Formally, the regions of the Extreme North comprise the whole of Yakutia, Magadan Oblast, Kamchatka Oblast and Murmansk Oblast, as well as certain parts and cities of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Komi Republic, Tyumen Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Sakhalin Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, as well as all islands of the Arctic Ocean, its seas, the Bering Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Some other territories of Russia with harsh climate are defined to be "equated to the conditions of Extreme North", in terms of labor compensation.
Murmansk (pop. 302 468), Yakutsk (286 456), Norilsk (175,365), Novy Urengoi (116 450) and Magadan (95 048) are the largest cities within the Russian Far North proper, while larger and southerner Arkhangelsk (350 985) is the largest among cities and territories "equated" to the Far North.
The Far North is known for its extremely harsh climate. People who work there, other than indigenous populations involved in traditional occupations and inmates of labor camps (e.g., gulag of the Soviet Union), used to receive an extra grade of payment, referred to as the "Northern Bonus" (severnye nadbavki), as well as other benefits, including extra vacation, extra disability benefits, extra retirement benefits, and housing benefits.
In January 2007 the State Duma Committee for Issues of North and Far East approved the proposed law "On the List of the Regions of the Extreme North and Territories Equated to It" («О перечне районов Крайнего Севера и приравненных к ним местностей») as part of the package of laws on the labor compensation, including «О государственных гарантиях и компенсациях для лиц, работающих и проживающих в районах Крайнего Севера и приравненных к ним местностях» ("On government guarantees and compensation for persons working and residing in the regions of the Far North and equivalent areas"), «О районировании Севера РФ» ("On regional delineation of the North of the RF") as well as a law on the corresponding amendments to the Russian Labor Code. According to the List, the Extreme North territories will be subdivided into two categories: "zone of extreme discomfort" and "zone of absolute discomfort".