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(until 1780, the village of Balashovo), a city in Saratov Oblast, RSFSR, which from 1954 to 1957 was the center of Balashov Oblast. It is located on the Khoper River, a tributary of the Don on the Saratov-Voronezh highway. It is a railroad junction to Rtishchevo, Povorino, Tambov, and Kamyshin. With a population of 76,000 (1969), Balashov is a large center of light industry and the food industry. Its enterprises include combines for raincoat fabrics and mica, garment and footwear factories, a furniture factory, a meat-canning combine, flour mills, a butter and cheese plant, and a creamery. There are also sugar, motor and tractor trailer, automobile repair, and mixed feed plants; construction materials are also manufactured. Balashov has a pedagogical institute, a technicum for the mechanization of agriculture, a pelt and fur technicum, a branch of the Saratov Electromechanical Technicum, and medical and music schools. There is a museum of local lore and a drama theater.