Sakhalin Oblast

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sakhalin Oblast


an oblast in the RSFSR. Formed on Oct. 20, 1932, as part of the Far East Krai and included in Khabarovsk Krai in 1938, Sakhalin Oblast became an independent oblast on Jan. 2, 1947. It includes Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, Moneron Island, and Tiulenii Island. Situated on the eastern border of the USSR, the oblast is washed by the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan, and the Pacific Ocean. Area, 87,100 sq km. Population, 653,000 (as of Jan. 1, 1975). The oblast is divided into 17 administrative raions and has 19 cities and 35 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on July 8, 1967.

For the natural features and history of the oblast, see and KURIL ISLANDS.

Population. Russians constitute 80.4 percent of the population (1970 census) and Ukrainians 6.3 percent. Other nationalities include Koreans, Byelorussians, Tatars, Mordovians, Nivkh, and Orochi. The average population density is 7.5 persons per sq km, increasing to 10–12 persons in the coastal areas. Urban dwellers constitute 83 percent of the population. The major cities are Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Kholmsk, Korsakov, Okha, Poronaisk, Nevel’sk, Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskii, Uglegorsk, and Dolinsk.

Economy. Industry is the leading sector of the economy. The oblast accounts for about 12 percent of the gross industrial output of the Far East. The oblast’s gross industrial output increased 1.7 times from 1966 to 1974. The fishing industry, the most important branch, accounts for 38 percent of the oblast’s total industrial output.

The lumber, woodworking, and pulp-and-paper industry contributes about one-fourth of the total industrial output. In 1974, 3.6 million cu m of timber and 637,000 cu m of lumber were produced. The oblast’s pulp-and-paper enterprises manufactured 314,000 tons of paper pulp, 207,000 tons of paper, and 89,900 tons of cardboard. The woodworking and pulp-and-paper combines are located in Poronaisk, Uglegorsk, Dolinsk, Kholmsk, and Makarov.

Petroleum is extracted in northern Sakhalin, and the crude oil is conveyed by pipeline to refineries in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure. A total of 824 million cu m of gas and 5.3 million tons of coal were extracted in 1974. Most of the coal is mined underground. About one-fifth of the coal is shipped to other parts of the Far East. The electric power industry is represented mainly by steam power plants using coal, gas, and diesel fuel; the largest plant is the Sakhalin State Regional Electric Power Plant. About 2 billion kW-hr of electricity were generated in 1974.

The machine-building and metalworking industry does repair work, mostly ship repair. The major enterprises are in Nevel’sk, Kholmsk, Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Okha, and Dolinsk.

The building materials industry increased its output 2.5 times from 1960 to 1974, when it produced 93,000 tons of cement, 219,000 cu m of prefabricated reinforced-concrete structural components and parts, and 14 million bricks. The oblast’s light industry produces clothing, footwear, and leather goods. In 1974 its food industry accounted for more than 17 percent of the gross output of the food industry of the Far East Economic Region. New enterprises include meatpacking plants in Kholmsk and Poronaisk and a dairy plant in Tymovskoe. In 1975 a meat combine was under construction in Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk and a meat and dairy combine in Okha.

Animal husbandry, the leading branch of agriculture, contributes some three-fourths of the gross agricultural output, which increased 1.6 times between 1966 and 1974. On Jan. 1, 1975, there were 39 sovkhozes and ten kolkhozes in the oblast. As of Nov. 1, 1974, agricultural enterprises and farms had the use of 243,000 hectares (ha) of land, of which 110,000 ha were agricultural land, including 36,000 ha of arable land, 36,000 ha of hayfields, and 37,000 ha of pastures. Of the total sown area of 38,000 ha (1974), 13,600 ha were under potatoes, 2,700 ha under vegetables, and 22,000 ha under fodder crops. Fruit trees and berry bushes covered 800 ha in 1974. Of the oblast’s 33,600 ha of reclaimed land in 1974,25,300 ha were under cultivation.

As of Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 67,000 head of cattle, including 28,000 cows (42 percent), 107,000 hogs, 14,100 reindeer, and 1,605,000 poultry. The larger areas being planted to fodder are strengthening the feed base and contributing to a rise in the productivity of animal husbandry. Fur farming accounts for one-fourth of the cage-animal furs supplied by the Far East; the main fur-bearing animal is the mink. Highly mechanized enterprises are under construction, including hog-raising and dairy enterprises, poultry farms, and hothouses.

