Dagestan has been a scene of Islamic insurgency, occasional outbreaks of separatism, and ethnic tension since the 1990s. According to the International Crisis Group, the militant Islamist organization Shariat Jamaat is responsible for much of the violence. Much of the tension is rooted in an internal Islamic conflict between traditional Sufi groups advocating secular government and more recently introduced Salafist teachers preaching the implementation of a certain form of Sharia in Dagestan. Its government was dissolved in a major corruption investigation on 5 February 2018, and the region has since been under the direct control of the Russian government.
In the first few centuries AD, Caucasian Albania (corresponding to modern Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan) became a vassal and eventually subordinate to the Parthian Empire. With the advent of the Sassanian Empire, it became a satrapy (province) within the vast domains of the empire. In later antiquity, it was a few times fought over by the Roman Empire and the Sassanid Persians as the former sought to contest the latter's rule over the region, without success. Over the centuries, to a relatively large extent, the peoples within the Dagestan territory converted to Christianity alongside Zoroastrianism.
In the 5th century, the Sassanids gained the upper hand, and by the 6th century constructed a strong citadel at Derbent, known henceforward as the Caspian Gates, while the northern part of Dagestan was overrun by the Huns, followed by the Caucasian Avars. During the Sassanian era, southern Dagestan became a bastion of Iranian culture and civilization, with its center at Derbent, and a policy of "Persianisation" can be traced over many centuries.
As Mongolian authority gradually eroded, new centers of power emerged in Kaitagi and Tarki. In the early 16th century, the Persians (under the Safavids) reconsolidated their rule over the region, which would, intermittently, last till the early 19th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries, legal traditions were codified and mountainous communities (djamaats) obtained a considerable degree of autonomy.
Between 1730 and the early course of the 1740s, following his brother's murder in Dagestan, the new Iranian ruler and military genius Nader Shah led a lengthy campaign in swaths of Dagestan in order to fully conquer the region, which was met with considerable success, although he was eventually inflicted several decisive defeats by various of the ethnic groups of Dagestan, forcing him to retreat with his army. From 1747 onwards, the Iranian-ruled part of Dagestan was administered through the Derbent Khanate, with its center at Derbent. The Persian Expedition of 1796 resulted in the Russian capture of Derbent in 1796. However, the Russians were again forced to retreat from the entire Caucasus following internal governmental problems, allowing Iran to capture the territory again.
Russian rule consolidated
In 1806 the khanate voluntarily submitted to Russian authority, but it was not until the aftermath of the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813) that Russian power over Dagestan was confirmed, and that Qajar Iran officially ceded the territory to Russia. In 1813, following Russia's victory in the war, Iran was forced to cede southern Dagestan with its principal city of Derbent, alongside other vast territories in the Caucasus to Russia, conforming with the Treaty of Gulistan. The 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay indefinitely consolidated Russian control over Dagestan and removed Iran from the military equation.
Risings against imperial Russia
The Russian administration, however, disappointed and embittered the highlanders. The institution of heavy taxation, coupled with the expropriation of estates and the construction of fortresses (including Makhachkala), electrified highlanders into rising under the aegis of the Muslim Imamate of Dagestan, led by Ghazi Mohammed (1828–32), Gamzat-bek (1832–34) and Shamil (1834–59). This Caucasian War raged until 1864.
Dagestan and Chechnya profited from the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), to rise together against imperial Russia for the last time (Chechnya rose again at various times throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries).
In 1999, an Islamist group from Chechnya, led by Shamil Basayev and Ibn Al-Khattab, launched a military invasion of Dagestan, with the aim of creating an "independent Islamic State of Dagestan".
The invaders were driven back by the Russian military. As a retaliation, Russian forces subsequently reinvaded Chechnya later that year. Violence in the Republic exploded from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2012. This upsurge led many people to claim that Dagestan was about to enter into a situation of sectarian civil war. Dagestan became the epicenter of violence in the North Caucasus with Makhachkala, Kaspiisk, Derbent, Khasavyurt, Kizlyar, Sergokala, Untsukul, and Tsumada all becoming hotbeds of militant activities.
The Government Building of the Republic of Dagestan.
