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Vladivostok (Russian: Владивосто́к) is the largest city and the administrative centre of Primorsky Krai, Russia. The city is located around the Golden Horn Bay on the Sea of Japan, covering an area of 331.16 km2, with a population of 606,561 residents, up to 812,319 residents in the urban agglomeration. Vladivostok is the second-largest city in the Far Eastern Federal District, as well as the Russian Far East, after Khabarovsk.

Vladivostok is the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean, and the chief economic, scientific and cultural centre of the Russian Far East, as well as an important tourism centre in Russia.


  • The unofficial capital of the Russian Far East and one of Russia's most important commercial ports and naval bases, Vladivostok ('Master the East') is also a thoroughly charming city, with a gorgeous, hilly setting, striking architecture and numerous verdant islands and sandy bays along its Pacific coastline.
  • With the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in 1905, the development of Vladivostok and the entire Russian Far East accelerated rapidly. After the loss of Port Arthur to Japan in 1905, Vladivostok became, and remains today, Russia's primary naval base on the Pacific.
    • Background on Vladivostok and the Soviet Far East
    • Robert T. Hartmann Papers at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
  • When Vladivostok, the main city of the Russian Far East, marked the 160th anniversary of its founding on July 2, it resulted in a wave of abuse from Chinese social media users across various platforms who claimed that the territory of Primorsky Krai of which Vladivostok is the administrative capital, historically belonged to China. While these claims were not officially endorsed by China’s foreign ministry, they come at a time when the country has been particularly aggressive in the context of its territorial disputes in the region.
  • One after another, the peoples of Eurasia were subjugated; indeed, by 1900 non-Russians accounted for more than half of the population of the Tsar's domains. In 1858, capitalizing on Britain's victory over China in the Second Opium War and the outbreak of the Taiping Rebellion, Russia had seized Chinese territory north of the Amur River; China was also forced to cede the land between the Ussuri River and the Sea of Japan. It was here that the Russians built their principal Pacific port, Vladivostok - 'ruler of the east'. Perhaps nothing symbolized Russian power in Asia more strikingly than the vast Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs six thousand miles from Moscow to Vladivostok, passing through Yaroslavl on the Volga, Ekaterinburg in the Urals and Irkutsk on Lake Baikal, before finally reaching the Pacific coast just north of the Korean peninsula. By the turn of the century it was all but complete; work had begun on the final stretch of line, across Manchuria to Vladivostok, in 1897. By dramatically reducing journey times between European and Asiatic Russia - from a matter of years to a matter of days - the railway greatly accelerated the Russian colonization of Central and East Asia. Between 1907 and 1914, no fewer than 2.5 million Russians made new lives for themselves in Siberia, the great northern strip of Asia that stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p. 48
  • People settled along the Amur between 1859 and 1900; indeed, the entire Russian population along the Siberian border was barely 50,000. Like so many Asian ports in 1900, Vladivostok was a multiethnic city, with its Chinatown on the shores of the Amur Bay, its partly Russified Korean community and its Japanese small businesses and brothels. Nearly two-fifths of the population were, as the Russians put it, yellow. There was, as so often on colonial frontiers, intermarriage; in the words of one visitor, 'The Russian woman does not object to the Chinese as a husband, and the Russian takes a Chinese wife.' There were also mixed marriages between European men and Japanese women. But such mingling took place in the context of an unambiguous racial hierarchy. One Vladivostok newspaper referred to 'beating the Manza [Chinese]' as 'a custom with us. Only the lazy don't indulge in it.'
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p. 49
  • For leaders in Beijing and, needless to say, Moscow, Vladivostok is indisputably part of Russia. A series of agreements since 1991 have demarcated their 2,615-mile-long border, clearly fixing what belongs to whom.
  • The city, with a population of about 600,000, is now a popular destination for Chinese tourists and also traders, who have turned a once down-at-the-heels market on Sportivnaya Street into a vibrant commercial district.
  • Before submerging into the Soviet garrison life, Vladivostok was known for being a “sin city” of the Russian East. Its geographic importance greased the wheels for expansion and the city grew rapidly after being linked to Moscow, almost 6,000 miles away, by the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1903. The streets were packed with Chinese and Japanese sailors, as well as smugglers and runaways of all sorts who stored their wealth, hid from persecution, and spent money in local pubs. Some streets reeked with the smoke of Chinese opium and were saturated with vodka and red caviar.
  • As the Kremlin feels the threat of Sinification, it has started pouring money into regional development with the unofficial capital at Vladivostok becoming a stage for displaying Moscow’s ambitions.
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