|• Mayor (LPR)||Manolis Pilavov|
|• City||257 km2 (99 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,147 km2 (829 sq mi)|
|Elevation||105 m (344 ft)|
|• Density||1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)|
|Area code||+380 642|
Luhansk (UK: //, US: /--/; Ukrainian: Луганськ, IPA: [lʊˈɦɑnʲsʲk] ⓘ), also known as Lugansk (UK: /--/, US: /--/; Russian: Луганск, IPA: [lʊˈɡansk]), is a city in the Donbas region, eastern Ukraine. As of 2022, the population was estimated to be 397,677 (2022 estimate), making Luhansk the 12th-largest city in Ukraine.
Luhansk served as the administrative center of Luhansk Oblast, before pro-Russian separatists seized control of the city in 2014 and made it the capital of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic. The Ukrainian administration was located in Sievierodonetsk from 2014 to 2022 during the war in Donbas, due to Ukraine not being in control of Luhansk. Sievierodonetsk was captured by Russia in 2022 and the Luhansk Oblast was later annexed by Russia in late 2022.
Founding and early history
The city traces its history to 1797 when the British industrialist Charles Gascoigne, commissioned by the Imperial Russian government in 1795, founded an ammunition and cannon factory for the Black Sea Fleet. Gascoigne had emigrated to Saint Petersburg years earlier, and founded factories and mines across the Russian Empire during his time there. There is a prominent bust of him in Luhansk commemorating his role in the city's founding.
The factory was built in the Donets Basin (or Donbas) the confluence of the Luhan and Vilkhivka rivers. The Russian craftsmen settled upstream, at the settlement of Kamianyi Brid. The name "Luhansk" comes from the Luhan River, which flows through the city. According to folk etymology, the name is also derived to the word "Luh" (Ukrainian: Луг), which means "meadow", referring to the floodplains around the river.
The factory was greatly expanded during the Napoleonic Wars, and again during the Crimean War. By 1880, the factory was a large industrial node, linked by rail to other major cities and to the Azov Sea. In 1882, the Luhansk Factory was merged with Kamianyi Brid into a new settlement named Luhansk, which received city status. In 1897, Luhansk had a population of 20,400, 68.2% of whom were Russians.
In summer 1896, German industrialist Gustav Hartmann founded a locomotive-building company in Luhansk, which is now Luhanskteplovoz. It became operational in 1900, and soon produced a large proportion of all locomotives in the Russian Empire.
In the Soviet Union
Luhansk was economically devastated by the Russian Civil War. In April 1918, Luhansk was occupied by the Central Powers during their invasion of Ukraine. Then, it was taken by Anton Denikin's anti-communist Volunteer Army in May 1919, before changing hands several times. It was finally taken by the Red Army in January 1920.
After the end of the war, the victorious Bolsheviks created the Soviet Union on the territory of the former Russian Empire, and began restoring the city. The city grew rapidly during the interwar period. On 5 November 1935, the city was renamed Voroshilovgrad (Russian: Ворошиловград, romanized: Voroshilovgrad; Ukrainian: Ворошиловград, romanized: Voroshylovhrad) in honour of Soviet military commander and politician Kliment Voroshilov. In 1938, Voroshilovgrad Oblast was established, with the city as its center.
The economic recovery and development of the city was also accompanied by significant demographic change. The population grew from 72,000 to 212,000 between 1926 and 1939, and there was an influx of Ukrainians from the countryside into the city. The proportion of Ukrainians grew from 19.1% to 58.7% between 1897 and 1939, many of whom were refugees fleeing the Holodomor, a manmade famine across Soviet Ukraine. The Russian proportion of the population shrank to 34.5%.
Voroshilovgrad became a frontline city in World War II after the failure of Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa to capture major Soviet cities. In March 1942, a grand concert featuring the work of Taras Shevchenko was held in the city to inspire Ukrainians to fight off the invading Nazis. In July 1942, Germany concentrated its forces in the area and forced the Soviets to retreat to the Volga and the North Caucasus. On 14 July 1942, German troops captured Voroshilovgrad. Locals waged partisan warfare against the occupation. The city was eventually liberated by the Red Army on 14 February 1943.
