Park of the Heroes of the Great Patriotic War, Museum of local history, Academic Russian Drama Theatre, Radianska Street, and Luhanskteplovoz steam locomotive
Flag of Luhansk
Coat of arms of Luhansk
Luhansk is located in Luhansk Oblast
Location of Luhansk
Luhansk is located in Ukraine
Luhansk (Ukraine)
Luhansk is located in Europe
Luhansk (Europe)
Coordinates: 48°34′04″N 39°18′11″E / 48.56778°N 39.30306°E / 48.56778; 39.30306
CountryUkraine (de jure)
Russia (de facto)
OblastLuhansk Oblast (de jure)
RaionLuhansk Raion (de jure)
HromadaLuhansk urban hromada (de jure)
Federal subjectLuhansk People's Republic (de facto)
 • Mayor (LPR)Manolis Pilavov
 • City257 km2 (99 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,147 km2 (829 sq mi)
105 m (344 ft)
 • City397,677
 • Density1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
Postal code
Area code+380 642

Luhansk (UK: /lˈhænsk/, US: /-ˈhɑːn-/; Ukrainian: Луганськ, IPA: [lʊˈɦɑnʲsʲk] ), also known as Lugansk (UK: /-ˈɡæn-/, US: /-ˈɡɑːn-/; Russian: Луганск, IPA: [lʊˈɡansk]), is a city in the Donbas region, eastern Ukraine. As of 2022, the population was estimated to be 397,677 (2022 estimate),[1] making Luhansk the 12th-largest city in Ukraine.

Luhansk served as the administrative center of Luhansk Oblast, before pro-Russian separatists seized control of the city in 2014 and made it the capital of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic. The Ukrainian administration was located in Sievierodonetsk from 2014 to 2022 during the war in Donbas, due to Ukraine not being in control of Luhansk. Sievierodonetsk was captured by Russia in 2022 and the Luhansk Oblast was later annexed by Russia in late 2022.


Founding and early history

The bust of Charles Gascoigne in Luhansk

The city traces its history to 1797 when the British industrialist Charles Gascoigne, commissioned by the Imperial Russian government in 1795, founded an ammunition and cannon factory for the Black Sea Fleet.[2] Gascoigne had emigrated to Saint Petersburg years earlier, and founded factories and mines across the Russian Empire during his time there. There is a prominent bust of him in Luhansk commemorating his role in the city's founding.[3]

The factory was built in the Donets Basin (or Donbas) the confluence of the Luhan and Vilkhivka [uk] rivers. The Russian craftsmen settled upstream, at the settlement of Kamianyi Brid.[2] The name "Luhansk" comes from the Luhan River, which flows through the city. According to folk etymology, the name is also derived to the word "Luh" (Ukrainian: Луг), which means "meadow", referring to the floodplains around the river.[citation needed]

The factory was greatly expanded during the Napoleonic Wars, and again during the Crimean War. By 1880, the factory was a large industrial node, linked by rail to other major cities and to the Azov Sea. In 1882, the Luhansk Factory was merged with Kamianyi Brid into a new settlement named Luhansk, which received city status. In 1897, Luhansk had a population of 20,400, 68.2% of whom were Russians.[2]

In summer 1896, German industrialist Gustav Hartmann [de] founded a locomotive-building company in Luhansk, which is now Luhanskteplovoz. It became operational in 1900, and soon produced a large proportion of all locomotives in the Russian Empire.[4]

In the Soviet Union

One of the Mk V tanks used by the Don Army during the Russian Civil War

Luhansk was economically devastated by the Russian Civil War.[5] In April 1918, Luhansk was occupied by the Central Powers during their invasion of Ukraine. Then, it was taken by Anton Denikin's anti-communist Volunteer Army in May 1919, before changing hands several times. It was finally taken by the Red Army in January 1920.[2]

