎi) is still often used in common parlance and outside Mainland China to refer to the city. According to the provisions of the Chinese government, all maps published in China have to bracket the city's Chinese name.
The aboriginals of the territory on which modern Vladivostok is located are the Tungusic-speaking Udege minority, and a sub-minority called the Taz which emerged in the 1890s through members of the indigenous Udege mixing with the nearby Chinese and Hezhe. The region had been at least nominally part of many states, such as the Mohe, Balhae Kingdom, Liao Dynasty, Jīn Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and various other East Asian dynasties, before Russia annexed Primorsky Krai and the island of Sakhalin by the Treaty of Beijing (1860). Qing China, which had just lost the Opium War with Britain, was unable to defend the region. The Manchu emperors of China, the Qing Dynasty, had banned Han Chinese from most of Manchuria including the Vladivostok area (see Willow Palisade)—it was only visited by illegal gatherers of ginseng and sea cucumbers.
On 20 June 1860 (2 July for Gregorian style), the military supply ship Manchur, under the command of Captain-Lieutenant Alexey K. Shefner, called at the Golden Horn Bay to found an outpost called Vladivostok. Warrant officer Nikolay Komarov, with 28 soldiers and two non-commissioned officers under his command, were brought from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur by ship to construct the first buildings of the future city.
The Manza War in 1868 was the first attempt by Russia to expel the Chinese inhabitants from territory it controlled. Hostilities broke out around Vladivostok when the Russians tried to shut off gold mining operations and expel Chinese workers there. The Chinese resisted a Russian attempt to take Askold Island and in response, two Russian military stations and three Russian towns were attacked by the remaining Chinese.
An elaborate system of fortifications was erected between the early 1870s and the late 1890s. A telegraph line from Vladivostok to Shanghai and Nagasaki was opened in 1871. That same year a commercial port was relocated to Vladivostok from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. Town status was granted on 22 April 1880. A coat of arms, representing the Siberian tiger, was adopted in March 1883.
After the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks took control of Vladivostok and all the Trans-Siberian Railway. During the Russian Civil War, from May 1918, they lost control of the city to the White-allied Czechoslovak Legion, who declared the city to be an Allied protectorate. Vladivostok became the staging point for the Allies' Siberian intervention, a multi-national force including Japan, the United States, and China; China sent forces to protect the local Chinese community after appeals from Chinese merchants. The intervention ended in the wake of the collapse of the White Army and regime in 1919; all Allied forces except the Japanese withdrew by the end of 1920.
In April 1920, the city came under the formal governance of the Far Eastern Republic, a Soviet-backed buffer state between the Soviets and Japan. Vladivostok then became the capital of the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamurye Government, created after a White Army coup in the city in May 1921. The withdrawal of Japanese forces in October 1922 spelt the end of the enclave, with the Red Army under Ieronim Uborevich taking the city on 25 October 1922.
As the main naval base of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, Vladivostok was officially closed to foreigners during the Soviet years. The city hosted the summit at which Leonid Brezhnev and Gerald Ford conducted the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in 1974. At the time, the two countries decided quantitative limits on nuclear weapons systems and banned the construction of new land-based ICBM launchers.
In 2012, Vladivostok hosted the 24th APEC summit. Leaders from the APEC member countries met at Russky Island, off the coast of Vladivostok. With the summit on Russky Island, the government and private businesses inaugurated resorts, dinner and entertainment facilities, in addition to the renovation and upgrading of Vladivostok International Airport. Two giant cable-stayed bridges were built in preparation for the summit, the Zolotoy Rog bridge over the Zolotoy Rog Bay in the center of the city, and the Russky Island Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island (the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world). The new campus of Far Eastern Federal University was completed on Russky Island in 2012.
In 2020, the city celebrated its foundation. This has prompted backlash among Chinese nationalists who see it as still part of ancestral homeland dated from the Qing dynasty, however unlike China's other territorial disputes, this is totally not reported on Chinese official media.
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 kilometers (19 mi) long and 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) wide.
The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, 257 meters (843 ft). Eagle's Nest Hill is often called the highest point of the city; but, with a height of only 199 meters (653 ft), or 214 meters (702 ft) according to other sources, it is the highest point of the downtown area, but not of the whole city.
Located in the extreme South East of Asian Russia, Vladivostok is geographically closer to Anchorage, Alaska and even Darwin, Australia than it is to the nation's capital of Moscow. Vladivostok is also closer to Honolulu, Hawaii than to the western Russian city of Sochi.
