Sakhalin
Overview
 
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.

It is part of Russia
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...

, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of 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...

. Sakhalin, which is about one-quarter the size of Japan, is just off the East coast of Russia, and just north of the top of Japan.

The indigenous peoples of the island are the Sakhalin Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

, Oroks and Nivkhs.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.

It is part of Russia
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...

, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of 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...

. Sakhalin, which is about one-quarter the size of Japan, is just off the East coast of Russia, and just north of the top of Japan.

The indigenous peoples of the island are the Sakhalin Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

, Oroks and Nivkhs. Most Ainu relocated to Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

 when the Japanese were displaced from the island in 1949.

Sakhalin was claimed by both Russia
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...

 and Japan
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...

 in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, which led to bitter disputes between the two countries over control of the island.

The European names derive from misinterpretation of a Manchu
Manchu language
Manchu is a Tungusic endangered language spoken in Northeast China; it used to be the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus...

 name sahaliyan ula angga hada ("peak/craggy rock at the mouth of the Amur River"). Sahaliyan, the word that has been borrowed in the form of "Sakhalin", means "black" in Manchu and is the proper Manchu name of the Amur River (sahaliyan ula, literally "Black River" ; see Sikhote-Alin
Sikhote-Alin
The Sikhote-Alin is a mountain range in Primorsky and Khabarovsk Krais, Russia, extending about 900 km to the northeast of the Russian Pacific seaport of Vladivostok...

). Its Japanese name, , supposedly comes from Ainu
Ainu language
Ainu is one of the Ainu languages, spoken by members of the Ainu ethnic group on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō....

 kamuy kar put ya mosir , which means "Land/Island/Country at the Shore of the God-Made (River) Mouth/Confluence." The name was used by the Japanese during their possession of its southern part (1905–1945).

Early history

Sakhalin was inhabited in the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 Stone Age. Flint implements, like those found in Siberia, have been found at Dui and Kusunai
Kusunai
Kusunai Kusunai Kusunai (or was a Japanese settlement on the island of Sakhalin....

 in great numbers, as well as polished stone hatchets, like European examples, primitive pottery with decorations like those of the Olonets
Olonets
Olonets is a town and the administrative center of Olonetsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, situated on the Olonka River, to the east from Lake Ladoga. Population: -History:...

, and stone weights for nets. Afterwards a population to whom bronze was known left traces in earthen walls and kitchen-midden
Midden
A midden, is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, vermin, shells, sherds, lithics , and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation...

s on the Aniva Bay
Aniva Bay
Aniva Bay is located at the southern end of Sakhalin Island, Russia, north of the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. The largest city on the bay is Korsakov....

.

Among the indigenous people of Sakhalin are the Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

 on the southern half, the Oroks in the central region, and the Nivkhs on the northern part. Chinese chronicled the Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

and Hezhe tribes, who had a way of life based on fishing.

The Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 made some efforts to subjugate the native people of Sakhalin starting in about 1264 CE. According to Yuanshi
Yuanshi
Yuanshi may refer to:*Yuanshi Era, in Han Dynasty*Yuanshi County, in Hebei, China*History of Yuan, official Chinese historical work for the Yuan Dynasty*Yuanshi Tianzun, one of the highest deities of religious Taoism...

, the official history of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, the Mongols militarily subdued the Guwei (骨嵬, Gǔwéi), and by 1308, all inhabitants of Sakhalin had surrendered to the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

. Following their subjugation, Gǔwéi elders made tributary visits to Yuan posts located at Wuleihe, Nanghar, and Boluohe, until the end of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China (1368). In the early Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 (1368–1644), the tributary relationship was re-established. Following the introduction of Chinese political and commercial institutions in the Amur region, by the middle of the 15th century the Sakhalin Ainu were making frequent tributary visits to Chinese-controlled outposts. The Chinese in the Ming Dynasty knew the island as Kuyi or Kuwu , and later (and at present) as Kuye . There is some evidence that the Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 eunuch admiral Yishiha
Yishiha
Yishiha was a eunuch in the service of the Ming Dynasty emperors of China who carried out several expeditions down the Sungari and Amur Rivers, and is credited with the construction of the only two Ming Dynasty Buddhist temples ever built on the territory of today's Russia.- Early life:It is...

 reached Sakhalin in 1413 during one of his expeditions to the lower Amur, and granted Ming titles to a local chieftain. Under the Ming Dynasty, commerce in Northeast Asia and Sakhalin was placed under the "system for subjugated peoples", or ximin tizhi. These suggest that the island was at least nominally included under the administration of the Nurgan Regional Military Commission, which was set up by Yishiha near today's village of Tyr
Tyr, Russia
Tyr is a settlement in Ulchsky District of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia, located on the right bank of the Amur River, near the mouth of the Amgun River, about upstream from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur....

 on the Siberian mainland in 1411, and operated until the mid-1430s. A Ming boundary stone still exists on the island.

European and Japanese exploration

According to Wei Yuan
Wei Yuan
Wei Yuan , born Wei Yuanda , courtesy names Moshen and Hanshi , was a Chinese scholar from Shaoyang, Hunan. He moved to Yangzhou in 1831, where he remained for the rest of his life. Wei obtained the provincial degree in the Imperial examinations and subsequently worked in the secretariat of...

's work Military history of the Qing Dynasty , the Later Jin
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 sent 400 troops to Sakhalin in 1616, after a newfound interest because of northern Japanese contacts with the area, but later withdrew as it was considered there was no threat from the island.

