Kumyk in Ukraine

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People Name: Kumyk
Country: Ukraine
10/40 Window: No
Population: 600
World Population: 511,500
Primary Language: Kumyk
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Altaic
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The vast majority of the Kumyk people live in the Dagestan Province of Russia. A tiny population was living in Ukraine up until the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. It is not known how many of the Kumyks remain in Ukraine. Some have fled to eastern Europe and others to the traditional homeland of the Kumyk in the Caucasus Mountains of Dagestan in Russia.

Although the modern era has led a few Kumyk to settle in other regions than the North Caucasus, such as Ukraine. As a whole they have chosen to live close to their ancestral home, the Kumyk Plateau in Dagestan. The reason is most likely due to the fertile soil that this pleasant plateau has always offered their people. The Kumyk are one of two Turkic-language peoples among the 34 languages of Dagestan (Nogai the other Dagestani Turkic language).

What Are Their Lives Like?

A religious, cultural mix of traditions is evident in Kumyk art, dance, marriage ceremonies, and folk music. Family and village elders instruct youth in the ways of their people. The Kumyk are historically a proud people, respected in Dagestan for their literary, artistic, and economic accomplishments.

The Kumyk marry within their group. They tend to have large families as children, especially boys, are seen as blessings from Allah. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Most Kumyk still live in rural villages. Farmland surrounds their villages. The Kumyk people make their livelihood primarily by farming, vineyards, and raising cattle. Some young people are moving to cites in search of a better life. Some have taken advantage of the Ukrainian educational system and become professionals.

The Kumyks became Muslims in the 9th century. The hearts of the Kumyk have not been fertile to the gospel of Jesus since the 9th century. Few cultural remnants of Christianity remain. Starting from the 16th under the Shamkhal Khanate, the Kumyk exerted major political leadership in the region of central Dagestan. The Russian language started replacing Kumyk as the lingua franca in the Caucasus region in the 19th century. Russian or Ukrainian are the languages that people of the Caucasus use to a person outside their group.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The vast majority of the Kumyk practice Sunni Islam. Their brand of Islam is mixed with folk religion. Islam is viewed as part of a Kumyk’s identity. Christianity is viewed as the religion of their Russian enemies.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kumyk must see that Christianity is not exclusively a Russian or European religion. Christ alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life. The Kumyk must understand that becoming a follower of Christ will not affect the identity as a Kumyk.

Prayer Points

Pray for a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

Pray that the few Kumyk believers would be strong in the faith and share the gospel with their family and neighbors.

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Kumyk of Ukraine.

Pray for an openness to hearing the claims of Christ among the Kumyk elders and leaders.

Ask the Lord to raise up a thriving Kumyk church in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project