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|Area||10,503.2 km2 (4,055.3 sq mi)|
|Length||1,150 km (715 mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,339 m (7674 ft)|
|Federal subject||Sakhalin Oblast|
|Districts||Severo-Kurilsky, Kurilsky, Yuzhno-Kurilsky|
(partial claim, southernmost islands)
|Ethnic groups||majority Russians|
The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (/ /( ) ,; Russian: Кури́льские острова́, tr. Kuril'skiye ostrova, IPA: [kʊˈrʲilʲskʲɪjə ɐstrɐˈva]; Japanese: Kuriru rettō (クリル列島, "Kuril Islands") or Chishima rettō (千島列島, "Thousand Islands")) are a volcanic archipelago administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast in the Russian Far East. The islands stretch approximately 1,300 km (810 mi) northeast from Hokkaido in Japan to Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the north Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many minor islets. The Kuril Islands consist of the Greater Kuril Chain and, at the southwest end, the parallel Lesser Kuril Chain. They cover an area of around 10,503.2 square kilometres (4,055.3 sq mi), with a population of roughly 20,000.
The islands have been under Russian administration since their 1945 invasion by the Soviet Union near the end of World War II. Japan claims the four southernmost islands, including two of the three largest (Iturup and Kunashir), as part of its territory, as well as Shikotan and the unpopulated Habomai islets, which has led to the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute. The disputed islands are known in Japan as the country's "Northern Territories".
The name Kuril originates from the autonym of the aboriginal Ainu, the islands' original inhabitants: kur, meaning 'man'. It may also be related to names for other islands that have traditionally been inhabited by the Ainu people, such as Kuyi or Kuye for Sakhalin and Kai for Hokkaidō. In Japanese, the Kuril Islands are known as the Chishima Islands (Kanji: 千島列島 Chishima Rettō pronounced [tɕiɕima ɾeꜜttoː], literally, 'Thousand Islands Archipelago'), also known as the Kuriru Islands (Katakana: クリル列島 Kuriru Rettō [kɯɾiɾɯ ɾeꜜttoː], literally, Kuril Archipelago). Once the Russians reached the islands in the 18th century they found a pseudo-etymology from Russian kurit′, курить 'to smoke' due to the continual fumes and steam above the islands from volcanoes.
Geography and climate
The Kuril Islands form part of the ring of tectonic instability encircling the Pacific Ocean referred to as the Ring of Fire. The islands themselves are summits of stratovolcanoes that are a direct result of the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate, which forms the Kuril Trench some 200 kilometres (124 mi) east of the islands. The chain has around 100 volcanoes, some 40 of which are active, and many hot springs and fumaroles. There is frequent seismic activity, including a magnitude 8.5 earthquake in 1963 and one of magnitude 8.3 recorded on November 15, 2006, which resulted in tsunami waves up to 1.5 metres (5 ft) reaching the California coast. Raikoke Island, near the centre of the archipelago, has an active volcano which erupted again in June 2019, with emissions reaching 13,000 m (42,651 ft).
The climate on the islands is generally severe, with long, cold, stormy winters and short and notoriously foggy summers. The average annual precipitation is 40 to 50 inches (1,020 to 1,270 mm), a large portion of which falls as snow. The Köppen climate classification of most of the Kurils is subarctic (Dfc), although Kunashir is humid continental (Dfb). However, the Kuril Islands’ climate resembles the subpolar oceanic climate of southwest Alaska much more than the hypercontinental climate of Manchuria and interior Siberia, as precipitation is heavy and permafrost completely absent. It is characterized by mild summers with only 1 to 3 months above 10 °C or 50 °F and cold, snowy, extremely windy winters below −3 °C or 26.6 °F, although usually above −10 °C or 14 °F.
The chain ranges from temperate to sub-Arctic climate types, and the vegetative cover consequently ranges from tundra in the north to dense spruce and larch forests on the larger southern islands. The highest elevations on the islands are Alaid volcano (highest point: 2,339 m or 7,674 ft) on Atlasov Island at the northern end of the chain and Tyatya volcano (1,819 m or 5,968 ft) on Kunashir Island at the southern end.