A Japanese settlement in the southern end of Sakhalin of Ootomari was established in 1679 in a colonization attempt. Cartographers of the Matsumae clan
Matsumae clan
The was a Japanese clan which was granted the area around Matsumae, Hokkaidō as a march fief in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and charged with defending it, and by extension all of Japan, from the Ainu 'barbarians' to the north. The clan was originally known as the Kakizaki clan who settled...

 created a map of the island and called it "Kita-Ezo" (Northern Ezo, Ezo
Ezo
is a Japanese name which historically referred to the lands to the north of Japan. It was used in various senses, sometimes meaning the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō, and sometimes meaning lands and waters further north in the Sea of Okhotsk, like Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands...

 being the old name for the islands north of Honshu
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

). The 1689 Nerchinsk Treaty between Russia and China, which defined the Stanovoy Mountains as the border, made no explicit mention of the island. Yet, the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 (1644–1912) did consider the island as part of its territory. Policies of the Qing Dynasty followed a similar pattern to the previous Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, which drew Sakhalin peoples further into the "system for subjugated peoples". Local people were forced to pay tribute at Qing posts, and Qing officials granted some titles to local elders and entrusted them with the task of "keeping the peace". By the mid-18th century, Qing officials had registered 56 surname groups; of these, Qing sources note that six clans and 148 households were those of Ainu and Nivkh who came under the Qing administrative umbrella on Sakhalin. However, as the Chinese governments did not have a military presence on the island, people from Japan attempted to colonise the island.

The first European known to visit Sakhalin was Martin Gerritz de Vries, who mapped Cape Patience and Cape Aniva on the island's east coast in 1643. The Dutch captain, however, was not aware of them being on an island, and 17th century maps usually showed these points—and often Hokkaido, too—as parts of the mainland.

As part of a the nationwide Sino-French cartographic program, the Jesuits Jean-Baptiste Régis
Jean-Baptiste Régis
Jean-Baptiste Régis was a French Jesuit missionary in imperial China.-Biography and works:He was born at Istres in Provence on 11 June 1663, or 29 January 1664; died at Peking on 24 November 1738...

, Pierre Jartoux, and Xavier Ehrenbert Fridelli
Xavier Ehrenbert Fridelli
Xavier Ehrenbert Fridelli was an Austrian Jesuit missionary and cartographer in China.-Life:Born at Linz, Austria, Fridelli entered the Society of Jesus in 1688 and in 1705 arrived in China...

 joined a Chinese team visiting the lower Amur (known to them under its Manchu
Manchu language
Manchu is a Tungusic endangered language spoken in Northeast China; it used to be the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus...

 name, Saghalien Ula, i.e. the "Black River"), in 1709, and learned from the "Ke tcheng" natives of the lower Amur about the existence of the offshore island nearby. The Jesuits learned that the islanders are said to have been good at reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 husbandry. They reported that the mainlanders used a variety of names to refer to the island, but Saghalien anga bata, i.e. "the Island [at] the mouth of the Black River" was the most common one, meanwhile the name "Huye" (presumably, "Kuye", 庫頁) they had heard in Beijing was completely unknown to the locals.

The Jesuits, however, did not have a chance to visit the island personally, and the inadequate information about its geography provided by the Ke tcheng people and the Manchus who had been the island would not allow them to identify it with the land visited by de Vries in 1643. As a result, many 17th century maps showed a rather strangely-shaped Sakhalin, which only included the northern half of the island (with Cape Patience), while Cape Aniva discovered by de Vries and the "Black Cape" (Cape Crillon
Cape Crillon
Cape Crillon is the southernmost point of Sakhalin. The cape was named by Frenchman Jean-François de La Pérouse, who was the first European to discover it. Cape Sōya, in Japan, is located 43km to the south, across La Pérouse Strait....

) were thought to be part of the mainland.

It was not until the expedition of Jean-François de La Pérouse
Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse
Jean François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse was a French Navy officer and explorer whose expedition vanished in Oceania.-Early career:...

 (1787), who charted most of the Strait of Tartary
Strait of Tartary
Strait of Tartary is a strait in the Pacific Ocean dividing the Russian island of Sakhalin from mainland Asia , connecting the Sea of Okhotsk on the north with...

, but was not able to pass through its northern "bottleneck" due to contrary winds, that the island on European maps assumed a form similar to what is familiar to modern readers. A few islanders La Perouse met near what is today called the Strait of Nevelskoy told him that the island is called "Tchoka" (or at least that is how he recorded the name in French), and it was used on some maps thereafter.

The Russian explorer Adam Johann von Krusenstern
Adam Johann von Krusenstern
Adam Johann Ritter von Krusenstern , was an admiral and explorer, who led the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe.- Life :...

 visited Sakhalin in 1805, but regarded it as a peninsula.

Alarmed by the visits of European powers, Japan
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...

 proclaimed its sovereignty over the whole island in 1807. The Japanese say that it was Mamiya Rinzō
Mamiya Rinzō
was a Japanese explorer of the late Edo period.Mamiya was born in 1775 in Tsukuba District, Hitachi Province, in what is now Tsukubamirai, Ibaraki Prefecture. Later in his life he would become an undercover agent for the Tokugawa shogunate...

 who really discovered the Strait of Tartary
Strait of Tartary
Strait of Tartary is a strait in the Pacific Ocean dividing the Russian island of Sakhalin from mainland Asia , connecting the Sea of Okhotsk on the north with...

 in 1809.

