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Location of Korsakov





Location of Korsakov




Korsakov (Sakhalin Oblast)

Coordinates: 46°38′N 142°46′E / 46.633°N 142.767°ECoordinates: 46°38′N 142°46′E / 46.633°N 142.767°E
Federal subjectSakhalin Oblast[1]
Administrative districtKorsakovsky District[1]
 • Mayor[2]Lada Mudrova[2]
Elevation30 m (100 ft)
 • Total33,526
 • Estimate 


33,203 (−1%)
 • Capital ofKorsakovsky District[1]
 • Urban okrugKorsakovsky Urban Okrug[5]
 • Capital ofKorsakovsky Urban Okrug[5]
Time zoneUTC+11 (MSK+8 Edit[6])
Postal code(s)[7]


Dialing code(s)+7 42435[8]
OKTMO ID64716000001

Korsakov is a town and the administrative center of Korsakovsky District of Sakhalin Oblast, Russia, located 42 kilometers (26 mi) south from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, at the southern end of Sakhalin Island, on the coast of the Salmon Cove in the Aniva Bay. Population: 33,526 (2010 Census);[3] 36,652 (2002 Census);[9] 45,096 (1989 Census).[10].


Little is known of the early history of Korsakov. The site was once home to an Ainu fishing village called Kushunkotan (in Russian sources, Tamari-Aniva), which was frequented by traders of the Matsumae clan from as early as 1790.[11][12] On September 22, 1853, a Russian expedition, commanded by Gennady Nevelskoy, raised the Russian flag at the settlement and renamed it Fort Muravyovsky, after Governor-General of Eastern Siberia Nikolay Muravyov.[13][14][15] Nevelskoy left detailed recollections of the landing. He encountered a predominantly Ainu population (at least 600 people;[16] another source mentions only 300 Ainu inhabitants[13]) as well as Japanese nationals who, judging by Nevelskoys account, exercised authority over the native inhabitants. At the time of Nevelskoys arrival, the village featured several standing structures—Nevelskoy calls them sheds—and even a Japanese religious temple. The villagers supposedly welcomed the Russians after they learned about their mission (protecting them from foreign incursion). Of course, the veracity of this account is in doubt, both because Nevelskoy had ulterior motives for claiming that he was welcomed by the inhabitants, and also because it is not clear to what extent the Russians were able to make themselves understood.[17] The Russians abandoned the settlement on May 30, 1854, allegedly because their presence there, at the time of the Crimean War, raised the specter of Anglo-French attack, but returned in August 1869, now renaming the town Fort Korsakovsky, in honor of then-Governor General of Eastern Siberia Mikhail Korsakov.[15] Lingering territorial conflict between Japan and Russia has polarized scholarly opinion of Korsakovs early history, as each side tries to claim priority of early settlement to back up their respective territorial claims in the broader region. In 1875, the whole Sakhalin including the village was ceded to Russia, under the Treaty of Saint Petersburg.

While under Russian administration Fort Korsakovsky was an important administrative center in Sakhalins penal servitude system and a final destination for hundreds of prisoners from European Russia, sentenced to forced labor for particularly serious crimes. Such prisoners and their families comprised early settlers of Fort Korsakovsky until its hand-over to the Japanese. Prominent Russian writers, including A.P. Chekhov and V.M. Doroshevich, visited Korsakovsky and left keen observations of its unsavory trade.

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, a naval engagement, the Battle of Korsakov, took place off the town in August 1904. In 1905, Japan conquered Sakhalin in the late stages of the war, and southern Sakhalina, including Korsakovsky, was handed over to Japan in 1905 after Russias defeat in the war. The Russians burned the wooden town before the hand-over. Upon the ashes of Fort Korsakovsky the Japanese built a stone-clad modern city with paved streets and electricity, renaming it Ōtomari (大泊), a translation of the Ainu words Poro-an-tomari (big harbor). The town was temporarily the capital of Karafuto Prefecture between 1905 and 1907. While in Japanese hands the town grew substantially. A penal colony under Russias administration, Ōtomari maintained the practice of forced labor: the Japanese brought thousands of ethnic Koreans to Ōtomari as workers. Korsakovs present-day Korean population is descended mainly from those labor conscripts.

In the closing stages of World War II, the Soviet Union conquered Karafuto Prefecture, and Old Ōtomari was burned down substantially upon the entry of Soviet troops. After the war, Japan ceded Karafuto, including, Ōtomari, to the Soviet Union. The Japanese population was mostly repatriated by 1947, though a few remained, along with a sizable Korean population. The old bank, a Japanese bank building (originally, the Ōtomari Branch of Hokkaido Takushoku Bank) remains standing, though efforts to convert it into a museum came to nothing for lack of funds. Other Japanese sites and memorials were all destroyed, including a Shinto shrine and a monument to Prince Hirohito, who had visited Ōtomari on an inspection tour. An interesting sample of Japanese monuments can now be seen near Prigorodnoye, which was known as Merei before 1945. During the Cold War Korsakov was also the site of two Naval airfields.

