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Introducing Ufa

Ufa is capital of the self-consciously autonomous Bashkortostan Republic. Although the Muslim, Turkic Bashkir people now make up barely one-third of Bashkortostan's population of four million, you will hear their lispy language spoken widely in rural areas and on many city radio programmes, along with their curious style of singing. Written Bashkir requires nine extra Cyrillic letters that are absent from standard Russian. 'Hello' in Bashkir is hau-ma; 'thank you very much' is zur rakhmat.