Before the establishment of the Donetsian Oblast, three districts (okruhas) existed on its territory from 1923 to 1930. The Donets Governorate was terminated in 1925. As part of Soviet Ukraine, the Donetsian Oblast was established on 2 July 1932 out of the Kharkiv Oblast, the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and a number of raions that were under the direct administration of Kharkiv (then-capital of Soviet Ukraine). Artemivsk (today Bakhmut) served as the oblast's administrative center for two weeks until 16 July 1932, when the city of Stalino (today Donetsk) took on the role. Until 1938, the Donetsian Oblast included the territories of the modern Donetsk Oblast and the Luhansk Oblast. In June 1938 it was split into the Stalino Oblast (modern Donetsk Oblast) and the Voroshylovhrad Oblast (modern Luhansk Oblast).
During the Nazi German occupation from fall 1941 to fall 1943, Donetsk Oblast was known as Yuzivka Oblast (after the original name of Donetsk).
As part of de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union, in 1961 Stalino along with Stalino Oblast were renamed into Donetsk and Donetsk Oblast, respectively.
During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, 83.9% of voters in Donetsk Oblast approved Ukraine's declaration of independence in the 1991 referendum.
In the mid-1990s, the region became known for its heightened criminal activity, including the killings of high-profile business people such as Akhat Bragin and Yevhen Shcherban. Donetsk Oblast was also a base for Ukraine's main pro-Russian political faction, Party of Regions, which became part of the Ukrainian government in 2002 and paved a way into Ukrainian politics for the powerful "Donetsk political clan".
In 1994, a referendum took place in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast, with around 90% supporting the Russian language gaining the status of an official language alongside Ukrainian, and for Russian to be an official language on a regional level; however, the referendum was annulled by the Kyiv government.
In late 2004, the Party of Regions was involved in the creation of a political project, South-East Ukrainian Autonomous Republic, which intended to include Donetsk Oblast. Having close ties with the Russian government, the Party of Regions along with local communists and pro-Russian activists instigated the pro-Russian unrest which escalated into the war in Donbas. In May 2014 Ukraine lost control over its border with Russia in Donetsk Oblast. Currently, portions of the region are controlled by the Novorossiya Armed Forces and claimed by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.
Donetsk Oblast is located in southeastern Ukraine. The area of the oblast (26,517 km2), comprises about 4.4% of the total area of the country. The oblast borders the Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts on the southwest, the Kharkiv Oblast on the north, the Luhansk Oblast on the northeast, the Rostov Oblast in Russia on the east, and with the Sea of Azov 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 Lyman Raion on the north.
The state historic-architectural preserve near the city of Sviatohirsk with the Sviatohirsk Lavra was nominated for the Seven Wonders of Ukraine.
Mariupol is a city in the Donetsk region, located on the shores of the Sea of Azov, at the confluence of the Kalmius River. A fortress was built here in the early 16th century by Zaporizhzhya Cossacks. In 1778, the Greeks who fled from the Crimea founded a settlement that was called Pavlovsk in 1778-1780. In 1780, the city was named Mariupol in honor of the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, the wife of the heir to the royal throne, the future Emperor Paul I. In 1948-1989, the city was called Zhdanov in honor of the Soviet statesman A.A. Zhdanov, a native of Mariupol.
Mariupol is one of the largest industrial centers of the region and Ukraine, the sea gate of Donbass. The main enterprises of the city are the metallurgical plants named after Ilyich and Azovstal. In the southwestern part of Mariupol there is a seaside climatic and mud resort. The main healing factors are mild climate, warm sea, silt mud of the Taganrog Bay. In local health resorts (the largest is the Metallurg sanatorium), diseases of the organs of movement and the peripheral nervous system are treated. Metallurgical production pollutes the atmosphere and coastal waters, which reduces the attractiveness of Mariupol as a recreational center.
The city has a Russian drama theater, a museum of local lore with an art gallery named after. A.I. Kuindzhi, a native of Mariupol.
