Major Factors For Strengthening All-Russian Identity Of Dagestani Peoples


The Islamic revival has been observed in the Republic of Dagestan since the 90s and is associated with a return to the historical roots of its peoples, advancing traditional religious and cultural values, the spread of ideologies and practices of pseudo-Islamic radical and extremist groups and movements. Traditional Islamic values contributed to the social and spiritual integration of the Muslims of Dagestan, while the activities of religious and political extremists contributed to their disintegration. In this regard, it has become vital for the traditional clergy, primarily, for the Muftiate of the Republic of Dagestan, to counteract religious and political extremism. The all-Russian identity of the Dagestani peoples in the period under consideration was developed based on revival and establishment of traditions, countering extremism, uniting the peoples of the republic on the basis of the Russian language and culture, common history, and constitutional provisions of the state. In these processes, the authorities, the Muftiat and the intelligentsia of the republic have already played and are now playing an important role.

Keywords: Dagestan, extremism, ideology, Islam revival, transformation, Wahhabism


Unlike other subjects of the North Caucasian Federal District, the Republic of Dagestan is a multinational republic characterized by the lack of predominance of one or another titular nation. In the Constitution of the Republic of Dagestan, 14 peoples are recognized as indigenous peoples. However, the document does not regard many sub-ethnic groups and language groups (there are many villages in the republic that have their own unique language and traditions that differ from those of the neighboring peoples). For centuries, the practice of multilingualism when representatives of one people spoke the language of the neighboring people in addition to their native language has been developing in Dagestan. At the same time, the key factor consolidating the unity of this diversity was religion, specifically, Islam being the most widespread religion among peoples. Historically, there was a common language of interethnic communication. Until recently, the Kumyk language played this role in the territory of northern Dagestan, and for the population of the southern part of the region, it was the Azerbaijani language.

Since the formation of the USSR, the situation has changed dramatically. Specifically, the Russian language became the language of interethnic communication in Dagestan, and Russian, Soviet culture penetrated into life and self-consciousness of peoples. This contributed to the unity of the numerous peoples of the region within the framework of a common state, Soviet culture. It must be admitted that in recent decades, the Russian language has become the main language of everyday life of an average Dagestani due to the accelerated pace of urbanization of the Dagestani peoples and globalization, which has contributed to the development of an all-Russian identity based on ethnic, national, regional, religious types of identity.

The role of Islam is significant for the Muslims of the Republic of Dagestan in developing a multi-level identity of the Dagestanis. It should be regarded in interethnic, interfaith relations developing in the region and in the country as a whole.

Problem Statement

Dagestan is not only a multinational region but also a multi-confessional one. Abrahamic religions being Judaism, Christianity and Islam have ancient roots and are widespread. The history of Jewish communities in Dagestan is older than that of the Orthodox Christians. The spread of Islam began in the 7th century. This process was long and not linear, but had a contradictory nature contributing to the overcome of pagan values, establishment of a monotheistic religion, uniting disparate peoples with their cultures, developing a common Islamic identity.

A peculiarity of Dagestan is that its peoples have never been at enmity among themselves on a national and confessional basis, thus, recognizing and maintaining a cultural and spiritual community. Tolerance and mutual assistance of different peoples and religions was the key to survival in a difficult natural habitat and benefited the survival under the onslaught of numerous foreign invasions.

Being the dominant confession, Islam regulated almost all spheres of life of the Muslim peoples of Dagestan and became one of the major indicators of national identity, a factor bringing them together.

Islamic self-consciousness is actively reviving in modern Dagestan society, especially among the youth. More and more Dagestan’s youth are professing Islam, criticizing asocial and immoral acts, seeing the overcoming of negative social and spiritual phenomena through the affirmation of Islamic values in the life of Muslims in the region, and the growth of its role in the social and cultural reality of Muslims (Ignatenko, 2000).

The region often suffered from conflict situations associated with different interpretations of the foundations of Islam, Koranic provisions, exacerbation of social and religious tolerance in society. All this is the consequence of religious radicalism and extremism, which have developed during the spread of various forms of Islamism, specifically, Wahhabism and Salafism (Grinin, 2019; Khanbabaev, 2001). Such phenomena contributing to political and confessional disintegration of society were mastered in Dagestan by constitutional and legislative norms. At the state level, the issues of “strengthening the unity of the Russian nation, the unity of the Dagestani peoples, the rights and freedoms of Dagestanis as citizens of the Russian Federation” were resolved (Abdulatipov, 2017).

