Leningrad Oblast

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Subject of the Russian Federation

Leningrad Oblast
Ленинградская область
Flag Coat of arms
Federation Circle Northwest Russia
Area 83.908 km²[1]
Population 1.716,868 population
(as of October 14, 2010)[2]
Population density 20 inhabitants/km²
Administrative Centre Saint Petersburg
Official language Russian
Russians (89.6%)
Ukrainians (2.5%)
Belarusians (1.6%)
(as of 2002)
Governor Alexander Drosdenko
Founded 1. August 1927
Time zone UTC+3
Telephone area codes (+7) 813xx
Postal codes 187000–188999
License plate 47
ISO 3166-2 RU-LEN

Coordinates 59° 51′ N, 31° 18′ O

Leningrad Oblast(Russian Ленинградская область/ Leningradskaya oblast) is an oblast in the northwestern part of Russia. The oblast surrounds Saint Petersburg, and the seat of administration is also located there, but the city itself is a separate administrative unit.

In contrast to the city, the oblast has retained its Soviet-era name following a decision by the Oblast Soviet there.[3]


The oblast includes the St. Petersburg metropolitan area and stretches from the Finnish and Estonian borders across the southern half of Lake Ladoga to Lake Onega. The west-east extension is 450 km, the maximum north-south extension is 320 km. The main rivers are the Neva and the Volchov. There are 1,800 lakes on the territory of Leningrad oblast. Among them, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega are the largest and the second largest freshwater lakes in Europe.

Fortress Schlüsselburg



Monastery in Tikhvin

The economy is diverse; the most important economic sectors include mechanical engineering, wood processing, the chemical industry and energy production. Tourism also plays a role. The city of Saint Petersburg is one of the most visited places in Russia, many tourists are also attracted to the surroundings of the city and thus to the Leningrad Oblast.


In the 17th century the present territory of the Leningrad Oblast belonged to the Swedish Empire

The area around the Gulf of Finland was known as Ingermanland and was inhabited by Finno-Ugric peoples for a long time. With the Wepsen, Woten and Ischoren (Ingrians) small remnants of these peoples still live in the region. In the 8th century AD, the Slavs settled firmly on this territory. The Slavs advanced along the main waterways, the Baltic Sea and Lake Ladoga, and developed the land. The relations of the Eastern Slavs with the less numerous native inhabitants had a peaceful character.

It was at this time that Old Ladoga was founded on the banks of the Volchov River, the oldest settlement in northwestern Russia. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Old Ladoga played an important role in the formation of the Old Russian state as a political and economic centre. A related event is the 862 invitation of the Varangian dynasty of Ryuriks with brothers and retinue to Old Lagoda to end the disputes among the tribes after the death of the last member of the local Slavic tribal princes. This event is considered the founding date of the Russian state (see History of Russia).

The territory of today’s Leningrad Oblast belonged to the lands of the Novgorod Republic from 1136 to 1478. In the 13th and 14th centuries, these lands became a battlefield in the defense against the attacks of the Mastery of Livonia and Sweden. In 1240 the famous Battle of the Neva took place, in which the Russian troops under the command of Prince Alexander Nevsky repulsed the Swedes. In January 1478, the existence of the Novgorod Republic ended. Its lands passed to the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

In the period of turmoil, in the early 17th century, the territory went to Sweden. Russia’s attempt to recapture the forfeited territories by military means in 1656-1658 initially failed. At the beginning of the 18th century during the Great Northern War, the territory was reconquered by Peter I. To secure Russia’s access to the Baltic Sea, Peter I founded the new fortress of St. Petersburg on an island in the Newadelta on May 16, 1703, which then became the capital of the Russian Empire. The historical predecessor of the oblast was the Ingermanland Governorate (later Saint Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad Governorate), formed in 1708. Leningrad Oblast was formed on August 1, 1927, but with a much larger territorial scope than today. Only after 1945 it received essentially its present layout.

After the Winter War (1939-1940) Finland lost some territories to the Soviet Union. As a result, the Leningrad Oblast was enlarged.
Since July 1941 until August 1944, fierce battles of the Second World War took place here. The battle for Leningrad is one of the most important battles. For 900 days and nights the soldiers of the Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts held off the Wehrmacht troops and Finnish troops on the access routes to Leningrad. During the Leningrad blockade, the “Road of Life”, the only line of communication between the besieged city and the hinterland, ran on the territory of the oblast. The war inflicted huge damage on Leningrad oblast. In the occupied districts, industry was almost completely destroyed. 16 towns and a good 4,000 settlements were devastated. In January 1945 the oblast had only 483,000 inhabitants, compared with the 1,258,000 inhabitants before the war.

