When Russia first annexed the Far East in the beginning of the 18th century, this region was very sparsely populated. Large-scale settlement of the Far East expanded only after the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railroad between Moscow and Vladivostok (1891-1905). New lands were opened up to the settlers. This phase of colonization reached its peak of 70,600 people per year in 1907 and fell to 36,000 per year in 1908-10. Altogether, in 1907-13 about 250,000 peasants came to the Far East. The majority of the settlers were Ukrainians; for example, in 1907, 74 percent of the settlers came from Ukraine. Ukrainians made up 75-80 percent of the settlers in the Primore oblast and 60-65 percent of the settlers in the Amur oblast. Hence, on the eve of the First World War Ukrainians constituted the nucleus of the Far East's population. The Revolution of 1917 brought an end to restrictions on Ukrainian organized life. Several local organizations arose in the Far East--Ukrainian clubs, co-operatives, military associations, and so on. These organizations convoked the First Far Eastern Ukrainian Congress on 11-14 June 1917. The political program of the Ukrainians and the Far Eastern Ukrainian Secretariat aimed at national territorial autonomy, but in practice the government was always in Russian hands. The Ukrainians in the Far East recognized the Ukrainian National Republic and considered themselves in theory to be its citizens. However, the rapidly changing situation in both Ukraine and the Far East made closer relations impossible. Political power in the Far East was in the hands of various Russian governments that were hostile to Ukrainian demands. Ukrainians played a role in the Far Eastern Republic (1920-2), which they actively helped organize. The constitution of the Far Eastern Republic guaranteed all nationalities, including the Ukrainians, national autonomy. A separate ministry in the Far Eastern Republic established a number of Ukrainian schools in the region. The Far Eastern Ukrainian Secretariat planned to hold a Far Eastern congress, which was to proclaim a Ukrainian state in the Far East known as Zelena Ukraina (Green Ukraine), but in November 1922 the Far Eastern Republic was occupied by the Red Army. The Soviet authorities abolished all Ukrainian organizations and arrested the key Ukrainian leaders; most of them were sentenced to long prison terms. But, faced with the strength and size of the Ukrainian element, the Soviet authorities were forced to carve out Ukrainian national regions--10 in the Primore oblast and 4 in the Amur oblast. In these regions Ukrainian became the language used in the schools and the administrative agencies. But in 1935, during the Stalinist terror, the Soviet authorities abolished Ukrainian cultural autonomy and introduced Russification measures... Learn more about Ukrainians living in the Far East regions of the Russian Federation by visiting the following entries:


FAR EAST. The easternmost region of the Russian Federation, encompassing the Pacific coast, the Amur River basin (in the southeast), the Kolyma River basin, the Khabarovsk krai and Primore krai, and the Amur oblast, Sakhalin oblast, Kamchatka oblast, and Magadan oblast. The region has an area of 3,112,700 sq km. Ukrainians constituted the majority of the immigrants to this region in the early 20th century. Since 1900 the territory settled initially by Ukrainians--the Amur oblast and Primore (Maritime) oblast--has been known as Zelenyi Klyn (the Green Wedge). It has an area of 2,500,000 sq km and a population of 4,000,000. This land can be regarded as a major territory of settlement by Ukrainians (the second such territory in Asia after the central Asian steppe). By 1926 79.9 percent of the population of the Far East consisted of Europeans or their descendants. Eastern Slavs--Ukrainians, Russians, and Belarusians--made up 77.8 percent of the population. In 1926 there were officially 308,000 Ukrainians, 617,000 Russians, and 39,000 Belarusians in the Far East. In fact, however, the figure for the Russians was greatly inflated at the expense of the Ukrainians. Considering that Ukrainians accounted for over 70 percent of the immigrants during the most intense period of settlement (1900-14) and that, according to the 1926 census, most of the inhabitants of the Far East who were not born there came from Ukraine, the estimate for the Ukrainian population can be raised to 500,000, thus lowering the figure for the Russians to 410,000. Although in the 1930s Ukrainans lost all their national rights in this region, by 1979, still 446,687 residents of Zelenyi Klyn identified themselves as Ukrainians. They constituted about 8 percent of the population (total 6 million)...

Far East


FAR EASTERN UKRAINIAN CONGRESSES. Congresses of Ukrainians in the Far East that were held in 1917-18, following the Revolution of 1917, in order to organize and coordinate the Ukrainian political and cultural activities in the Far East. The first congress took place on 11-14 June 1917 in Nikolsk-Ussuriiskii (now Ussuriisk). The 57 delegates present passed resolutions demanding recognition of Ukrainian autonomy in the Far East by the Provisional Government in Petrograd and organization of Ukrainian soldiers in the Russian army into separate Ukrainian units. The second and third congresses took place in Khabarovsk on 7 January 1918 and 7 April 1918, and the fourth in Vladivostok on 24 October 1918. The third congress set up a central agency representing the Ukrainians of the Far East--the Far Eastern Ukrainian Territorial Council, which by the end of 1920 had held three sessions, and its executive arm--the Far Eastern Ukrainian Secretariat, which operated from 1918 to 1920. As a result of the congresses the Ukrainian movement gained momentum. District councils, which represented local communities (10 in all), arose. The Far Eastern Teachers' Association and a central co-operative association in Vladivostok were organized. Ukrainian newspapers and journals began to appear. In the spring of 1917 Ukrainian military units began to be organized with the purpose of returning to Ukraine for its defense. The first company left Vladivostok in June 1917, and the second left Harbin in the fall. Only at the end of 1918 were Ukrainian units formed to defend the interests of the Ukrainians in the Far East. The Ukrainian movement in the Far East was most evident in the cultural sphere. But the Ukrainian life in the region was suppressed after November 1922 when the Far Eastern Republic was occupied by the Red Army...

