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For the Soviet-era warships, see Soviet cruiser Murmansk.

Murmansk (Russian: Му́рманск; Kildin Sami: Мурман ланнҍ; Northern Sami: Murmánska; Skolt Sami: Muurman) is a port city and the administrative centre of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, an inlet of the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland. Despite its extreme northern location above the Arctic Circle, Murmansk tends to be nearly the same as any other Russian city of its size, featuring highway and railway access to the rest of Europe, a railway station, and a trolleybus system, in fact, the northernmost on Earth. Population: 307,257 (2010 Census); 336,137 (2002 Census); 468,039 (1989 Census). Despite its rapidly declining population, Murmansk remains the largest city north of the Arctic Circle.


Murmansk was the last city founded in the Russian Empire. In 1915, World War I needs led to the construction of the railroad from Petrozavodsk to an ice-free location on the Murman Coast in the Russian Arctic, to which Russia's allies shipped military supplies. The terminus became known as the Murman station and soon boasted a port, a naval base, and an adjacent settlement with a population which quickly grew in size and soon surpassed the nearby towns of Alexandrovsk and Kola.

On June 29 [O.S. July 12], 1916, Russian Transport Minister Alexander Trepov petitioned to grant urban status to the railway settlement. On July 6 [O.S. July 19], 1916, the petition was approved and the town was named Romanov-on-Murman (Рома́нов-на-Му́рмане, Romanov-na-Murmane), after the royal Russian dynasty of Romanovs. On September 21 [O.S. October 4], 1916, the official ceremony was performed, and the date is now considered the official date of the city's foundation. After the February Revolution of 1917, on April 3 [O.S. April 16], 1917, the town was given its present name.

In the winter of 1917 the British North Russia Squadron under Rear Admiral Thomas Kemp was established at Murmansk.

From 1918 to 1920, during the Russian Civil War, the town was occupied by the Western powers, who had been allied in World War I, and by the White Army forces.

On February 13, 1926, local self-government was organized in Murmansk for the first time, during a plenary session of the Murmansk City Soviet, which elected a Presidium. Prior to this, the city was governed by the authorities of Alexandrovsky Uyezd and later of Murmansk Governorate. On August 1, 1927, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) issued two Resolutions: "On the Establishment of Leningrad Oblast" and "On the Borders and Composition of the Okrugs of Leningrad Oblast", which transformed Murmansk Governorate into Murmansk Okrug within Leningrad Oblast and made Murmansk the administrative center of Murmansk Okrug.

In 1934, the Murmansk Okrug Executive Committee developed a redistricting proposal, which included a plan to enlarge the city by merging the surrounding territories in the north, south, and west into Murmansk. While this plan was not confirmed by the Leningrad Oblast Executive Committee, in 1935–1937 several rural localities of Kolsky and Polyarny Districts were merged into Murmansk anyway.

According to the Presidium of the Leningrad Oblast Executive Committee resolution of February 26, 1935, the administrative center of Polyarny District was moved from Polyarnoye to Sayda-Guba. However, the provisions of the resolution were not fully implemented, and due to military construction in Polyarnoye, the administrative center was instead moved to Murmansk in the beginning of 1935. In addition to being the administrative center of Murmansk Okrug, Murmansk also continued to serve as the administrative center of Polyarny District until September 11, 1938. On February 10, 1938, when the VTsIK adopted a Resolution changing the administrative-territorial structure of Murmansk Okrug, the city of Murmansk became a separate administrative division of the okrug, equal in status to that of the districts. This status was retained when Murmansk Okrug was transformed into Murmansk Oblast on May 28, 1938.

During World War II, Murmansk was a link to the Western world for Russia, with large quantities of goods important to the respective military efforts traded with the Allies: primarily manufactured goods and raw materials into the Soviet Union. The supplies were brought to the city in the Arctic convoys.

German forces in Finnish territory launched an offensive against the city in 1941 as part of Operation Silver Fox, and Murmansk suffered extensive destruction, the magnitude of which was rivaled only by the destruction of Leningrad and Stalingrad. However, fierce Soviet resistance and harsh local weather conditions prevented the Germans from capturing the city and cutting off the vital Karelian railway line and the ice-free harbour.

