Dargin in Russia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

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Introduction / History

The Dargin People of Dagestan are the second largest linguistic group of Dagestan in southwestern Russia. However, more than any other people group of Dagestan, the Dargin are not just one group—but rather a collection of closely-related distinct language circles in south central Dagestan, which collectively are known as the Dargin (or Dargwa). Language experts count 17 to 19 nearly mutually unintelligible languages in the Dargin sphere, and at least 40 additional named dialects within those language circles. As a matter of fact, the very word 'Dargwa' means 'free distinct societies/communities.' In the early 20th Century, the collection of all these 'free societies (Dargwas)' became known as the greater Dargin region.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Dargin communities, traditionally strong in trading/commerce, have maintained their ancient family structures, village assemblies and councils of elders. Though their economy is predominantly agricultural, the Dargins have developed rudimentary production and crafts such as carving, stone-working, tanning, and metal-working for weapons and implements—to support farming and livestock-raising. Many Dargin have migrated down from the more than 110 Dargin villages/towns in the mountains to lowland urban regions in Dagestan near the Caspian Sea, including large numbers of Dargin in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. In many of these urban enclaves Dargin traditions remain strong, in others, due to urban mixture, less so. The Dargin (along with the Avar) are considered one of the two most powerful ethnic groups of Dagestan.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Sunni Islam first arrived in the Dargwa region of Dagestan by the 8th Century and became firmly established as the official religion by the 14th Century. The Islam of the Dargins, though, has a strongly syncretistic nature, with a substantial heritage of pre-Islamic beliefs given folk Islamic form. The agricultural calendar & ceremonies and household & family rites have retained many elements of their original animism--practices for warding off evil and other forms of magic. Pre-Islamic traditions are reflected in the rite of the first furrow--the most important and ceremonially richest Dargwa rite—also in the rites for causing and stopping rain, calling out the sun, veneration of sacred trees, and shrines of deceased holy men. Local Islam is ruled by the jamaat, the council of elders in each village.

What Are Their Needs?

The Dargin come from a powerful ethnic tradition—indeed the very name 'Dargwa' means 'strong, free communities.' However, bondage to superstition, violent power struggles, pervasive male drunkenness, and other endemic forms of human sin, leave this proud collection of peoples far from free. Present-day Dagestan is beset by increasing cycles of violence squelching trade, tourism and economic well-being. In the past two decades there are now 40+ Dargin followers of Jesus in Dagestan. Since 2007 Matthew, Mark and Luke have been published in Dargin—John, Acts, and Revelation are nearly ready, with the goal the entire New Testament in the next decade. This incarnational work of the gospel in the Dargin world is crucial. Islam brings a form of law, but not regenerative grace. As John 1 says, "The law came through Moses, but grace and truth through Jesus Christ." For these proud Dargin communities, Jesus' promise is, "If you continue in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!"

Prayer Points

Pray for true spiritual freedom for the Dargin people.
Pray for men and women of peace in each one of the more than 110 Dargin towns and villages to be keys to welcoming the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit into each Dargwa community in the years ahead.
Thank God for the new believers among the Dargin! Pray for their number to continually increase.
Pray for dreams and visions among open-hearted Dargin, both young and old.
Pray for blessing upon God's word in Dargin, into many Dargin lives, both urban and rural.

Scripture Prayers for the Dargin in Russia.


Provided by NCRP

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
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People Name General Dargin
People Name in Country Dargin
Pronunciation DAR-ghin
Alternate Names Darghin; Dargwa
Population this Country 624,000
Population all Countries 638,000
Total Countries 7
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 12
People ID 11505
ROP3 Code 102454
ROP25 Code 301959
ROP25 Name Dargin (Dargwa)
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 Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.99 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Dargwa
Language Code dar   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Dargwa
Language Code dar   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Dargwa

Primary Language:  Dargwa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2002-2020)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Dargwa Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter IBT, Russia - resources Institute for Bible Translation - Russia
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Withheld by request   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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