Akhvakh in Russia

Akhvakh
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Akhvakh
Country: Russia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 6,700
World Population: 6,700
Primary Language: Akhvakh
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.03 %
Evangelicals: 0.03 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Caucasus
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Akhvakh, who speak their own distinct language, live in 9 major villages or towns in the mountainous region of west central Dagestan, and also in several Akhvakh enclaves in Dagestani urban areas. Before 1930, Russia considered them to be a distinct ethnic group. Since then, Russia has combined them into the Avar ethnic group. The Akhvakh speak their own distinct language, Akhvakh and maintain their distinct culture.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Akhvakh people live in a remote area. They make their living by farming and raising livestock. They suffer high rates of alcoholism like many other peoples in this region.

What Are Their Beliefs?

As do many of the peoples of Dagestan, they practice widespread folk Islam which exists alongside official Islam and its Five Pillars. One Dagestani scholar suggests that such animistic folk Islamic practices are especially strong among the Akhvakh, although not much less so among the other 33 language groups of Dagestan.
An Akhvakh mullah might write Arabic Koranic verses with ink pen on a piece of paper, soaked the paper in a cup of water until the ink dissolved in the water and then had the ill person drink the water, accompanied by memorized Arabic incantations.
If a troubling spiritual presence bothers a family in their home or there is a string of bad luck they may call an exorcist to remove the spirit.

What Are Their Needs?

The Akhvakh need workers to share the gospel in the Akhvakh language and within its culture.

Prayer Points

Pray that anointed workers will go the Akhvakh as Christ-bearers.
Pray that the Bible and other resources will be translated into the Akhvakh language.
Pray for the two female Akhvakh believers to show boldness, gentleness and love as they interface with their Akhvakh family and clan relationships.
Pray for the establishment of a viable, indigenous and reproducing Akhvakh church.

Text Source:   Joshua Project