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    Jewish Autonomous Region

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, is situated in the southern part of the Russian Far East and enjoys favorable geographic location. It borders the Amur Region in the west, the Khabarovsk Territory in the east, and its frontier on River Amur in the south coincides with the state border of Russia and China.

The region is in direct proximity to the Pacific Ocean coast and the major economic partners in the area and has exit to the seas of the Pacific Ocean through the Amur waterway. The famous Trans-Siberian Railroad providing shortest way from Europe and the Middle East to the Asian and Pacific Regions crosses the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.

The region is one of the most favourable corners of the Russian Far East regarding its nature and climatic conditions. The major riches of the area are its fruitful lands and various minerals.

Jewish Autonomous Oblast is one of the most under-populated subjects of the RF, with about 188 thousand people as of 2005. The administrative centre of the region is the city of Birobijan, where about 75 people live. In spite of the name of the oblast, Jewish population is not prevalent there. In fact, the Jews now make only about 1.2 per cent of the population, whereas Russian (89 per cent) and Ukrainian (4.5 per cent) nationalities prevail.

Exploration of the basin of River Amur was started by Russians from the mid 17th century. With efforts of pioneers on the Amur waterway the first stockaded towns and settlements appeared. As a result of the 6-year migration (1856 1862) numerous settlements were founded on the area of the future oblast.

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is remarkable for its unique history. It was established in the early 1930s as a national territorial subdivision for Jewish migrants, who moved there already in the years of the Soviet rule, on the area that had never been a place of compact habitation of the Jewish people. The Jewish migrants that arrived in the Amur area in the 1920-1930s and their descendants never formed the majority of the population of the Oblast, and after the large-scale immigration to Israel in the 1970-1990s became a very scarce minority. However, the name and the status of the Autonomous Oblast sustained by the inimitable symbolically cultural colouring and historical destiny still remain. After transformation of all other autonomous oblasts of Russia into republics in the early 1990s the Jewish Autonomous Oblast was left to be the only autonomous oblast of the Russian Federation.

Tags: Russian tourism Russian regions Jewish autonomous region Russian history Far East 


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