Landscape types and habitats on the islands include many kinds of beach and rocky shores, cliffs, wide rivers and fast gravelly streams, forests, grasslands, alpine tundra, crater lakes and peat bogs. The soils are generally productive, owing to the periodic influxes of volcanic ash and, in certain places, owing to significant enrichment by seabird guano. However, many of the steep, unconsolidated slopes are susceptible to landslides and newer volcanic activity can entirely denude a landscape. Only the southernmost island has large areas covered by trees, while more northerly islands have no trees, or spotty tree cover.
The northernmost, Atlasov Island (Oyakoba in Japanese), is an almost-perfect volcanic cone rising sheer out of the sea; it has been praised by the Japanese in haiku, wood-block prints, and other forms, in much the same way as the better-known Mount Fuji. Its summit is the highest point in Sakhalin Oblast.
Owing to their location along the Pacific shelf edge and the confluence of Okhotsk Sea gyre and the southward Oyashio Current, the Kuril islands are surrounded by waters that are among the most productive in the North Pacific, supporting a wide range and high abundance of marine life.
Invertebrates: Extensive kelp beds surrounding almost every island provide crucial habitat for sea urchins, various mollusks and countless other invertebrates and their associated predators. Many species of squid provide a principal component of the diet of many of the smaller marine mammals and birds along the chain.
Fish: Further offshore, walleye pollock, Pacific cod, several species of flatfish are of the greatest commercial importance. During the 1980s, migratory Japanese sardine was one of the most abundant fish in the summer.
Pinniped: The main pinnipeds were a significant object of harvest for the indigenous populations of the Kuril islands, both for food and materials such as skin and bone. The long-term fluctuations in the range and distribution of human settlements along the Kuril island presumably tracked the pinniped ranges. In historical times, fur seals were heavily exploited for their fur in the 19th and early 20th centuries and several of the largest reproductive rookeries, as on Raykoke island, were extirpated. In contrast, commercial harvest of the true seals and Steller sea lions has been relatively insignificant on the Kuril islands proper. Since the 1960s there has been essentially no additional harvest and the pinniped populations in the Kuril islands appear to be fairly healthy and in some cases expanding. The notable exception is the now extinct Japanese sea lion, which was known to occasionally haul out on the Kuril islands.
Seabirds: The Kuril islands are home to many millions of seabirds, including northern fulmars, tufted puffins, murres, kittiwakes, guillemots, auklets, petrels, gulls and cormorants. On many of the smaller islands in summer, where terrestrial predators are absent, virtually every possibly hummock, cliff niche or underneath of boulder is occupied by a nesting bird. Several of the islands, including Kunashir and the Lesser Kuril Chain in the South Kurils, and the northern Kurils from Urup to Paramushir, have been recognised as Important Bird Areas (IBAs) by BirdLife International because they support populations of various threatened bird species, including many waterbirds, seabirds and waders.
The composition of terrestrial species on the Kuril islands is dominated by Asian mainland taxa via migration from Hokkaido and Sakhalin Islands and by Kamchatkan taxa from the North. While highly diverse, there is a relatively low level of endemism on a species level.
The WWF divides the Kuril Islands into two ecoregions. The southern Kurils, along with southwestern Sakhalin, comprise the South Sakhalin-Kurile mixed forests ecoregion. The northern islands are part of the Kamchatka-Kurile meadows and sparse forests, a larger ecoregion that extends onto the Kamchatka Peninsula and Commander Islands.
Because of the generally smaller size and isolation of the central islands, few major terrestrial mammals have colonized these, though red and Arctic foxes were introduced for the sake of the fur trade in the 1880s. The bulk of the terrestrial mammal biomass is taken up by rodents, many introduced in historical times. The largest southernmost and northernmost islands are inhabited by brown bear, foxes, and martens. Leopards once inhabited the islands. Some species of deer are found on the more southerly islands. It is claimed that a wild cat, the Kurilian Bobtail, originates from the Kuril Islands. The bobtail is due to the mutation of a dominant gene. The cat has been domesticated and exported to nearby Russia and bred there, becoming a popular domestic cat.
