Where is Birobidzhan located: location, description, climate and reviews
For more than eight centuries of the existence of Jews in the Russian land, one of them assimilated with the local population, adopted Christianity, some remained faithful to their religion and traditions. Today in our country for representatives of this nation there is a special territorial subject of the Russian Federation - the Jewish Autonomous Region with the administrative center Birobidzhan.
History of the region
At the end of the 19th century, the Jews in our country constantly experienced the oppression of royal power, because the younger generation accepted the ideas of the 1917 revolution with passion and enthusiasm. After the victory of the Bolsheviks, Jews were equalized with other citizens, and the government thought about taking measures to attract them into the ranks of ordinary Soviet working people.
In 1934, a specially created committee decides to allocate free land to representatives of the Jewish people in the Far East.So begins the story of a unique autonomous region in Russia, the only one after Israel, where the Jews have their officially recognized territory.
The reasons for which the Soviet government allocated these lands for development and settlement are not accidental. The proximity to Japan and China dictated the need to create an outpost against possible aggression by the countries of the East.
To strengthen the borders, the territory along the Amur railway was chosen, and the center of the new area was the former small station Tikhonkaya, where about six hundred people lived before the mass relocation of Jews. Soon, thousands of Jews with families and belongings reached here, but due to the geographical position and harsh climate in those places where Birobidzhan is located, more than half of the people went back a year later.
In 1937, the settlement receives the official status of the city, here artels and partnerships begin to open. Information about the emergence of the Jewish Autonomous Region is becoming known far beyond the borders, so the Soviet government is trying to establish its status and attract to the region subsidies of rich Jews.
The settlers were forced to start from the very beginning, there were only taiga and swamps around, they cleared the roads, improved the fields, built houses and schools, opened a newspaper. Today, few of our compatriots know where the city of Birobidzhan is located on the map of Russia, and moreover almost nobody knows what this land is attractive and famous for.
After the collapse of the USSR and the adoption of a new constitution, the Jewish region remained the only autonomous region in Russia, all the others were renamed the republics. In 1990, the standard of living in the Jewish Autonomous Region and the neighboring regions was lower than the total for the country, so the Jews left for Israel en masse. Most of them settled in the city of Maalot, these people still hold annual meetings of former residents of the Jewish autonomy and visit their homes.
According to many historians, Stalin’s attempt to resettle the Jewish population from the central region of the country was nothing more than a voluntary reference. After all, the whole territory where Birobidzhan is located, as well as the lands adjacent to it, were practically wild places. Although this part of the Far East, despite the harsh climate and constant monsoon winds, proved to be quite suitable for life.
Favorable conditions here were made possible due to good terrain, the territory is surrounded by a massive mountain region with the highest point on the Student Mountain (1,412 m), and in the south and east there is the Middle Amur Lowland. The largest river in the region is the Amur, seven months a year cargo and passenger traffic is carried out here. The city itself is located on the shore of one of the small rivers, Bira, a little further - Bidzhan, they flow parallel to each other and flow into the great Siberian river.
Climate and nature
Winter is quite mild and dry, and summer is hot and humid, the favorable climate allows you to grow almost any crops: grains, vegetables, potatoes and even melons.
Rich forest lands, where ancient fir trees, oaks and other deciduous trees grow, reservoirs full of fish, diverse animal world - all this makes the main city of the JAO Birobidzhan truly unique and attractive. Climate, ecology, fertile lands and minerals allowed the region to develop independently and provide the inhabitants of the region with everything.
Composition of the population
Despite the name of the Jewish Autonomous Region, the proportion of people practicing Judaism is rather low.According to the 2010 census, out of 160 thousand people living in this territory, only 1% identified themselves as Jewish people, that is, where Birobidzhan is located, there are about 1,600 Jews. Most of them speak Russian, a little less in Hebrew, and the smallest share of those who still remember Yiddish.
Many people here have Jewish roots or have relatives who have left for Israel or other Western countries. Almost all the inhabitants of the region call themselves citizens of Russia and have the appropriate passports. The traditions of Judaism still live and peacefully coexist with Russian, Chinese and other cultures. Today in the main city of the region there is a national university, the club “Freud”, annually festivals and congresses of Jews are held.
There are many interesting places and regions in our country, about which it is rarely possible to find comprehensive information, one of such regions is the Jewish Autonomous Region and its capital Birobidzhan. Where is? The country and the city, and this region does not particularly highlight, it, in general, does not even have a special history and recognizable traditions.
In 2005, the city administration decided to somewhat change this injustice and issued a resolution on the creation of its own coat of arms.The Duma affirmed this position and the Jewish Autonomous Region finally got its special face. The emblem is a blue (azure) shield on top of six white strips emanating from a green hill, in the middle of the figure is a thin silver spear; The green hemisphere below complements the white with three azure twisting ribbons. All images are easily recognizable for locals: the traditional hill, a TV tower, a stylized image of the minor.
