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The Far Eastern Federal District
The Privolzhsky Federal District
The North-Western Federal District
The Siberian Federal District
The Ural Federal District
The Central Federal District
The Southern Federal District
 

Еврейская автономная область


The Subject of the Russian Federation:
Jewish Autonomous Region

Federal District: The Far Eastern Federal District

Population: 176 600 persons.


Description

Subject of the Russian Federation: Jewish Autonomous Oblast

Federal District: Far Eastern

Federal District Population: 176,600.

Description

Jewish Autonomous Oblast was established on 7 May 1934.

Its administrative centre is Birobidzhan.

It shares its borders with China (along the Amur River) in the south, with Amur Oblast in the west, with Khabarovsk Krai in the east. The population of the oblast is 176.6 thousand people. The administrative divisions are - Obluchensky District, Smidovichsky District, Birobidzhansky District, Leninsky District, Oktyabrsky District.

History

On 28 March 1928, the Presidium of the General Executive Committee of the USSR passed the decree "On the attaching for Komzet of free territory near the Amur River in the Far East for settlement of the working Jews”.

On 20 August 1930 the General Executive Committee of RSFSR accepted the decree "On formation of the Birobidzhan national region in the structure of the Far Eastern Territory". On 7 May 1934, All-Russian Central Executive Committee accepted the decree on the transformation of the Jewish national region established in 1930 into the Jewish Autonomous Region. It was planned to reorganize the autonomous oblast into Jewish Republic (as a place for dense habitation of Jews of the USSR) but the plan was never carried out.

After reorganization of all Russian autonomous oblasts into republics in the early 1990s, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast remained the only autonomous oblast in the RF.

Unlike all the other autonomies of Russia (formerly of the entire USSR), the Jewish Autonomous Oblast has a unique history; it was established in the beginning of the 1930s as a national territorial subdivision for immigrants who moved there in the epoch of Soviet regime, in the territory that had never been a place of dense habitation for this nation.

The Jews who migrated to Priamurye in the 1920—1930 and their future generations had never constituted the majority of the population of this autonomous oblast, and after the large-scale repatriation to Israel in 1970-1990s they even became its small minority. The Jew population peak of the oblast was reached in 1937 - 20,000 people, after that it was constantly descending. Nowadays more than 15 thousand repatriates from the Jewish Autonomous Oblast live in Israel, more than 5 thousand of them live in the city of Maalot making up half of the city's population. All-Israel meeting of repatriates from the Jewish Autonomous Oblast id held annually.

On 25-27 June 2008, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast was represented at this meeting by A. Vinnikov, the mayor of Birobidzhan, Yefim Frisman, the head of the Institute for Complex Analysis of Regional Problems (Birobidzhan) and others. The quantity of the titular ethnic group is constantly falling down (1.2 % in 2002), however the name and status of the autonomous oblast are still preserved. There exist a project of Jewish Autonomous Oblast joining Khabarovsk Krai. There is also an alternative variant concerning Jewish Autonomous Oblast joining Amur Oblast with further establishment of Amurland. Jewish people clamour against the elimination of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Victor Ishaev, the authorized representative of the president in the Far Eastern Federal District, considers the unification with the Jewish Autonomous Oblast with Khabarovsk Krai untimely.

Geographical Position

By its nature and weather conditions, the oblast belongs to one of the most favourable places of the Russian Far East. Its territory is covered with two types of relief - mountainous and flat.

One of the mountainous region s is the southern part of Khingano-Burein Range that occupies nearly a half of the entire area. The plain spreading in the south and in the east is the westernmost point of the Middle Amur Lowland.

The climate is moderate, monsoon. Winters are cold, with little snow (the average temperature in January is from -21 °C in the southernmost point to -26 °C in the mountains), summers are warm and humid. The relief has a significant influence over the climate. Throughout the year about 450-500 mm of precipitations fall on the plain, nearly 75 % of them fall within the period from May till September.

The principal resources of the oblast are fertile lands, different mineral resources, the Amur, Bira, Bidzhan rivers and their tributaries with diverse fish fauna, extensive forests. Out of 1.7 mln ha of forest lands, 160 thousand are covered with cedar woodland, 249 thousand ha - with fir forests, 163 thousand ha - with larch forests. The stand of timber per acre is 202 mln m³ (State forest register, 2009).