Russo-Japanese rivalry

On the basis of it being an extension of Hokkaidō, geographically and culturally, Japan again proclaimed sovereignty over the whole island in 1845, as well as the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

, as there were competing claims from Russia. However, the Russian navigator Gennady Nevelskoy
Gennady Nevelskoy
Gennady Ivanovich Nevelskoy was a Russian navigator.In 1848 Nevelskoy led the expedition in the Russian Far East, exploring the area of the Sakhalin and the outlet of the Amur River. He proved that the Strait of Tartary was not a gulf, but indeed a strait, connected to Amur's estuary by a narrow...

 in 1849 recorded the existence and navigability of this strait and—in defiance of the Qing and Japanese claims; Russian settlers established coal mines, administration facilities, schools, prisons, and churches on the island. Japan
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...

 proclaimed its sovereignty over Sakhalin (which they called Karafuto) yet again in 1865 and the government built a stele
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

 announcing this at the northern extremity of the island.

In 1855, Russia and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimoda
Treaty of Shimoda
The Treaty of Shimoda of 1855, formally Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and Russia , was signed between the Russian Vice-Admiral Euphimy Vasil'evich Putiatin and Toshiakira Kawaji of Japan in the city of Shimoda, Izu Province, Japan, on February 7, 1855...

, 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 China to sign the Treaty of Aigun
Treaty of Aigun
The Treaty of Aigun was a 1858 treaty between the Russian Empire, and the empire of the Qing Dynasty, the sinicized-Manchu rulers of China, that established much of the modern border between the Russian Far East and Manchuria , which is now known as Northeast China...

 (1858) and Convention of Peking
Convention of Peking
The Convention of Peking or the First Convention of Peking is the name used for three different unequal treaties, which were concluded between Qing China and the United Kingdom, France, and Russia.-Background:...

 (1860), under which China lost claim to all territories north of Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 (Amur) and east of Ussuri, including Sakhalin, to Russia. A katorga
Katorga
Katorga was a system of penal servitude of the prison farm type in Tsarist Russia...

(penal colony
Penal colony
A penal colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them from the general populace by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory...

) was established by Russia on Sakhalin 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
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

.

Divided island

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...

, Russia and Japan signed 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:...

 of 1905, which resulted in the southern part of the island below 50th parallel north
50th parallel north
The 50th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 50 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 reverting to Japan; Russia retained the other three-fifths of the area. During the Siberian Intervention
Siberian Intervention
The ', or the Siberian Expedition, of 1918–1922 was the dispatch of troops of the Entente powers to the Russian Maritime Provinces as part of a larger effort by the western powers and Japan to support White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army during the Russian Civil War...

, Japan briefly held the northern part of the island from 1920 to 1925.

South Sakhalin was administrated by Japan as Karafuto Prefecture
Karafuto Prefecture
, commonly called South Sakhalin, was the Japanese administrative division corresponding to Japanese territory on Sakhalin from 1905 to 1945. Through the Treaty of Portsmouth, the portion of Sakhalin south of 50°N became a colony of Japan in 1905...

 , with the capital Toyohara, today's Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
-Demographics:Most residents are ethnic Russians, but there also exists a sizable population of Koreans. Of the 43,000 Sakhalin Koreans, half are estimated to live in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, comprising roughly 12% of the city's population...

, and had a large number of migrants from Japan and Korea.

The northern, Russian, half of the island formed 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...

 with the capital in Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinsky.

Second World War

In August 1945, according to Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 agreements, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 took over the control of Sakhalin. The Soviet attack on South Sakhalin was part of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation and started on 11 August 1945, four days before the Surrender of Japan
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 and after the bombings of Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

 and Nagasaki
Nagasaki
is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Nagasaki was founded by the Portuguese in the second half of the 16th century on the site of a small fishing village, formerly part of Nishisonogi District...

. 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 a factor of three, they were unable to advance due to strong Japanese resistance.

It was not until the 113th Rifle Brigade and the 365th Independent Naval Infantry Rifle Battalion from Sovetskaya Gavan
Sovetskaya Gavan
Sovetskaya Gavan is a town in Khabarovsk Krai, Russia, and a port on the Strait of Tartary which connects the Sea of Okhotsk on the north with the Sea of Japan on the south. Population: 29,100 ; The name of the town is often informally abbreviated to "Sovgavan".-History:The bay on which...

 landed at , a seashore village of western Sakhalin on 16 August, that the Soviets broke the Japanese defence line. Japanese resistance grew weaker after this landing. Actual fighting, mostly skirmishes, continued until 21 August. From 22 August to 23 August, most of the remaining Japanese units announced a truce. The Soviets completed the conquest of Sakhalin on 25 August 1945 by occupying the capital, Toyohara. Japanese sources claim that 20,000 civilians were killed during the invasion.

Out of some 448,000 Japanese residents of South Sakhalin that lived there in 1944, a significant number were evacuated to Japan
Evacuation of Karafuto and Kuriles
The evacuation of Karafuto and the Kuriles refers to the events that took place during the Pacific theater of World War II as the Japanese population left these areas, to August 1945 in the northwest of the main islands of Japan....

 during the last days of the war, but the remaining 300,000 or so stayed behind for several more years. While the predominant majority of Sakhalin Japanese were eventually evacuated to Japan in 1946–1950, tens of thousands of Sakhalin Koreans
Sakhalin Koreans
Sakhalin Koreans are Russian citizens and residents of Korean descent living on Sakhalin Island, who trace their roots to the immigrants from the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces of Korea during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the latter half of the Japanese colonial era...

 (and a number of their Japanese spouses) remained in the Soviet Union.
No final peace treaty has been signed and the status of four neighboring islands remains disputed. Japan renounced its claims of sovereignty over southern Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the Treaty of San Francisco
Treaty of San Francisco
The Treaty of Peace with Japan , between Japan and part of the Allied Powers, was officially signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, California...

 (1951), but claims that four islands currently administered by Russia were not subject to this renunciation. Japan has granted mutual exchange visas for Japanese and Ainu families divided by the change in status. Recently, economic and political cooperation has gradually improved between the two nations despite disagreements.

