Lak in Russia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Expanded PDF Profile

Introduction / History

The elderly Lak man mused to himself, "I still remember my first 15 years in our ancient mountain village of Churtakh. We young men would go with the sheep to the high mountain pastures and then when the weather started getting cold we'd take the sheep far down into the lowlands and graze them there for two or three months. Those were great adventures. Down in the lowlands we would mingle with other Dagestani peoples and learn some of their languages; but after a few months we'd head home with our sheep back up into the rugged mountains of our Lak region. But in 1944 the military came to our village and forced us all to move hundreds of miles to the northwest to a windswept plain and start life all over, far away from our mountains." This gentleman, now in his 80s, has lived for the last 70 years in the lowland settlement of Novo-churtakh in northwestern Dagestan near the border with Chechnya. In that war-torn decade of the 1940s this region was renamed the Novo-Lakskoe Region. Now, in these years his family has only a few sheep and cattle, and makes their living mostly off of sedentary agriculture. Some of the men work in factories in the nearby city of Khasavyurt.

The situation wasn't only difficult for the Lak people. The region they were forcibly resettled to had been the centuries-old homeland of the Akkin people. In that year 1944 the Soviet KGB (under Stalin) brutally deported the Akkin, along with their nearby Chechen cousins, to the barren steppes of Central Asia. Many Akkin died in the process. Under Kruschchev, after 1957, the Akkin were allowed to return. But most of their villages and farm lands were now resettled for nearly 15 years by the transplanted Lak clans. What to do? Some of the Lak returned to their original mountain village region in south central Dagestan and rebuilt abandoned villages. Some remained and tenuously worked out accommodations with the returned Akkins. Other Laks eventually resettled to a new lowland region in northeastern Dagestan near the Caspian Sea, north of the capital city of Makhachkala.

Today, in the early 21st century, total Lak population in the Russian province of Dagestan is nearly 160,000. Laks are located in approximately 10 towns/villages in the northwestern NovoLakskoe Region, in approximately 12 villages in northeastern Dagestan, and perhaps 50 still-active villages in the original mountain homeland region in south-central Dagestan. Many Lak have also relocated to the urban center of Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. All of these upheavals have 'stretched' the Lak, not only geographically but also emotionally and relationally. The Lak were one of the first of all Dagestani peoples to convert to Islam in the 8th Century, and for many centuries their mountain central town of Kumukh was a center of Islamic learning. Now in this era the Lak hold a position of respect for many Dagestanis, partly due to their ancient leadership and also now due to their unifying influence as they have stretched into many sectors of Dagestan. Starting in the 1990s a significant number of urban Lak came to faith in Jesus—there are now more than 50 Lak believers, mostly in urban sectors of Dagestan.

The New Testament books of Mark and Luke were completed in Lak 12 years ago, but then Bible work stalled due to no team leadership available. Thank-fully, in 2010 a young Russian linguist, with his family, has moved to Dagestan and restarted Lak linguistic work; presently the Gospel of Matthew is being translated, with the future goal of finishing the NT.

Lak history is majestic, and yet tragic, and often the deficit of loving grace is palpably felt. Pray that the Lak people—in the midst of their many upheavals—will be drawn to 'the Father of mercies and God of all comfort' in the love of Christ. II Cor.1:3

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Lak in Russia.

Pray for the Lak believers to shine as bright lights in the midst of their Lak families & clans. Phil.2:12-15
Pray for encouragement & success for the newly reassembled Lak Bible Translation Team. Hebrews 4:12
Pray for men and women of peace (Luke 10:6) in each one of the 72 Lak towns & villages, to be keys to welcom-ing the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit into each Lak community in the years ahead. Matthew 9:36-38 & Hebrews 2:3-4
Pray boldly that the Lak people, with their 'stretching' relational dynamics and position of honor in Dagestani society, will be used by the Lord to bring grace to many other Dagestani peoples. Romans 10: 11-15!

Profile Source:   provided by NCRP  
Expanded PDF Profile

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-03-25
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-03-02
People Name General Lak
People Name in Country Lak
Population this Country 163,000
Population all Countries 177,000
Total Countries 7
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
Alternate Names Kumux; Laki
People ID 12952
ROP3 Code 105583
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Dagestan Republic.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Dagestan Republic..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Lak
Language Code lbe   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Lak
Language Code lbe   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Lak

Primary Language:  Lak

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1996-2007)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Lak
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
General Gospel resources links
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.04 %)
0.04 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.97 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source The Action - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source Withheld by request   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source provided by NCRP  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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