The Ainu people inhabited the Kuril Islands from early times, although few records predate the 17th century. From the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period, there were Ezo (Ainu) people called Hinomoto from the Pacific coast of Hokkaido to the Kuril region, and Mr. Ando, the Ezo Sateshiku and Ezo Kanrei, was in charge of this ("Suwa Daimyojin Ekotoba"). It is said that when turmoil broke out on Ezogashima, he dispatched troops from Tsugaru. Its activities include the Kanto Gomensen, which calls itself the Ando Suigun, and is based in Jusanminato ("Kaisen Shikimoku"), supplying Japanese products to Ezo society and purchasing large quantities of northern products and shipping them nationwide. ("Thirteen Streets").The Matsumae clan, a feudal lord of Japan, became independent from the Ando clan (the family of Goro Ando). The Japanese administration first took nominal control of the islands during the Edo period (1603-1868) in the form of claims by the Matsumae clan. [need quotation to verify] The Shōhō Era Map of Japan (Shōhō kuni ezu (正保国絵図)), a map of Japan made by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1644, shows 39 large and small islands northeast of Hokkaido's Shiretoko Peninsula and Cape Nosappu. A Dutch expedition under Maarten Gerritsz Vries explored the islands in 1643. Russian popular legend has Fedot Alekseyevich Popov sailing into the area c. 1649. Russian Cossacks landed on Shumshu in 1711.
American whaleships caught right whales off the islands between 1847 and 1892. Three of the ships were wrecked on the islands: two on Urup in 1855 and one on Makanrushi in 1856. In September 1892, north of Kunashir Island, a Russian schooner seized the bark Cape Horn Pigeon, of New Bedford and escorted it to Vladivostok, where it was detained for nearly two weeks.
At the very end of the 19th century, the Japanese administration started the forced assimilation of the native Ainu people. Also at this time the Ainu were granted automatic Japanese citizenship, effectively denying them the status of an indigenous group. Many Japanese moved onto former Ainu lands, including the Kuril islands. The Ainu were required to adopt Japanese names, and ordered to cease religious practices such as animal sacrifice and the custom of tattooing. Although not compulsory, education was conducted in Japanese. Prior to Japanese colonization (in 1868) about 100 Ainu reportedly lived on the Kuril islands.
World War II
- In 1941 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto ordered the assembly of the Imperial Japanese Navy strike-force for the Hawaii Operation attack on Pearl Harbor in Tankan or Hitokappu Bay, Iturup Island, South Kurils. The territory was chosen for its sparse population, lack of foreigners, and constant fog-coverage. The Admiral ordered the move to Hawaii on the morning of 26 November.
- On 10 July 1943 the first bombardment against the Japanese bases in Shumshu and Paramushir by American forces occurred. From Alexai airfield 8 B-25 Mitchells from the 77th Bombardment Squadron took off, led by Capt James L. Hudelson. This mission principally struck Paramushir.
- Another mission was flown during 11 September 1943 when the Eleventh Air Force dispatched eight B-24 Liberators and 12 B-25s. Facing reinforced Japanese defenses, 74 crew members in three B-24s and seven B-25 failed to return. 22 men were killed in action, one taken prisoner and 51 interned[by whom?] in Kamchatka.
- The Eleventh Air Force implemented other bombing missions against the northern Kurils, including a strike by six B-24s from the 404th Bombardment Squadron and 16 P-38s from the 54th Fighter Squadron on 5 February 1944.
- Japanese sources[which?] report that the Matsuwa military installations were subject to American air-strikes between 1943 and 1944.