For the rest of the war, Murmansk served as a transit point for weapons and other supplies entering the Soviet Union from other Allied nations. This unyielding, stoic resistance was commemorated at the 40th anniversary of the victory over the Germans in the formal designation of Murmansk as a Hero City on May 6, 1985. During the Cold War Murmansk was a centre of Soviet submarine and icebreaker activity. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the nearby city and naval base of Severomorsk remains the headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet.

In 1974, a massive 35.5-meter (116 ft) tall statue Alyosha, depicting a Russian World War II soldier, was installed on a 7-metre (23 ft) high foundation. In 1984, the Hotel Arctic, the tallest building above the Arctic Circle, opened.

To commemorate the 85th anniversary of the city's foundation, the snow-white church of the Savior-on-the-Waters was modeled after the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal and built on the shore for the sailors of Murmansk ().


In November 2010 direct mayoral election was abolished, and re-instituted in January 2014, with next elections for mayor and city council to take place on September 2014.

Administrative and municipal status

Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the City of Murmansk—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the City of Murmansk is incorporated as Murmansk Urban Okrug.

City divisions

As of 2012, the city is divided into three administrative okrugs:

  • Leninsky (Ленинский)
  • Oktyabrsky (Октябрьский)
  • Pervomaysky (Первомайский)

City districts were established in Murmansk for the first time by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR of April 20, 1939; at the time, three city districts (Kirovsky, Leninsky, and Mikoyanovsky) were created. They were abolished on June 2, 1948. The same city districts were created for the second time on June 23, 1951. Mikoyanovsky City District was renamed Oktyabrsky on October 30, 1957, but on September 30, 1958, all three city districts were again abolished. On June 10, 1967, two city districts were created (Leninsky and Oktyabrsky); Pervomaysky City District was split from Oktyabrsky on February 21, 1975. In the Charter of the Hero City of Murmansk, adopted on December 17, 1995, the city districts started to be referred to as administrative okrugs.


The port of Murmansk remains ice-free year round due to the warm North Atlantic Current and is an important fishing and shipping destination. It is home port to Atomflot, the world's only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers.

The Port of Murmansk is the headquarters of Sevmorput (Northern Sea Route), and the administration of Russian Arctic maritime transport.

Murmansk is linked by the Kirov Railway to St. Petersburg and is also linked to the rest of Russia by the M18 Kola Motorway. Murmansk Airport provides air links to Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as an international connection to Tromsø, Norway.

Buses and trolleybuses provide local transport.

Arctic Bridge

Murmansk is set to be the Russian terminus of the Arctic Bridge (or Arctic Sea Bridge), a sea route linking it to the Canadian port of Churchill, Manitoba. The passage has not been fully tested for commercial shipping yet, but Russia has shown interest in it. It is believed that, once developed (along with the Northwest Passage), the bridge will serve as major trade route between Europe and Asia.


Murmansk features a subarctic climate, with long and cold winters and short but relatively mild summers. In the city, freezing temperatures are routinely experienced from October to May. Average temperatures exceed 0 degrees Celsius only from May through October. The average low during the coldest part of the year in Murmansk is approximately −14 °C (7 °F). However temperatures routinely plunge below −20 °C (−4 °F) during the winter. Murmansk's brief summer is mild, with average highs in July exceeding +17 °C (63 °F). The city is slightly wetter during the summer than the winter, seeing an average of just under 500 mm (20 in) of precipitation each year.

Climate data for Murmansk
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.0
Average high °C (°F) −6.8
Daily mean °C (°F) −10
Average low °C (°F) −13
Record low °C (°F) −39.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 30
Avg. rainy days 0.1 0.3 0.7 3 9 17 20 21 19 8 1 0.4 99.5
Avg. snowy days 23 21 20 14 7 0.5 0 0 0.5 9 19 24 138.0
 % humidity 84 83 79 73 72 70 73 78 81 83 86 85 78.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 0 33.6 120.9 183.0 192.2 228.0 235.6 155.0 90.0 46.5 6.0 0 1,291.1
Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net
Source #2: HKO (sunshine hours)


Murmansk is home to Murmansk State Technical University, the Murmansk State Pedagogical University and the Murmansk Institute of Humanities. The city also has eighty-six primary schools and fifty-six secondary schools, two boarding schools, and three reform schools.


Murmansk's evening newspaper is Vecherniy Murmansk, published since 1991.


