The Republic of Bashkortostan – is a federal subject of Russia, given the name of its indigenous population Bashkirs. Russian (Slavic) name of the land Bashkiria was established in the end of the XVI century.
The total area of Bashkortostan makes 143 thousand sq. km (0,8 % from the total area of Russia), and occupies the most part of the Southern Ural Mountains, plains of Bashkir Cis-Urals and the elevated flat-bottomed terrain of the Bashkir Trans-Urals. It extends from the north to the south for 550 km, from the west to the east for more than 430 km.
The distance from Moscow to the capital of Bashkortostan Ufa city is 1519 km. One of the largest Russian airports «Ufa» international airport operates in the city. Through the Ufa airport flights are carried out to tens of cities in the territory of Russia, the CIS countries, and also Germany, Greece, China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey. Federal railroads and highways cross the republic. The rivers Belaya and Ufa are parts of deepwater transportation system of Russia.
Bashkortostan is located in the Yekaterinburg Time Zone, UTC offset is +0500 (YEKT)/+0600 (YEKST).
Bashkortostan is characterized by variety of environment and resources. Hilly plains occupy 2/3 of the republican areas, mountainous Bashkir (Southern) Ural Mountains more than ¼. The highest point — is Yamantau mountain (1640 metres).
Four geographical types of the temperate zone can be found in the territory of Bashkortostan:
- mixed woods,
- broad-leaved woods,
- forest-steppe and steppe.
The Republic of Bashkortostan is one of the richest territories of Russia in mineral resources:
- brown coal,
- rock salt,
Bashkortostan is also rich in woods. More than one third of the republic territory is covered with woods (about 5 million hectares). The following types of trees prevail: birch tree, conifers, lime, oak, and maple. The glory of the famous Bashkir honey is connected with limes growing here. Bashkortostan forests have special sanctuaries and national parks. They cover more than 10,000 km².
There are over 13,000 rivers in the republic and 2,700 lakes and reservoirs. Major rivers include: Agidel (in Russian – Belaya, inflow of Kama, 1430 km) and its inflows Karaidel (another name – Ufa, 918 km), Dyoma (556 km), Nugush (235 km), Sim (239 km), and also Sakmara (760 km), Ural and Ik (571 km).
Among lakes the largest are: Aslykul, having the area of 18, 5 sq. km, and Kandrykul with the area of 12 sq. km. These lakes are rich in fish. 47 kinds of fish live in rivers, lakes and ponds of the republic, 13 from them are included in the Red Book of Bashkiria. Sterlet, sturgeon, taimen, trout, European grayling and others belong to such species of fish.
To preserve flora and fauna the «Bashkiria» national park, the Bashkir reserve, Shulgan-Tash reserve were found in the republican territory. In the territory of Shulgan-Tash there is a cave known as Kapova — the largest cave of Ural Mountains (about three kilometres) where rock paintings of primitive men were found.
Bashkortostan has such amazingly beautiful and various nature that it was called the second Switzerland. Here the system of sanatorium-resorts offering qualitative treatment and high-grade rest the whole year round is developed. The largest resorts of the republic are «Yangan-Tau», «Krasnousolsk», «Zelenaya Roscha», «Yumatovo», «Assy», ski resorts «Abzakovo» and «Yakty-Kul». Mineral waters, therapeutic mud, medicinal herbs, the world famous Bashkir honey and kumis are widely used during treatment.
The climate of the republic is continental, with quite warm, humid summer and moderately severe winter. Average temperature of January is −18 °, July +18 °. Average annual precipitation is 300-600 mm.
The population of Bashkortostan – is about 4,1 million people (the 7 place among regions of Russia). Population density – is 28,4 people /km² (in Russia — 8,5 people/km ²).
More than one third of the population is rural. In Bashkortostan, there are 54 administrative divisions, 21 cities, 40 urban-type settlements. Urban citizens make two thirds of the population; more than 1 million people from them live in the capital – the city of Ufa. Other important cities are Sterlitamak, Salavat, Neftekamsk, Octyabrsky.
Ufa occupies the elevated plateau twisted around by three rivers Agidel, Ufa and Dyoma. The modern city consists of several parts, its length from the southwest to the northeast is more than 50 km, with the territory of 468,4 sq. km.
Cultural and historical background of Bashkortostan is rich in customs and traditions. Peoples of more than hundred nationalities, various cultures and beliefs have been living here. Most numerous of them – are Russians, Bashkirs, Tatars. Except them Chuvashs, Maris, Ukrainians and people of other nationalities live in the republic. About 20 religions, over 1200 religious associations, more than 700 mosques and 200 orthodox temples function in Bashkortostan.
The head of the government in Bashkortostan is the President, who is elected for a four-year term. The Republics parliament is the State Assembly—Kurultai, popularly elected every five years. The supreme executive authority is the Government of Bashkortostan Republic.
As of the present, the president of the republic is Murtaza Gubaidullovich Rakhimov, who was elected on December 17, 1993. Rakhimov was re-elected in 1998 for the second term and in 2003 for the third term. In 2006 under the offer of Vladimir Putin the parliament of Bashkortostan the State Assembly-Kurultai conferred on Murtaza Rakhimov powers of the President of Bashkortostan Republic.
Today Bashkortostan is one of the leading industrial and agricultural regions of the Russian Federation. Republic is one of the main oil-extracting areas of the country, the centre of chemical industry and mechanical engineering. Its predominant economic activity is fuel industry, chemistry and petro-chemistry, electric power industry, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, agriculture, timber processing, light and food industries. The region specializes in grains growing, meat and diary products. Horse breeding and poultry farming are developed also.
In 2007 the gross regional product of the republic made 645 billion roubles (more than 18 billion euro), the growth for 8 % in comparison with 2006. The gross regional product per capita made about 160 thousand roubles (4,5 thousand euro). The profitable part of the budget of Bashkiria for 2008 makes 79,1 billion rbl. (more than 2,2 billion euro), expenditure items 84,1 billion rbl. (2, 4 billion euro).
The republic is the absolute leader in the country in oil raw materials processing. Here it is annually processed about 26 million tons of oil, 17 % of the all-Russian volume of automobile gasoline, 15 % of diesel fuel. Issued mineral oil is competitive in the internal and external markets and corresponds to the quality standards «Euro-3» and «Euro-4». Depth of oil raw materials processing reaches more than 80 % while the average Russian indicator is 72 %.
The republic is ranked among Russian leaders on manufacture of metal-cutting machine tools, aviation engines; it takes the first place on manufacture of high-discharge mixers, the third place on production of trolley buses and helicopters, the fifth on production of buses.
Bashkortostan actively carries out investment policy. Priority directions of investments are development of natural resources, upgrading of production facilities, especially in a petrochemical complex and conversion enterprises, ecological activity, introduction of high technologies in agriculture, development of social infrastructure.
Using its internal funds, the republic provides additional, besides of the federal ones, measures for population social protection. Here priority directions are strengthening of public health services system and education system, construction of high quality roads, modern schools, hospitals, and sanatoria. Cultural events of the All-Russia and world value are carried out in the republic: the Rudolf Nureyev International Competition of Ballet Art, the Shalyapin Festivals, the International competition of Turk theatres «Tuhanlyk» and many others.