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Vladivostok
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Vladivostok

Vladivostok (Владивосто́к) is a city of Russia. It is the home port of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai. The city's name means "controlling the East" in the Russian language. In the Chinese language, the city is also known as 海参崴 (pinyin: Hǎishēnwēi).

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Climate
4 Demographics
5 Economy
6 Transportation
7 Education
8 Media
9 Pollution
10 Miscellaneous

History

Vladivostok was founded on July 2, 1860 by Russia, after the Chinese Qing Dynasty lost the Second Opium War.

According to the treaty signed between Russia and China after the war, all lands north of the Amur River and east of the Ussuri River, including Vladivostok, was to be ceded to Russia, in order for the Russians to get an instant access to the Sea of Japan. The treaty formed the present border between Manchuria, Russian Far East and North Korea.

Long before Russian conquest, the city was inhabited by approximately 2,000 Chinese and Manchus. They survived mostly on fishing, especially sea cucumbers (as the Chinese name of the city 海参崴, meaning "holothurian harbor", can tell). Governmental posthouses were founded there during the Yuan Dynasty of China (1127 - 1368), serving the vast part of the dynasty west of, and including, Sakhalin, which was a part of the dynasty at that time.

Geography

Vladivostok is in the Russian Far East, on the coast of the Sea of Japan and near both the Chinese border and the Japanese island of Honshu.

It is located in the Southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky peninsula, which is about 30 km (19 miles) long and approximately 12 km (7 miles) wide.

Total city area: 600 sq. km (231 sq. miles).
Geographical coordinates: 131°54' E, 43°7' N.
Time zone: +10 GMT, +7 Moscow.

The highest point is Orlinoye Gnezdo Mountain (Eagle's Nest), the height of which is 214 m (702 feet).

Vladivostok shares the latitude with: Sukhumi (Georgia), Almaty, Nice, New York, and Chicago.

Railroad distance to Moscow is 9,302 km (5,767 miles). Direct distance to Bangkok is 5,600 km (3,472 miles), to San Fransisco - 8,400 km (5,208 miles), to Seoul - 750 km (465 miles), to Tokyo - 1,050 km (651 miles).

Climate

Mean annual temperature: 4.3°C (39.7°F)
Average temperature in January: -13.7°C (7.3°F)
Average temperature in August: 20.2°C (68.4°F).
Average annual precipitation: 722 mm (28.4 inches).

Demographics

The city's current population is approximately 591,800 (census 2002).

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 Japanese and Chinese populations.

Economy

The city's main industries are shipping, commercial fishing, and the naval base. Fishing accounts for almost four-fifth of Vladivostok's commercial production. Other food production totals 11%.

In 1995, Vladivostok's annual foreign trade totalled 725 million USD, including 206 million USD of exported goods, and 519 million USD of imported goods. The main export items were fish, timber products, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and ships. The main import items were food products, medicine, clothes, footwear, automobiles and household technical items, and ships.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many businesses have opened offices in Vladivostok, taking advantage of its location.

Unfortunately, the crime rate and cost of living have also increased, and the city is believed to be a hotbed of organized crime activity and abuse of power by regional and municipal authorities.

Transportation

The Trans-Siberian railway was built to connect Vladivostok, Russia's first Pacific Ocean port, with European Russia. Finished in 1905, the rail line ran from Vladivostok to Moscow. Part of the railroad, known as the Chinese Eastern Line, crossed over into China and passed through Harbin, China. Later, a northern line was built, which was contained within the Russian borders.

Air routes connect Vladivostok with Seattle and Anchorage (USA), Niigata and Toyama (Japan), and Incheon and Busan (South Korea). It is possible to get to Vladivostok from almost any large city of Russia including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Rostov-na-Donu, and Chelyabinsk.

The following kinds of public transportation operate in Vladivostok: trolleybus, bus, tram, train, funicular, ferryboat, and cutter. The main urban traffic lines are City Center - Vtoraya Rechka, City Center - Balyayeva, and City Center - Lugovaya.

Education

The science of Vladivostok is represented by the Presidium and approximately 10 Institutes of the Far Eastern Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Institution which stands separately from the Russian Academy of Sciences is TINRO-center (the Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography).

There are nine higher educational institutions in Vladivostok, and five of them are universities.

Media

Over 40 newspapers and regional additions to Moscow publications are issued in Vladivostok. The largest newspaper of the Primorsky Krai and the whole Russian Far East is Vladivostok with a circulation of 124,000 copies at the beginning of 1996. Its founder, joint-stock company Vladivostok-News, also issues a weekly English-language newspaper Vladivostok News. The subjects of the publications issued in these newspapers vary from information around Vladivostok and Primorye to major international events. Newspaper Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn) gives every detail of economic news. Entertainment materials and cultural news constitute a larger part of Novosti (News) newspaper which is the most popular among Primorye's young people.

As of 1999, there were 7 local TV companies with 7 channels broadcasting. They are the Pacific State TV and radio Broadcasting Company Vladivostok, Vostok-TV, PKTV (Primorsky Commercial Television), RVK (Russian Broadcasting Corporation), Uchebnoye Televideniye (Educational TV), Okean-TV, and New Wave TV.

As of 1999, there were also 7 radio stations, the most popular being 24 hour VBC (612 kHz, 101.9 MHz) and New Wave (738 kHz, 104.2 MHz). New Wave normally broadcasts popular modern British-American music, while the ratio of Russian and foreign songs over VBC is fifty-fifty. Every hour one can hear local news over these radio stations. Radio Vladivostok (1098 kHz) operates from 6:00 till 1:00 a.m. It broadcasts several special programs which are devoted to the music of the 1950s-1980s as well as New Age.

Pollution

Two thirds of Vladivostok's suburbs are so polluted that living in them is classified as a health hazard, according to the local ecological specialists, Ecocenter. Some areas, such as those near the printing works in Pokrovsky Park and the Far Eastern State University campus, are so polluted that they are defined as ecological disaster zones. Only a few areas have permissible levels of contamination. Professor Boris Preobrazhensky, a top ecologist at the Pacific Institute of Geography said that there was nowhere in the area that was really healthy to live.

The Ecocenter report has taken 10 years to compile and is believed to be the most comprehensive of its kind. It was based on analysis of over 30,000 samples of water, snow, soil, air and human tissues taken between 1985 and 1993. Samples showed significant rises over that period in the levels of heavy metals, such as cadmium, zirconium, cobalt, arsenic, and mercury, which severely affect the respiratory and nervous systems.

The pollution has a number of causes, according to Ecocenter geo-chemical expert Sergei Shlikov. Vladivostok has about 80 industrial sites which may not be many compared to Russia's most industrialized areas, but those around the city are particularly environmentally unfriendly, such as shipbuilding and repairing, power stations, printing, fur farming and mining. In addition, Vladivostok has a particularly vulnerable geography which compounds the effect of the pollution. Winds cannot clear pollution from some of the most densely populated areas around the Pervaya and Vtoraya Rechka as they sit in basins which the winds blow over. In addition there is little snow in winter and no leaves or grass to catch the dust to make it settle.

Miscellaneous

Vladivostok is a sister-city of San Diego and Tacoma (USA), Niigata, Akita, and Hakodate (Japan), Busan (South Korea), and Dalian (China).

The city's phone code is +7 4232, or simply 8 22 if you call from inside of Primorsky Krai.