The city's association football team, FC Sever Murmansk, plays in the Russian Second Division.

Bandy club Murman has played in the highest division of the Russian Bandy Super League, last in 2011–2012. Their home arena has a capacity of 5000. The city is one of only three places with representation in the female league, through the team Arktika.


Murmansk has two main (and several small) museums: Murmansk Oblast Museum and Murmansk Oblast Art Museum. There are also three professional theatres, libraries and an aquarium in Murmansk.

Notable people

  • Nikita Alexeev, ice hockey player
  • Aleksey Goman, pop singer
  • Valentina Gunina, Chess Grandmaster
  • Irina Kovalenko, supermodel and Miss Russia winner
  • Vladimir Konstantinov, ice hockey player
  • Larisa Kruglova, sprinter
  • Sergey Kuryokhin, actor and musician
  • Irina Malgina, triathlete
  • Yevgeny Nikitin, opera singer
  • Sergey Rozhkov, biathlete
  • Alexei Semenov, ice hockey player
  • Zlata Ognevich, Ukrainian singer
  • Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, prankster

Twin towns and sister cities

Murmansk is twinned or has sister city relationships with:

  • Akureyri, Iceland
  • Vadsø, Norway
  • Groningen, Netherlands
  • Jacksonville, Florida, United States
  • Luleå, Sweden
  • Rovaniemi, Finland
  • Tromsø, Norway
  • Szczecin, Poland
  • Cuxhaven, Germany




  • Мурманская областная Дума. Закон №96-01-ЗМО от 6 января 1998 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Мурманской области», в ред. Закона №1704-01-ЗМО от 20 декабря 2013 г. «О внесении изменений в некоторые законодательные акты Мурманской области». Опубликован: "Мурманский Вестник", №10, стр. 3, 16 января 1998 г. (Murmansk Oblast Duma. Law #96-01-ZMO of January 6, 1998 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Murmansk Oblast, as amended by the Law #1704-01-ZMO of December 20, 2013 On Amending Various Legislative Acts of Murmansk Oblast. ).
  • Мурманская областная Дума. Закон №531-01-ЗМО от 2 декабря 2004 г. «О статусе муниципального образования город Мурманск». Вступил в силу 1 января 2005 г. Опубликован: "Мурманский Вестник", №234, стр. 3, 7 декабря 2004 г. (Murmansk Oblast Duma. Law #531-01-ZMO of December 2, 2004 On the Status of the Municipal Formation of the City of Murmansk. Effective as of January 1, 2005.).
  • Совет депутатов города Мурманска. Решение №20-235 от 10 марта 2006 г. «Устав муниципального образования город Мурманск», в ред. Решения №15-202 от 4 февраля 2010 г «О внесении изменений в Устав муниципального образования город Мурманск, утверждённый Решением Совета Депутатов города Мурманска от 10.03.2006 (с изменениями и дополнениями от 31.05.2006 №23-263, от 05.10.2006 №24-298), с последующими изменениями, внесёнными Решениями Совета депутатов города Мурманска от 13.11.2007 №43-529, от 03.04.2008 №48-588 и от 03.06.2009 №5-57». Вступил в силу в соответствии со статьёй 81. Опубликован: "Вечерний Мурманск", спецвыпуск, стр. 1–12, 10 ноября 2006 г. (Council of Deputies of the City of Murmansk. Decision #20-235 of March 10, 2006 Charter of the Municipal Formation of the City of Murmansk, as amended by the Decision #15-202 of February 4, 2010 On Amending the Charter of the Municipal Formation of the City of Murmansk, Adopted by the Decision of the Council of Deputies of the City of Murmansk of March 10, 2006 (with the Amendments and Supplements #23-263 of May 31, 2006, #24-298 of October 5, 2006), with Subsequent Amendments, Introduced by the Decisions of the Council of Deputies of the City of Murmansk #43-529 of November 13, 2007, #48-588 of April 3, 2008, and #5-57 of June 3, 2009. Effective as of the day determined by the provisions of Article 81.).
  • Архивный отдел Администрации Мурманской области. Государственный Архив Мурманской области. (1995). Административно-территориальное деление Мурманской области (1920–1993 гг.). Справочник. Мурманск: Мурманское издательско-полиграфическое предприятие "Север". 

External links

  • (Russian)