Recent history

On 1 September 1983, the Korean Air Flight 007, a South Korean civilian airliner, flew over Sakhalin and was shot down just west of Sakhalin Island, near the smaller Moneron Island
Moneron Island
Moneron Island, is a Russian possession located off Sakhalin Island.-Description:Moneron has an area of about and a highest point of . It is approximately long by wide, and is located from Sakhalin's port of Nevelsk and about directly southwest of Sakhalin Island itself at the northeastern...

, by the Soviet Union; the Soviet Union claimed it was a spy plane. All 269 passengers and crew died, including a U.S. Congressman, Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald
Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. was an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the seventh congressional district of Georgia as a Democrat...

.

On 28 May 1995, an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

 occurred, killing 2,000 people in the town of Neftegorsk
Neftegorsk, Sakhalin Oblast
Neftegorsk , called Vostok before 1970, was an oil-producing urban-type settlement in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. It was devastated on May 28, 1995 by an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, killing over 2,000 people...

.

Geography

Sakhalin is separated from the mainland by the narrow and shallow Mamiya Strait or Strait of Tartary, which often freezes in winter in its narrower part, and from Hokkaidō
Hokkaido
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

, (Japan
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...

) by the Soya Strait or Strait of La Pérouse. Sakhalin is the largest island in Russia, being 948 km (589.1 mi) long, and 25 to 170 km (15.5 to 105.6 mi) wide, with an area of 72492 km² (27,989 sq mi).

Its orography
Orography
Orography is the study of the formation and relief of mountains, and can more broadly include hills, and any part of a region's elevated terrain...

 and geological structure are imperfectly known. One theory is that Sakhalin arose from the Sakhalin island arc
Sakhalin island arc
Sakhalin island arc is an ancient volcanic arc dating from the Early Miocene. The arc was a result of the Okhotsk Plate subducting beneath the Eurasian plate in the convergence zone. The arc runs from mainland Asia through Sakhalin Island into central Hokkaido and the collision zone around the...

. Nearly two-thirds of Sakhalin is mountainous. Two parallel ranges of mountains traverse it from north to south, reaching 600–1500 m (2000–5000 ft). The Western Sakhalin Mountains peak in Mount Ichara, 1481 m (4,859 ft), while the Eastern Sakhalin Mountains's highest peak, Mount Lopatin 1609 m (5,279 ft), is also the island's highest mountain. Tym-Poronaiskaya Valley separates the two ranges. Susuanaisky and Tonino-Anivsky ranges traverse the island in the south, while the swampy Northern-Sakhalin plain occupies most of its north.

Crystalline rocks crop out at several capes; Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

s, containing an abundant and specific fauna of gigantic ammonite
Ammonite
Ammonite, as a zoological or paleontological term, refers to any member of the Ammonoidea an extinct subclass within the Molluscan class Cephalopoda which are more closely related to living coleoids Ammonite, as a zoological or paleontological term, refers to any member of the Ammonoidea an extinct...

s, occur at Dui on the west coast, and Tertiary
Tertiary
The Tertiary is a deprecated term for a geologic period 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The Tertiary covered the time span between the superseded Secondary period and the Quaternary...

 conglomerate
Conglomerate (geology)
A conglomerate is a rock consisting of individual clasts within a finer-grained matrix that have become cemented together. Conglomerates are sedimentary rocks consisting of rounded fragments and are thus differentiated from breccias, which consist of angular clasts...

s, sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

s, marl
Marl
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and aragonite. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay...

s and clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

s, folded by subsequent upheavals, in many parts of the island. The clays, which contain layers of good coal and an abundant fossil vegetation, show that during the Miocene period Sakhalin formed part of a continent which comprised north Asia, Alaska and Japan, and enjoyed a comparatively warm climate. The Pliocene
Pliocene
The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 2.588 million years before present. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch...

 deposits contain a mollusc fauna more Arctic than that which exists at the present time, indicating probably that the connection between the Pacific and Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

s was broader than it is now.

Main rivers: the Tym, 400 km (249 mi) long and navigable by rafts and light boats for 80 km (50 mi), flows north and north-east with numerous rapids and shallows, and enters the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

. The Poronai River flows south-south-east to the Gulf of Patience
Gulf of Patience
Gulf of Patience is a large body of water off the southeastern coast of Sakhalin, Russia, between the main body of Sakhalin Island in the west and Cape Patience in the east...

 or Shichiro Bay, on the south-east coast. Three other small streams enter the wide semicircular Gulf of Aniva or Higashifushimi Bay at the southern extremity of the island.

The northernmost point of Sakhalin is Cape of Elisabeth
Cape of Elisabeth
Cape of Elisabeth is a cape on Schmidt Peninsula. It is the northernmost point of Sakhalin.Cape of Elisabeth was named by Adam Johann von Krusenstern in 1805 after Empress Elizaveta which was wife of Alexander I of Russia....

 on Schmidt Peninsula, while Cape Crillon
Cape Crillon
Cape Crillon is the southernmost point of Sakhalin. The cape was named by Frenchman Jean-François de La Pérouse, who was the first European to discover it. Cape Sōya, in Japan, is located 43km to the south, across La Pérouse Strait....

 is the southernmost point of the island.

Sakhalin has one smaller island associated with it, Moneron Island
Moneron Island
Moneron Island, is a Russian possession located off Sakhalin Island.-Description:Moneron has an area of about and a highest point of . It is approximately long by wide, and is located from Sakhalin's port of Nevelsk and about directly southwest of Sakhalin Island itself at the northeastern...