Vladivostok has a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwb) with warm, humid and rainy summers and cold, dry winters. Owing to the influence of the Siberian High, winters are far colder than a latitude of 43 degrees north should warrant given its low elevation and coastal location, with a January average of −12.3 °C (9.9 °F). Since the maritime influence is strong in summer, Vladivostok has a relatively cold annual climate for its latitude. Vladivostok's yearly mean of around 5 °C (41 °F) is some ten degrees lower than in cities on the French Riviera on a similar coastal latitude on the other side of Eurasia. Winters in particular are around 20 °C (36 °F) colder than on the mildest coastlines this far north, and are considerably colder than locations on the North American east coast at similar latitudes such as Halifax, Nova Scotia and Portland, Maine.
In winter, temperatures can drop below −20 °C (−4 °F) while mild spells of weather can raise daytime temperatures above freezing. The average monthly precipitation, mainly in the form of snow, is around 18.5 millimeters (0.73 in) from December to March. Snow is common during winter, but individual snowfalls are light, with a maximum snow depth of only 5 centimeters (2.0 in) in January. During winter, clear sunny days are common.
Summers are warm, humid and rainy, due to the East Asian monsoon. The warmest month is August, with an average temperature of +19.8 °C (67.6 °F). Vladivostok receives most of its precipitation during the summer months, and most summer days see some rainfall. Cloudy days are fairly common and because of the frequent rainfall, humidity is high, on average about 90% from June to August.
On average, Vladivostok receives 840 millimeters (33 in) per year, but the driest year was 1943, when 418 millimeters (16.5 in) of precipitation fell, and the wettest was 1974, with 1,272 millimeters (50.1 in) of precipitation. The winter months from December to March are dry, and in some years they have seen no measurable precipitation at all. Extremes range from −31.4 °C (−24.5 °F) in January 1931 to +33.6 °C (92.5 °F) in July 1939.
Climate data for Vladivostok, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1919–present
|Record high °C (°F)||5.0
|Average high °C (°F)||−8.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−12.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−15.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−31.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||14
|Average rainy days||0.3||0.3||4||13||20||22||22||19||14||12||5||1||133|
|Average snowy days||7||8||11||4||0.3||0||0||0||0||1||7||9||47|
|Average relative humidity (%)||58||57||60||67||76||87||92||87||77||65||60||60||71|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||178||184||216||192||199||130||122||149||197||205||168||156||2,096|
|Source 1: Погода и Климат|
|Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)|
|Sea temperature data for Vladivostok|
|Average sea temperature °C (°F)||-1.2
Head of the city of Vladivostok on the principles of unity of command directs the administration of the city of Vladivostok in accordance with federal laws, the laws of the Primorsky Krai, and the charter of the city. The structure of the city administration has the City Council at the top.
The responsibilities of the administration of Vladivostok are:
Legislative authority is vested in the City Council. The new City Council began operations in 2001 and on 21 June, deputies of the Duma of the first convocation of Vladivostok began their work. On 17 December 2007, the Duma of the third convocation began. The deputies consist of 35 elected members, including 18 members chosen by a single constituency, and 17 deputies from single-mandate constituencies.
Vladivostok is the administrative centre of the krai. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with five rural localities, incorporated as Vladivostok City Under Krai Jurisdiction—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, Vladivostok City Under Krai Jurisdiction is incorporated as Vladivostoksky Urban Okrug.
The population of the city, according to the 2010 Census, is 592,034, down from 594,701 recorded in the 2002 Census. This is further down from 633,838 recorded in the 1989 Census. Following the 2009 recession the population of the city has continuously increased to 606,653 as of 2016[update] Ethnic Russians make up the majority of the population.
A very important employer and a major source of revenue for the city's inhabitants is the import of Japanese cars. Besides salesmen, the industry employs repairmen, fitters, import clerks as well as shipping and railway companies. The Vladivostok dealers sell 250,000 cars a year, with 200,000 going to other parts of Russia. Every third worker in the Primorsky Krai has some relation to the automobile import business. In recent years, the Russian government has made attempts to improve the country's own car industry. This has included raising tariffs for imported cars, which has put the car import business in Vladivostok in difficulties. To compensate, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the car manufacturing company Sollers to move one of its factories from Moscow to Vladivostok. The move was completed in 2009, and the factory now employs about 700 locals. It is planned to produce 13,200 cars in Vladivostok in 2010.
