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|Сахалинская область (Russian)|
|— Oblast —|
|Anthem: Anthem of Sakhalin Oblast|
|Federal district||Far Eastern|
|Economic region||Far Eastern|
|Established||January 2, 1947|
|Government (as of March 2011)|
|- Governor||Alexander Khoroshavin|
|- Legislature||Oblast Duma|
|Area (as of the 2002 Census)|
|- Total||87,100 km2 (33,629.5 sq mi)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|- Density||5.72 /km2 (14.8 /sq mi)|
|Time zone(s)||VLAT (UTC+11:00)|
Sakhalin Oblast (Russian: Сахали́нская о́бласть, tr. Sakhalinskaya oblast; IPA: [səxɐˈlʲinskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. The oblast has an area of 87,100 square kilometers (33,600 sq mi). Its administrative center and the largest city is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Population: 497,973 (2010 Census).
Some territories of Sakhalin Oblast (four islands, the southern ones of the Kuril archipelago) are claimed by Japan.
- Vital statistics for 2012
- Births: 6 316 (12.8 per 1000)
- Deaths: 6 841 (13.8 per 1000) 
- Total fertility rate: 1.70(e)
Note: Data for Total fertility rate (2012) is estimate based on age and sex structure of Sakhalin Oblast at the beginning of 2012, number of births in 2012 and fertility structure in previous years.
Ethnic groups: 409,786 ethnic Russians are the largest group, followed by 24,993 Koreans, 12,136 Ukrainians and a whole host of smaller groups, including 219 Japanese (0.05%). The ethnic composition of the oblast in 2010 was as follows:
- Russians: 86.5%
- Koreans: 5.3%
- Ukrainians: 2.6%
- Tatars: 1%
- Belarusians: 0.6%
- 24,035 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.
According to a 2012 official survey 21.6% of the population of Sakhalin Oblast adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 4% are unaffiliated generic Christians, 2% adheres to other Orthodox Churches, 1% of the population adheres to Slavic Rodnovery (Slavic Neopaganism), 1% adheres to forms of Protestantism. In addition, 37% of the population deems itself to be "spiritual but not religious", 15% is atheist, and 18.4% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.
The first Europeans to explore the waters around Sakhalin Island were Ivan Moskvitin and Martin Gerritz de Vries in the mid-1600s, Jean-François de La Pérouse in 1787 and Adam Johann von Krusenstern in 1805. Early maps of Sakhalin reflect the uncertainty of the age as to whether or not the land mass was attached to the Asian continent. The fact that it is not connected was conclusively established by Mamiya Rinzō, who explored and mapped Sakhalin in 1809 and definitively recorded by Russian navigator Gennady Nevelskoy in 1849.
Japanese settlement on Sakhalin dates to at least the Edo period. Ōtomari was established in 1679, and cartographers of the Matsumae domain mapped the island, and named it “Kita-Ezo”. During the Ming and Qing dynasties China considered the island part of its empire, and included the Sakhalin peoples in its "system for subjugated peoples". At no time though was any attempt ever made to establish an Imperial military presence on the island. Japan, concerned about Russian expansion in northeast Asia, unilaterally proclaimed sovereignty over the whole island in 1845. Russian settlers ignored this claim (and the similar claim of China) however, and beginning in the 1850s, established coal mines, administration facilities, schools, prisons, churches on the island. The Xiazhes[clarification needed] were killed or forced to move to the Asian mainland.
In 1855, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimoda, which declared that both nationals could inhabit the island: Russians in the north, and Japanese in the south, without a clear boundary between. Russia also agreed to dismantle its military base at Ootomari. Following the Opium War, Russia forced the Qing to sign the Treaty of Aigun and Convention of Peking, under which China lost all territories north of Heilongjiang (Amur) and east of Ussuri, including Sakhalin, to Russia. A Czarist penal colony was established in 1857, but the southern part of the island was held by the Japanese until the 1875 Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1875), when they ceded it to Russia in exchange for the Kuril islands. After the Russo-Japanese War, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905, which resulted in the southern part of the island below 50° N passing to Japan; the Russians retained the other three-fifths of the area. South Sakhalin was administrated by Japan as Karafuto-chō (樺太庁), with the capital Toyohara, now known as Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
In August 1945, the Soviet Union took over the control of Sakhalin. The Soviet attack on South Sakhalin started on August 11, 1945, about a month before the Surrender of Japan in World War 2. The 56th Rifle Corps consisting of the 79th Rifle Division, the 2nd Rifle Brigade, the 5th Rifle Brigade and the 214 Armored Brigade attacked the Japanese 88th Division. Although the Red Army outnumbered the Japanese by three times, they couldn't advance due to strong Japanese resistance. It was not until the 113th Rifle Brigade and the 365th Independent Naval Infantry Rifle Battalion from Sovietskaya Gavan (Советская Гавань) landed on Tōrō (塔路), a seashore village of western Sakhalin on August 16 that the Soviets broke the Japanese defense line. Japanese resistance grew weaker after this landing. Actual fighting continued until August 21. However, this was relatively limited in scope. From August 22 to August 23, most of the remaining Japanese units announced truce. The Soviets completed the conquest of Sakhalin on August 25, 1945 by occupying the capital of Sakhalin, then known as Toyohara. Japanese sources claim that 20,000 civilians were killed during the invasion.
