Luhansk has been held by the rebel group of Luhansk People's Republic since 2014. Luhansk is the administrative center of the Luhansk Oblast. After the rebels captured Luhansk and the southern parts of the Oblast, the (pro-Kiev) administration moved to Sievierodonetsk.
The city traces its history to 1795 when the British industrialist Charles Gascoigne founded a metal factory near the Zaporizhian Cossacks settlement Kamianyi Brid. The settlement around the factory was known as Luganskiy Zavod. In 1882 the factory settlement Luganskiy Zavod was merged with the town of Kamianyi Brid into the city of Luhansk. Located in the Donets Basin, Luhansk developed into an important industrial center of Eastern Europe, particularly as a home to the major locomotive-building company Luhanskteplovoz. The city was occupied by Nazi Germany between July 14, 1942 and February 14, 1943.
On November 5, 1935, the city was renamed Voroshilovgrad (Russian: Ворошиловград, Ukrainian: Ворошиловград - Voroshylovhrad) in honour of Soviet military commander and politician Kliment Voroshilov. On March 5, 1958, with the call of Khrushchev not to give names of living people to cities, the old name was reinstated. On January 5, 1970, after the death of Voroshilov on December 2, 1969, the name changed again to Voroshilovgrad. Finally, on May 4, 1990, a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR gave the city back its original name.
In 1994 a referendum took place in the Donetsk Oblast and the Luhansk Oblast, with around 90% supporting the Russian language gaining status of an official language alongside Ukrainian, and for the Russian language to be an official language on a regional level; however, the referendum was annulled by the Ukrainian government.
During the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine, separatists seized governmental buildings in the region, proclaiming the Luhansk People's Republic. An unconstitutional independence referendum was held on May 11, 2014. The legitimacy of the referendums was not recognized by most governments. However, the Luhansk People's Republic was recognized by South Ossetia. Ukraine does not recognize the referendum, while the EU and US said the polls were illegal.
On 25 June 2014, Luhansk was officially pronounced as the capital of the Luhansk People's Republic by the government of the separatist republic.
In August 2014, Ukrainian government forces completely surrounded rebel-held Luhansk. Heavy shelling caused civilian casualties in the city. On August 17, Ukrainian soldiers entered rebel-controlled Luhansk and gained control over a police station.
After the Ilovaisk counteroffensive, LPR forces regained Lutuhyne and other Luhansk suburbs. Ukrainian forces withdrew from the Luhansk International Airport on 1 September after heavy fighting.
In the Ukrainian Census of 2001, 49.6% of the inhabitants declared themselves as ethnically Ukrainians and 47% declared themselves as ethnically Russian. The most widespread native language was Russian, at 85.3% of the population. Ukrainian was the native language for 13.7% of the population, and there was also smaller numbers of speakers of Armenian (0.2%) and Belarusian (0.1%).
Luhansk is home to Zorya Luhansk which now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League annual football championship and plays at the Avanhard Stadium. The club won the 1972 Soviet Top League.
The other football team was Dynamo Luhansk.
On September 7, 2006, archaeologists in Ukraine announced that an ancient structure had been discovered near Luhansk, which the press reported as a pyramid antedating those in Egypt by at least 300 years. The stone foundations of the structure were said to resemble Aztec and Mayan pyramids in Mesoamerica. It was later concluded that the site in question was not a pyramid but was still of great interest.
During 2014 and 2015, Luhansk has been the scene of intense fighting and most of these buildings are damaged to some extent. Some may be destroyed.Nikolay Shmatko (born 1943), sculptor, professor and painter.
Sergey Bubka (born 1963), Soviet and Ukrainian pole vaulter, former World Record holder, and Olympic Champion
Vasiliy Bubka (born 1960), Soviet and Ukrainian pole vaulter
Vladimir Dal (1801–1872), Russian lexicographer
Fedor Emelianenko (born 1976), a mixed martial arts champion
Andriy Serdinov (born 1982), Ukrainian swimmer
Kliment Voroshilov (1881–1969), Soviet military commander
Mikhail Matusovsky (1915–1990), Soviet poet, songwriter
Oleksandr Zavarov (born 1961), Soviet and Ukrainian football player and coach
Valeriy Brumel (1942–2003), Soviet olympic champion
Sergei Semak, Russian football player
Viktor Onopko, Russian football player
Yelyzaveta Bryzhina (Born 1989), Sprinter, Bronze Medal 4 × 100 m Relay London 2012
Luhansk has both the highest and lowest temperature recorded in Ukraine; a record high of 42.0 °C (107.6 °F) was recorded on 12 August 2010 while a record low of −41.9 °C (−43.4 °F) was recorded on 8 January 1935.
Luhansk is twinned with: Cardiff, United Kingdom