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Bashkiria (Russia)

Bas^kortostan

Last modified: 2003-01-25 by antonio martins
Keywords: bashkortostan | bashkiria | party | kurai | pleurospermum uralense | seven | error |
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[Flag of Bashkiria]
by António Martins and Ralf Stelter, 20 May 2000
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Presentation of Bashkiria

(Note: You need an Unicode-aware software and font to correctely view the cyrillic text on this page. See here transliteration details).

  • Name (english): Bashkiria • (russian, short form): Башкортостан, Башкирия | Baŝkortostan, Baŝkiriâ • (russian, long form): Республика Башкортостан | Respublika Baŝkortostan
  • Local official language: Bashkir
  • Capital: Уфа | Ufa
  • Area: 143 600 km2 (≅55 400 sq.mi.) • Population: 4 109 000 inhabitants in 2000
  • Status: Republic (Республика | Respublika) within the Russian Federation
  • Federal District: Volga • Economic region: Ural (in the soviet era: Volga)
  • License plate code: 02 • Ham radio code: BA • ISO 3166-2 code: BA
  • Flag adopted on 1992.02.25 • Coat of arms adopted on 1993.10.12

Description of the flag

On 25 February 1992 the local Soviet approved another flag [different from the 1990 proposal — ed.], with the same colors in a different order (skyblue - white - green) and a golden flower in a white circle. The flower is called kurai, the Bashkor rose, which grows only in that region and it is used to make musical instruments. It has seven petals for the seven tribes.
Giuseppe Bottasini, quoting [zig94]

The only source I could find supporting light blue is [zig94], possibly mistaken or outdated. All other sources, including the flag law, state simply blue.
António Martins, 20 May 2000

The green is dark green, close to the color of Adygeja, although the law only describes "green". The emblem is in gold lines and has complete measures given in the law.
Ralf Stelter, 25 Jul 1999 and 27 Jul 1999

The flower in the center of the flag is a traditional Bashkir flower called "Kurai" and is regarded here as a symbol of friendship. Its seven petals on the flag represent the original seven tribes (families) who laid foundation for consolidating the peoples of Bashkortostan on its territory.
Rafael Zinurov (Head of the Department of Inter-Ethnic Relations and International Contacts of the Supreme Soviet of the Bashkortostan Republic), 1992, quoted by Chrystian Kretowicz, 17 Feb 2002


About the Kurai flower

Pleurospermum uralense Hoffm.

From the Soviet Encyclopedia, volume 24 page 78 (my translation):

Kurai is an excellent feed for camels and other livestock in the spring. Is used also as a winter feed, stored in silos. Ground into flour, kurai can be used in multi-feeds. Contains 5 % of proteins. In some places, kurai is used for fuel. Ashes contain high quality salts and are used often for manufacturing of crude soaps.
The article above this one describes kurai as a Bashkir national musical instrument, sort of flute.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 17 Feb 2002

"Kurai" is the Bashkir name while the Latin name of the plant is Pleurospermum uralense Hoffm. Unfortunately English name is unknown to me. This plant is rather common in the area I am from and still used for making a national music instrument which sounds very nice.
Irina Teplova (bashkir biologist), 2001, quoted by Marcus Schmöger, 31 Jan 2002

The plant in the Bashkir flag always resembled an Apiaceae plant to me. This family (also known as Umbelliferae) contains, inter alia, such well-known plants as carrot or caraway. They are not closely related either to Salsola kali (Chenopodiaceae) or Phragmites communis (Poaceae, grass family).
Marcus Schmöger, 31 Jan 2002

A related species, Pleurospermum austriacum, can be found in Austria. Here’s an image of its inflorescence (flowers).
Marcus Schmöger, 31 Jan 2002

Incorrect report: Phragmites communis Trin.

Aldo Ziggiotto, on his 1994 book [zig94] says the «flower is called kurai (Phragmites communis Trin.)» I always doubted it, actually (being a biologist), as Phragmites communis is a very common plant (reed) all over Europe and beyond, and definitely not growing only in Bashkiria. Furthermore the flower on the flag doesn’t look like the flower of Phragmites.
Marcus Schmöger, 31 Jan 2002

I came across the article by Smith [smi92o]. He writes: «This reed, which grows only in Bashkortostan». While Ziggioto [zig94] writes: «è quello di una canna scientificamente chiamata Phragmites communis». I suspect, that an ambiguity in Smith’s text together with a translation ambiguity led to the "Phragmites communis". The term "reed" is not really appropriate in this context, as in a strict sense it means indeed Phragmites communis, and similar plants, i.e. tall grasses, but never a tall plant belonging to the Apiaceae (carrot family). So a first mistake was made by Smith. If you translate "reed" into Italian, you come up with "canna". However, this term seems to have a broader sense, including sugar-cane and (walking) cane. Ziggioto obviously took the "reed" in Smith’s text very literally, as the most common "reed" is "Phragmites communis". This is only speculation on my part; I don't know, if it wasn't perhaps the other way round: Ziggioto had some (wrong) information, that he gave to Smith first and then used in his own article. Smith, uneasy about "Phragmites communis", just left this part out, and only used the term "reed".
Marcus Schmöger, 17 Feb 2002

Incorrect report (?): Salsola sp., Corispermum sp.

Alfred Znamierowski, in [zna99], claims the flower is Salsola kali, which is even weirder.
Marcus Schmöger, 31 Jan 2002

That comes most likely from the Soviet Encyclopedia, volume 24 page 78 (my translation):

KURAI - name of several semi-desert and desert plants of the saline genre (Salsola ruthenica, Salsola kali) and of camel-like genre (Corispermum). It belongs to the ground-cover (crawling) group.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 17 Feb 2002


Rejected proposal

[Rejected proposal for the flag of Bashkiria]
by António Martins and Ralf Stelter, 20 May 2000

This picture shows the proposal never adopted.
Ralf Stelter, 27 Jul 1999


Flag of 1990

[1990 flag of Bashkiria]
by António Martins, 08 Dec 1998

A first flag appeared on 11 October 1990: it was the one of Bashkor Popular Party, with three horizontal strips: skyblue (for Turkish people), green (Islam) and white (purity).
Giuseppe Bottasini, quoting [zig94]


Incorrect design reported

[1990 flag of Bashkiria]
by Rick Wyatt and Ivan Sache, 28 Apr 2000

This flag, with medium blue and voided stamens, is listed under number 119 at the chart Flags of Aspirant Peoples [eba94] as: «Bashkortostan (Bashkirs) - West Siberia».
Ivan Sache, 15 Sep 1999

Would this have any thing to do with the (doubtful, reported) unofficial flag of neighbouring Chelyabinsk region in 1992-1993?...
António Martins, 11 Oct 2002