Vladivostok is Russia's largest port city on the Pacific Ocean and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai. It is situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay not far from the Russo-Chinese border and North Korea. It is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
The name Vladivostok loosely translates from Russian as "rule the East" a name based on that of Vladikavkaz, at that time a Russian fortress in the Caucasus.
History of Vladivostok
Before Russia acquired the Maritime Province by the Treaty of Aigun (1858), the Pacific coast near Vladivostok had been settled by the Jurchen and Manchu. A French whaler visiting the Zolotoy Rog in 1852 discovered several huts of Chinese or Manchu fishermen on the shore of the bay.
The naval outpost was founded in 1859 by Count Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, who named it after the model of Vladikavkaz, a Russian fortress in the Caucasus. The first child was born in Vladivostok in 1863. An elaborate system of fortifications was erected between the 1870s and 1890s. A telegraph line from Vladivostok to Shanghai and Nagasaki was opened in 1871, the year when a commercial port was relocated to this town from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. The municipal coat of arms, representing the Siberian tiger, was adopted in March 1883.
The city's economy was given a boost in 1903, with the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway which connected Vladivostok to Moscow and Europe. The first high school was opened in 1899. In the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladivostok was of great military importance for the Far Eastern Republic, the Provisional Priamurye Government, and the Japanese interventionists. The taking of the city by Ieronim Uborevich's Red Army on 25 October 1922 marked the end of the Russian Civil War. As the main naval base of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, the city was closed to foreigners during the Soviet years. Nevertheless, it was at Vladivostok that Leonid Brezhnev and Gerald Ford conducted the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in 1974.
The city's population was 594,701 as of the 2002 Census; down from 633,838 recorded in the 1989 Census). Ethnic Russians and Ukrainians make up the majority of the population. From 1958 to 1991, only Soviet citizens were allowed to live in or even visit Vladivostok (and even Soviet citizens had to obtain official permission in order to enter the city). Before this closure, the city had large Korean and Chinese populations. Some Koreans who were deported during Stalin's rule from the Russian Far East have since returned, particularly to Vladivostok. In recent times, North Korean refugees have also begun settling in the city. Recently many Chinese illegal immigrants have moved to this city. They tend to work in the retail trading, catering and farming industries. This is considered such a serious social and economic problem to some that the government is actively legislating against them. Vladivostok has one of the largest Armenian communities in eastern Russia.
There are a number of Armenian bakeries and restaurants in the city. There are also sizable communities of Chechens, Azeris and Tajiks in the city. According to the latest statistics, there are currently about 100,000 Muslims living in the Russian Far East. The city's main industries are shipping, commercial fishing, and the naval base. Fishing accounts for almost four-fifths of Vladivostok's commercial production. Other food production totals 11%.