. Moneron, the only land mass in the Tatar strait, 7.2 km (4.5 mi) long and 5.6 km (3.5 mi) wide, is about 24 nautical miles (44.4 km) west from the nearest coast of Sakhalin and 41 nmi (75.9 km) from the port city of Nevelsk.

Demographics

At the beginning of the 20th century, some 32,000 Russians (of whom over 22,000 were convicts) inhabited Sakhalin along with several thousand native inhabitants. The island's population has grown to 546,695 according to the 2002 census, 83% of whom are ethnic Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 and followed by Korean
Korean people
The Korean people are an ethnic group originating in the Korean peninsula and Manchuria. Koreans are one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogeneous groups in the world.-Names:...

s at about 30,000 (5.5%), Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 and Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

, Yakuts
Yakuts
Yakuts , are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha Republic.The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages....

 and Evenks
Evenks
The Evenks are a Tungusic people of Northern Asia. In Russia, the Evenks are recognized as one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, with a population of 35,527...

. The native inhabitants consist of some 2,000 Nivkhs and 750 Oroks. The Nivkhs in the north support themselves by fishing and hunting. In 2008 there were 6,416 births and 7,572 deaths.

The capital Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
-Demographics:Most residents are ethnic Russians, but there also exists a sizable population of Koreans. Of the 43,000 Sakhalin Koreans, half are estimated to live in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, comprising roughly 12% of the city's population...

, a city of about 175,000, has a large Korean minority, typically referred to as Sakhalin Koreans
Sakhalin Koreans
Sakhalin Koreans are Russian citizens and residents of Korean descent living on Sakhalin Island, who trace their roots to the immigrants from the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces of Korea during the late 1930s and early 1940s, the latter half of the Japanese colonial era...

, who were forcibly brought by the Japanese during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to work in the coal mines. Most of the population lives in the southern half of the island, centered mainly around Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and two ports, Kholmsk
Kholmsk
Kholmsk is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Kholmsky District. Population: 35,141 .-History:The town was founded in 1870 as a military post. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, the town was transferred to Japanese control, along with the rest of southern...

 and Korsakov
Korsakov (town)
Korsakov is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. It is the administrative center of Korsakovsky District. Population: 35,079 ; The town is located some south from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, at the southern end of Sakhalin Island, on the coast of the Salmon Cove in the Aniva Bay.-History:Little is known...

 (population about 40,000 each).

The 400,000 Japanese
Japanese diaspora
The Japanese diaspora, and its individual members known as , are Japanese emigrants from Japan and their descendants that reside in a foreign country...

 inhabitants of Sakhalin (including all indigenous Ainu
Ainu people
The , also called Aynu, Aino , and in historical texts Ezo , are indigenous people or groups in Japan and Russia. Historically they spoke the Ainu language and related varieties and lived in Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin...

) were deported following the conquest of the southern portion of the island by the Soviet Union in 1945 at the end of World War II.

Climate

The Sea of Okhotsk ensures Sakhalin has a cold and humid climate, ranging from humid continental
Humid continental climate
A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

 (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Dfb) in the south to subarctic
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

 (Dfc) in the centre and north. The maritime influence makes summers much cooler than in similar-latitude inland cities such as Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

 or Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

, but makes the winters much more snowy whilst remaining severely cold, only a few degrees warmer than in interior East Asian cities at the same latitude. Summers are also unpleasantly foggy with little sunshine and the persistently wet conditions are ideal for mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae . The word Mosquito is from the Spanish and Portuguese for little fly...

es.

Precipitation is heavy, owing to the strong onshore winds in summer and the high frequency of North Pacific storms affecting the island in the autumn. It ranges from around 500 millimetres (19.7 in) on the northwest coast to over 1200 millimetres (47.2 in) in southern mountainous regions. In contrast to interior east Asia with its pronounced summer maximum, onshore winds ensure Sakhalin has year-round precipitation with a peak in the autumn. Snowpacks can reach five metres in mountainous areas of the island.

Flora and fauna

The whole of the island is covered with dense forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s, mostly coniferous. The Yezo (or Yeddo) spruce (Picea jezoensis), the Sakhalin fir
Abies sachalinensis
Abies sachalinensis is a species of conifer in the family Pinaceae. It is found in Sakhalin island and southern Kurils , and also in northern Hokkaido ....

 (Abies sachalinensis) and the Dahurian larch
Dahurian Larch
Dahurian Larch, Larix gmelinii, is a species of larch native to eastern Siberia, and adjacent northeastern Mongolia, northeastern China and North Korea.-Description:...

 (Larix gmelinii) are the chief trees; on the upper parts of the mountains are the Siberian dwarf pine
Siberian Dwarf Pine
Pinus pumila is a native to northeastern Asia, including the islands of Japan. This shrubby pine ranges from 1–3 m in height, exceptionally up to 5 m, but may have individual branches that extend farther along the ground in length...

 (Pinus pumila) and the Kurile bamboo (Sasa kurilensis). Birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

es, both Siberian silver birch (Betula platyphylla
Betula platyphylla
Betula platyphylla, or the Japanese White Birch, is a tree species belonging to the genus Betula. It can be found in temperate or subarctic places of Asia: Japan, China, Korea, and Siberia. The Japanese White Birch can grow to be 20 m to 30 m tall.-References:...

) and Erman's birch (B. ermanii), poplar
Poplar
Populus is a genus of 25–35 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar , aspen, and cottonwood....

, elm
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

, Bird cherry
Bird cherry
The bird cherries are a subgenus of the genus Prunus, characterised by having deciduous leaves, flowers 12-30 together on slender racemes produced in late spring well after leaf emergence, and small, sour fruit usually only palatable to birds, hence the name...

