Bashkortostan or Bashkir Republic, constituent republic (1990 pop. 4,100,100), 55,444 sq mi (143,600 sq km), E European Russia, in the S Urals, occupying the Belaya River basin. Ufa is the capital; other important cities are Sterlitamak, Beloretsk, and Ishimbay. The Trans-Siberian and South Siberian railroads cross the republic. Bashkortostan forms the eastern part of the Volga-Ural petroleum region and also has natural gas, coal, salt, iron, gold, copper, zinc, bauxite, and manganese deposits. The drilling, refining, and processing of oil is the predominant economic activity. About 40% of the land is forested, and sawmilling and the production of plywood and paper are important. Grains (especially wheat, rye, and oats) are the chief agricultural products. The republic's population is made up of Bashkirs (about 21%), Russians (about 40%), and Tatars (about 25%). The Bashkirs, a mixture of Finno-Ugric, Turkic, and Mongolian tribes, are a Muslim people who speak a Turkic language very close to Tatar. Historically, the Bashkirs were controlled by the Volga Bulgars and the Golden Horde, and later by the khanates of Kazan, Nogai, and Siberia. In 1557, during the reign of Ivan IV, they came under Muscovite rule. The Russians founded Ufa in 1574 and began colonization, dispossessing the Bashkirs, who revolted numerous times during the next two centuries (notably under Pugachev in 1773-75). In 1917 a Bashkir national government was formed, but the region experienced heavy fighting between the Red and White armies in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. In 1919, the region was made the first autonomous Soviet republic. In 1990 the republic passed a declaration of sovereignty, and in 1991 it declared itself independent, although this declaration was not recognized by any other government. It was a signatory, under the name Republic of Bashkortostan, to the Mar. 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation (see Russia).

Republic of Bashkortostan (Респу́блика Башкортоста́н; Башҡортостан Республикаһы) or Bashkiria (Башки́рия) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic). It is located between the Volga river and the Ural Mountains. Its capital is Ufa.


The direct romanization of the republic's name in Russian is Respublika Bashkortostan or Bashkiriya, and the romanization of the republic's name in Bashkir is Bašqortostan Respublikahy.


First settlements on the territory of modern Bashkortostan were set up in early paleolithic period. But it was the bronze age which served as a spur to populate this territory. When people of Abashevo culture started settling here, they possessed high skills in manufacturing bronze tools, weapons, and decorations. They were the first to establish permanent settlements in the Southern Urals. The ethnonym Bashkirs first became known in the 9th century.

In the 10th century, Islam started to spread among Bashkirs, and in the 14th century it became a dominant religion. Up to the 16th century the territory of modern Bashkortostan was divided between Kazan and Siberia Khanates and Nogai Horde. The tribes that lived there were headed by bi (tribal heads). After Kazan fell to Ivan the Terrible in 1554–1555, representatives of western and north-western Bashkir tribes approached the Tsar with a request to voluntarily join the Muscovy.

Starting from the second half of the 16th century, Bashkiria's territory began taking shape as a part of the Russian state. In 1798 the Spiritual Assembly of Russia Muslims was established—an indication that the tsarist Government recognized the rights of Bashkirs, Tatars, and other Muslim nations to profess Islam and perform religious rituals. Ufa Governorate (guberniya), with a center in Ufa, was formed in 1865—another step towards territorial identification.

After the Russian revolution, Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) within the Russian SFSR was established in 1919, firstly as Little Bashkortostan, but then all Ufa Governorate was incorporated to the newly established republic. During the Soviet period, Bashkiria was granted broad autonomous rights—the first among other Russian regions. The administrative structure of the Bashkir ASSR was based on principals similar to those of other autonomous republics of Russia.

The year 1932 was the starting point when the extraction of Bashkir crude oil began. At the end of 1943, large crude oil deposits (Tuymazy oil-field) were discovered. During the World War II, Bashkiria turned into one of the major regions of the Soviet Union to accommodate plants and factories evacuated from Western Russia, as well as great masses of people; all while providing the country with weaponry, fuel, and food-stuff. After the war, a good number of industries were further developed in Bashkiria, such as mining, machine building and especially oil-refining. Bashkiria's industry became a solid basis for further economic growth of all European outlying territories of Russia.