- The Americans' strategic feint called "Operation Wedlock" diverted Japanese attention north and misled them about the U.S. strategy in the Pacific. The plan included air strikes by the USAAF and U.S. Navy bombers which included U.S. Navy shore bombardment and submarine operations. The Japanese increased their garrison in the north Kurils from 8,000 in 1943 to 41,000 in 1944 and maintained more than 400 aircraft in the Kurils and Hokkaidō area in anticipation that the Americans might invade from Alaska.
- American planners had briefly contemplated an invasion of northern Japan from the Aleutian Islands during the autumn of 1943 but rejected that idea as too risky and impractical. They considered the use of Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, on Amchitka and Shemya bases, but rejected the idea. The U.S. military maintained interest in these plans when they ordered the expansion of bases in the western Aleutians, and major construction began on Shemya. In 1945, plans for a possible invasion of Japan via the northern route were shelved[by whom?].
- Between 18 August and 31 August 1945 Soviet forces invaded the North and South Kurils.
- The Soviets expelled the entire Japanese civilian population of roughly 17,000 by 1946.
- Between 24 August and 4 September 1945 the Eleventh Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces sent two B-24s on reconnaissance missions over the North Kuril Islands with the intention of taking photos of the Soviet occupation in the area. Soviet fighters intercepted and forced them away.
In February 1945 the Yalta Agreement promised to the Soviet Union South Sakhalin and the Kuril islands in return for entering the Pacific War against the Japanese during World War II. In August 1945 the Soviet Union mounted an armed invasion of South Sakhalin at the cost of over 5,000 Soviet and Japanese lives.
- Severo-Kurilsky District (Severo-Kurilsk)
- Kurilsky District (Kurilsk)
- Yuzhno-Kurilsky District (Yuzhno-Kurilsk)
Japan maintains a claim to the three islands of Kunashir, Iturup, and Shikotan, and the Habomai rocks, together called the Northern Territories. In addition, the Japanese government claims that the Kuril Islands, other than the Northern Territories and South Karafuto, are undetermined areas under international law because the San Francisco Peace Treaty does not specify where they belong and the Soviet Union has not signed it.
On 8 February 2017 the Russian government gave names to five previously unnamed Kuril islands in Sakhalin Oblast: Derevyanko Island (after Kuzma Derevyanko, ), Gnechko Island (after Alexey Gnechko, ), Gromyko Island (after Andrei Gromyko, ), Farkhutdinov Island (after Igor Farkhutdinov, ) and Shchetinina Island (after Anna Shchetinina, ).
As of 2013[update], 19,434 people inhabited the Kuril Islands, of which over 16,700 live on the four disputed islands. These include ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Tatars, Nivkhs, Oroch, and Ainus. Russian Orthodox Christianity is the main religion. Some of the villages are permanently occupied by Russian soldiers. Others are inhabited by civilians, who are mostly fishers, workers in fish factories, dockers, and social sphere workers (police, medics, teachers, etc.). Construction works on the islands have attracted migrant workers from the rest of Russia and other post-Soviet states. As of 2014[update], there were only 8 inhabited islands out of a total of 56. Iturup Island is over 60% ethnically Ukrainian.
Fishing is the primary occupation. The islands have strategic and economic value, in terms of fisheries and also mineral deposits of pyrite, sulfur, and various polymetallic ores. There are hopes that oil exploration will provide an economic boost to the islands.
In 2014, construction workers built a pier and a breakwater in Kitovy Bay, central Iturup, where barges are a major means of transport, sailing between the cove and ships anchored offshore. A new road has been carved through the woods near Kurilsk, the island's biggest village, going to the site of Yuzhno-Kurilsk Mendeleyevo Airport.
Gidrostroy, the Kurils' biggest business group with interests in fishing, construction and real estate, built its second fish processing factory on Iturup island in 2006, introducing a state-of-the-art conveyor system.
To deal with a rise in the demand of electricity, the local government is also upgrading a state-run geothermal power plant at Mount Baransky, an active volcano, where steam and hot water can be found.