The parliament of Dagestan is the People's Assembly, consisting of 72 deputies elected for a four-year term. The People's Assembly is the highest executive and legislative body of the republic.
The Constitution of Dagestan was adopted on 10 July 2003. According to it, the highest executive authority lies with the State Council, comprising representatives of fourteen ethnicities. The members of the State Council are appointed by the Constitutional Assembly of Dagestan for a term of four years. The State Council appoints the members of the Government.
Because its mountainous terrain impedes travel and communication, Dagestan is unusually ethnically diverse, and still largely tribal. It is Russia's most heterogeneous republic. Dagestan's population is rapidly growing.
1 18,430 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.
The indigenous ethnicities of Dagestan are in bold.
There are also 40 or so tiny groups such as the Hinukh, numbering 439, or the Akhvakhs, who are members of a complex family of indigenous Caucasians. Notable are also the Hunzib or Khunzal people who live in only four towns in the interior.
More than 30 local languages are commonly spoken, most belonging to the Northeast Caucasian language family. Russian became the principal lingua franca in Dagestan during the 20th century; Over 20 of Russia's 131 endangered languages as identified by UNESCO can be found in Dagestan. Most of these endangered languages have Dagestani speakers in the mountainous region on the Dagestan-Georgia border.
Prior to Soviet rule, the literary lingua-franca status to some extent belonged to Classical Arabic. The northern Avar dialect of Khunzakh has also served as a lingua franca in mountainous Dagestan where Avar-related peoples lived. And throughout centuries the Kumyk language had been the lingua-franca for the bigger part of the Northern Caucasus, from Dagestan to Kabarda, until the 1930s.. Kumyk also had been an official language for communication of Russian Imperial administration with the local peoples.
The first Russian grammar written for Dagestani languages was that for locally international Kumyk. Author Timofey Makarov wrote:
From the peoples speaking Tatar language I liked the most Kumyks, as for their language's distinction and precision, so for their closeness to the European civilization, but most importantly, I take in account that they live on the Left Flank of the Caucasian Front, where we're conducting military actions, and where all the peoples, apart from their own language, speak also Kumyk.
Religion in Dagestan as of 2012 (Sreda Arena Atlas)
Dagestanis are largely Sunni Muslims, of the Shafii rites, that has been in place for centuries. On the Caspian coast, particularly in and around the port city of Derbent, the population (primarily made up of Azerbaijanis) is Shia. There is also a Salafi population, which is often a target of official repression.
A relatively large number of native Tati-speaking Jews – the "Mountain Jews" – were[when?] also present in this same coastal areas. However, since 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, they have migrated to Israel and the United States. These were an extension of much larger Azerbaijani Jewish community across the border in the Azerbaijani districts of Quba and Shamakhi.
The number of Christians among the non-Slavic indigenous population is very low, with estimates between 2,000 and 2,500. Most of these are Pentecostal Christians from the Lak ethnicity. The largest congregation is Osanna Evangelical Christian Church (Pentecostal) in Makhachkala, with more than 1,000 members.
Conditions for economic development are favorable in Dagestan, but – as of 2006[update] – the republic's low starting level for a successful transition to market relations, in addition to rampant corruption, has made the region highly dependent on its underground economy and the subsidies coming from the central Russian government. Corruption in Dagestan is more severe than in other regions of the former Soviet Union and is coupled with a flourishing black market and clan-based economic system.
In 2011 Rostelecom started implementation of WDM-based equipment on the backbone network for data transmission in the Republic of Dagestan. Due to WDM introduction, the fiber-optic communication lines bandwidth increased to 2.5 Gbit/s. Rostelecom invested about 48 million rubles in the project.
Since 2000, Dagestan has been the venue of a low-level guerrilla war, bleeding over from Chechnya; the fighting has claimed the lives of hundreds of federal servicemen and officials—mostly members of local police forces—as well as many Dagestani national rebels and civilians.
More recently, among other incidents:
On 15 May 2008, two MVD officers were killed and one police officer heavily wounded during an ambush on their vehicle in Gubden.
On 8 September 2008, Abdul Madzhid and several rebels were killed in an ambush by Russian special forces.
On 21 October 2008, rebels ambushed a Russian military truck, killing five soldiers and wounding nine others.
On 6 January 2010, a suicide bomber attempted to blow up a police station in Makhachkala, killing six officers and wounding 14 others.