On October 11, 1990 the Supreme Soviet of the Republic adopted the Declaration on state sovereignty of the Bashkir SSR. On February 25, 1992 the Bashkir SSR was renamed the Republic of Bashkortostan.

On March 31, 1992 a Federative Compact "On separation of authorities and powers among federal organs of power of the Russian Federation and the organs of power of the Republic of Bashkortostan" was signed. On August 3, 1994 a Compact "On separation of authorities and mutual delegating of powers among the organs of power of the Russian Federation and the organs of power of the Republic of Bashkortostan" was signed.


The head of government in Bashkortostan is the President, who is elected for a four-year term. According to the Constitution, the President of the Republic of Bashkortostan guarantees rights and liberties of a person and a citizen, protects economic and political interests of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and secures legitimacy, law and order on its territory.

As of 2007, the president is Mortaza Ghöbäydulla uly Räximev (Murtaza Rakhimov), who was elected on December 17, 1993. Prior to the elections, Rakhimov was the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic—the highest post at that time. Rakhimov was re-elected in December 2003 in a poll condemned by the OSCE for exhibiting "elements of basic fraud."

The Republic's parliament is the State Assembly—Kurultai, popularly elected every five years. The one-chamber State Assembly has 120 deputies.

The Republic's Constitution was adopted on December 24, 1993. Article 1 of the Constitution stipulates that Bashkortostan is a sovereign state within Russia, it has all the state power in full volume beyond the limits of authority of the Russian Federation and the powers of the Russian Federation concerning the aspect of joint authority of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bashkortostan. The Republic of Bashkortostan is a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation on equal and agreed bases.

The relations of the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Russian Federation are at present based on the articles of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Federative Compact (with amendments), the Agreement on Separation of authorities and powers and mutual delegating of powers among the organs of state power of the Republic of Bashkortostan.

The judicial power of the Republic is in the hands of courts: the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, district Courts, and justices of the peace.

In full accord with universally recognized principles of international law, articles of European Charter on local self-government and the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Bashkortostan ensures in its Constitution that local self-government is recognized and guarantied on the republic territory.

The Republic of Bashkortostan resolves all the issues of its administrative-territorial structure on its own. The list of districts and towns of the republican importance, municipalities as well as the order of establishing, amending and changing borders of municipalities and their names are stipulated by the Republic of Bashkortostan law "On administrative-territorial structure of the Republic of Bashkortostan and territory of municipalities".


Much of Bashkortostan's economy depends on its oil processing industry, which is a left-over from Soviet times and has seen little investment since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most of the industry, nominally privatized, has in fact been granted to the factions close to the president's family.

More than half of Bashkortostan's industry is based in Ufa, the republic's capital.

Major economic indices
2002 2003 2004
Gross regional product 214.8 279.7 n/a billion roubles
Industrial production volume 161.7 192.1 354 billion roubles
Construction 1,408 1,471.5 1508.4 th.m.²
Agricultural produce 50.1 52.1 57.2 billion roubles
Investments into fixed capital 52.1 53.7 62.4 billion roubles
Accumulated foreign investments 71.7 97.6 157.1 million US$
Foreign trade turnover 2646 3045.3 3840.6 million US$
Export 2303.4 2724.4 3525.9 million US$
Import 342.3 320.9 314.7 million US$
Wholesale trade turnover 117.7 118.1 151.2 billion roubles


Bashkortostan contains part of the southern Urals and the adjacent plains.

Time zone

Bashkortostan is located in the Yekaterinburg Time Zone (YEKT/YEKST). UTC offset is +0500 (YEKT)/+0600 (YEKST).


There are over 13,000 rivers in the republic. Many rivers are parts of deepwater transportation system of European Russia; they provide access to ports of the Baltic and the Black seas.