The main Russian force stationed on the islands is the 18th Machine Gun Artillery Division, which has its headquarters in Goryachiye Klyuchi on the Iturup Island. There are also Border Guard Service troops stationed on the islands. In February 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for substantial reinforcements of the Kuril Islands defences. Subsequently, in 2015, additional anti-aircraft missile systems Tor and Buk, coastal defence missile system Bastion, Kamov Ka-52 combat helicopters and one Varshavyanka project submarine came on defence of Kuril Islands. During the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine it was reported that parts of the 18th Machine Gun Artillery Division were redeployed to Eastern Ukraine.
List of main islands
While in Russian sources the islands are mentioned for the first time in 1646, the earliest detailed information about them was provided by the explorer Vladimir Atlasov in 1697. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Kuril Islands were explored by Danila Antsiferov, I. Kozyrevsky, Ivan Yevreinov, Fyodor Luzhin, Martin Spanberg, Adam Johann von Krusenstern, Vasily Golovnin, and Henry James Snow.
A view of the volcano Bogdan Khmelnitsky on Iturup Island
Mendeleyeva in the southern part of Kunashir
Ebeko volcano, Paramushir
White Rocks, Iturup
The following table lists information on the main islands from north to south:
|Island||Russian: Name||Japanese: Name||Alternative
|Island Group||Administrative centre /
|Severo-Kurilsky District||North Kurils||North Kurils (Kita-chishima / 北千島)||Severo-Kurilsk||Shelikovo, Podgorny, Baikovo||3,504 km2
(1,353 sq mi)
|Shumshu||Шумшу||占守島||Shumushu||North Kurils||Baikovo||388 km2
(150 sq mi)
|Atlasov||Атласова||阿頼度島||Oyakoba, Araido||North Kurils||Alaidskaya Bay||150 km2
(58 sq mi)
|Paramushir||Парамушир||幌筵島||Paramushiru, Horomushiro||North Kurils||Severo-Kurilsk||Shelikovo, Podgorny||2,053 km2
(793 sq mi)
|Antsiferov||Анциферова||志林規島||Shirinki||North Kurils||Antsiferov beach||Cape Terkut||7 km2
(2.7 sq mi)
|Makanrushi||Маканруши||磨勘留島||Makanru||North Kurils||Zakat||50 km2
(19 sq mi)
|Avos'||Авось||帆掛岩||Hokake, Hainoko||North Kurils||0.1 km2
(0.039 sq mi)
|Onekotan||Онекотан||温禰古丹島||Onwakotan||North Kurils||Mussel||Kuroisi, Nemo, Shestakov||425 km2
(164 sq mi)
|Harimukotan, Harumukotan||North Kurils||Sunazhma||Severgin Bay||70 km2
(27 sq mi)
|Ekarma||Экарма||越渇磨島||Ekaruma||North Kurils||Kruglyy||30 km2
(12 sq mi)
|Chirinkotan||Чиринкотан||知林古丹島||North Kurils||Cape Ptichy||6 km2
(2.3 sq mi)
|Shiashkotan||Шиашкотан||捨子古丹島||Shasukotan||North Kurils||Makarovka||122 km2
(47 sq mi)
|Lowuschki-Felsen||Ловушки||牟知列岩||Mushiru||North Kurils||1.5 km2
(0.58 sq mi)
|Raikoke||Райкоке||雷公計島||North Kurils||Raikoke||4.6 km2
(1.8 sq mi)
|Matua||Матуа||松輪島||Matsuwa||North Kurils||Sarychevo||52 km2
(20 sq mi)
|Rasshua||Расшуа||羅処和島||Rashowa, Rasutsua||North Kurils||Arches Point||67 km2
(26 sq mi)
|Ushishir||Ушишир||宇志知島||Ushishiru||North Kurils||Kraternya||Ryponkicha||5 km2
(1.9 sq mi)
|Ketoy||Кетой||計吐夷島||Ketoi||North Kurils||Storozheva||73 km2
(28 sq mi)
