Dagestani Avar in Russia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

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Introduction / History

Avars call themselves Ma'arulal (by translation—"free mountaineers, who inhabit the highest lands"). The Ma'arulal speak their own distinct Avar language. Avar people of Dagestan represent the largest linguistic group of Dagestan, and historically the most powerful. Honor/shame represents a high code, deeply ingrained in the Avar cultural psyche. It may play out in blood or through ostracism of the offending party. This truth prevails throughout all 34 of the Dagestani people groups but is perhaps most pronounced in the Avar due to their powerful, leading role in the culture of Dagestan.
Indeed, Imam Shamil, arguably the most famous Dagestani in history, was Avar. Imam Shamil was a powerful Muslim religious leader in the 1st half of the 19th Century who led the political and military resistance to Russian conquerors from 1834-1859. Shamil accomplished one daring exploit after another to baffle Russian military battalions of Tsarist Russia. Defense of Dagestani and Avar honor was the leading theme of these dozens of battles. The Russians finally subdued the Avar people (and all of Dagestan) in 1864, but the code of honor among the Avar has never diminished. In Post-Soviet Dagestan, the Avar (and secondarily the Dargin) carry the primary political power in the internal province [Republic] of Dagestan in southern Russia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Avar carry many amazing ancient cultural strengths, capped by their intense sense of honor. One strength not found in Avar culture is grace. The absence of grace—i.e. forgiveness, tolerance, mercy, the Fruit of the Spirit—has left the Avar (and all of Dagestan) vulnerable to intense cycles of violence on many levels. Present-day Dagestan is beset by increasing cycles of violence between Muslim power factions—squelching trade, tourism, and economic well-being. Hope of grace is springing up among the Avar. There are now more than 50 Avar believers. The New Testament has been completed in the Avar language.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Dagestani Avar predominantly practice Islam mixed with their traditional religious practices.

What Are Their Needs?

The Dagestani need workers to share the gospel in their Avar language and to help disciple the new believers.

Prayer Points

Thank God for the new believers among the Avar—Pray for their number to increase and for them to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Pray for workers to go to the Avars in each Avar town and village.
Pray for Avar Bible and other resources to be distributed among the Avars.
Pray for the establishment of a viable, indigenous and reproducing Avar church.

Scripture Prayers for the Avar, Dagestani in Russia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
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People Name General Avar
People Name in Country Avar, Dagestani
Natural Name Dagestani Avar
Pronunciation dah-gah-STAH-nee AH-var
Alternate Names Batlux; Dagestani; Daghestani; Maarulal
Population this Country 1,009,000
Population all Countries 1,131,000
Total Countries 7
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 20
People ID 10495
ROP3 Code 100633
ROP25 Code 300579
ROP25 Name Avar
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Dagestan Republic: Terek and Sulak river areas; some in Chechnya Republic.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Dagestan Republic: Terek and Sulak river areas; some in Chechnya Republic..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Avar, Dagestani in Russia Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.99 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Avar
Language Code ava   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Avar
Language Code ava   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Avar
Photo Source Frontier Ventures 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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