After the end of the war, the victorious Bolsheviks created the Soviet Union on the territory of the former Russian Empire, and began restoring the city.[5] The city grew rapidly during the interwar period.[2] On 5 November 1935, the city was renamed Voroshilovgrad (Russian: Ворошиловград, romanizedVoroshilovgrad; Ukrainian: Ворошиловград, romanizedVoroshylovhrad) in honour of Soviet military commander and politician Kliment Voroshilov.[6] In 1938, Voroshilovgrad Oblast was established, with the city as its center.[2]

The economic recovery and development of the city was also accompanied by significant demographic change. The population grew from 72,000 to 212,000 between 1926 and 1939, and there was an influx of Ukrainians from the countryside into the city. The proportion of Ukrainians grew from 19.1% to 58.7% between 1897 and 1939, many of whom were refugees fleeing the Holodomor, a manmade famine across Soviet Ukraine. The Russian proportion of the population shrank to 34.5%.[2]

Voroshilovgrad became a frontline city in World War II after the failure of Nazi Germany's Operation Barbarossa to capture major Soviet cities.[7] In March 1942, a grand concert featuring the work of Taras Shevchenko was held in the city to inspire Ukrainians to fight off the invading Nazis.[2] In July 1942, Germany concentrated its forces in the area and forced the Soviets to retreat to the Volga and the North Caucasus. On 14 July 1942, German troops captured Voroshilovgrad. Locals waged partisan warfare against the occupation. The city was eventually liberated by the Red Army on 14 February 1943.[7]

In the postwar period, the city was rebuilt. The population recovered and grew, again alongside demographic change. More Russians were brought in to rebuild and help with industrialization, again reducing the share of Ukrainians to a minority of 48.3% by 1959 and raising the share of Russians to 47.1%.[2] On 5 March 1958, after Khrushchev's call to not name cities after living people, the old name of Luhansk was reinstated.[6] Kliment Voroshilov himself opposed the restoration of the old name in 1958.[8] On January 1970, after the death of Kliment Voroshilov on 2 December 1969, the city's name was changed again to Voroshilovgrad.[6]

Demographic shifts continued during the late Soviet period; by 1989, Ukrainians made up 41.8% of the population and Russians had a majority of 52.4%.[2] On 4 May 1990, a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR gave the city back its original name.[6]

Ukrainian independence

Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1994, a consultative referendum took place in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast, with around 90% supporting the Russian language gaining status of an official language alongside Ukrainian, and for the Russian language to be an official language on a regional level.[9]

The previous demographic trends reversed in independent Ukraine; by 2001, Ukrainians - who increasingly spoke Russian - were 50% of the population and Russians made up 47%. The population as a whole began to decline as the economy stagnated, dropping from 505,000 in 1992 to 424,000 in 2014.[2]

Russo–Ukrainian War

Further information: Russo–Ukrainian War

Pro-Russian unrest in Luhansk, April 2014

In April 2014, Russia-backed separatists seized governmental buildings in the region, proclaiming the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), with its capital in Luhansk.[2] An independence referendum, unconstitutional under Ukrainian law, was held on 11 May 2014. This referendum was not recognized as legitimate by any government.[10][11] These events escalated into the War in Donbas.

In August 2014, Ukrainian government forces completely surrounded rebel-held Luhansk.[12] Heavy shelling caused civilian casualties in the city.[13][14][15] On 17 August, Ukrainian soldiers entered the rebel-controlled Luhansk and for a time had control over a police station.[16] A statement released on 22 August by Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Antanas Linkevičius said that the Lithuanian honorary consul in Luhansk, Mykola Zelenec, was abducted by the pro-Russian separatists and murdered.[17] Linkevičius defined the abductors as 'terrorists'.[17]