In the postwar period, the city was rebuilt. The population recovered and grew, again alongside demographic change. More Russians were brought in to rebuild and help with industrialization, again reducing the share of Ukrainians to a minority of 48.3% by 1959 and raising the share of Russians to 47.1%. On 5 March 1958, after Khrushchev's call to not name cities after living people, the old name of Luhansk was reinstated. Kliment Voroshilov himself opposed the restoration of the old name in 1958. On January 1970, after the death of Kliment Voroshilov on 2 December 1969, the city's name was changed again to Voroshilovgrad.
Demographic shifts continued during the late Soviet period; by 1989, Ukrainians made up 41.8% of the population and Russians had a majority of 52.4%. On 4 May 1990, a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR gave the city back its original name.
Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1994, a consultative referendum took place in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast, with around 90% supporting the Russian language gaining status of an official language alongside Ukrainian, and for the Russian language to be an official language on a regional level.
The previous demographic trends reversed in independent Ukraine; by 2001, Ukrainians - who increasingly spoke Russian - were 50% of the population and Russians made up 47%. The population as a whole began to decline as the economy stagnated, dropping from 505,000 in 1992 to 424,000 in 2014.
In April 2014, Russia-backed separatists seized governmental buildings in the region, proclaiming the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), with its capital in Luhansk. An independence referendum, unconstitutional under Ukrainian law, was held on 11 May 2014. This referendum was not recognized as legitimate by any government. These events escalated into the War in Donbas.
In August 2014, Ukrainian government forces completely surrounded rebel-held Luhansk. Heavy shelling caused civilian casualties in the city. On 17 August, Ukrainian soldiers entered the rebel-controlled Luhansk and for a time had control over a police station. A statement released on 22 August by Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius said that the Lithuanian honorary consul in Luhansk, Mykola Zelenec, was abducted by the pro-Russian separatists and murdered. Linkevičius defined the abductors as 'terrorists'.
After the Ilovaisk counteroffensive, LPR forces regained Lutuhyne and other Luhansk suburbs. Ukrainian forces withdrew from the Luhansk International Airport on 1 September 2014, after heavy fighting. Human Rights Watch reported high civilian casualties in and around the city, recording over 300 civilian deaths caused by explosive weapons between May and September 2014. The temporary administration of Luhansk Oblast was moved to Sievierodonetsk by the government of Ukraine.
On 21 November 2017, armed men in unmarked uniforms took up positions in the center of Luhansk in what appeared to be a power struggle between the head of the republic Igor Plotnitsky and the (sacked by Plotnitsky) LPR appointed interior minister Igor Kornet. Media reports stated that the Donetsk People's Republic, a parallel Russian-backed entity in neighboring Donetsk Oblast, had sent armed troops to Luhansk the following night. Three days later the website of the separatists stated that Plotnitsky had resigned "for health reasons. Multiple war wounds, the effects of blast injuries, took their toll." The website stated that security minister Leonid Pasechnik had been named acting leader "until the next elections."
On September 30, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree declaring the annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhiya Oblasts) to Russia. The annexation was illegal under international law and was condemned by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
This section needs to be updated.(February 2023)
- Artemivskyi Raion
- city of Oleksandrivsk
- urban-type settlement Yuvileine
- Kamiano-Bridskyi Raion
- Zhovtnevyi Raion
- Leninskyi Raion
Some of the more prestigious universities in Ukraine have their home in Luhansk. Luhansk is the location of the main campus of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Luhansk, East Ukrainian Volodymyr Dahl National University and of Luhansk State Medical University.
In the Ukrainian Census of 2001, 49.6% of the inhabitants declared themselves as ethnically Ukrainians and 47% as Russians. 85.3% of the population spoke Russian as their native language, while 13.7% spoke Ukrainian, 0.2% Armenian and 0.1% Belarusian.
The other football team was Dynamo Luhansk.