Administrative and municipal status[edit]

Within the framework of administrative divisions, Korsakov serves as the administrative center of Korsakovsky District and is subordinated to it.[1] As a municipal division, the town of Korsakov and seventeen rural localities of Korsakovsky District are incorporated as Korsakovsky Urban Okrug.[5]


According to a November 1, 1945 Soviet report, the town had:

  • two refrigerators for fish processing
  • a paper factory
  • a factory to extract salt from sea water (production capacity 20 thousand tons per year)
  • a sulphur-alcohol plant
  • 7 sake production facilities
  • 2 timber plants

Up until the 1990s, Korsakov was a major base for the Russian Far Eastern fishing fleet. It was the home of the Base for Ocean Shipping—Baza Okeanicheskogo Rybolovstva (BOR)—which, however, went bankrupt during the post-Soviet recession, perhaps for no better reason than downright looting of state property. The thousands of fishermen employed by the BOR continued their work for private fishing companies, which usually operated small fishing boats not far off the coast, often without licenses. The catch (primarily crab) was sold in Japan for hard currency, mainly in Wakkanai. Fishermen purchased Japanese electronics and used cars. This semi-illicit, semi-barter economy had a certain positive economic effect on Korsakov, though it inevitably contributed to organized crime.

Among other large economic units in Korsakov was a factory, which produced cardboard boxes—Fabrika Gofrirovannoy Tary. The factory operated on run-down equipment, probably left over from the Japanese times, and was visible to anyone in Korsakov, as it featured a tall chimney. Gennady Zlivko, formerly a mayor of the town, was once a director of this factory. It has long since gone bankrupt, and its tall chimney, no longer emitting black smoke, is the only thing that reminds one of the earlier years of Korsakovs economy.

Korsakov is also the closest town to the huge LNG plant, constructed within the framework of the Sakhalin-2 project.


Korsakovs population historical trends
1897 1,700
1959 32,900
1967 34,000
1970 38,200
1979 42,300
1989 45,100
1992 45,300
1996 40,300
1998 38,300
2000 37,000
2001 36,500
2003 36,700
2005 35,900
2006 35,500
2007 35,100
2008 35,000
Note: 1897 excludes the district.[18]

Curiously, at the early stage of settlement (late 1890s), men in Korsakovsky outnumbered women almost by a factor of ten. In 1897, for example, 1510 males and 192 females lived in the town. This imbalance is explained by the fact that the majority of Korsakovs inhabitants were prisoners and prison-keepers—in both categories males predominated. The district of Korsakovsky (in 1897 covering 66762 square verst) was home to 4659 males and 2194 females—a much better proportion (fort excluding).[19]

The towns population stood at its highest (just over 45 thousand) in the late 1980s, whereupon it experienced significant decline as inhabitants fled economic downturn by moving to neighboring Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk or to continental Russia. Evidently, Korsakovs population remains in decline, although no longer as sharp as in the 1990s.[20]

The demographic make-up is primarily ethnic Russian with a large ethnic Korean minority.


Korsakov is the 2016 bandy champions of Sakhalin.[21]


Amenities include a fairly run-down and expensive hotel (Alfa) next to the former park. The beach is easily accessible by car (Okhotsk, about 1 hour and Prigorodnoye, about 30 minutes). Formerly well kept beach at Vtoraya Pad has now deteriorated into a messy junkyard.

Winter sights include skating at the city stadium and excellent cross-country skiing past the former sea weed plant (Na Agarike). No facilities exist for downhill skiing.

The town features a museum with an exhibit describing the local frontier history, and the Japanese possession of the city (1905–1945). Local market on the Sovetskaya Street offers great strawberries in the summer, and nicely prepared Korean delicacies (kimchi and the local hit, the paporotnik, all year around).


Foreign tourists from certain countries or transiting via cruise ship or air are now able to visit the town without a visa for 72 hours.[22][23]


The town has its executive (the mayors office or municipal administration, and its legislature (Duma). In practice, the Duma exercises fairly limited influence over the executive.