After the Ilovaisk counteroffensive, LPR forces regained Lutuhyne and other Luhansk suburbs. Ukrainian forces withdrew from the Luhansk International Airport on 1 September 2014, after heavy fighting.[18] Human Rights Watch reported high civilian casualties in and around the city, recording over 300 civilian deaths caused by explosive weapons between May and September 2014.[19] The temporary administration of Luhansk Oblast was moved to Sievierodonetsk by the government of Ukraine.[citation needed]

On 21 November 2017, armed men in unmarked uniforms took up positions in the center of Luhansk in what appeared to be a power struggle between the head of the republic Igor Plotnitsky and the (sacked by Plotnitsky) LPR appointed interior minister Igor Kornet.[20][21] Media reports stated that the Donetsk People's Republic, a parallel Russian-backed entity in neighboring Donetsk Oblast, had sent armed troops to Luhansk the following night.[20][21] Three days later the website of the separatists stated that Plotnitsky had resigned "for health reasons. Multiple war wounds, the effects of blast injuries, took their toll."[22] The website stated that security minister Leonid Pasechnik had been named acting leader "until the next elections."[22]

On September 30, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree declaring the annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhiya Oblasts) to Russia.[23] The annexation was illegal under international law and was condemned by the General Assembly of the United Nations.[citation needed]

Administrative divisions

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (February 2023)
A map of the districts of Luhansk

Higher education

Some of the more prestigious universities in Ukraine have their home in Luhansk. Luhansk is the location of the main campus of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Luhansk, East Ukrainian Volodymyr Dahl National University and of Luhansk State Medical University.


In the Ukrainian Census of 2001,[24] 49.6% of the inhabitants declared themselves as ethnically Ukrainians and 47% as Russians. 85.3% of the population spoke Russian as their native language, while 13.7% spoke Ukrainian, 0.2% Armenian and 0.1% Belarusian.


Luhansk is home to Zorya Luhansk which now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League annual football championship and plays at the Avanhard Stadium. The club won the 1972 Soviet Top League.

The other football team was Dynamo Luhansk.

Merheleva Ridge

Main article: Merheleva Ridge

On 7 September 2006, archaeologists in Ukraine announced that an ancient structure had been discovered near Luhansk, which the press reported as a pyramid antedating those in Egypt by at least 300 years. The stone foundations of the structure were said to resemble Aztec and Mayan pyramids in Mesoamerica. It was later concluded that the site in question was not a pyramid but was still of great interest.



Luhansk has a hot summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa). Luhansk has both the highest and lowest temperature recorded in Ukraine. A record high of 42.0 °C (107.6 °F) was recorded on 12 August 2010, which is the highest temperature to have ever been recorded in Ukraine.[25][26] A record low of −41.9 °C (−43.4 °F) was recorded on 8 January 1935.[27]

Climate data for Luhansk (1991-2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −0.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −6.4
Record low °C (°F) −41.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 36.0
Average rainy days 10 8 11 14 13 14 12 8 11 11 13 10 135
Average snowy days 17 16 10 1 0.1 0.03 0 0 0.1 1 7 16 68
Average relative humidity (%) 83.2 80.3 75.2 64.0 61.6 63.8 63.7 61.3 67.8 74.9 83.3 84.4 72.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 47.2 73.8 131.1 177.6 274.9 287.4 305.5 291.4 210.6 135.4 59.4 39.0 2,033.3
Source 1:[28]
Source 2: World Meteorological Organization (precipitation, humidity, and sun)[29]

Notable people

Vladimir Dal, 1872
Kostiantyn Sytnyk, pre-2012
Sergey Bubka, 2020
Irina Kirichenko, 1967
Viktor Onopko, 2011


International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Ukraine

Luhansk is twinned with:


During 2014 and 2015, Luhansk has been the scene of intense fighting and most of these buildings are damaged to some extent. Some may be destroyed.

