The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The Republic of Dagestan (Russian: Респу́блика Дагеста́н) is a federal subject of the Russian Federation (a republic). The direct transliteration of the republic's name is Respublika Dagestan. It is the largest republic of Russia in the northern Caucasus, both in area and population.



The republic is situated in the North Caucasus mountains. It is the southernmost part of Russia.

  • Area: 50,300 km².
  • Borders:
  • Highest point: Bazardyuzi Mountain (4,466 m).
  • Maximum N->S distance: 400 km.
  • Maximum E->W distance: 200 km.
  • Average elevation: no data

Time zone

Dagestan is located in the Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).


There are over 1,800 rivers in the republic. Major rivers include:


Dagestan has about 400 km of coast line on the Caspian Sea.


Most of the Republic is mountainous, with the Greater Caucasus Mountains covering the south. The highest point is the Bazardyuzi peak at 4,466 m.

Natural Resources

Dagestan is rich in oil, natural gas, coal, and more.


The climate is hot and dry in the summer but the winters are hard in the mountain areas.

  • Average January temperature: +2°C
  • Average July temperature: +30°C
  • Average annual precipitation: 200 (northern plains) to 800 mm (in the mountains).

Administrative division

Main article: Administrative division of Dagestan


Because its mountainous terrain impedes travel and communication, Dagestan is unusually ethnically diverse, and still largely tribal. Unlike most other parts of Russia, the population of Dagestan is rapidly growing, mostly because of migration.

People of Dagestan; 1907 – 1915
People of Dagestan; 1907 – 1915
  • Population: 2,576,531 (2002)
    • Urban: 1,102,577 (42.8%)
    • Rural: 1,473,954 (57.2%)
    • Male: 1,242,437 (48.2%)
    • Female: 1,334,094 (51.8%)
  • Females per 1000 males: 1,074
  • Average age: 25.2 years
    • Urban: 25.1 years
    • Rural: 25.2 years
    • Male: 24.0 years
    • Female: 26.3 years
  • Number of households: 570,036 (with 2,559,499 people)
    • Urban: 239,338 (with 1,088,814 people)
    • Rural: 330,698 (with 1,470,685 people)

Ethnic groups

There is no single ethnic group with the name Dagestani. The people of Dagestan include over a dozen sizeable groups, including:

  • Dagestani Peoples — 80%, including:
    • people from the Dagestani language group
      • Avars — around 500,000
      • Dargins — around 300,000
      • Lezgins — over 200,000
      • Tabasarans — around 70,000
      • Rutuls — around 15,000
      • Aguls — around 15,000
      • Tsakhurs — around 10,000
    • Kumyks — over 200,000
    • Laks — around 100,000
    • Nogays — around 35,000
    • Azeris — around 85,000
  • Russians — 9%, around 85,000
  • Chechens — 3%, around 65,000
  • Other — 8%, including

There are also tiny groups like the Balkars (who mostly live inKabardino-Balkaria), or the Ginukh , numbering 200, members of a complex family of indigenous Caucasians — some 40 groups, including other little-known peoples such as the Akhwakh , many of them crowded into Dagestan. Notable are also Lak people who immigrated after a Soviet population transfer, and the Hunzib or Khunzal people who live in only four towns in the interior.

The lingua franca in Dagestan is Russian. Over 30 local languages are also commonly spoken.


The famous Muslim leader Imam Shamil was from Dagestan. He was an Avar.

Dagestan became a republic of modern Russian Federation in 1991.

In 1999, a group of Muslim fundamentalists from Chechnya under Shamil Basayev, together with local converts, staged an unsuccessful insurrection in Dagestan. This helped prompt the Russian decision to invade Chechnya later that year.

In 2005 Major General Magomed Omarov, the deputy interior minister, was assassinated in Makhachkala by armed gunmen. This came a month after authorities reportedly prevented an incident much like the Beslan school hostage crisis.


The head of government in Dagestan is the President. As of 2004, the president is Magomedali Magomedovich Magomedov .


As of 2000, the economy of Dagestan was broken down as follows:

Important industries include food processing, power generation, oil extraction , machine building, chemicals, and instrument making. Dagestan's major exports are oil and fuel. Important agricultural products include fish from the Caspian Sea, wine and brandy, and various garden fruits.

Dagestan continues to be the least urbanized republic in the Caucasus.


Most of Dagestan's population is Muslim. As with much of the Caucasus region, Dagestan's native Islam consists of Sufi orders that have been in place for centuries. In recent years there has been tension and even violence between local Sufi orders and Wahabbi missionaries who have come to the region seeking converts.

Related articles

External links

Last updated: 05-06-2005 23:09:59
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04