The Muftiate of the Republic of Dagestan also played a significant role in this process. Its activity aimed to revive the best traditions of religious tolerance, harmony and mutual cooperation between the representatives of various religious groups and confessions. The Muslim clergy aimed the revival of traditional values and the principles of religious tolerance, cooperation, peacefulness at unity, integration of believers of diverse backgrounds and shaping a common Dagestan identity.

A high degree of cooperation and mutual understanding was achieved on many issues between the Muftiat, the Jewish communities and the Makhachkala Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which benefited the development of the common Dagestan and all-Russian identities.

The representatives of the authorities and the intelligentsia organized awareness-raising work among young people in schools, universities and enterprises, through the media of the republic and the traditional clergy by revealing the asocial, criminal nature of extremist, terrorist manifestations, encouraging mutual cooperation and partnership of believers, representatives of young people professing the traditional faiths of the country.

Research Questions

The Republic of Dagestan is considered as a polyethnic, multilingual, polyconfessional ethno-cultural space in which 14 peoples enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Dagestan coexist, interact, influence each other, and speak many languages and dialects. Uniting the peoples of the region is the crucial theoretical and practical task, which should be solved through the intra-Dagestan unity of the peoples on the basis of the cultural, spiritual, political values of a single state. The development of the all-Russian identity of the Dagestani peoples involves consideration and revival of their religious, ethnic values, which in their totality should be aimed at their political and spiritual unity.

Purpose of the Study

The article aims to find the ways to define the all-Russian identity of the Dagestani peoples, establish the main factors benefiting its development and strengthening.

Research Methods

The dialectical method, the triple conversion from the particular to the general through the special is widely used in the course of the ongoing research. At the same time, it is taken into account that the general incorporates the particular and the special in a converted form. At the same time, the ongoing research is of a structural and systemic nature, which enables to consider the diverse social, cultural, religious problems in Dagestan, and in general in the country in interrelationships that form certain integrity.


A crucial role in the all-Russian identity development is played by spiritual, moral, patriotic education, which should be in the core of enlightenment and education in Russia and its regions. Correct and timely coverage of the problems related to the state-confessional and national policy, will provide ideological and motivational levers in the spiritual and moral education of the rising Dagestani youth. In general, this process aims to develop Russian identity and, as a result, patriotism towards the common homeland.

A system of state-confessional relations and interfaith education must be formed and developed in Dagestan through the introduction of modern spiritual and moral educational programs into the educational environment. This is the most important factor in countering the Islam radicalization, the penetration and spread of destructive ideas in society. In this regard, it is important to train teaching staff, comprehensively educated ministers of Islamic worship, theologians and teachers of Islamic educational institutions, teaching staff in the system of general, secondary and higher education in the republic.

The ultimate goal is the spiritual, moral and patriotic education of the growing Dagestani youth, developing their Russian identity. Dzhabrailov (2017), the Dagestan political scientist explored various forms of identity manifestation and wrote that “state identity forms (republican, Russian) prevailed in the hierarchy of types of social identity of the Dagestani peoples but at the same time, in the experienced sense of community, preference was given to their own ethnic group. Of course, in this process, the development of religious, Islamic identity is of major importance.

The development of an all-Russian identity in Dagestan is a natural process that should not be subject to a laissez-faire attitude; it should be regulated and managed at the state level. The development of an all-Russian identity is not possible without taking into account ethnic, religious values, regional historical and cultural characteristics, mutual support, and the definition of a common political and state strategy. It is very important to clearly define the dialectics of these interrelated local and nationwide trends (Akaev et al., 2018).


The development of an all-Russian identity in multinational Dagestan is a complex, multifaceted, and contradictory process. Its success depends on the development of languages, cultures of the peoples leaving in the region, their consolidation as a single state on the basis of a common language, culture, historical and legal values, which should hold a valuable place in their self-consciousness. In this regard, the patriotic education of the younger generation plays a significant role.

In practical and theoretical terms, it is also important to move from the particular and special to the general in the course of an all-Russian identity development. This task should be solved by scientists developing theoretical models as well as managers and politicians by putting into practice the state strategy for implementing national policy aimed to consolidate many peoples of the country and creating a Russian political nation having an all-Russian self-consciousness.


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25 November 2022

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Khumidovich, A. V., Rustamovich, T. D., Jalalovich, B. N., & Ravilevich, K. S. (2022). Major Factors For Strengthening All-Russian Identity Of Dagestani Peoples. In D. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism (SCTCMG 2022), vol 128. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 53-57). European Publisher.