See also


  1. ^ Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2022 [Number of Present Population of Ukraine, as of January 1, 2022] (PDF) (in Ukrainian and English). Kyiv: State Statistics Service of Ukraine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Luhansk". Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  3. ^ "The surprising British origins of eastern Ukraine". Washington Post. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  4. ^ "ВИНИКНЕННЯ І РОЗВИТОК МІСТА ЛУГАНСЬК". Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Відновлення луганська після громадянської війни". Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d "Записки из Якирова Посада – Луганск-Ворошиловград-Луганск". 2 November 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b "ЛУГАНСЬК У РОКИ ВЕЛИКОЇ ВІТЧИЗНЯНОЇ ВІЙНИ". Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  8. ^ 'Военная Литература' – Биографии – С.Н. Хрущёв ['Military Literature' – Biographies – S. N. Khrushchev] (in Russian). Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. ^ Flynn, M. K. (1996). "Political mobilization in eastern Ukraine: The referendum of 1994 in the Donetsk oblast". The European Legacy. 1 (1): 342–349. doi:10.1080/10848779608579417.
  10. ^ "Ukraine's Eastern Region Of Luhansk May Now Hold Referendum On Joining Russia". Business Insider. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Ukraine rebels seek to join Russia". 12 May 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  12. ^ "East Ukraine city of Luhansk dying under siege, residents say". The Denver Post. 5 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Under siege in Luhansk". 13 August 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  14. ^ "In Shell-Torn Luhansk, Food and Water Is Scarce: 'Welcome to Hell!'". Newsweek. 15 August 2014.
  15. ^ Magnay, Diana; Lister, Tim (3 June 2014). "Air attack on pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk kills 8, stuns city". CNN. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Ukraine troops claim breakthrough in battle for rebel city Luhansk". The Guardian. Reuters. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Lithuania envoy killed in Luhansk". BBC News. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Troops abandon Luhansk airport after clashes". 1 September 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Ukraine: Rising Civilian Toll in Luhansk". 1 September 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2023.
  20. ^ a b "Kremlin 'Following' Situation In Ukraine's Russia-Backed Separatist-Controlled Luhansk". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 22 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 November 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Luhansk coup attempt continues as rival militia occupies separatist region". The Independent. 22 November 2017. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  22. ^ a b Ukraine rebel region's security minister says he is new leader Archived 2 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters (24 November 2017)
    Separatist Leader In Ukraine's Luhansk Resigns Amid Power Struggle Archived 9 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Radio Free Europe (24 November 2017)
  23. ^ "Putin Signs Independence Decrees in Precursor to Seizing Ukrainian Regions". Radiofreeeurope/Radioliberty.
  24. ^ "All-Ukrainian Population Census '2001". State Statistics Committee of Ukraine.
  25. ^ Кліматичні рекорди (in Ukrainian). Central Observatory for Geophysics. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  26. ^ Masters, Jeff. "Bolivia ties its all-time heat record". Weather Underground. Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  27. ^ "Кліматичні рекорди" (in Ukrainian). Central Observatory for Geophysics. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  28. ^ Погода и климат [Weather and climate] (in Russian). Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  29. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Climate Normals for 1981–2010". World Meteorological Organization. Archived from the original on 17 July 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  30. ^ "Cardiff's twin cities". Cardiff Council. 15 June 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  31. ^ a b c d e f "History of Luhansk". Official site of Luhansk City Council. 15 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 August 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  32. ^ "Miasta Partnerskie Lublina" [Partner Cities of Lublin]. (in Polish). Lublin. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  33. ^ "Partnervárosok Névsora Partner és Testvérvárosok Névsora" [Partner and Twin Cities List]. City of Székesfehérvár (in Hungarian). Archived from the original on 8 December 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  34. ^ "大庆市与乌克兰卢甘斯克市的往来纪实". 大庆市外事侨务网站. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  35. ^ Sue Bridger; Frances Pine (11 January 2013). Surviving Post-Socialism: Local Strategies and Regional Responses in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Routledge. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-135-10715-4. Retrieved 9 June 2015.