|Kurilsky District||Middle Kurils (Naka-chishima / 中千島)||split between both Japanese groups||Kurilsk||Reidovo, Kitovyi, Rybaki, Goryachiye Klyuchi, Kasatka, Burevestnik, Shumi-Gorodok, Gornyy||5,138 km2
(1,984 sq mi)
|Simushir||Симушир||新知島||Shimushiru, Shinshiru||North Kurils||Kraternyy||Srednaya bay||360 km2
(140 sq mi)
|Broutona||Броутона||武魯頓島||Buroton, Makanruru||North Kurils||Nedostupnyy||7 km2
(2.7 sq mi)
|Chirpoy||Чирпой||知理保以島||Chirihoi, Chierupoi||North Kurils||Peschanaya Bay||21 km2
(8.1 sq mi)
|Brat Chirpoyev||Брат Чирпоев||知理保以南島||Chirihoinan||North Kurils||Garovnikova||Semenova||16 km2
(6.2 sq mi)
|Urup||Уруп||得撫島||Uruppu||North Kurils||Mys Kastrikum||Mys Van-der-Lind||1,450 km2
(560 sq mi)
|Other||North Kurils||4.4 km2
(1.7 sq mi)
|Iturup||Итуруп||択捉島||Etorofu, Ietorupu||South Kurils (Minami-chishima / 南千島)||Kurilsk||Reidovo, Kitovyi, Rybaki, Goryachiye Klyuchi, Kasatka, Burevestnik, Shumi-Gorodok, Gornyy||3,280 km2
(1,270 sq mi)
|Yuzhno-Kurilsky District||South Kurils||South Kurils||Yuzhno-Kurilsk||Malokurilskoye, Rudnaya, Lagunnoye, Otrada, Goryachiy Plyazh, Aliger, Mendeleyevo, Dubovoye[disambiguation needed], Polino, Golovnino||1,860.8 km2
(718.5 sq mi)
|Kunashir||Кунашир||国後島||Kunashiri||South Kurils||Yuzhno-Kurilsk||Rudnaya, Lagunnoye, Otrada, Goryachiy Plyazh, Aliger, Mendeleyevo, Dubovoye, Polino, Golovnino||1,499 km2
(579 sq mi)
|Shikotan Island||Шикотан||色丹島||South Kurils||Malokurilskoye||Dumnova, Otradnaya, Krabozavodskoye (formerly Anama), Zvezdnaya, Voloshina, Kray Sveta||255 km2
(98 sq mi)
|Other||South Kurils||Ayvazovskovo||9.1 km2
(3.5 sq mi)
|Khabomai||Хабомаи||歯舞群島||Habomai||South Kurils||Zorkiy||Zelyony, Polonskogo||97.7 km2
(37.7 sq mi)
|Polonskogo||Полонского||多楽島||Taraku||South Kurils||Moriakov Bay station||11.57 km2
(4.47 sq mi)
|Oskolki||Осколки||海馬島||Todo, Kaiba||South Kurils||Unknown||0|
|Zelyony||Зелёный||志発島||Shibotsu||South Kurils||Glushnevskyi station||58.72 km2
(22.67 sq mi)
|Kharkar||Харкар||春苅島||Harukaru, Dyomina||South Kurils||Haruka||0.8 km2
(0.31 sq mi)
|Yuri||Юрий||勇留島||Yuri||South Kurils||Kalernaya||10.32 km2
(3.98 sq mi)
|Anuchina||Анучина||秋勇留島||Akiyuri||South Kurils||Bolshoye Bay||2.35 km2
(0.91 sq mi)
|Tanfil'yev||Танфильев||水晶島||Suishō||South Kurils||Zorkiy||Tanfilyevka Bay, Bolotnoye||12.92 km2
(4.99 sq mi)
|Storozhevoy||Сторожевой||萌茂尻島||Moemoshiri||South Kurils||0.07 km2
(0.027 sq mi)
|Signal'nyy||Сигнальный||貝殻島||Kaigara||South Kurils||0.02 km2
(0.0077 sq mi)
|Other||South Kurils||Opasnaya, Udivitelnaya||1 km2
(0.39 sq mi)
(4,055.3 sq mi)
- 2006 Kuril Islands earthquake
- 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake
- Chishima Province
- Evacuation of Karafuto and Kuriles
- Invasion of the Kuril Islands
- Karafuto Fortress
- Karafuto Prefecture
- Organization of Hokkai (North) Army
- Organization of Kita and Minami Fortresses
- Political divisions of Karafuto Prefecture
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Russians first set foot on the Kuril islands in August 1711 , when a detachment of Kamchatka Cossacks under the leadership of Daniil Antsiferov and Ivan Kozyrevsky landed on Shumshu, the northernmost of the Greater Kurils.
