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Jewish Autonomous Oblast

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The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a federal subject of Russia in the Russian Far East, bordering with Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast of Russia and with Heilongjiang province of China. It is also referred to as "Yevrey" and "Birobidzhan" . Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 176,558.Soviet authorities established the autonomous oblast in 1934. It was the result of Soviet's nationality policy, which provided the Jewish population of the Soviet Union with a territory in which to pursue Yiddish cultural heritage. According to the 1939 population census, 17,695 Jews lived in the region . The Jewish population peaked in 1948 at around 30,000, about one-quarter of the region's population.In 1953, Joseph Stalin died and thereafter the Jewish population in the JAO began a long decline. The census of 1959, found that the Jewish population of the JAO had declined by approximately 50%, down to 14,269 persons. In 2002, there were 2,327 people of Jewish descent living in the JAO, while ethnic Russians made up 90% of the JAO population. By 2010, according to data provided by the Russian Census Bureau, there were only 1,628 people of Jewish descent remaining in the JAO, while ethnic Russians made up 92.7% of the JAO population. By 2010, according to data provided by the Russian Census Bureau, 97 persons spoke Yiddish, 312 persons spoke Hebrew, and a further 54 persons spoke unspecified Jewish languages.
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