 (Prunus padus), Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata) and several willows are mixed with the conifers; while farther south the maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

, rowan
Rowan
The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or small trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies...

 and oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

, as also the Japanese Panax ricinifolium, the Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense), the Spindle (Euonymus macropterus) and the vine (Vitis thunbergii) make their appearance. The underwoods abound in berry-bearing plants (e.g. cloudberry
Cloudberry
Rubus chamaemorus is a rhizomatous herb native to alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forest, producing amber-colored edible fruit similar to the raspberry or blackberry...

, cranberry
Cranberry
Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In some methods of classification, Oxycoccus is regarded as a genus in its own right...

, crowberry
Crowberry
Crowberry is a small genus of dwarf evergreen shrubs that bear edible fruit. They are commonly found in the northern hemisphere, from temperate to subarctic climates, and also in the Southern Andes of South America and on the South Atlantic islands of South Georgia, the Falklands and Tristan da...

, red whortleberry), Red-berried elder (Sambucus racemosa
Sambucus racemosa
Sambucus racemosa is a species of elderberry known by the common name Red Elderberry. It is native to Europe, temperate Asia, and north and central North America. It grows in riparian environments, woodlands, and other habitat, generally in moist areas. This often treelike shrub grows 2 to 6 meters...

), wild raspberry
Rubus idaeus
Rubus idaeus is a red-fruited species of Rubus native to Europe and northern Asia and commonly cultivated in other temperate regions. A closely related plant in North America, sometimes regarded as the variety Rubus idaeus var...

 and Spiraea
Spiraea
Spiraea , is a genus of about 80-100 species of shrubs in the family Rosaceae, subfamily Spiraeoideae. They are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with the greatest diversity in eastern Asia....

.

Bears, foxes, otter
Otter
The Otters are twelve species of semi-aquatic mammals which feed on fish and shellfish, and also other invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals....

s and sable
Sable
The sable is a species of marten which inhabits forest environments, primarily in Russia from the Ural Mountains throughout Siberia, in northern Mongolia and China and on Hokkaidō in Japan. Its range in the wild originally extended through European Russia to Poland and Scandinavia...

s are numerous, as are reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

 in the north, and musk deer
Musk deer
Musk deer are artiodactyls of the genus Moschus, the only genus of family Moschidae. They are more primitive than the cervids, or true deer, in not having antlers or facial glands, in having only a single pair of teats, and in possessing a gall bladder, a caudal gland, a pair of tusk-like teeth...

, hares, squirrels, rats and mice everywhere. The bird fauna is mostly the common east Siberian, but there are some endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 or near-endemic breeding species, notably the endangered
Conservation status
The conservation status of a group of organisms indicates whether the group is still extant and how likely the group is to become extinct in the near future...

 Nordmann's Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) and the Sakhalin Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus borealoides). The rivers swarm with fish, especially species of salmon
Salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

 (Oncorhynchus). Numerous whales visit the sea coast, including the critically endangered
Critically endangered
Version 2010.3 of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 3744 Critically Endangered species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and subpopulations.Critically Endangered by kingdom:*1993 Animalia*2 Fungi*1745 Plantae*4 Protista-References:...

 Western Pacific Gray Whale
Gray Whale
The gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus, is a baleen whale that migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. It reaches a length of about , a weight of , and lives 50–70 years. The common name of the whale comes from the gray patches and white mottling on its dark skin. Gray whales were...

, for which the coast of Sakhalin is the only known feeding ground. Other endangered whale species known to occur in this area are the North Pacific Right Whale
North Pacific Right Whale
The North Pacific right whale is a very large, robust baleen whale species that is now extremely rare and endangered. The Northeast Pacific subpopulation, that summers in the southeastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, may have no more than 50 animals...

, the Bowhead Whale
Bowhead Whale
The bowhead whale is a baleen whale of the right whale family Balaenidae in suborder Mysticeti. A stocky dark-colored whale without a dorsal fin, it can grow to in length. This thick-bodied species can weigh to , second only to the blue whale, although the bowhead's maximum length is less than...

 and the Beluga Whale.

Transport

Sea

Transport, especially by sea, is an important segment of the economy. Nearly all the cargo arriving for Sakhalin (and the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

) is delivered by cargo boats, or by ferries, in railway wagons, through the SSC
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...

 from the mainland port of Vanino
Vanino, Khabarovsk Krai
Vanino is an urban-type settlement and the administrative center of Vaninsky District of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. It is an important port on the Strait of Tartary , served by the BAM railway line...

 to Kholmsk. The ports of Korsakov
Korsakov (town)
Korsakov is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. It is the administrative center of Korsakovsky District. Population: 35,079 ; The town is located some south from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, at the southern end of Sakhalin Island, on the coast of the Salmon Cove in the Aniva Bay.-History:Little is known...

 and Kholmsk are the largest and handle all kinds of goods, while coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 and timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 shipments often go through other ports. In 1999, a ferry service was opened between the ports of Korsakov and Wakkanai, Japan
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...

.

Sakhalin' main shipping company is Sakhalin Shipping Company
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....

, headquartered in Kholmsk
Kholmsk
Kholmsk is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Kholmsky District. Population: 35,141 .-History:The town was founded in 1870 as a military post. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, the town was transferred to Japanese control, along with the rest of southern...

 on the island's west coast.

Rail

About 30% of all inland transport volume is carried by the island's railways, most of which are organized as the Sakhalin Railway
Sakhalin Railway
The Sakhalin Railway is a subsidiary of the Russian Railways that operates the Japanese-built railways in the south of Sakhalin. Its length was reduced from 1072 km in 1992 to 805 km in 2006. The headquarters are in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The prevalent Cape gauge is a major problem for the Russian...

