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oblast (province), extreme eastern Russia, composed of Sakhalin Island and the chain of the Kuril Islands. The present oblast was formed in 1947 after southern Sakhalin and the Kurils were acquired from Japan. The economy is dominated by fishing, lumbering, coal mining, and the extraction of oil and natural gas in the north. Area (land) 33,600 square miles (87,100 square km). Pop. (1995 est.) 681,000.