List of mayors:

  • Lada Mudrova (since 2008)
  • Gennady Zlivko (2004–2008): removed by court decision
  • Alexander Svoyakov (acting): lost election to Gennady Zlivko
  • Valery Osadchy (1993–2004): resigned
  • Yury Savenko (1991–1993): resigned


Korsakov is located about 30 kilometers (19 mi) from the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport. Regular bus and minibus services connect Korsakov with the capital city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, though not with the airport. A passenger ferry service between Korsakov and Wakkanai, Hokkaidō, Japan, across the Aniva Gulf, was re-established in 2016 and is in operation between June and September of each year. The passenger ferry service is operated by the Commonwealth of Dominica flagged vessel Penguin 33, which is High-speed craft owned by Penguin International Limited, a Singaporean-owned publicly listed company.[24][25]

The Japan National Rail passenger ferry service previously operated a service from Wakkanai, called Chihaku-Renrakusen (Chihaku Ferry Service) from 1923–1945, which was linked to Japans national rail network and to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (then called Toyohara). The old narrow-gauge Japanese railroad still runs along the scenic coastline, with sporadic rail service.

There are several bus lines servicing the urban area and a number of villages in the proximity.

The city has a large seaport.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Korsakov is twinned with:



  1. ^ a b c d e Law #25-ZO
  2. ^ a b Presentation of project: Perinatal medicine: positive maternity Date: June 1, 2011 Access Date: February 4, 2014
  3. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  4. ^ 26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года. Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Law #524
  6. ^ Об исчислении времени. Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  7. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  8. ^ Телефонные коды Сахалина - Dialing codes of Sakhalin Archived December 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  9. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  10. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  11. ^ The Conquest of Ainu Lands, Brett L. Walker, ISBN 0-520-24834-1, ISBN 978-0-520-24834-2
  12. ^ Coast of Kushunkotan Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, 1873 map.
  13. ^ a b The Occupation of Southern Saghalin by the Russians in 1853–54, Akizuki Toshiyuki, Hokkaidō University.
  14. ^ 久春古丹に於ける露人の堡塞 Archived June 27, 2005, at the Wayback Machine (The garrison of Russians at Kushunkotan), Jirosuke Yoda, 1854.
  15. ^ a b Archived copy. Archived from the original on March 12, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Gennady Nevelskoy, Podvigi Russkikh Morskikh Ofitserov Na Kraynem Vostoke (1878), p. 252, footnote.
  17. ^ Gennady Nevelskoy, Podvigi Russkikh Morskikh Ofitserov Na Kraynem Vostoke (1878), pp. 249–255). Also available in electronic format: http://orel3.rsl.ru/meeting_on_fr/12/[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/rus_gub_97.php?reg=77. This excludes the district.
  19. ^ http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/rus_gub_97.php?reg=77
  20. ^ http://www.mojgorod.ru/sahalin_obl/korsakov/index.html
  21. ^ https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=sv&sl=ru&u=https://www.sakhalin.info/news/111515/&prev=search
  22. ^ Visas and customs in Russia
  23. ^ Visa-Free Entry for Cruise Passengers
  24. ^ 稚内市. Sakhalin regular line / Wakkanai-shi. www.city.wakkanai.hokkaido.jp.e.dh.hp.transer.com. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  25. ^ HSL 北海道サハリン航路株式会社. hs-line.com (in Japanese). Retrieved June 15, 2017.


  • Сахалинская областная Дума. Закон №25-ЗО от 23 марта 2011 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Сахалинской области», в ред. Закона №62-ЗО от 27 июня 2013 г. «О внесении изменения в статью 10 Закона Сахалинской области Об административно-территориальном устройстве Сахалинской области». Вступил в силу 9 апреля 2011 г.. Опубликован: Губернские ведомости, №55(3742), 29 марта 2011 г. (Sakhalin Oblast Duma. Law #25-ZO of March 23, 2011 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Sakhalin Oblast, as amended by the Law #62-ZO of June 27, 2013 On Amending Article 10 of the Law of Sakhalin Oblast On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Sakhalin Oblast. Effective as of April 9, 2011.).
  • Сахалинская областная Дума. Закон №524 от 21 июля 2004 г. «О границах и статусе муниципальных образований в Сахалинской области», в ред. Закона №45-ЗО от 27 мая 2013 г. «О внесении изменения в Закон Сахалинской области О границах и статусе муниципальных образований в Сахалинской области». Вступил в силу 1 января 2005 г. Опубликован: Губернские ведомости, №175–176(2111–2112), 31 июля 2004 г. (Sakhalin Oblast Duma. Law #524 of July 21, 2004 On the Borders and Status of the Municipal Formations in Sakhalin Oblast, as amended by the Law #45-ZO of May 27, 2013 On Amending the Law of Sakhalin Oblast On the Borders and Status of the Municipal Formations in Sakhalin Oblast. Effective as of January 1, 2005.).

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