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- Howell, David (1997). "The Meiji State and the Logic of Ainu 'Protection'". In Hardacre, Helen (ed.). New Directions in the Study of Meiji Japan. Leiden: Brill Publishers. p. 614. ISBN 978-9-00410-735-9.
- Gawne, Jonathan (2002). Ghosts of the ETO: American Tactical Deception Units in the European Theater, 1944–1945. Havertown, Pennsylvania: Casemate (published 2007). p. 10. ISBN 9781935149927. Archived from the original on 7 July 2023. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
Operation WEDLOCK in 1944 created a notional force in the northern Pacific that appeared ready to invade the Kuril Islands. This pinned down Japanese troops and equipment in an area the Americans had no intention of attacking.
- "Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945 - Office of the Historian". history.state.gov. Archived from the original on 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
- "Распоряжение Правительства Российской Федерации от 08.02.2017 № 223-р" [Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 223-r dated February 8, 2017] (in Russian). Publication.pravo.gov.ru. 8 February 2017. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- "It was hoped that the proceeds from the ongoing projects would help to alleviate the high level of poverty in the region". Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, s.v. Sakhalin Oblast" (Europa Publications) 2003.
- "Profile on Yuzhno-Kurilsk Mendeleyevo Airport". Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- "Islands disputed with Japan feel Russia's boom". Archived from the original on 2007-10-29.
- Sebastien Roblin. "Russia Sends Pacific Island 'Machine Gun Artillery Division' To Ukraine". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-21. Retrieved 2022-08-04.
- Gorshkov, G. S. Volcanism and the Upper Mantle Investigations in the Kurile Island Arc. Monographs in geoscience. New York: Plenum Press, 1970. ISBN 0-306-30407-4
- Krasheninnikov, Stepan Petrovich, and James Greive. The History of Kamtschatka and the Kurilski Islands, with the Countries Adjacent. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1963.
- Rees, David. The Soviet Seizure of the Kuriles. New York: Praeger, 1985. ISBN 0-03-002552-4
- Takahashi, Hideki, and Masahiro Ōhara. Biodiversity and Biogeography of the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. Bulletin of the Hokkaido University Museum, no. 2-. Sapporo, Japan: Hokkaido University Museum, 2004.
- Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. 2006. ISBN 978-0-674-02241-6.
- Alan Catharine and Denis Cleary. Unwelcome Company. A fiction thriller novel set in 1984 Tokyo and the Kuriles featuring a light aircraft crash and escape from Russian-held territory. On Kindle.
- Southern Kuriles / Northern Territories: A Stumbling-block in Russia-Japan Relationship, history and analysis by Andrew Andersen, Department of Political Science, University of Victoria, May 2001
- http://depts.washington.edu/ikip/index.shtml (Kuril Island Biocomplexity Project)
- Kuril Islands at Ocean Dots.com at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) (includes space imagery)
- Kuril Islands at Natural Heritage Protection Fund
- The International Kuril Island Project
- Chishima: Frontiers of San Francisco Treaty in Hokkaido Short film on the disputed islands from a Japanese perspective
- USGS Map showing location of Magnitude 8.3 Earthquake 46.616°N, 153.224°E Kuril Islands region, November 15, 2006 11:14:16 UTC
- Pictures of Cats – Kurilian Bobtail
- Pictures of Kuril Islands
- Kuril Islands at Encyclopædia Britannica