IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Republic of Dagestan

2nd November, 2023 Geography

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  • Russian authorities recently announced the arrest of 60 persons suspected of storming an airport in the Muslim-majority Caucasus republic of Dagestan with the intention of attacking Jewish passengers arriving from Israel.

About Dagestan

  • Dagestan, officially known as the Republic of Dagestan, is a province of the Russian Federation, which should clear up any uncertainty over its name.
  • It is strategically important for Russia because it is located in the country's southernmost region.

Geographical Boundary

  • Land of Mountains: Dagestan's name translates as "land of the mountains," emphasising the country's hilly geography.
  • North Caucasus: Located in the eastern North Caucasus, it has borders with Georgia, Chechnya, and Azerbaijan to the west and Azerbaijan to the south. The Caspian Sea is located to the east.
  • Inaccessible Terrain: Some regions of Dagestan's highlands are so remote that helicopters are required to reach them.

Ethnic Diversity

  • More than 40 ethnicities: At least 40 different ethnic groups live in the province.
  • More than 30 languages: This region is home to more than 30 different languages.
  • Prominent Ethics Groups: The Avars are the most populous ethnic group in Dagestan, accounting for roughly one-fifth of the population. Dargins, Kumyks, and Lezgins are also major groupings.
  • Ethnic Russian Presence: Despite its ethnic variety, ethnic Russians account for around 10% of Dagestan's population.

Population: About 3.2 million.

Religion: The majority of Dagestanis are Sunni Muslims.


  • Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, is strategically located along the Caspian Sea coast.
  • Makhachkala, once an important commerce port, was seized by the Russian Imperial Army in the nineteenth century.

Oil and Gas Hub

  • With its own supplies of these resources, Dagestan now serves as a vital route for oil and gas pipelines connecting the Caspian Sea to Russia's heartland.


  • The region has struggled with organized crime and instability, with Russian security forces fighting armed insurgencies and militant organizations in Dagestan and neighboring territories.


Discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict as a persistent global issue and its impact on regional and international geopolitics. (150 words)