Major rivers include:


There are 2,700 lakes and reservoirs in the republic. Major lakes and reservoirs include:


The republic contains part of the southern Urals, which stretch from the northern to the southern border. The highest mountains include:

Natural resources

The Republic of Bashkortostan is one of the richest territories of Russia in mineral resources. There are some 3,000 mineral resources deposits here. Bashkortostan is rich in crude oil reserves, and was one of the principal centers of oil extraction in the Soviet Union. Other major resources are natural gas, coal, ferrous metal ores, manganese, chromite, iron ores, non-ferrous metals ores (lead, tungsten), non-metallic ores (rock crystal, phluorite, islandic spar, surphur pyrites, barite, silicates, silica, asbestos, talcum), deposits of precious and semi-precious stones and natural stones (malachite, jade, granite).

The republic has enough mineral resources to provide its power and fuel complex as well as petro-chemical, chemical, agro-industrial complex, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, glass-making and ceramic branches with raw materials.

Bashkortostan is one of the major raw materials bases for Russia non-ferrous metallurgy. The republic has good deposits of lignite with high degree of bituminosity. This lignite can be used for obtaining a variety of different chemical products like mountain wax and resins, surface-active substances, gummy fertilizers, and other stimulants for plants growth. Mining-chemical raw materials (rock salt, lime, phosphorites, barytes, etc.) are quite substantial, and are utilized in the republic economy.

Bashkortostan is also rich in woods. The total territory covered with forests is about 62,000 km² . More than one third of the republic territory is covered with woods. The following types of trees dominate: birch tree, conifers, lime, oak, and maple. The general stock of timber according to some evaluation is 717.9 million m³. Bashkortostan forests have special sanctuaries and national parks. They cover more than 10,000 km².

Bashkortostan is also rich in springs and sources of mineral, medicinal, and drinking water.


  • Average annual temperature: 0.3 °C (mountains) to 2.8 °C (plains)
  • Average January temperature: -16 °C
  • Average July temperature: +18 °C
  • Average annual precipitation: no data

Administrative divisions


  • Population: 4,104,336 (2002)
    • Urban: 2,626,613 (70.8%)
    • Rural: 1,477,723 (29.2%)
    • Male: 1,923,233 (46.9%)
    • Female: 2,181,103 (53.1%)
  • Females per 1000 males: 1,134
  • Average age: 35.6 years
    • Urban: 35.2 years
    • Rural: 36.4 years
    • Male: 33.4 years
    • Female: 37.7 years
  • Number of households: 1,429,004 (with 4,066,649 people)
    • Urban: 931,417 (with 2,592,909 people)
    • Rural: 497,587 (with 1,473,740 people)
  • Vital statistics (2005)
    • Births: 44,094 (birth rate 10.8)
    • Deaths: 57,787 (death rate 14.2)

  • Ethnic groups

According to the 2002 Census the ‘national composition’ was • Russian 36.32% • Bashkir 29.76% • Tatar 24.14% • Chuvash 2.86% • Mari 2.58% • Ukrainian 1.35% • Mordovian 0.63% • Udmurt 0.55% • Belarusians 0.42% • Armenian 0.21% • German 0.20% • Uzbek 0.13% • Azeri 0.12% • Kryashen 0.11% • Kazakh 0.10% • Tajik 0.07% • Jewish 0.06% • and various other groups of less than two thousand persons each. An additional 0.11% of the inhabitants declined to state their nationality on the census questionnaire. Historical figures are shown below:

census 1926 census 1939 census 1959 census 1970 census 1979 census 1989 census 2002
Bashkirs 625,845 (23.5%) 671,188 (21.2%) 737,744 (22.1%) 892,248 (23.4%) 935,880 (24.3%) 863,808 (21.9%) 1,221,302 (29.8%)
Russians 1,064,707 (39.9%) 1,281,347 (40.6%) 1,418,147 (42.4%) 1,546,304 (40.5%) 1,547,893 (40.3%) 1,548,291 (39.3%) 1,490,715 (36.3%)
Tatars 621,158 (23.3%) 777,230 (24.6%) 768,566 (23.0%) 944,505 (24.7%) 940,436 (24.5%) 1,120,702 (28.4%) 990,702 (24.1%)
Chuvash 84,886 (3.2%) 106,892 (3.4%) 109,970 (3.3%) 126,638 (3.3%) 122,344 (3.2%) 118,509 (3.0%) 117,317 (2.9%)
Mari 79,298 (3.0%) 90,163 (2.9%) 93,902 (2.8%) 109,638 (2.9%) 106,793 (2.8%) 105,768 (2.7%) 105,829 (2.6%)
Ukrainians 76,710 (2.9%) 99,289 (3.1%) 83,594 (2.5%) 76,005 (2.0%) 75,571 (2.0%) 74,990 (1.9%) 55,249 (1.3%)
Others 113,232 (4.2%) 132,860 (4.2%) 129,686 (3.9%) 122,737 (3.2%) 115,363 (3.0%) 111,045 (2.8%) 123,222 (3.0%)

Spoken languages: Russian (~100%), Tatar (34%), Bashkir (26%).

It is believed by some Tatars that the 2002 Census misrepresented the numbers of Tatars and Bashkirs in favor of the latter The reality is that ethnic identity in northwestern Bashkortostan is extremely fluid, and many people in that region have changed their ethnic identification, usually under pressure from the authorities of Bashkortostan which are trying to artificially increase the ratio of ethnic Bashkirs within the population of the republic.


Adherents of Islam account the majority of Bashkir and Tatar. Most Russians are Orthodox Christians. Non-religious people are the essential part of any ethnical group in Bashkortostan.

Population development

Year Population
1897 1,991,000
1913 2,811,000
1926 2,547,000
1939 3,158,000
1959 3,340,000
1970 3,818,000
1979 3,849,000
1989 3,950,000
2002 4,104,000
2005 4,078,800


The Republic of Bashkortostan possesses high scientific and technical potential. About 60 scientific organizations are active in Bashkortostan. Fundamental and applied scientific research work is under way at 12 Institutes UFA Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 29 Institutes of different branches of industry as well as design bureaus and organizations, chairs of universities and colleges.

The system of popular upbringing and teaching among Bashkir people took shape for centuries and its reflected in folklore, national customs, and traditions. When Islam spread in Bashkiria in the 10th century, the school education began to emerge gradually — religious schools were set under the supervision of mosques (maktabeh and madrasah).

Currently the Republic of Bashkortostan is the subject of the Russian Federation with versatile network of educational establishment. 12 higher educational establishments operate in the republic as well as 16 branches of leading Russian universities and colleges. Specialists graduate from them in about 200 trades and professions.

Education is primarily in Russian, Bashkir, and Tatar.


Folklore singing and dancing companies, a network of national theaters, museums, and libraries are on the rise; annual folk festivals became a tradition here.

Bashkortostan holds a leading position among all other Russian federal subjects on a number of museums, public libraries, book stocks, and municipal clubs.

The republic has seven Bashkir, four Russian, and two Tatar State Drama Theaters, the State Opera and Ballet Theater, the National Symphony Orchestra, "Bashkortostan" film-studio, thirty philharmonic collectives. The Bashkir state Folk dance ensemble named after F. Gaskarov is well-known.

The fame of Bashkir school of dancing is world renowned—many of the students get high international awards at competitions in Russia and other countries. World-renowned ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, as a child, was encouraged to dance in Bashkir folk performances and began his dancing career in Ufa.

Three state programs in the cultural sphere have been adopted:

  1. the program for further development of art and culture up to 2005;
  2. "Peoples of Bashkortostan" Program for the years 2003–2012;
  3. the Program for further study, revival and growth of folklore of Bashkortostan peoples.

See also


Further reading

  • Ilishev, Ildus G. (1998). "Russian federalism: Political, legal, and ethnolingual aspects — a view from the republic of Bashkortostan". Nationalities Papers 26 (4): 723–759.

External links

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