Nakhodka is a port city in Primorsky Krai (Maritime Region) in the Far Eastern part of Russia. The city has approximately 200,000 inhabitants. From 1950-1991, when the nearby large port of Vladivostok was closed to foreigners and foreign shipping, Nakhodka became the primary deep water port in the Russian Far East.
The city's economy, based mostly around the port and port-related activity such as fish processing and canning, has suffered since 1991 as Vladivostok was opened to foreign activity again. Local industry also took a hit in 1998 when the ruble suffered a huge devaluation resulting from the general Asian economic crisis. However, prospects are looking up. Nakhodka has been declared a "Free economic zone", and the governments in both Moscow (federal) and Vladivostok (regional) have seemed interested in opening the city further to foreign investment.
Nakhodka Bay, around which the city is organized, was discovered in 1859 by the Russian corvette "Amerika", which sought shelter in the bay during a storm. Hence, Nakhodka's name, which in Russian means "discovery". Before 1950 Nakhodka was a tiny fishing village, but all that changed when Soviet authorities decided to close Vladivostok to foreign shipping (because it was decided that the Soviet Pacific Fleet should be based there). Nakhodka grew quickly. Many of the buildings in the city date from the 1950s, when Japanese prisoners of war were used as force-labour to build housing for the incoming port workers. The city's heyday was apparently in the 1970s and 1980s, when (since it was the only Far Eastern port truly open to foreigners) it was very well-cared for. It served as the Eastern terminus for the passenger portion of the Trans-Siberian railway.