For the first time, the creation of the city’s own symbols was undertaken back in the USSR, then a competition in a newspaper was organized by the head of the city executive committee and monetary prizes were awarded. But the administration did not support the initiative, and for another thirty years the settlement remained without a coat of arms.
Almost all large enterprises in the city were founded in Soviet times, during the period of active settlement of the region. In the capital of the autonomous region developed light and food industries. In those places where the city of Birobidzhan is located, arable lands are especially successfully used, every year more and more crops are suitable for sowing, so there is no shortage of own products for processing here.
Shoe and garment factories operate in the capital of the autonomy, some of which are also known in the neighboring regions of the country: OAO Elegant, Rostok, Molly Dairy, and also produce furniture, transformers and pasta. Not far from the place where the sawmill is located in Birobidzhan 2, the Trans-Siberian Railway passes through the city, so that communication with other areas and the center is developed enough. In addition, the capital of the AO is located near the border with China, thanks to which trade relations have long been established between the two countries.
To provide the population with electricity operates its own CHP. All Russian mobile operators and representatives of well-known Internet providers are working.
During the period of mass emigration of Jews from the USSR to Israel and later, already in the difficult 90s of the 20th century, the region lost much socially and spiritually. Much in the appearance of the city still speaks of the presence of the Jewish people here: so a monument in the form of a minor is set up at the station square, and next to it is a bronze figure of one of the heroes of Jewish mythology.In addition, there are two synagogues, the third burned under Khrushchev.
All cultural institutions appeared here in Soviet times: the regional philharmonic society, the puppet theater, the Rodina cinema, the theater and several museums. In recent years, regional revival activists are seeking funds for the restoration and restoration of the city’s cultural buildings.
In the territory where the city of Birobidzhan is located, all the main television channels and radio stations broadcast, there is also its own local television. There are two stadiums, several swimming pools and children's sports and dance schools. Martial arts sections, chess, boxing and even have their own diving club are especially developed.
Many of those who previously went to Israel or America, still do not forget their hometown and often come to Birobidzhan. Where is the country, which became the first officially recognized Jewish center, representatives of the chosen people know and remember. Some activists and adherents of the revival of true Judaism in Russia chose Birobidzhan as the place for Yiddish propaganda, here it is taught for anyone.So, in the classes you can meet Russian, Chinese, Ukrainians and Koreans.
In 1990, with the support of the Russian government, a branch of the Institute for National Education Problems was established here. This school discusses issues and develops techniques for the development of Jewish education in our country.
Natives of the capital of autonomy or those who lived here at one time or another are considered to be many famous people. Among them are the heroes of the Soviet Union, musicians, composers, such as Shersher ZI, founder of the Grammy World Prize, or A. Yu. Gorshenyov, vocalist of the Kukryniksy group. As well as Russian actors and public figures: Semyon Strugachev, Sherlig Yu. B. and Kolin I. M.
The state program for the development of the Far Eastern regions of Russia, promoted in the last ten years, had its notable success. New paths for traveling have opened up for the citizens of our country, advertising for their native regions and the creation of the necessary infrastructure have resulted in a significant increase in the number of tourists in the Jewish Autonomous Region, especially where Birobidzhan, the capital of autonomy, is located.And not only our compatriots go, but also residents of Korea, China, Japan and Israel.
The main attraction of the region is stunning nature, it is easy to find untouched places and have a good time on the river or in the mountains. Lovers of urban beauty here also have something to wonder. Already at the entrance to the city a tourist is greeted by a monumental monument of Soviet architecture - the railway station, here on the square in the fountain you will see the most recognizable symbol of the Jewish faith - the menorah.
On the street, where the globe layout is located in Birobidzhan, guests from neighboring countries often stroll. Here you can meet and many monuments dedicated to Jewish culture and problems of development of the region. Fans of classical music must visit the regional philharmonic and theater.
Due to the remoteness in the central district of Russia, almost no one knows what the city of Birobidzhan, where the region is located, and not every schoolchild can show it on the map. Nevertheless, this part of a huge country has, albeit a small, but its own special history. Having emerged as a Jewish autonomous region, it very soon lost its original purpose, because today the Jews constitute an absolute minority of the total population - 1%.
Therefore, the fate of the region has been actively discussed for several years now. At the beginning of 1990, many advocated the abolition of the region in general, and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and some political scientists spoke in favor of this idea. Within the district itself and in Birobidzhan, activists immediately appeared, advocating the preservation of a particular vector of autonomy development.
To date, all the conversations have remained conversations, in order to carry out the procedure for the abolition of the JAR, it is necessary to remove one of the clauses of the Constitution, stating its autonomy. So, the convocation of the Constitutional Commission is required, but so far no real actions have been made.