Blagoveshchensk bləgəvyĕsh´chĭnsk [key], city (1989 pop. 206,000), capital of Amur region, Russian Far East, at the confluence of the Amur and Zeya rivers. A river port and railroad hub on the Trans-Siberian RR, Blagoveshchensk is also an agricultural center and a supply point for the Zeya gold-mining basin. Near Svobodny, 104 mi (167 km) to the north, is the Vostochny Cosmodrome, est. 1996 at a former strategic missile base. The Russian government in 2007 chose the site for development of a facility that would reduce Russia's need to use the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and the first rocket (carrying satellites into orbit) was launched there in 2016. Russian pioneers settled Blagoveshchensk in 1644, but the area was returned to China in 1689. The city became a Russian army post in 1856.
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