Avar in Ukraine

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

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Introduction / History

The large majority of the Avar people live in the Dagestan Republic of Russia. They are a Northeastern Caucasian people who make up the biggest ethnic group in Dagestan. The Avar adopted Islam in the 12th century and remain Muslim today. After a three decades long war, the Russian Empire conquered the Avar homeland in 1864.

A small population of Avar settled in southeast Ukraine. This southeastern region of Ukraine where the Avar lived was taken over by pro-Russian forces in 2014. Russia invaded the whole nation of Ukraine in February of 2022. The Avar of Ukraine may have fled Ukraine to return to their homeland in Dagestan or escaped the fighting by going to an Eastern European country.

The New Testament and the JESUS Film are available in the Avar language. Avar adults also speak fluent Russian.

What Are Their Lives Like?

An honor/shame code is deeply ingrained in the Avar cultural psyche. This is true throughout all 34 of the Dagestani people groups, but perhaps most pronounced in the Avar. Indeed, Imam Shamil, arguably the most famous Dagestani in history, was Avar who led the defense of Dagestani and Avar homeland. Honor was the leading theme of these dozens of battles. The Avar people (and all of Dagestan) were finally subdued by the Russian Empire in 1864. The code of honor among the Avar has never diminished. In Post-Soviet Dagestan, the Avar (and secondarily the Dargin) carry the primary political power in the Republic of Dagestan in southern Russia.

Avars call themselves "free mountaineers who inhabit the highest lands." Primary Avar is spoken in more than 200 Avar towns and villages. All of these people then utilize Russian as a second language. Both Avar and Russian are taught in the local schools. Large numbers of Avar people have down-migrated to cities and towns in the Dagestani lowlands, primarily for economic reasons. They have found work in factories, construction, trade, and retail. All 34 people groups of Dagestan are represented in the melting-pot capital of Dagestan. The biggest city of Dagestan is Makhachkala. This city has the largest single ethnic representation off Avar. Some Avar have taken advantage of the Russian educational system to enter the professions.

The Avar carry many ancient cultural strengths, capped by their intense sense of honor; however, one strength not found in Avar culture is grace. The absence of grace, forgiveness, tolerance, and mercy has left the Avar (and all of Dagestan) vulnerable to intense cycles of violent revenge on many levels. Present day Dagestan is beset by increasing cycles of violence between Muslim power factions. These upheavals squelch trade, tourism, and economic well-being.

The Avar who still live in rural villages grow grains, fruits and vegetables. Some men take care of sheep, goats and horses. These Avar cling to the ways of their ancestors.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Avar practice Sunni Islam. Sunnis 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.

What Are Their Needs?

The Avar need to hear a clear presentation of the gospel of Christ. Only the peace and forgiveness of Christ can stop the constant feuding between the Avar clans and other peoples of the Caucasus area.

Prayer Points

Pray for their number of Avar believers to continually increase in Ukraine and Russia.

Pray for dreams and visions among open-hearted Avar, both young and old in Ukraine.

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Avar people in Ukraine.

Pray for a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

Pray for safety of the Avar in Ukraine.

Scripture Prayers for the Avar in Ukraine.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Other PDF Profile

People Name General Avar
People Name in Country Avar
Pronunciation AH-var
Alternate Names Batlux; Dagestani; Daghestani; Maarulal
Population this Country 1,200
Population all Countries 1,131,000
Total Countries 7
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 10495
ROP3 Code 100633
ROP25 Code 300579
ROP25 Name Avar
Country Ukraine
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Ukraine
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Avar (1,200 speakers)
Language Code ava   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Avar (1,200 speakers)
Language Code ava   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Avar
Photo Source Frontier Ventures 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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