By 1978, the area of the city of Leningrad was expanded to include the satellite cities of Kolpino, Pushkin, Lomonosov, Kronstadt, Peterhof and adjacent suburbs. These cities are now considered municipal districts of St. Petersburg, and therefore administratively and territorially no longer belong to the oblast.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the oblast was spared many of the problems of the post-Soviet space, such as a decline in population.


In the last Russian censuses in 2002 and 2010, there was a population of 1,669,205 and 1,716,868 residents, respectively. Thus, the population increased by 47,663 people (+2.86%) during these eight years. In 2010, 1,127,551 people lived in cities. This represents 65.67% of the population (in Russia 73%). By January 1, 2014, the population had further increased to 1,763,924 people. The distribution of the different ethnic groups was as follows:

Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, St. Petersburg

Population of the oblast according to ethnic groups
Nationality VZ 1989 Percent VZ 2002 Percent VZ 2010 Percent
Russians 1.502.901 90,88 1.495.295 89,58 1.485.905 86,55
Ukrainian 49.182 2,97 41.842 2,51 31.769 1,85
White Russians 33.704 2,04 26.290 1,58 16.830 0,98
Tatars 7.757 0,47 9.432 0,57 8.693 0,51
Armenian 1.761 0,11 5.518 0,33 7.072 0,41
Uzbeks 1.188 0,07 1.001 0,06 6.717 0,39
Azerbaijan 1.920 0,12 3.855 0,23 4.574 0,27
Finns 11.833 0,72 7.930 0,48 4.366 0,25
Zigane 4.215 0,25 4.573 0,27 3.885 0,23
Wepsen 4.273 0,26 2.019 0,12 1.380 0,08
Karelian 3.371 0,20 2.057 0,12 1.345 0,08
Jews 3.587 0,22 1.734 0,10 1.206 0,07
Ischoren 276 0,02 177 0,01 169 0,01
Inhabitants 1.653.723 100,00 1.669.205 100,00 1.716.868 100,00

Note: the percentages refer to the total number of inhabitants. It includes the group of persons who did not give any information on their ethnicity (39,028 in 2002 and 114,747 in 2010)

The population of the oblast is about 90% Russian. Ukrainians and Belarusians are the only significant ethnic minorities in Leningrad Oblast. However, their numbers – as well as those of Finns, Wepsen, Karelians, and Jews – are declining sharply as a result of assimilation. The indigenous and once dominant Finno-Ugric peoples (Wepsen, Karelians, Finns, Ischoren and Voten) have also been largely assimilated culturally and have almost completely disappeared today. As late as 1800 there were more than 100,000 Wepsen (Central and Southern Wepsen), Ischoren and Woten in what was then Ingermanland. By the 1959 census, their proportion was already only a few percentage points. From the Transcaucasus and Central Asia, on the other hand, numerous people have immigrated since the end of the Soviet Union. Most of them, however, settled in Saint Petersburg itself and not in the oblast.

Administrative division and cities

The oblast is divided into 17 rajons and one urban district (Sosnowy Bor).

In total there are 31 towns and 32 settlements of urban type.

Largest cities
Name Russian Resident
(October 14, 2010)[2]
Gattschina Гатчина 92.937
Vyborg Выборг 79.962
Sosnovy Bor Сосновый Бор 65.788
Vsevolozhsk Всеволожск 59.704
Tikhwin Тихвин 58.459
Kirishi Кириши 52.309

Web links

Commons: Leningrad Oblast– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Administrativno-territorialʹnoe delenie po subʺektam Rossijskoj Federacii na 1 janvarja 2010 goda (Administrative-territorial division by subjects of the Russian Federation as of January 1, 2010).(Download from the website of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation)
  2. a b Itogi Vserossijskoj perepisi naselenija 2010 goda. Tom 1. Čislennostʹ i razmeščenie naselenija (Results of the All-Russian Census 2010. Volume 1. Number and distribution of the population). Tables 5, pp. 12-209; 11, pp. 312-979 (downloaded from the website of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation)
  3. Sovet, roshdjonny “wetrom peremen”(memento of 21 January 2012 in the Internet Archive) at газетавести.рф (retrieved 5 February 2013)