Old Russian: "Rule the East", seaport and administrative centre of Primorsky kray (region), extreme southeastern Russia. The town was founded in 1860 as a Russian military outpost. During World War I Vladivostok was the chief Pacific entry port for military supplies and railway equipment sent to Russia from the United States. After the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Vladivostok was occupied in 1918 by foreign, mostly Japanese, troops, the last of whom were not withdrawn until 1922. The antirevolutionary forces in Vladivostok promptly collapsed, and Soviet power was established in the region.
During the Soviet period Vladivostok remained the home of the Pacific Fleet, which was greatly enlarged in the decades after World War II. Vladivostok’s military importance was such that from 1958 to 1990 it was entirely closed to foreigners.
Vladivostok is the chief educational and cultural centre of the Russian Far East. It is the site of the Far Eastern Scientific Centre, the Far Eastern State University (founded 1920), and medical, art education, polytechnic, trade, and marine-engineering institutes. The city has amateur and professional theatres as well as a philharmonic society and symphony orchestra. There are also museums of local history and of the history of the Pacific Fleet. The population is about 648,000.
The city is surrounded by the Far East Maritime Reserve and the Ussuri Nature Reserve, home to black and brown bears, Siberian boars, Ussuri tigers, the rare Amur leopard and hundreds of local and migratory birds.