Vladivostok (Russian: Владивосто́к; IPA: [vlədʲɪvɐˈstok] ( listen)) is a city and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai, Russia, situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia’s borders with China and North Korea. The population of the city, according to the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, is 592,069, down from 594,701 recorded in the 2002 Census.
The city is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet and the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean.
In 2012, Vladivostok hosted the 24th Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. In preparation for the event, the infrastructure of the city was renovated and improved. Two giant cable-stayed bridges were constructed in Vladivostok, namely the Zolotoy Rog bridge over the Golden Horn Bay in the center of the city, and the Russky Island Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island, where the summit is taking place. The latter bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world.
The aboriginals of the territory on which modern Vladivostok is located are the Udege minority, and a sub-minority called the Taz which emerged through members of the indigenous Udege mixing with the nearby Chinese and Nanai. The region had been part of many states, such as the Mohe, Balhae, Goguryeo, Jīn Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, and various other Korean and Chinese dynasties, before Russia acquired the entire Maritime Province and the island of Sakhalin by the Treaty of Beijing (1860). Qing China, which had just lost the Opium War with Britain, was unable to defend the region. The Pacific coast near Vladivostok was settled mainly by the Chinese and Manchus during the Qing Dynasty period. A French whaler visiting the Golden Horn Bay in 1852 discovered Chinese or Manchu village fishermen on its shore. The Manchus banned Han Chinese from most of Manchuria including the Vladivostok area—it was only visited by illegal gatherers of ginseng and sea cucumbers.
On June 20 (July 2 Gregorian style), 1860 the military supply ship Manchur, under the command of Captain-Lieutenant Alexey K. Shefner, called at the Golden Horn Bay to found an outpost called Vladivostok. Warrant officer Nikolay Komarov with 28 soldiers and two non-commissioned officers under his command were brought from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur by ship to construct the first buildings of the future city.
The Manza War in 1868 was the first attempt by Russia to expel Chinese from territory it controlled. Hostilities broke out around Vladivostok when the Russians tried to shut off gold mining operations and expel Chinese workers there. The Chinese resisted a Russian attempt to take Ashold Island and in response, two Russian military stations and three Russian towns were attacked by the Chinese, and the Russians failed to oust the Chinese.
An elaborate system of fortifications was erected between the 1870s and 1890s. A telegraph line from Vladivostok to Shanghai and Nagasaki was opened in 1871, the year when a commercial port was relocated here from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. Town status was granted on April 22, 1880. A coat of arms, representing the Siberian tiger, was adopted in March 1883.
The first high school was opened in 1899. The city’s economy was given a boost in 1903, with the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which connected Vladivostok to Moscow and Europe. In the wake of the October Revolution, Vladivostok was of great military importance for the Far Eastern Republic, the Provisional Priamurye Government, and the Allied intervention, consisting of foreign troops from Japan, the United States, Canada, Czechoslovakia, and other nations. 1,600 Chinese troops also intervened in response to a request by the Chinese community in the area for aid. The taking of the city by Ieronim Uborevich’s Red Army on October 25, 1922 marked the end of the Russian Civil War.
As the main naval base of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, the city was officially closed to foreigners during the Soviet years. It was at Vladivostok that Leonid Brezhnev and Gerald Ford conducted the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks in 1974. At the time, the two countries decided quantitative limits on various nuclear weapons systems and banned the construction of new land-based ICBM launchers.
In 2012, Vladivostok hosted the 24th APEC summit. Leaders from the APEC member countries met at Russky Island, off the coast of Vladivostok. With the summit on Russky Island, the government and private businesses inaugurated resorts, dinner and entertainment facilities, in addition to the renovation and upgrading of Vladivostok International Airport. Two giant cable-stayed bridges were built in preparation for the summit, namely the Zolotoy Rog bridge over the Zolotoy Rog Bay in the center of the city, and the Russky Island Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island (it is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world right now). The new campus of Far Eastern Federal University will be completed on Russky Island by 2012.