The impression that Ufa is an island in a sea of forest comes easily on the bus from the railway station through the center and on to Sipailovo at the northeastern edge of the city. One often seems to be looking down at endless waves of green – just starting to get yellow in late September. There is no doubt that Bashkir is the official language promptly displayed above the Russian on signs throughout the city. The bus announcements strengthen the idea that Bashkir must also be the language one hears on the street. But one doesn’t. One is much more likely to hear Russian spoken on the streets in Berlin than Bashkir on the streets of Ufa.

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