The Trans-Siberian Railway was built to connect European Russia with Vladivostok, Russia's most important Pacific Ocean port. Finished in 1905, the rail line ran from Moscow to Vladivostok via several of Russia's main cities. Part of the railroad, known as the Chinese Eastern Line, crossed over into China, passing through Harbin, a major city in Manchuria. Today, Vladivostok serves as the main starting point for the Trans-Siberian portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge.
Vladivostok is the main air hub in the Russian Far East. Vladivostok International Airport (VVO) is the home base of Aurora airline - a Russian Far East air carrier, a subsidiary of Aeroflot. The airline was formed by Aeroflot in 2013 by amalgamating SAT Airlines and Vladivostok Avia. The Vladivostok International Airport was significantly upgraded in 2013 with a new 3500-metre runway capable of accommodating all aircraft types without any restrictions. The Terminal A was built in 2012 with a capacity of 3.5 million passengers per year.
It is possible to get to Vladivostok from several of the larger cities in Russia. Regular flights to Seattle, Washington, were available in the 1990s but have been cancelled since. Vladivostok Air was flying to Anchorage, Alaska, from July 2008 to 2013, before its transformation into Aurora airline.
Vladivostok is the starting point of Ussuri Highway (M60) to Khabarovsk, the easternmost part of Trans-Siberian Highway that goes all the way to Moscow and Saint Petersburg via Novosibirsk. The other main highways go east to Nakhodka and south to Khasan.
On 28 June 1908, Vladivostok's first tram line was started along Svetlanskaya Street, running from the railway station on Lugovaya Street. On 9 October 1912, the first wooden cars manufactured in Belgium entered service. Today, Vladivostok's means of public transportation include trolleybus, bus, tram, train, funicular, and ferryboat. The main urban traffic lines are City Centre—Vtoraya Rechka, City Centre—Pervaya Rechka—3ya Rabochaya—Balyayeva, and City Centre—Lugovaya Street.
In 2012, Vladivostok hosted the 24th Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. In preparation for the event, the infrastructure of the city was renovated and improved. Two giant cable-stayed bridges were constructed in Vladivostok, namely the Zolotoy Rog Bridge over the Golden Horn Bay in the centre of the city, and the Russky Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island, where the summit took place. The latter bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world.
The port is ice-free all year round (with the help of ice breakers), and in 2002 had a foreign trade turnover worth $275 million. In 2015, a special economic zone has been settled with the free port of Vladivostok.
Vladivostok is home to numerous educational institutions, including five universities:
The Presidium of the Far Eastern Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ДВО РАН) as well as ten of its research institutes are also located in Vladivostok, as is the Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (Тихоокеанский научно-исследовательский рыбохозяйственный центр or ТИНРО).
Over fifty newspapers and regional editions to Moscow publications are issued in Vladivostok. The largest newspaper of the Primorsky Krai and the whole Russian Far East is Vladivostok News with a circulation of 124,000 copies at the beginning of 1996. Its founder, joint-stock company Vladivostok-News, also issues a weekly English-language newspaper Vladivostok News. The subjects of the publications issued in these newspapers vary from information about Vladivostok and Primorye, to major international events. Newspaper Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn) gives every detail of economic news. Entertainment materials and cultural news constitute a larger part of Novosti (News) newspaper which is the most popular among Primorye's young people. Also, new online mass media about the Russian Far East for foreigners is the Far East Times. This source invites readers to take part in informational support of R.F.E. for visitors, travellers and businessmen. Vladivostok operates many online news agencies, such as NewsVL.ru, Primamedia, Primorye24 and Vesti-Primorye. From 2012 to 2017 there operates youth online magazine Vladivostok-3000.
As of 2020, there operate nineteen radio stations, including three 24-hour local stations. Radio VBC (FM 101,7 MHz, since 1993) broadcasts classic and modern rock music, oldies and music of 1980s-1990s. Radio Lemma (FM 102,7 MHz, since 1996) brodcasts news, radioshows and varoius russian and european-american songs. Vladivostok FM (FM 106,4 MHz, was launched in 2008) broadcasts local news and popular music (Top 40). The State broadcating company "Vladivostok" broadcasts local news and music programs from 7 to 9, from 12 to 14 and from 18 to 19 on weekdays on the frequency of Radio Rossii (Radio of Russia).
Maxim Gorky Academic Theatre, named after the Russian author Maxim Gorky, was founded in 1931 and is used for drama, musical and children's theatre performances.
In September 2012, a granite statue of the actor Yul Brynner (1920–1985) was inaugurated in Yul Brynner Park, directly in front of the house where he was born at 15 Aleutskaya St.
