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The Dargins

The Dargins live in Dagestan, Stavropolsky Krai, the Republic of Kalmykia.
Neighboring ethnic groups are the Tabasarans, the Aguls, the Laks, the Avars and the Kumuks.
Language: Dargin (3 independent, mutually unintelligible dialects), belongs to Nakhsko-dagestanian group
Religion:Sunni-Muslims, some shia-muslim communities also.

The Dargins are considered to be an indigenous people of the Caucasus, that lived relatively isolated from foreign influence until the beginning of the great Arab conquests in the 8th c., when they were exposed to Islam for the first time. From the 14th c., they were controlled politically by the Kaytaks, who are now considered a sub-group of Dargins.
Although introduced to Islam in the 8th c., the Dargins remained primarily animist until the15th c., when Muslim influence became stronger, with Persian traders coming in from the south, and the Golden Horde increasingly pressing from the north. In the 16th c., the Ottoman Turks occupied the area, and also helped to consolidate Islam. By the 19th c., all but a few of the Dargins had been converted to Islam.
Fundamentalist Muslim tendencies are strong among the Dargins, together with a profound anti-Russian sentiment.
Just after the Bolshevik revolution, the government in Moscow established the Mountain Autonomous Republic, with Arabic as official language. Dargins and other peoples rebelled, and in 1921, the Dagestan autonomous soviet republic was established, including the Dargin population. Soviet policy towards this region was cruel and extremely unstable in the 1920s, with incidences of purges against Muslim leaders, changes in official language and a general "divide-and-rule"-approach. Things became more stable after 1928, when Dargin, Avar, Lezgin and Azerbaijani were all made official languages. However, gradually, Russian language was imposed in schools and administrations.
The Dargins resisted russification by simply refusing to participate in programs to relocate them out of the highlands and into lowland towns and collective farms. Thus, the majority of the Dargins still maintain a traditional lifestyle.
After 1991, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, anti-Russian secessionist nationalism is gaining strength among the Dargins.

For the most part, the relations between the various ethnic groups of Dagestan are remarkably less competitive than those of the titular nationalities in the other North Caucasian republics. This may change if nationalism, as expressed in the concept of the national state, gains more currency among the larger national groups, such as the Dargins.

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