From the south-west, south and south-east, 584 km of the territory is washed by the waters of the greatest rivers of Eurasia - the Amur. The waterway near the western border of the oblast (in the neighbourhoods of the selo of Pashkovo) is 1.5 km wide and near the eastern border - 2.5 km wide. The Amur is covered with ice for as long as 5 months - from the end of November to the third decade of April. In winter the ice thickness can reach 2 m, which allows to perform cargo and passenger transportation. The average navigation period is 180 days.

A number of big (more than 10 m long) and 1146 small (less than 10 km long) rivers belong to the Amur basin. These are the Bira, the Bidzhan, the Birakan, the In, the Urmi, the Ikura and others. The total distance of the river network is 8,231 km. The heads of the rivers Bira and Bidzhan serve as spawning grounds for the Far Eastern calico salmon.

Industry

The oblast produces 9% of the industrial products of Khabarovsk Krai. Manufacturing agricultural machines and power transformers (Birobidzhan), wood processing, including furniture trade (Nikolaevka, Birobidzhan), shoemaking, knitting, fabrics, and hosiery have an interregional significance. Tinnery is well developed.

By 1970 the industrial production grew 11 times as compared to 1940. All the large enterprises were built during the post-war years. The main industrial centre is the city of Birobidzhan.

Agriculture

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a vegetable-and-potato and dairy-and-meat base of Khabarovsk and partly of the central and northern regions of the krai. Moreover, the agriculture of the region is oriented towards soybeans and grain production and bee-breeding. Fishing is not highly developed. There are three plants for calico salmon breeding and an ordinary fish farm.

Transport

The oblast has a dense network of transportational routes. The double-track electrified one is in its basis.

It has a free access to the Pacific via the Amur waterway. Trans-Siberian Railway that ensured the shortest routes from Western Europe and the Near East to the countries of the Asian-Pacific region goes through its territory.

Trans-Siberian Railway and the Amur waterway.

Highways, railways and fluvial navigable waterways connect all the settlements with one another and the regional centre.

The distance of the railways of public service is 530 km; the most important stations are: Birobidzhan, Volochaevka-2, Izvestkovaya, Obluchye, In, Bira. The Amur Bridge is now being reconstructed. It will link the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Khabarovsk (the administrative centre of Khabarovsk Krai).

Motor vehicles perform a substantial volume of cargo and passenger transportation. The total distance of highways is 1.9 thousand km, the paved highway distance is 1.6 km. The highway Khabarovsk - Birobidzhan - Obluchye - Amur Oblast with a ferry crossing is of great significance.

The river navigation is developed in the southern regions of the oblast. The navigable rivers are the Amur and the Tunguska. The distance of the river routes is 600 km. The major river ports are located in the selos of Leninskoe, Amurzet, Yekaterino-Nikolskoe, Nagibovo, Pashkovo. Taking into account the fact that the border of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast along the Amur River coincides with the state boundary of Russia and China, three checkpoints are established in the oblast: Nizhneleninskoe, Amurzet, Pashkovo. They give on the Chinese cities Tuntszyan, Minshan, Tszyain and are open for the international freight traffic and passenger services. River and ferry services function in summer, and highway services - in winter. Pokrovka port (Smidovichsky District) is also open for the international freight traffic. The ZheltyYar Airport links Birobidzhan with Khabarovsk and the interior regional centres.

It is being reconstructed and expanded, it is planned to launch an international aircraft route Birobidzhan-Tszyamusy (China). The well-developed transportation system and the essential infrastructure (border crossings, customs complex) provide favourable conditions for the development in the sphere of foreign economic activity.

Types of Tourism

  • Ecological
  • Health-related
  • Cultural-cognitive
  • Sightseeing
  • Mountain skiing

Sights

  • "Bauhaus" in Birobidzhan
  • Lenin Square
  • Memorial to V. I. Lenin
  • Memorial to a Jewish writer Sholom-Aleykhem
  • City Culture Centre
  • Soviet Square
  • Square of Peoples of Russia and China Friendship
  • Memorial to Military and Labour Glory of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast
  • Victory Square
  • Chapel in honour of the Sovereign icon of Mother of God
  • Rodina Cinema
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Building of the department store in the Sholom-Aleikhema Street
  • Building of the former gastronome
  • City Quay
  • Building of the Regional Civil Registry Office
  • Regional Philharmonic and Theatre Square with a photo-musical fountain
  • Tikhonkaya Nipple
  • Dendrological Park
  • State Nature Reserve Bastak
  • Fish farm in the Tyoploe Lake

Famous Natives

  • Golovach, Sergei Mikhailovich - artist
  • Gorshenev, Alexei Yurievich - musician, vocalist of the rock-group Kukryniksy