Zabaykalsk (Russian: Забайка́льск) is an urban locality (an urban-type settlement) and the administrative center of Zabaykalsky District of Zabaykalsky Krai, Russia, located on the Sino-Russian border just opposite the Chinese border town of Manzhouli. Population: 10,210 (2002 Census);[5] 8,632 (1989 Census).[6]

Flag of Zabaykalsk
Coat of Arms
Location of Zabaykalsk
Zabaykalsk is located in Russia
Location of Zabaykalsk
Zabaykalsk is located in Zabaykalsky Krai
Zabaykalsk (Zabaykalsky Krai)
Coordinates: 49°39′05″N 117°19′37″E / 49.65139°N 117.32694°E / 49.65139; 117.32694Coordinates: 49°39′05″N 117°19′37″E / 49.65139°N 117.32694°E / 49.65139; 117.32694
Federal subjectZabaykalsky Krai
Administrative districtZabaykalsky District
Otpor station1904
Urban-type settlement status since1954
680 m (2,230 ft)
 • Total11,769
 • Estimate 
13,154 (+11.8%)
 • Capital ofZabaykalsky District
 • Municipal districtZabaykalsky Municipal District
 • Urban settlementZabaykalskoye Urban Settlement
 • Capital ofZabaykalskoye Urban Settlement
Time zoneUTC+9 (MSK+6 Edit this on Wikidata[3])
Postal code(s)[4]
Dialing code(s)+7 674650
OKTMO ID76612151051


The formerly disputed Abagaitu Islet in the Argun River is located about 100 kilometers (62 mi) to the east.


Zabaikalsk has a humid continental climate (Dfb) with very warm summers and very cold winters.

Climate data for Zabaikalsk, Zabaikalskii Krai, data from 1961~1990
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −18
Average low °C (°F) −31
Average precipitation mm (inches) 2
Average precipitation days 2 2 3 5 6 10 15 13 8 4 4 3 75


Zabaykalsk and Manzhouli on the map of the region's major railways

It was founded in 1904 as a station (Razyezd 86, i.e. "Passing loop No. 86") on the Chinese Eastern Railway.

Since 1924, a border guard detachment has been stationed there. In the aftermath of the Sino-Soviet conflict (1929) the station was renamed Otpor ("Repulse").[7]

A railway that passed the Border crossing from Zabaykalsk to Manzhouli in China. On the plaque written in Russian letters "Russia" (Coordinates:49°37′49.24″N 117°20′20.68″E / 49.6303444°N 117.3390778°E / 49.6303444; 117.3390778)

Until the mid-1930s, Razyezd 86 / Otpor had little significance as a station, as all border formalities were done at Matsiyevskaya station (deeper into Russia) and at Manzhouli Railway Station, on the Chinese side of the border. The station was expanded in the mid-1930s, as the railway on the Chinese side had been sold by the USSR to Manchukuo and converted from the 1,520 mm (4 ft 11+2732 in) gauge of the Russian Railways to the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) China Railway; Otpor thus became the last Russian-gauge station. The station became quite important in 1945, as one of the bases of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, which also saw the rail line on the Chinese side temporary re-converted to Russian gauge. The station's importance continued as the main rail connection between the USSR and the Communist China. On China's request, in 1958 the Soviets changed the name "Otpor" to the neutral Zabaykalsk (i.e., "a city in Transbaikalia", or "a city beyond Lake Baikal").[7]

Otpor IncidentEdit

Eighteen Jews fled from Europe to Otopol Station (now Zabaykalsk Station) on the Trans-Siberian Railway, located on the border between the Soviet Union and Manchuria. The Manchurian government refused to accept them for fear of worsening relations with Germany. Major General Kiichiro Higuchi, who was consulted by Abraham Kaufman, the head of the Far Eastern Jewish Association, saw the situation and together with his subordinates arranged for food, clothing, fuel to survive the cold, medical care, and a route to Shanghai for the Jews. 

This route was called the "Higuchi Route," and it is said that between 4,000 and 20,000 Jews traveled to Shanghai via this route between 1938 and 1940. Later, Sugihara Chiune and Wang Kaewo rescued Jewish refugees to the Japanese concession in Shanghai. For this achievement, Higuchi's name was listed in the sixth "Golden Book" in 1941.[8][9]


Zabaykalsk, where travelers wait for the switch in railway gauge from Russian to Chinese. Note two railway gauges.

The Russo-Chinese highway AH6 passes through the town.

Zabaykalsk/Manzhouli is one of the three direct connections between Russian and Chinese Railways. The other two are in Primorsky Krai, much farther to the east; besides, much traffic between Russia and China travels on the rail line crossing Mongolia. It is served by what is now officially called the Southern Branch of the Transbaykal Railway (Южный ход Забайкальской железной дороги): a line that branches off the present-day main Trans-Siberian Railway line at Karymskaya junction (east of Chita), and continues southeast toward the Chinese border. Originally (until 1916), this line was part of the main Moscow-to-Vladivostok rail route, where trains coming from the west would continue into China on the former Chinese Eastern Railway, in order to cut across Manchuria on their way to Russian Vladivostok. After the modern route of the Trans-Siberian Railway, located entirely within Russian national territory, was completed in 1916, the Southern Branch's role was restricted to that of servicing Russia's border communities, and providing connectivity to China.

Zabaykalsk has been a transshipment station for a break of gauge since the 1930s, when the railway on the Chinese side had been sold by the USSR to Manchukuo and converted from the 1,524 mm (5 ft) gauge of the Soviet Railways to the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) Manchukuo National Railway.

Since 2005, a number of projects have been carried out to increase the capacity of the "Southern Branch", and its connection to China. The goal was to enable the railway by 2010 to handle 30 trains in each direction, each one up to 71 cars long. By 2005, the maximum weight of the trains using the line had already been increased from 4,000 to 6,300 tons.[10]

In 2008, TransContainer's container transshipment facility was expanded.[11] Work on modernizing the facility for passenger railcar bogie exchange was conducted as well.[12]

Notable residentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  2. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  3. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  4. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  5. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  6. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  7. ^ a b Пограничный разъезд номер 86 (затем Отпор, а ныне Забайкальск) (Border Passing loop No. 86 (later Otpor, and now Zabaykalsk)) (in Russian)
  8. ^ Grandson of Japanese General who Saved Jews Visits KKL-JNF Books of Honor Wednesday, June 13, 2018KKL-JNF
  9. ^ ユダヤ人5,000名を救った樋口季一郎とオトポール事件をご存知でしょうか 2020/08/20 武将ジャパン
  10. ^ Забайкальская железная дорога | Инвестиционный проект "Южный ход" | Общие сведения Archived October 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (Transbaikal Railway: The Southern Branch investment project: General information) (in Russian)
  11. ^ Railway Gazette International November 2008, p845
  12. ^ "Реконструкция пункта перестановки вагонов: В круглосуточном режиме на станции Забайкальск Забайкальской железной дороги ведется реконструкция пункта перестановки пассажирских вагонов". Transbaikalian Railway official web site. June 8, 2008. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. ("Reconstruction of the bogie exchange facility: workers at Zabaykalsk Station of the Transbaikalian Railway are working round the clock, renovating the passenger railcar bogie exchange facility") (in Russian)

External linksEdit