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Bashkortostan is a unique place in Russia as it is considered an independent republic within the Russian Federation.  This makes it semi-autonomous.  Its capital, Ufa, is approximately 725 miles from Moscow, a two hour plane ride.  Its Economy is driven mainly by oil manufacturing and mining.  There are other industries such as machine building (various engines), metal works, construction, timber and wood processing, defense, agriculture, cattle & horse herding, and engineering.  The most famous product though, is honey.  Bashkir honey is world famous.  The region contributes heavily to the Federal budget.  This is possible due to the high level of natural wealth here.

The wealth is mostly concentrated in the major cities of the region.  When a person travels out to the villages, they will find a much simpler way of life.  It is something that a lot of Russians look at fondly as many have childhood memories of spending their summer with relatives there.Russian primary and secondary schools usually operate six days per week with Sunday being the day off.  All children must learn Russian, however Bashkir and Tatar are often taught as well.  Most schools also teach a foreign language.  The most common are English, French and German.

The total population of Bashkortostan is approximately 4.2 million inhabitants with Ufa comprising 1.1 million.  The dominate ethnic groups are the Bashkirs,Tatars and Russians.  Also, there is a large population of Jews here, about 13,000.  There is also a historic synagogue located in Ufa.

The climate in Bashkortostan is cold to cool for most of the year.  For a few weeks in the summer, though, it does get hot.  The temperatures here range anywhere from -40F to the low 90’s.  the average temperature in July is 65F and in January 3F

Bashkirs are very proud of their heritage.  Their cultures and traditions are still celebrated in the schools.  The national hero of Bashkortostan is Salavat Yulaev.  He participated in a famous rebellion against the Russian Government in the mid 1770’s.  The local hockey team, a town and a State Prize, among other things, are named after him.  He was also a poet.