 (Сахалинская железная дорога), which is one of the 17 territorial divisions of the Russian Railways
Russian Railways
The Russian Railways , is the government owned national rail carrier of the Russian Federation, headquartered in Moscow. The Russian Railways operate over of common carrier routes as well as a few hundred kilometers of industrial routes, making it the second largest network in the world exceeded...

.

The Sakhalin Railway
Sakhalin Railway
The Sakhalin Railway is a subsidiary of the Russian Railways that operates the Japanese-built railways in the south of Sakhalin. Its length was reduced from 1072 km in 1992 to 805 km in 2006. The headquarters are in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The prevalent Cape gauge is a major problem for the Russian...

 network extends from Nogliki
Nogliki
Nogliki is an urban-type settlement and the administrative center of Nogliksky District of Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. Population: 10,854 ; -Geography:...

 in the north to Korsakov
Korsakov (town)
Korsakov is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. It is the administrative center of Korsakovsky District. Population: 35,079 ; The town is located some south from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, at the southern end of Sakhalin Island, on the coast of the Salmon Cove in the Aniva Bay.-History:Little is known...

 in the south. Sakhalin's railway has a connection with the rest of Russia via a ferry operating between Vanino
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...

 and Kholmsk
Kholmsk
Kholmsk is a town in Sakhalin Oblast, Russia, the administrative center of Kholmsky District. Population: 35,141 .-History:The town was founded in 1870 as a military post. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, the town was transferred to Japanese control, along with the rest of southern...

.

As of 2004, the railways are only now being converted from the Japanese gauge to the Russian gauge. The original Japanese D51 steam locomotive
D51 steam locomotive
The is a type of 2-8-2 steam locomotive built by the Japanese Government Railways, the Japanese National Railways and various manufacturers from 1936 to 1951...

s were used by the Soviet Railways until 1979.

Besides the main network run by the Russian Railways, until December 2006 the local oil company (Sakhalinmorneftegaz) operated a corporate narrow-gauge (750 mm) line extending for 228 kilometres (141.7 mi) from Nogliki further north to Okha (Узкоколейная железная дорога Оха — Ноглики). During the last years of its service it gradually deteriorated; the service was terminated in December 2006, and the line was dismantled in 2007–2008.

Air

Sakhalin is connected by regular flights to Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk is the largest city and the administrative center of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. It is located some from the Chinese border. It is the second largest city in the Russian Far East, after Vladivostok. The city became the administrative center of the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia...

, Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

, and other cities of Russia. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport is an airport in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on the Russian island of Sakhalin. The airport was established in 1945 as a military airfield...

 has regularly scheduled international flights to Hakodate, Japan and Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 and Busan
Busan
Busan , formerly spelled Pusan is South Korea's second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of around 3.6 million. The Metropolitan area population is 4,399,515 as of 2010. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world...

, Korea. There are also charter flights to the Japanese cities of Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Niigata
Niigata, Niigata
is the capital and the most populous city of Niigata Prefecture, Japan. It lies on the northwest coast of Honshu, the largest island of Japan, and faces the Sea of Japan and Sado Island....

, and Sapporo and the Chinese cities of Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Dalian
Dalian
Dalian is a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning province, Northeast China. It faces Shandong to the south, the Yellow Sea to the east and the Bohai Sea to the west and south. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, Dalian is the southernmost city of Northeast China and China's...

, and Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

. The island was formerly served by Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is an airline based in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, Washington in the United States. The airline originated in 1932 as McGee Airways. After many mergers with and acquisitions of other airlines, including Star Air Service, it became known as Alaska Airlines in 1944...

 from Anchorage
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

, Petropavlovsk
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the main city and the administrative, industrial, scientific, and cultural center of Kamchatka Krai, Russia. Population: .-History:It was founded by Danish navigator Vitus Bering, in the service of the Russian Navy...

 and Magadan
Magadan
Magadan is a port town on the Sea of Okhotsk and gateway to the Kolyma region. It is the administrative center of Magadan Oblast , in the Russian Far East. Founded in 1929 on the site of an earlier settlement from the 1920s, it was granted the status of town in 1939...

.

The idea of building a fixed link
Bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...

 between Sakhalin and the Russian mainland was first mooted in the 1930s. In the 1940s, an abortive attempt was made to link the island via a 10 km long undersea tunnel
Sakhalin Tunnel
The Sakhalin Tunnel is an incomplete and currently postponed construction project, which after completion would connect the island of Sakhalin with mainland Russia via a tunnel of approximately 10 km under the Nevelskoy Strait...

. The workers supposedly made it almost to the half-way point before the project was abandoned under Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

. In 2000, the Russian government revived the idea, adding a suggestion that a 40 km long bridge could be constructed between Sakhalin and the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, providing Japan with a direct connection to the Euro-Asian railway network. It was claimed that construction work could begin as early as 2001. The idea was received skeptically by the Japanese government and appears to have been shelved, probably permanently, after the cost was estimated at as much as US$50 billion.

In November 2008, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

 announced government support for the construction of the Sakhalin Tunnel
Sakhalin Tunnel
The Sakhalin Tunnel is an incomplete and currently postponed construction project, which after completion would connect the island of Sakhalin with mainland Russia via a tunnel of approximately 10 km under the Nevelskoy Strait...

, along with the required re-gauging of the island's railways to Russian standard gauge, at an estimated cost of 300–330 billion roubles.

