Bashkortostan Video Download Page
22 Aug 2009

              All 14 Chapters now on line
14 Chapters in HD

The videos  provide a variety of information concerning the people, their environment, and their culture as well as how you can become involved in reaching the peoples of Bashkortostan, Russia for Christ. A brief summary of each of the chapters is provided below.    

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The Bashkirs: Yesterday, Today, HOPE for Tomorrow
Filmed September 2007

Bashkortostan, Russia, a republic about the size of Arkansas, USA, is strategically located on the Eastern edge of the Ural mountains and only 700 miles from Moscow.  Ufa is the capital city.  There are more than 120 nationalities represented in the approximately 4 million people living in Bashkortostan.   Two-thirds of the people live in urban areas and only one-third in rural areas. 

HOPE for the Peoples of Bashkortostan  11:00  (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )   Rich in natural resources, the Republic of Bashkortostan has reason to celebrate and to hope for a good economic future. A wide range of economic activity provides sufficient opportunity for the ethnic and religious groups who live side by side in this Republic. 

The Friendship Alliance established some 450 years ago signaled hope for a peaceful and prosperous future for the peoples of this land. October 11, 2007, the 450th Anniversary of this alliance was celebrated and attended by Bashkort President Murtaza Rachimov and Russian President Vladimir Putin along with other foreign heads of state and diplomats.

The Russian – Bashkir Friendship Alliance made in the distant past was indeed a momentous event.  Yet, it is nothing when compared with the cross of Calvary and the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.  He alone is the source of true hope.

Good News for Krivlye  6:57  ( HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script The main street in this small village of Krivlya is only about a mile from the beginning of the village to its end. The pathway for the 700 or so people living here is shared with an old tractor and its grain wagon, the horse and cart, herds of sheep and milk cows and perhaps a motorcycle or car. The public school is along this street - the largest building in Krivlya. About two blocks away is a grain processing and storage facility. The wood frame homes, most of which are old, line both sides of the street.  There are a few recently constructed masonry buildings.  

No church building is in this village. On the east end of Main Street, however, is a place where evangelical believers meet.  There is no sign pointing the way but all in the village know about those who meet in the pastor’s home.

A Lonely Place  10:12 ( HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script ) All-alone an old man shuffles his way up to a memorial that commemorates a horrendous time for Russia. 

Seldom alone, crowds of people in the cities are following a familiar path. There may be a few who have chosen a different path - a lonely path. These few are believers in Jesus Christ. 

Less than .1% of those living here are evangelical believers.  Several small churches have been started often meeting in homes or in rented office space.  Most congregations are small and their pastor is bi-vocational and has limited time to devote to the outreach work.  Half of the churches in Bashkortostan do not have their own building because it is difficult to find a place to rent and very expensive if found.

There are four million people living in Bashkortostan but merely four thousand evangelical Christians and only 24 Baptist churches.  The responsibility to take the Gospel to this entire Republic is great.  Your help is needed.  Your prayers are essential.  Your support can make a difference.  You can be part of reaching Bashkortostan for Christ.

“The Morning Comes and Also the Night” 11:07  (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script “During the 1860’s, it was very dark in the religious world of the Russian people, but the morning had really begun to dawn.  This was when the last books of the Bible were translated from the old Slavic language into Russian.” *

"The Word of God had a great influence upon the religious condition of the people.  It was like the first rays of the rising sun in the early morning.  Simple workmen and peasants began to read the Bible and the New Testament.  Blessed truths gripped their hearts and transformed their lives.  They began to preach the Gospel to their neighbors.  Thus it was that the Gospel was let loose and the Evangelical Movement began in Russia.”*

The Orthodox Church has been the dominant religious organization in Russia for a thousand years.  For most of this time, it was the State Church and enjoyed the political power and the financial backing of the government as well as the control of religious activities in Russia.  Significant changes were underway in the latter part of the 1800’s as the Evangelical Christian Movement began. As it grew, the persecution also grew. By 1905, there were over 20,000 Russian Baptists and by 1928, over 600,000 Baptist Believers as well as thousands of Believers of other denominations.

Stalin saw this movement as a threat to his power.  He enacted a law that effectively halted all evangelical church planting.  A systematic annihilation of all religious organizations began including evangelicals.   By the time the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the number of evangelical Believers was reduced to less than 10% of that during the 1920’s.   The oppression has not destroyed the church.  The Believers have become stronger in the Word and commitment.

