Jews Autonomous Area

Jews autonomous area was formed within Khabarovsk territory on May 7, 1934 with the center in Birobidjan (82,4 thousand inhabitants) founded in 1937.
The distance between Moscow and Birobidjan is 8361 km.

Geographic location. Jews autonomous area is situated in Near-Amur territory. It borders: in the south and west — on China, in the north-west — on Amur region, in the north, north-east and east — on Khabarovsk territory.

Natural conditions. Maly Hingan and Burei mountain ridges (ip to 1209 m height) occupy the north-west and north of the region, and the south-east is Middle-Amur lowland. The main river is Amur. The climate is moderate monsoon with cold winter; January average temperature varies from -21 to -26 degrees centigrade, July average temperature - from +18 to +21 degrees centigrade; annual precipitation riches 500-800 mm. Brown forest, poic-boggy and alluvial soils are widespread on the region’s territory. Verdure — coniferous (spruce, silver fur-tree, cedar) and mixed (larch, oak, birch) forests.

Population. About one third of the population live in the countryside. Russians constitute the majority (87%). The second ethnicity in number is the Ukrainians (5%). Jews autonomous region was formed artificially by Stalin as a counterpoise to Great Britain’s plans to set up Jewish state in Palestine. Today representatives of the title nation – Jews – make up hardly 4% of the population. These are descendants of the settlers who were forced to come here before the World War II. Since 1994 the death rate has been surpassing the birth rate. Due to the negative natality and intensive migration outflow the total number of the population constantly decreases. Infant mortality rate is one of the highest in Russia. The region is also noted for the highest crime rate in Russia.

State System. Jews autonomous area is a unique Subject of the Federation. The main legislative body is Legislative Assembly of 15 deputies, the executive power is vested in the region administration. The head of the administration is elected by direct secret ballot by all the electors for the term of 4 years.

Economic advantages and disadvantages. Jews autonomous area has quite advantageous economic and geographic position: it borders on China, Trans-Siberian railroad and highway Khabarovsk – Blagoveshchensk pass through its territory, there’s navigable river Amur. The best in Asian Russia natural and climatic conditions allow growing vegetables, soya and developing husbandry. There are non-ferrous metals deposits (tin). Regime of free economic zone functions on the territory of the region.

Specialty: agriculture and forestry, transport and communications.

Main industries: building materials industry, light industry (shoemaking; knitting, textile and clothing), food and woodworking industry (furniture included), machine-building (agricultural machinery, transformers). Tin is being extracted in the region. Jews autonomous region is a monopolist in Russia in production of brucit.

Expert RA