Far Eastern Ukrainian congresses


VLADIVOSTOK. A city (2018 pop 604,901) on the Pacific coast, and the administrative center of Primore krai in the Russian Federation. It is the eastern terminal of the Trans-Siberian Railway and an important commercial and naval port on Zolotoi Rog Bay. Its growth was spurred by the building of the railway: its population rose from 66,000 in 1914 to 108,000 in 1926 and 206,000 in 1939. A Ukrainian colony existed in Vladivostok from its very beginning (1860) and by 1914 exceeded 2,000. In 1907-8 a Ukrainian student hromada was organized at the Oriental Institute. There was also a clandestine Ukrainian political circle in the city. With the outbreak of the Revolution of 1917 Vladivostok became a center of the Ukrainian movement in the Far East. At the beginning of 1917 a local hromada, with over 1,500 members, sprang up. In the next three years a Prosvita society, the Ukrainska Khata club, the Ukrainian Colony, and the Union of Oil and Telegraph Workers were founded. The Far Eastern Territorial Council established its secretariat in Vladivostok and held its third congress there in November 1920. The city was the seat of the Vladivostok Okrug Council. The weekly Ukraïnets' na Zelenomu klyni and the daily Shchyre slovo came out in the city. When the Soviets occupied Vladivostok in 1922, Ukrainian political organizations were suppressed. According to the 1926 census there were 6,000 Ukrainians in the city. According to the official 2010 census, Ukrainians in Vladivostok numbered 10,474 and constituted 1.8 percent of the city’s population...



KHABAROVSK. Capital (2018 pop 618,150) of Khabarovsk krai and principal city of the Russian Far East. It was founded in 1858 as a military outpost called Khabarovka. The present name was adopted in 1893. At the beginning of the 1880s it had more than 4,000 inhabitants. Since then its population has grown rapidly, reaching 15,000 in 1897, 49,700 in 1926, 207,300 in 1939, 322,700 in 1959, and 436,000 in 1970. Situated on the Amur River near its confluence with the Ussuri River, the city is an important transport junction and industrial center. It is located in an ethnically mixed region, called Zelenyi Klyn by its Ukrainian inhabitants. According to the 1926 census, 3,800 or 7.3 percent of the city's inhabitants were Ukrainian; in 1970 about 30,000 or 6.8 percent were Ukrainian. Together with Vladivostok, Khabarovsk was the most important center of Ukrainian settlement in Zelenyi Klyn. Ukrainian organizations flourished there during the Revolution of 1917. The second and third Far Eastern Ukrainian congresses were held in Khabarovsk, and a number of Ukrainian newspapers--Khvyli Ukrainy, Ranok, and Nova Ukraina--were published there. After Soviet occupation in 1922, Ukrainian political activities ceased, but cultural activities, under Soviet control of course, continued. Since the mid-1930s intensive, officially promoted Russification has taken its toll among the large and growing Ukrainian population. A community organization Zelenyi Klyn is one of the very few Ukrainian associations active in the city today...



KAMCHATKA OBLAST. An administrative region of the Russian Federation consisting of Kamchatka Peninsula and part of the main land along the Pacific coast. The mountainous, volcanic country has a cold humid climate. Its area is 472,300 sq km and its 2002 population was 333,644, 79.2 percent of which was urban. The oblast capital is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii (2018 pop 181,216). According to the 1979 census, Ukrainians accounted for 7 percent of the population. However, little was known about the labor camps, in which Ukrainians constituted, at that time, a high proportion of the inmates. The camps, at least six in number, belonged to the Dalstroi system. Their inmates were employed in logging, mining, construction of military facilities, and submarine repairs. The main industries in Kamchatka oblast are fishing, lumbering, canning, woodworking, and boat building. For decades Ukrainians in Kamchatka oblast (and the Russian Federation in general) have been deprived of access to Ukrainian-language education or publications, and many of them become Russified. According to 2002 census, Ukrainians constituted 5.9 percent of the oblast’s population...

Kamchatka oblast


SAKHALIN ISLAND. An island off the Pacific coast of the Russian Federation situated between the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk. With an area of 76,400 sq km it constitutes most of Sakhalin oblast (which also incorporates the Kurile Islands). Its terrain is largely mountainous and it is heavily (60 percent) forested. In 1855-75 it was jointly held by the Russian Empire and Japan, and then in 1875-1905, by the Russian Empire alone. In 1905 the southern half was ceded to Japan. In 1945 the whole again came under Russian (Soviet) control; the island has been intensively colonized since then. From the mid-19th century it was used by the Russian Empire as a site for exiles and forced labor. In 1926 there were 11,000 inhabitants on the northern end of the island. In 1959 the population of Sakhalin oblast (including the sparsely inhabited Kuriles) was 649,000; it rose to 710,000 by 1989, and fell to 489,638 in 2019. A large proportion (over 40 percent) of its inhabitants live in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. According to the 1989 census Ukrainians made up 6.5 percent (46,000) of the island's population. Of those, 17,300 (37 percent) claimed Ukrainian as their native tongue. For decades Ukrainians in the Far East (and the Russian Federation in general) have been deprived of access to Ukrainian-language education or publications, and the process of Russification has been rapid. In 2019, the official number of Ukrainians in Sakhalin oblast was 13,000 (2.6 percent of the oblast’s population)...

Sakhalin Island

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