*I. S. Prokhanoff, In the Cauldron of Russia (1869-1933), Autobiography of I. S. Prokhanoff, Founder and Honorary President of the All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union; (New York, 1933 All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union) page 25.

The Remaking of Bashkortostan, Russia   6:48    (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )   Bashkortostan is beautiful in many ways, but life all across this Republic is changing. The tree lined hills and valleys, rustic rail fences and green pastures make picturesque scenes for the traveler and the resident alike. Small villages next to fast flowing mountain streams or nestled among the trees are homes to many but, in reality, they are relics of the past; slowly decaying into history as the younger generation move to the cities to find employment.

This is the Republic of Bashkortostan  - 700 miles from Moscow and on the western edge of the Ural Mountains. All across this land, from the rural villages to the large cities, from the political power of the churches and the mosques to freedom of religion for all,  from a state controlled economy to free market enterprises, changes are under way.

Change is nowhere more evident than in the cities beginning with Ufa the capital of Bashkortostan. This is a modern city with a population of over one million.  It is also the economic, industrial and academic hub of the Republic. 

Ufa: Then and Now  12:31   (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )   A long time ago in the land of the Bashkirs several families sought protection from tribal conflict as they built their homes next to a small fort established by the Russian military. This garrison, with its watchtowers, provided security for those living along the banks of the White River. The settlement grew and, in a few years, the village known as “Ufa” was founded. This was in the year 1574.

Logs cut from the surrounding forest were used to construct homes for the ever-increasing population. Eventually, some of the muddy roads were paved with cobblestone to make it easier to travel from place to place. Houses of worship were also built … some for the Russian Orthodox believers and others for the Tatars and Bashkirs who were Muslim. By 1802, the protection of the fort was no longer needed. Ufa was designated the capital of the region that later became known as Bashkortostan … the land of the Bashkirs.

Where do We go from Here?  6:42  (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script These decaying buildings were part of the Communist farm collective system of the former Soviet Union.  It was the centerpiece of an aggressive farm policy where all were to work together in fulfilling the government dictated quota of products.  However, this policy resulted in a significant decline in production causing famine and starvation among the farm families of Russia.  Today, these buildings and rusty machinery are little more than grave markers for a failed system.

The farms of Bashkortostan are now based on a free market economy.  They are very productive but no longer labor-intensive enterprises.  Huge tractors, pulling five-bottom ploughs till the rich black soil.  With a roar and a cloud of dust, new combines quickly harvest vast amounts of wheat. 

A Sweet Gift  4:08  (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )     Mmm … mmm sweet Lipa Honey   found nowhere else in the world.  The flavor of this delicious honey is so distinctive that the Bashkortostan honeybee has been awarded gold and silver medals in Russia.  The honey produced has received international gold medals.

Beehives are everywhere - from the large business to the small backyard family enterprise.  In Bashkortostan, it is the honey, beebread and beeswax that provide the economic venue, whereas in the United States the pollinating of fruit and vegetables is the primary purpose of commercial bee operations.  The flavor of Bashkirian Honey owes its unique character to a large tree known as the Lipa or Linden Tree.  This tree blooms during June and July with small white flowers. 

“Thank You, Krivlya”   9:30    (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script ) Along this main street there are no sidewalks.  There is no need since most everyone walks down the middle of the street.  There are a few cars and trucks along with horse-drawn wagons.  Occasionally, a fast moving sidecar motorcycle passes by. The only traffic jams are those that occur early in the morning and the late afternoon when the flocks of sheep and herds of cows make their way to and from the daytime pasture.  The cows are pinned up at night where they are milked in the evening and morning.  Many of the residents have one or two cows that are milked by hand. 

We are making a return visit to the village of Krivlya, population of 700.  It seems as if nothing has changed in the 4 years since our last visit.  The mayor of Krivlya invited us to visit the school and we gladly accepted.  The school and kindergarten is the place for the future of this village of Krivlya.  Yet, across the road,  there is a horse and wagon with a driver who is also a part of this village.  Will the children of Krivlya remain here continuing the simple but difficult lifestyle of their grandparents or will they follow other young people who have left the village for the larger cities?  

From your American visitors, SPASÍBO, … thank you … to the residents of the quiet, friendly and peaceful village of Krivlya, Bashkortostan.