Economy

Sakhalin is a classic "primary sector of the economy" relying on oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 and gas
Gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 exports, coal mining, forestry
Forestry
Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

, and fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

. Limited quantities of rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

, wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, oat
Oat
The common oat is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name . While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed...

s, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 and vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s are grown, although the growing season
Growing season
In botany, horticulture, and agriculture the growing season is the period of each year when native plants and ornamental plants grow; and when crops can be grown....

 averages less than 100 days.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic liberalization, Sakhalin has experienced an oil boom with extensive petroleum exploration and mining by most large oil multinational corporations. The oil and natural gas reserves contain an estimated 14 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 barrel
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

s (2.2 km³) of oil and 96 trillion cubic feet (2,700 km³) of gas and are being developed under production-sharing agreement contracts involving international oil companies like ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil
Exxon Mobil Corporation or ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas...

 and Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

.

In 1996, two large consortiums signed contracts to explore for oil and gas off the northeast coast of the island, Sakhalin-I
Sakhalin-I
The Sakhalin-I project, a sister project to Sakhalin-II, is a consortium to locate and produce oil and gas on Sakhalin Island and immediately offshore, in the Okhotsk Sea, from three fields: Chayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi....

 and Sakhalin-II
Sakhalin-II
The Sakhalin-2 project is an oil and gas development in Sakhalin Island, Russia. It includes development of the Piltun-Astokhskoye oil field and the Lunskoye natural gas field offshore Sakhalin Island in the Okhotsk Sea, and associated infrastructure onshore. The project is managed and operated...

. The two consortia were estimated to spend a combined US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

21 billion on the two projects which almost doubled to $37 billion as of September 2006, triggering Russian governmental opposition. This will include an estimated US$1 billion to upgrade the island's infrastructure: roads, bridges, waste management
Waste management
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal,managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics...

 sites, airports, railways, communications systems, and ports. In addition, Sakhalin-III-through-VI are in various early stages of development.

The Sakhalin I project, managed by Exxon Neftegas Limited
Exxon Neftegas Limited
Exxon Neftegas Limited is a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, an American oil and gas corporation. ENL is the operator of Sakhalin-I Consortium which is involved in exploration and production of oil and gas on Sakhalin Island and offshore, in Chayvo, Odoptu and Arkutun-Dagi fields located in the Sea of...

 (ENL), completed a production-sharing agreement (PSA) between the Sakhalin I consortium, the Russian Federation, and the Sakhalin government. Russia is in the process of building a 136 miles (218.9 km) pipeline across the Tatar Strait from Sakhalin Island to De-Kastri terminal
De-Kastri terminal
De-Kastri Oil Terminal is an oil export terminal located in Khabarovsk Krai of Russian Federation and is considered to be one of the biggest oil terminals in the Far East that serves as a hub for crude oil deliveries to Asian markets...

 on the Russian mainland. From De-Kastri it will be loaded onto tankers for transport to East Asian markets, namely Japan, South Korea, and China.

The second consortium, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) is managing the Sakhalin II project. They completed the first ever production-sharing agreement (PSA) with the Russian Federation. Sakhalin Energy will build two 800 km pipelines running from the northeast of the island to Prigorodnoye (Prigorodnoe) in Aniva Bay at the southern end. The consortium will also build, at Prigorodnoye, the first ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to be built in Russia. The oil and gas is also bound for East Asian markets.

Sakhalin II has come under fire from environmental groups, namely Sakhalin Environment Watch, for dumping dredging material in Aniva Bay. The groups were also worried about the offshore pipelines interfering with the migration of whales off the island. The consortium has (as of Jan 2006) re-routed the pipeline to avoid the whale migration. After a doubling in the projected cost, the Russian government threatened to halt the project for environmental reasons. There have been suggestions that the Russian government is using the environmental issues as a pretext for obtaining a greater share of revenues from the project and/or forcing involvement by the state-controlled Gazprom
Gazprom
Open Joint Stock Company Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and the largest Russian company. Its headquarters are in Cheryomushki District, South-Western Administrative Okrug, Moscow...

. The cost overruns (at least partly due to Shell's response to environmental concerns), are reducing the share of profits flowing to the Russian treasury.

In 2000, the oil and gas industry accounted for 57.5% of Sakhalin's industrial output. By 2006, it is expected to account for 80% of the island's industrial output. Sakhalin's economy is growing rapidly thanks to its oil and gas industry. By 2005, the island had become the largest recipient of foreign investment in Russia, followed by Moscow. Unemployment in 2002 was only 2%.

As of 18 April 2007 Gazprom have taken a 50% plus one share interest in Sakhalin II by purchasing 50% of Shell, Mitsui, and Mitsubishi's shares.

International partnership

Gig Harbor
Gig Harbor, Washington
Gig Harbor is the name of both a bay on Puget Sound and a city on its shore in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 7,126 at the 2010 census....

, USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Jeju-do
Jeju-do
Jeju-do is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946...

, 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...

.

See also

  • Korean Air Flight 007
    Korean Air Flight 007
    Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner that was shot down by Soviet interceptors on 1 September 1983, over the Sea of Japan, near Moneron Island just west of Sakhalin island...

    —The 1983 shootdown of KAL 007 over Sakhalin
  • Moneron Island
    Moneron Island
    Moneron Island, is a Russian possession located off Sakhalin Island.-Description:Moneron has an area of about and a highest point of . It is approximately long by wide, and is located from Sakhalin's port of Nevelsk and about directly southwest of Sakhalin Island itself at the northeastern...

  • East Asian snowstorms of 2009-2010
  • East Asian snowstorms of late 2009

Further reading

  • C. H. Hawes, In the Uttermost East (London, 1903). (P. A. K.; J. T. BE.)
  • A Journey to Sakhalin (1895), by Anton Chekhov
    Anton Chekhov
    Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

    , including:
    • Saghalien [or Sakhalin] Island (1891–1895)
    • Across Siberia
  • Sakhalin Unplugged (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 2006) by Ajay Kamalakaran

External links

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