On 7 September 2006, archaeologists in Ukraine announced that an ancient structure had been discovered near Luhansk, which the press reported as a pyramid antedating those in Egypt by at least 300 years. The stone foundations of the structure were said to resemble Aztec and Mayan pyramids in Mesoamerica. It was later concluded that the site in question was not a pyramid but was still of great interest.
Luhansk has a hot summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa). Luhansk has both the highest and lowest temperature recorded in Ukraine. A record high of 42.0 °C (107.6 °F) was recorded on 12 August 2010, which is the highest temperature to have ever been recorded in Ukraine. A record low of −41.9 °C (−43.4 °F) was recorded on 8 January 1935.
|Climate data for Luhansk|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.8
|Average high °C (°F)||−1.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−4.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−41.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||36.0
|Average rainy days||10||8||11||14||13||14||12||8||11||11||13||10||135|
|Average snowy days||17||16||10||1||0.1||0.03||0||0||0.1||1||7||16||68|
|Average relative humidity (%)||83.2||80.3||75.2||64.0||61.6||63.8||63.7||61.3||67.8||74.9||83.3||84.4||72.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||47.2||73.8||131.1||177.6||274.9||287.4||305.5||291.4||210.6||135.4||59.4||39.0||2,033.3|
|Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (precipitation, humidity, and sun)|
- Vladislav Anisovich (1908–1969) a Russian and Soviet painter and art educator
- Vladimir Bobrov (1915–1970) a Soviet fighter pilot and flying ace
- Nadiya Bychkova (born 1989) a Ukrainian-Slovenian ballroom and Latin American dancer
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- Leonid Pasechnik (born 1970) leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic.
- Igor Plotnitsky (born 1964) former leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic.
- Andriy Portnov (born 1973) a Ukrainian lawyer and politician.
- Aleksandr Ptushko (1900–1973) a Soviet animation and fantasy film director
- Nikolay Shmatko (1943–2020), sculptor, professor and painter
- Tatyana Snezhina (1972–1995) a Russian poet and singer-songwriter.
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- Valeriy Brumel (1942–2003), a Soviet high jumper; silver medallist at the 1960 Summer Olympics and gold medallist at the 1964 Summer Olympics
- Viktor Bryzhin (born 1962) a former sprinter, team gold medallist at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
- Yelyzaveta Bryzhina (born 1989), sprinter, team bronze medallist at the 2012 Summer Olympics
- Sergey Bubka (born 1963), Soviet and Ukrainian pole vaulter, former World Record holder, and gold medallist at the 1988 Summer Olympics
- Vasiliy Bubka (born 1960), Soviet and Ukrainian pole vaulter
- Fedor Emelianenko (born 1976), Russian heavyweight mixed martial arts and judoka
- Vyacheslav Glazkov (born 1984) boxer, bronze medallist at the 2008 Summer Olympics
- Irina Kirichenko (1937–2020) a Soviet sprint cyclist
- Serhiy Malyi (born 1990) footballer with over 150 club caps and 46 for Kazakhstan
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- Oleh Shelayev ( born 1976) footballer with over 400 club caps and 36 for Ukraine
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- Tetyana Tereshchuk-Antipova (born 1969), hurdler, bronze medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics
- Sergei Yuran (born 1969), football player with 276 club caps and 25 for Russia
- Oleksandr Zavarov (born 1961), Soviet and Ukrainian football player and coach with over 450 club caps and 41 for the Soviet Union
Luhansk is twinned with:
- Cardiff, United Kingdom
- Lublin, Poland
- Székesfehérvár, Hungary
- Daqing, China
- Saint-Étienne, France
- Pernik, Bulgaria
During 2014 and 2015, Luhansk has been the scene of intense fighting and most of these buildings are damaged to some extent. Some may be destroyed.
Radianska Street at night
Soviet buildings in the central city
City old hospital
Luhansk Drama Theatre
A consumer electronics and appliance store, heavily damaged as a consequence of the Russo-Ukrainian War.
Monument to the Revolution Heroes
- Luhansk Airlines
- Luhansk Airport
- Merheleva Ridge
- Aviation Technical Museum (Luhansk)
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