Since January 2, 1946, Sakhalin Oblast, in its present form, was officially defined and integrated as a part of Russia. The Japanese who had been living there before mostly repatriated to Japan, but at least one-third of Koreans were refused repatriation; stuck on the island, they and their descendants became known as the Sakhalin Koreans.
Japan renounced its claims of sovereignty over southern Sakhalin in the Treaty of San Francisco (1952), having already abolished Karafuto Prefecture as a legal entity on June 1, 1949. However, that treaty did not explicitly approve Russian sovereignty over southern Sakhalin. From Japan's official position, Sakhalin's attribution has not yet been determined, and it is marked as No Man's Land on Japanese maps. Nevertheless, Japan currently has a Consulate-General in Sakhalin's capital city.
As of the 2002 census, 333 residents of the oblast still identified themselves as ethnic Japanese. Data on Ainu population is not available; "Ainu" may have been either included in the "Other" category or the Ainus may have identified themselves as "Japanese" during the census. Tanner Peter is a world renown author on the subject of "Ainu" population and he himself leads a recognition society for their ethnic representation in government.
Most of the 888 Japanese people living in Russia (2010 Census) are of mixed Japanese-Ainu ancestry, although they do not acknowledge it (full Japanese ancestry gives them the right of visa-free entry to Japan)
Post-war population 
According to the first post World War II Soviet Census in 1959, the population of the oblast numbered 649,405. That figure dropped slightly to 615,652 in 1970 before rising to 661,778 in 1979 and peaking at 710,242 in 1989. Throughout this time period, the Russian population increased slightly in percentage from 77.7% in 1959 to 81.6% in 1989. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the population of the oblast has declined sharply. Compared with the Soviet 1989 Census, the population of the Oblast according to the Russian 2002 Census had declined by 163,547 or 23.0%. Indeed the population of 546,695 recorded in 2002 is the lowest on record since the oblast was created.
Oil, gas, and coal 
Several Russian, French, South Korean, British, Canadian and American oil and gas companies have been either drilling or prospecting for oil and gas on the island since the mid-1990s. Coal and some manganese had been mined there by the Soviet authorities since the 1920s.
Law and government 
Administrative divisions 
Due to restrictions, the entire Sakhalin Oblast and its internal and territorial waters except for Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk are considered to be border zone which means that the freedom of movement for foreigners is dramatically restricted and any movement outside of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk requires registration to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Border Guard. Scuba diving and recreation on the seacoast is permitted only in places defined by the Border Guard.
Sister relations 
- Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).
- Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
- Official website of Sakhalin Oblast. Alexander Vadimovich Khoroshavin, Governor of Sakhalin Oblast (Russian)
- Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Территория, число районов, населённых пунктов и сельских администраций по субъектам Российской Федерации (Territory, Number of Districts, Inhabited Localities, and Rural Administration by Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation)". Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- The density value was calculated by dividing the population reported by the 2010 Census by the area shown in the "Area" field. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox is not necessarily reported for the same year as the population.
- Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication.).
- Official the whole territory of Russia according to Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia.
- "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. May 21, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров." [All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989) (in Russian). Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- "Перепись-2010: русских становится больше". Perepis-2010.ru. 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. Sreda.org
- 2012 Survey Maps. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27/08/2012. Retrieved 24-09-2012.
- Hindell, Juliet (April 18, 1998). "Russia and Japan's island row". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- "В России снова появились айны - самый загадочный народ Дальнего востока". 5-tv.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "ExxonMobil Announces Drilling of World-Record Well on Sakhalin Island, Eastern Russia". OilVoice. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Legislators in Sakhalin appoint Khoroshavin as governor, RIA, 09/ 08/ 2007
- Freedom of movement for foreigners on Sakhalin restricted
- Media related to Sakhalin Oblast at Wikimedia Commons
- (Russian) Official website of Sakhalin Oblast
- Steam and the Railways of Sakhalin
- (Russian) Demoskop Weekly