The Arsenyev Primorye Museum (Приморский государственный объединенный музей имени В.К. Арсеньева), opened in 1890, is the main museum of the Primorsky Krai. Besides the main facility, it has three branches in Vladivostok itself (including Arsenyev's Memorial House), and five branches elsewhere in the state. Among the items in the museum's collection are the famous 15th-century Yongning Temple Steles from the lower Amur.
The city is home to the Vladivostok Pops Orchestra.
Russian rock band Mumiy Troll hails from Vladivostok and frequently puts on shows there. In addition, the city hosted the "VladiROCKstok" International Music Festival in September 1996. Hosted by the mayor and governor, and organized by two young American expatriates, the festival drew nearly 10,000 people and top-tier musical acts from St. Petersburg (Akvarium and DDT) and Seattle (Supersuckers, Goodness), as well as several leading local bands.
Nowadays there is another annual music festival in Vladivostok, Vladivostok Rocks International Music Festival and Conference (V-ROX). Vladivostok Rocks is a three-day open-air city festival and international conference for the music industry and contemporary cultural management. It offers the opportunity for aspiring artists and producers to gain exposure to new audiences and leading international professionals.
The Russian Opera House houses the State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater.
Parks and squares in Vladivostok include Pokrovskiy Park, Minnyy Gorodok, Detskiy Razvlekatelnyy Park, Park of Sergeya Lazo, Admiralskiy Skver, Skver im. Neveskogo, Nagornyy Park, Skver im. Sukhanova, Fantaziya Park, Skver Rybatskoy Slavy, Skver im. A.I.Shchetininoy.
Pokrovskiy Park was once a cemetery. Converted into a park in 1934 but was closed in 1990. Since 1990 the land the park sits on belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church. During the rebuilding of the Orthodox Church, graves were found.
Minny Gorodok is a 91-acre (37 ha) public park. Minny Gorodok means "Mine Borough Park" in English. The park is a former military base that was founded in 1880. The military base was used for storing mines in underground storage. Converted into a park in 1985, Minny Gorodok contains several lakes, ponds, and an ice-skating rink.
Detsky Razvlekatelny Park is a children's amusement park located near the centre of the city. The park contains a carousel, gaming machines, a Ferris wheel, cafés, an aquarium, cinema, and a stadium.
Admiralsky Skver is a landmark located near the city's centre. The Square is an open space, dominated by the Triumfalnaya Arka. South of the square sits a museum of Soviet submarine S-56.
Local ecologists from the Ecocenter organization have claimed that much of Vladivostok's suburbs are polluted and that living in them can be classified as a health hazard. The pollution has a number of causes, according to Ecocenter geo-chemical expert Sergey Shlykov. Vladivostok has about eighty industrial sites, which may not be many compared to Russia's most industrialized areas, but those around the city are particularly environmentally unfriendly, such as shipbuilding and repairing, power stations, printing, fur farming, and mining.
In addition, Vladivostok has a particularly vulnerable geography which compounds the effect of pollution. Winds cannot clear pollution from some of the most densely populated areas around the Pervaya and Vtoraya Rechka as they sit in basins which the winds blow over. In addition, there is little snow in winter and no leaves or grass to catch the dust to make it settle down.
Vladivostok is home to the football club FC Luch-Energiya Vladivostok, who plays in the Russian First Division, ice hockey club Admiral Vladivostok from the Kontinental Hockey League's Chernyshev Division, and basketball club Spartak Primorye, who plays in the Russian Basketball Super League.
In 2010, arches with the names of each of Vladivostok's twin towns were placed in a park within the city.
Probably the first clash between the Russians and Chinese occurred in 1868. It was called the Manza War, Manzovskaia voina. "Manzy" was the Russian name for the Chinese population in those years. In 1868, the local Russian government decided to close down goldfields near Vladivostok, in the Gulf of Peter the Great, where 1,000 Chinese were employed. The Chinese decided that they did not want to go back, and resisted. The first clash occurred when the Chinese were removed from Askold Island,
in the Gulf of Peter the Great. They organized themselves and raided three Russian villages and two military posts. For the first time, this attempt to drive the Chinese out was unsuccessful.
Then there occurred another story which has become traumatic, this one for the Russian nationalist psyche. At the end of the year 1918, after the Russian Revolution, the Chinese merchants in the Russian Far East demanded the Chinese government to send troops for their protection, and Chinese troops were sent to Vladivostok to protect the Chinese community: about 1600 soldiers and 700 support personnel.
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