Kholmsk is a town in Sakhalin Oblast
Sakhalin Oblast
Sakhalin Oblast is a federal subject of Russia comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.The oblast has an area of 87,100 km² and a population of 546,695...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, the administrative center of Kholmsky District
Kholmsky District, Sakhalin Oblast
Kholmsky District, Sakhalin Oblast is an administrative district , one of the 17 in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia....

. Population: 35,141 (2002 Census
Russian Census (2002)
Russian Census of 2002 was the first census of the Russian Federation carried out on October 9 through October 16, 2002. It was carried out by the Russian Federal Service of State Statistics .-Resident population:...



The town was founded in 1870 as a military post. After the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 of 1904-05, the town was transferred to Japanese control, along with the rest of southern Sakhalin, under the Treaty of Portsmouth
Treaty of Portsmouth
The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. It was signed on September 5, 1905 after negotiations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine in the USA.-Negotiations:...

. The Japanese renamed the town Maoka (真岡), translating roughly as True Hill.

The Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 retook the whole of Sakhalin at the end of the Second World War, with the town receiving its present name Kholmsk in 1946. The name is derived from the Russian word Kholm for hill, referring to the town's location on the hillside surrounding the harbour.
On August 20, 1945, a combined marine battalion and the 113th infantry brigade landed in Port Maoka. They were preceded by a group of scouts, landed secretively by submarine Sh-118, in the Maoka area to successfully complete their task. However, Japanese resistance was desperate, and the landing party had to fight particularly fiercely and valiantly. Enemy fire set one of the coastguards on fire, to which the Russian response was intense naval bombardment of the city, causing more civilian deaths. It is known as Maoka Massacre.

As with a number of cities in the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

, Kholmsk has seen a large drop in population since the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 and the economic crisis which followed in the 1990s, with a 1989 population of over 50,000 now reduced to an estimated population of just over 31,000 in 2010.

Economy and infrastructure

Kholmsk is an important sea port for the island of Sakhalin. Since 1973, it has been the Sakhalin terminal of a SASCO
Sakhalin Shipping Company
Sakhalin Shipping Company is a Russian shipping company. Headquartered in Kholmsk, on Sakhalin Island's west coast, the company was created in 1945, and privatized in 1992....

 train ferry
Train ferry
A train ferry is a ship designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as...

 to the port of Vanino
Vanino is the name of several inhabited localities in Russia.Urban localities*Vanino, Khabarovsk Krai, a work settlement in Vaninsky District of Khabarovsk KraiRural localities*Vanino, Kirov Oblast, a village in Afanasyevsky District of Kirov Oblast...

 on the Russian mainland, connecting the mainline rail network with that of the island.
Since Sakhalin railways use the Japanese gauge of , the railcars coming from the Russian mainland have their bogies changed
Bogie exchange
Bogie exchange is a system for operating railway wagons on two or more gauges to overcome difference in the track gauge. To perform a bogie exchange, a car is converted from one gauge to another by removing the chassis containing the wheels and axles of the car, and installing a new chassis with...

 in Kholmsk.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Kholmsk is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Ansan
Ansan is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. It lies south of Seoul, and is part of the Seoul National Capital Area. It is connected to Seoul by rail via Seoul Subway Line 4....

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. Kushiro City, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. (since 1975)
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