Lak in Russia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Other PDF Profile

Introduction / History

The Lak are a Muslim, Northern Caucasian people who primarily live in the Republic of Dagestan in the Russian Federation. Other smaller groups live in other former Central Asian Soviet Republics that are now independent nations. The Lak were one of the first of all Dagestani peoples to convert to Islam in the 8th Century, and for many centuries their mountain central town of Kumukh was a center of Islamic learning.

There is a proverb which states when God created the world, He had many languages left over. He then poured all these extra languages on the Caucasus Mountains. Dozens of languages and different people live in this relatively small area. During WWII, the Red Army came to Dagestan and forcibly removed the Lak from their ancient homeland. The Lak had to move hundreds of kilometers to the northwest. After the war, most Laks returned to their homes in Dagestan. The Soviet government encouraged atheism and for the Lak to abandon their Muslim beliefs and practices. For the most part, the Lak resisted this change.

The Lak speak their own language of Lak with their families. The various Caucasian peoples speak Russian as a common language. Schools and business are often conducted in Russian. Bible portions, Bible recordings and the JESUS Film are available in the Lak language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Laks live in approximately 10 towns/villages in the northwestern Novo Lakskoe Region, in approximately 12 villages in northeastern Dagestan, and perhaps 50 still-active villages in their original mountain home. Many Lak have also relocated to the urban center of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. All of these upheavals including WWII have stretched the Lak, not only geographically but also emotionally and relationally.

Today the Lak hold a position of respect for many Dagestanis, partly due to their ancient leadership and also now due to their unifying influence. Laks live in many sectors of Dagestan. Starting in the 1990s a significant number of urban Lak came to faith in Jesus—there are now more than 50 Lak believers, mostly in urban sectors of Dagestan.

The traditional occupations of the Lak are agriculture and animal husbandry. The Laks still grow and harvest wheat, olives, grapes, maize, and vegetables in the lands that surround their villages. Men still take care of sheep, goats and cattle. In the hot summers, the shepherds take the animals into the high mountain valleys. In the winter, the men drive the animals to the lower valleys and plains. Some Lak young people are moving to the cities to work in factories, construction and retail. Better educational and economic opportunities are available in urban areas. Some Laks have taken advantage of the free education system and have become professionals.

Laks tend to marry among themselves. They have larger families as children are seen as Allah's blessing. Urban Laks often marry outside their group.

The Laks have traditional clothing that they wear on holidays. They also sing, recite poetry, dance, and eat special foods. The Lak are trying to conserve their culture, customs and language in a modern, rapidly changing world.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all Lak are Sunni Muslim. Being a Muslim is part of their personal identity. Sunni Muslims believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.

The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.

Only a tiny number of followers of Christ are found in the Lak community.

What Are Their Needs?

The Lak people need to put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray for the few Lak believers to shine as bright lights in the midst of their families and clans.

Pray for encouragement and success for a Lak Bible Translation Team.

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Lak of Russia.

Pray that the Lord raised up a growing church movement among the Lak of Dagestan.

Scripture Prayers for the Lak in Russia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Other PDF Profile

People Name General Lak
People Name in Country Lak
Pronunciation lok
Alternate Names Kumux; Laki
Population this Country 173,000
Population all Countries 187,000
Total Countries 7
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
People ID 12952
ROP3 Code 105583
ROP25 Code 304544
ROP25 Name Lak
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.   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..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Lak in Russia Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.03 %)
0.03 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.97 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Lak
Language Code lbe   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Lak
Language Code lbe   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Lak

Primary Language:  Lak

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1996-2023)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT ( Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Lak Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter IBT, Russia - resources Institute for Bible Translation - Russia
Photo Source The Action - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group location: SIL / WLMS. 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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