Building the Future
   9:39   (HD-720
mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )
Their future before them, their parents beside them and carrying bright bouquets of flowers for their teachers, these students are ready for classes to begin on this first day of September 2007.

The bright sunshine of this early morning event is accentuated with the smartly dressed girls and boys eager to begin the new year of building their future place in the life of Bashkortostan, Russia.  Talking among themselves as the P.A. system broadcasts the latest musical beat,  the focus quickly changes as the Russian national anthem is played followed by the Bashkortostan anthem.


A Church Without the GOSPEL  4:58    (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )   A century ago Russian Orthodox Churches dominated the skyline of nearly every city, town and village of Russia. There were gleaming gold-plated domes and ornate towers in the big cities such as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Following a similar theme, were other cities, from Minsk in Western Russia to Ufa in the East near the Ural Mountains. In the towns and villages, large gleaming white masonry structures appeared out of place among the small wooden houses. Throughout the country, these churches seemed to be an opulent display of religious power with little regard for the welfare of the populace.

The Orthodox Church services are conducted amidst the glamorous splendor of gold and silver, but there is no religious teaching. The people do not know the Word of God and are captive to a life of fear and hopelessness ... no salvation, ... no eternity. They do not have the source of joy and life.  It is A Church Without the Gospel.

"Peace and Submission"  5:30  (HD-720; mp4-SW; mp4-L; Script )  It is the year 1574.  Islam has been here for over 500 years and is now the dominant religion among the tribes living in the land we call Bashkortostan.   The word “Islam”, when translated, means peace and submission” but this new religion did not stop the wars, the killing and the plundering among the peoples of this area. 

It was a desperate situation for the tribal elders.  Needing help, they chose to make the difficult 700-mile journey to Moscow to meet with Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of Russia.  They requested,  and received, support from Ivan’s army.  A friendship alliance was put into place between Moscow and the tribal elders of Bashkortostan.  It was Orthodox Christians and Muslims working together for peace.  This opened the door for significant migration of the Russians to the tribal area.  By the late 1700’s, a large portion of the land was controlled by the Russian immigrants.  The Muslim Bashkirs had now become peasants working for the Orthodox Russian overseers.

Today, the descendents of the Russian immigrants makeup about one-third of the population and are Russian Orthodox.  Over one-half of the population follows Sunni Islam most of whom are descendants of the indigenous population.  There are several mosques in the country. The Tulip Mosque in Ufa, so called because of its tulip shaped minarets, is the largest. 

Sail of Hope  12:08   (HD-720; mp4-S; mp4-SW; mp4-LW; Script )  Out of the Ural Mountains the waters came turbulent, fast moving ... but the river was following a well worn path. It is here in the rich farmland of central Bashkortostan that it found tranquility, peace and solitude.

In the cities and towns, - day in, day out - the people travel on the same road; tired, discouraged. But only 30 miles from Ufa and near the Sym River - there is a path that few travel. Those who find this path discover hope, truth and salvation. In this tranquil, forested area is a group of buildings - a camp. The entrance sign says “Summer Children's Christian Camp, SAIL OF HOPE”. Camp Paros Nadhzde is a place where boys and girls, men and women can escape crowded city life and spend a few days of fun, adventure, meeting new friends and, most important,  hearing the Word of God.

This campground was purchased in the year 2007 by the Baptist Union in Bashkortostan.  For 15 years prior to this time, the camp had not been used. Consequently, a significant amount of work was required to prepare for the upcoming summer camp.

The Forgotten Ones  7:42  (HD-720; mp4-S; mp4-L; Script  It is the first day of school and children are all dressed up and carrying beautiful bouquets of flowers for their teachers.  Parents and grandparents proudly join in trying to capture the excitement.  Most of these families make their home in a high-rise apartment complex in Ufa - some are new - others are old.  A wide variety of single-family homes are clustered along the White River and away from the high-rise apartments.  A number of of these houses are large enough to include the extended family.

However, there are those for whom life is much different.  There is no caring family;  no place to feel safe.  They might find a place to sleep down the alleyways, behind the graffiti walls, next to the discarded alcohol bottles or, perhaps, in the decaying wood frame buildings scattered throughout the city.  It is in these neglected and out of the way places that The Forgotten Ones live a precarious life.  Most are teenagers without a family who cares.  Furthermore, they are faced with scorn and persecution by government officials.  These are the street kids of Ufa.



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