Slavyansk is a city located in the northern part of the Donetsk region, on the Kazenny Torets River. The city was founded in 1676 as a fortification Tor (Salt). In 1784 it was renamed into Slovensk, since 1794 - Slavyansk. In the city, on the territory of a landscaped park, there is a balneo-mud resort, where brine and sulfide silt mud of lakes Repnoye, Veysovo, Slepnoye are used as therapeutic agents. In the sanatoriums "Donbass" and "Yubileiny" they treat diseases of the joints, peripheral nervous system, gynecological diseases. Sanatorium "Slavyansky" specializes in the rehabilitation of patients with the consequences of injuries and diseases of the spinal cord. Slavyansk is the birthplace of the artist P. P. Konchalovsky
Slavyanogorsk - a city (until 1964 the village of Bannoe) and a resort in the Donetsk region; is located on the Seversky Donets River, 34 km north of Slovyansk. The settlement was founded in the 16th century by Cossacks and runaway peasants. Later, a monastery was built here on the right high bank of the Donets - the Holy Mountains. The first mention of it refers to 1624. In 1788 the Svyatogorsk monastery was closed. Some time later, these places became the property of Prince G.V. Potemkin. On one of the chalk mountains, he built a palace, on the shore of the lake in the floodplain of the river - baths for guests. From here came the name of the lake and the village on its shore 1 Bannoe. The monastery, which reopened in the middle of the 19th century, was visited by F. I. Tyutchev, A. P. Chekhov, I. E. Repin, I. A. Bunin. After the establishment of Soviet power, it was abolished.
In Slavyanogorsk, there are sanatoriums, recreation centers, children's health institutions. Sanatoriums specialize in the treatment of diseases of the circulatory system, the nervous system, the musculoskeletal system, occupational diseases of the respiratory system. In 1992, the Assumption Monastery resumed its activities. The Assumption Cathedral (19th century), St. Nicholas Church (17th century), and a complex of cave structures were returned to the use of the monastery. Among the sights of Slavyanogorsk is a monument to the revolutionary Artyom (F.A. Sergeev) on the high bank of the Seversky Donets (1927). In the 1990s, the national park "Holy Mountains" was created on the territory of the city.
Kamennye Mohyly is a branch of the Ukrainian steppe reserve, located on the border with the Zaporozhye region, and covers an area of 387 hectares. Here, rocky hills form two ridges 50 to 70 m high, elongated from southeast to northwest, separated by a valley 600–800 m wide; forb-fescue-feather grass steppes are widespread. More than 50 plant species are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. According to one version, it was here in 1223 on the Kalka River (now Kalchik) that the battle with the Mongol-Tatars took place. The museum exposition tells about the battle on Kalka. Khomutovskaya steppe is a branch of the Ukrainian steppe reserve, located in the Novoazovsky district, covers an area of 1030 hectares. Forb-fescue-feather grass communities with rare species are protected here - narrow-leaved peony, Tatar katran, Schrenk's tulip.
There are about 140 museums in Donetsk, of course, it’s impossible to visit all of them, and it’s not worth it, but you can look into the Donetsk Regional Art Museum (Pushkin St., 35, Wed-Sun, 9:00-17:00) and the regional museum of local lore. The first boasts a good collection of Russian and Ukrainian artists, collected over the past three centuries, as well as an excellent collection of Russian realists. In addition, small but very original museums of the history and development of the Donetsk railway, the Museum of Communications or the Jewish Heritage of Donbass, which was created by the Donetsk Jewish Community Center, are noteworthy.
The city is also notable for the charming Pushkin Boulevard, the Opera House , the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, the monument “To Your Liberators, Donbass!”, the city council building and the park of forged figures - the only one in Europe. It is worth admiring the picturesque view of the Kalmius River, looking at the Tsar Cannon, the Bochum Bell and the house of Krol, the founder of outdoor advertising in Donetsk. Children will certainly enjoy the circus .