On 31 March 2010, 12 people were killed and 18 wounded by two suicide bombings in the town of Kizlyar outside the offices of the local interior ministry and the FSB security agency. The second bomb went off twenty minutes after the first, as a crowd had gathered. In the early hours of the next morning, two people died as a bomb went off in their car, apparently prematurely, near the village of Toturbiikala.
On 15 July 2010, Pastor Artur Suleimanov, a Muslim convert to Christianity, was murdered by a gunman. The pastor was killed in his car as he was leaving the Hosanna House of Prayer in Makhachkala, according to a religious persecutionwatchdog group, Voice of the Martyrs, report. Pastor Suleimanov's church is one of the largest Protestant churches in Dagestan. Christians in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, face harassment and intimidation from various groups. Pastor Suleimanov's life had been threatened on several previous occasions.
On 23 September 2011, Magomed Murtuzaliyev, a high-level law enforcement official, was shot and killed by gunmen.
On 28 September 2011, seven civilians and a police officer were killed by a car bomb in the village of Hajjalmakhi.
On 4 May 2012, 12 people were killed in two separate explosions on the outskirts of Makhachkala.
On 28 August 2012, Sheikh Said Afandi, an influential 75-year-old Sufi cleric, was killed along with six others in a suicide bombing. Afandi, a Sufi Muslim, opposed violent jihad in Dagestan.
Abdulrashid Sadulaev – freestyle wrestler, a three-time World Champion (2014, 2015, 2018), European Champion (2014), European Games Champion (2015), two time Cadet World Champion (2012, 2013), Golden Grand-Prix Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist (2016).
Adam Saitiev (12 December 1977, Khasavyurt, Dagestan ASSR) – Russia's freestyle wrestler, a Chechen, Russian Master of sports of international class, Honored Master of Sports of Russia (2000), three-time champion of Russia (1999, 2000, 2002), three-time champion Europe (1999, 2000, 2006), two-time world champion (1999, 2002), Olympic champion (2000).
Buvaisar Saitiev (b. 11 March 1975 in Khasavyurt, Dagestan ASSR) – Russia's freestyle wrestler, three-time Olympic champion, six-time world champion, six-time European champion, five-time Russian champion, seven-time winner of the tournament Krasnoyarsk Ivan Yarygin winner Goodwill Games will. Honored Master of Sports of Russia (1995).
Eduard Puterbrot (1940–1993) – Dagestan artist and member of the USSR Union of Artists.
Fatimat Madilavovna Kicheva (b.1990) - Dagestan and Russian writer, national poet of Dagestan Republic, ashug, publicist and journalist, Fatimat has made a major contribution to the development of Dagestan and Russian culture.
Suleyman Kerimov - businessman, investor, philanthropist and politician. Featured on Forbes list as one of the richest people in Russia. Founded the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation as a vehicle for his charitable projects.
^Всероссийский Центральный Исполнительный Комитет. Декрет от 20 января 1921 г. «Об Автономной Дагестанской Социалистической Советской Республике». (All-Russian Central Executive Committee. Decree of January 20, 1921 On Autonomous Dagestan Socialist Soviet Republic. ).
^Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).
^Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
^The density value was calculated by dividing the population reported by the 2010 Census by the area shown in the "Area" field. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox is not necessarily reported for the same year as the population.
^Правительство Российской Федерации. Федеральный закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об исчислении времени», в ред. Федерального закона №368-ФЗ от 11 октября 2018 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 5 Федерального закона "Об исчислении времени"». Вступил в силу по истечении шестидесяти дней после дня официального опубликования (6 августа 2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31, 2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #368-FZ of October 11, 2018 On Amending Article 5 of the Federal Law "On Calculating Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the official publication.).
В. М. Солнцев; et al., eds. (2000). Письменные языки мира: Российская Федерация. Социолингвистическая энциклопедия. (in Russian). Москва: Российская Академия Наук. Институт языкознания. проект №99-04-16158.
10 июля 2003 г. «Конституция Республики Дагестан», в ред. Закона №45 от 7 октября 2008 г. (July 10, 2003 Constitution of the Republic of Dagestan, as amended by the Law #45 of October 7, 2008. ).