Donetsk Oblast (Донецька область, Donets’ka oblast’; also referred to as Donechchyna — Донеччина) is an oblast (province) of eastern Ukraine. Its administrative center is Donetsk. Historically, the province is an important part of the Donbas region.
Donetsk Oblast is located in southeastern Ukraine. The area of the oblast (26,900km²), comprises about 4.4% of the total area of the country. The oblast borders the Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia Oblasts on the southwest, the Luhansk Oblast on the northeast, the Rostov Oblast in Russia on the east, and with the Azov Sea on the south.
Its longitude from north to south is 270 km, from east to west – 190 km. The extreme points of the oblast's borders are: Bilosarayska Kosa (spit) on the south, Shevchenko of Velykonovosilkivskyi Raion on the west, Verkhnyi Kut of Shakhtarskyi Raion on the east, and Lozove of Krasnolymanskyi Raion on the north.
The following data incorporates the number of each type of administrative divisions of Donetsk Oblast:
The local administration of the oblast' is controlled by the Donetsk Oblast Rada. The governor of the oblast' is the Donetsk Oblast Rada speaker, appointed by the President of Ukraine.
The population of Donetsk Oblast is 4.7 million (as of 2004), which constitutes 10% of the overall Ukrainian population, making it the most populous and most densely populated region of the country. Its large population is due to the presence of several big industrial cities and numerous villages agglomerated around them (see urbanization).
During the 2004 presidential election, political supporters of Viktor Yanukovych threatened to demand autonomy for Donetsk and neighboring oblasts if the election of their candidate was not recognized. However, no official moves were ever made.
As of the Ukrainian National Census, 2001, the ethnic groups within the Donetsk Oblast are: Ukrainians — 2,744,100 (56.9%), Russians — 1,844,400 (38.2%), Greeks - 77,500 (1.61%), Belarusians — 44,500 (0.92%), Crimean Tatars — 19,200 (0.4%), Armenians — 15,700 (0.33%), and Jews - 8,800 (0.18%).
The Donetsk Oblast covers more than one half coal, finished steel, coke, cast iron and steel production in Ukraine. Ferrous metallurgy, fuel industry and power industry are in demand in the structure of industry production. There are about 882 industry enterprises that are on independent balance, and 2,095 small industry enterprises in the oblast.
The oblast' has a developed transport infrastructure which includes the Donetsk railroad (covers 40% of national transportation), the Mariupol Port, the Donetsk International Airport, passenger airports in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, and dense road systems. In the Donetsk Oblast two special economic zones have been created, Donetsk and Azov, which have a privileged tax regime.
In 1999, the gross grain yield in the oblast was about 999,1 thousand tons, sugar beets – 27,1 thousand tons, sunflower seeds – 309,4 thousand tons, and potatoes – 380,2 thousand tons. Also, 134,2 thousand tons of meat, 494,3 thousand tons of milk and 646,4 million eggs have been produced. At the beginning of 1999 there have been 2108 farms within the oblast.
The Donetsk Oblast's climate is mostly continental, which is characterized by hot summers and relatively cold winters with changeable snow surfaces. East and southeast strong winds, high temperatures and heavy rain showers are typical in the summer. The average annual rainfall is 524 mm.
Important resources for recreation within the area are: the mild climate, the Azov Sea coast, curative mud, sources of minerals, and radon and table water. Due to these numerous recreation resources, many resort hotels and camps are located here. There are about 26 health centers and pensions, 52 rest homes and boarding houses, and rest camps for children in the oblast.
The curative bowels in the oblast include the Slovyansk salt lakes and mineral water sources. The oblast also contains many park zones, some of which are of great national value. They include the Khomutivsky steppe and the Azov sea coast. Overall, the Donetsk Oblast contains about 70 objects of nature and park fund including branches of the Ukrainian steppe park, 6 state reserves, 10 memorials of nature, landscapes, and 6 park tracts.