Most of the freight shipments between the oblast and the mainland are carried by oceangoing and river craft. The chief seaports are Korsakov and Kholmsk. Sea and air routes connect Sakhalin Island with the Kuril Islands. On Sakhalin Island freight is hauled by rail; the railroad network is concentrated in the south. A line linking Al’ba and Nogliki was under construction in 1975. The Vanino-Kholmsk railroad ferry, recently put into operation, connects Sakhalin Island with the mainland all year round.

Regional differences. Sakhalin Island may be divided into a southern, western, eastern, and northern region. The southern region is the most highly developed part of the oblast. Here, on less than one-fifth of the island’s territory, lives about 55 percent of the oblast’s population, including 80 percent of its urban population. The main branches of the economy are the pulp-and-paper industry (Dolinsk, Chekhov, Tomari), the fish industry (Kholmsk, Korsakov, Nevel’sk), metalworking, light industry, and the food industry. Agriculture is also important. The major center is Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The western region is noted for coal mining and lumbering. The main centers are Uglegorsk, Shakhtersk, Lesogorsk, and Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskii. The eastern region produces most of the island’s timber. In the settlement of Vakhrushev is the Sakhalin State Regional Power Plant, which uses brown coal. The main center is Poronaisk. The northern region, whose largest city is Okha, produces oil and gas.

In the Kuril Islands the fishing industry is the mainstay of the economy. The major centers are Iuzhno-Kuril’sk, Kuril’sk, and Severo-Kuril’sk.


Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Before 1917 there were 18 primary schools with 570 pupils and no higher or specialized secondary schools. In the 1974–75 school year Sakhalin Oblast had 346 general schools of all types with an enrollment of 122,600 pupils, 15 vocational and technical schools with about 6,000 students, ten specialized secondary schools with 11,300 students, and a pedagogical institute in Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk with 2,200 students. In 1975 the oblast’s 545 preschool institutions were attended by 51,100 children.

The oblast’s leading research institutions are the Sakhalin Integrated Scientific Research Institute of the Far East Scientific Center of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, based in the settlement of Novoaleksandrovsk, the Sakhalin Branch of the Pacific Scientific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography in the settlement of Iablochnyi, the Sakhalin Branch of the All-Union Geological Oil Prospecting Research Institute, and the Sakhalin State Scientific Research and Design Institute of the Oil Industry in Okha.

On Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 315 public libraries (with 4,955,000 copies of books and magazines), an oblast museum of local lore (Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk), an oblast drama theater (Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk), 316 clubs, 444 permanent motion picture units, and 37 extracurricular institutions.

Three newspapers are published in the oblast: Sovetskii Sakhalin, issued since 1925; the Korean-language Leniny gillo (Along the Leninist Path, published since 1949); and the Komsomol newspaper Molodaia gvardiia, appearing since 1947. Oblast radio broadcasts are on the air four hours a day, and VHF broadcasts, seven hours. The inhabitants receive programs of the Orbit television system for 10.4 hours a day and oblast television programs for three hours daily.

Public health. As of Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 95 hospitals with 11,000 beds (16.8 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 2,600 doctors (one per 254 inhabitants). Health resorts include the Sinegorsk mineral springs on Sakhalin Island near Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Goraichii Pliazh on Kunashir Island. There are seven sanatoriums, including four children’s sanatoriums.


Iuzhnaia chast’ Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1969.
Rossiiskaia Federatsiia. Dal’nyi Vostok. Moscow, 1971. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Leonov, P. A., I. V. Pan’kin, and I. E. Belousov. Oblast’ na ostrovakh, 2nded., Moscow, 1974.
Sakhalinskii rassvet: Sakhalin i Kuril’skie ostrova. Moscow, 1973.
Gladyshev, A. N., A. V. Kulikov, and B. F. Shapalin. Problemy razvitiia i razmeshcheniia proizvoditel’nykh sil Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
From its part, the Sakhalin Oblast government will come up with its own scheme of subsidising air transportation for residents of the region.
A representative of the State Migration Service of Kyrgyzstan will study the problem of Kyrgyz citizens working in Yuzhno-Kurilsk district of Sakhalin Oblast of Russia, whose salaries are being delayed by employers for 3 months.
This has only been possible thanks to the cooperation between Sakhalin Energy and its shareholders, the Russian Federal government and the Sakhalin Oblast authorities.'
When it commenced in full swing, the project created around 7,000 jobs, boosting the average monthly pay of Sakhalin residents by 150 percent over seven years to 30,000 rubles, or about 115,000 yen, according to Alexander Khoroshavin, governor of Sakhalin Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, of which Skhalin is a part.