Alania

Alania

[uh-lahn-yuh]
Alania: see Ossetia.
The Republic of North Ossetia-Alania (Респу́блика Се́верная Осе́тия–Ала́ния; Ossetic: Республикӕ Цӕгат Ирыстон — Алани) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic). The direct romanization of the Russian name of the republic is Respublika Severnaya Osetiya-Alaniya. Its name in Ossetic transliterates (in the ISO 9-system) as Respublikæ Cægat Iryston - Alani.

Name

In the last years of the Soviet Union, as nationalist movements swept throughout the Caucasus, many intellectuals in the North Ossetian ASSR called for the revival of the name of Alania, a medieval kingdom of the Alans, ancestors of the modern-day Ossetians. The term of "Alania" quickly became popular in Ossetian daily life through the names of various enterprises, a TV channel, political and civic organizations, publishing house, soccer team, etc. In November 1994, the name of "Alania" was officially added to the republican title (Republic of North Ossetia-Alania).

History

Early history

The territory of North Ossetia-Alania was first inhabited by Caucasians tribes. Some Nomadic Alans settled in the region in the 7th century, forming the kingdom of Alania. It was converted to Christianity by Byzantine missionaries. Alania greatly profited from the Silk Road which passed through its territory.

After the Middle Ages, the Mongols' and Tartars' repeated invasions decimated the population, now known as the Ossetians. Islam was introduced to the region in the 17th century by Kabardians. Conflicts between the Khanate of Crimea and the Ottoman Empire eventually pushed Ossetia into an alliance with Imperial Russia in the 18th century. Soon, Russia formed a military in the captial, Vladikavkaz, becoming the first Russia-controlled area in the northern Caucasus. By 1806, Ossetia was under complete Russian control.

Russian/Soviet rule

The Russians' rule led to rapid development of industry and railways which overcame its isolation. The first books from the area came during the late 18th century, and became part of the Terskaya Region of Russia in the mid-19th century.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in North Ossetia being merged into the Soviet Mountain Republic in 1921. It then became the North Ossetian Autonomous Oblast on 7 July 1924, then merged into the North Ossetian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on 5 December 1936. During World War II, it was subject to a number of invasions by Nazi Germany unsuccessfully trying to seize Vladikavkaz.

The North Ossetian SSR became the first autonomous republic 20 June 1990 of the Soviet Union, being renamed to the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania in 1991.

Post Soviet rule

The Soviet Union's collapse posed particular problems for the Ossetian people, which were divided between North Ossetia, which was part of the Russian SFSR, and South Ossetia, part of the Georgian SSR. In December 1990 the Supreme Soviet of Georgia abolished the autonomous Ossetian enclave amid the rising ethnic tensions in the region, and much of the population fled across the border to North Ossetia or Georgia proper. Some 70,000 South Ossetian refugees were resettled in North Ossetia, sparking clashes with the predominantly Ingush population in the Prigorodny District. That led to the Ossetian-Ingush conflict.

As well as dealing with the effects of the conflict in South Ossetia, North Ossetia has had to deal with refugees and the occasional spillover of fighting from the war in neighboring Chechnya. The bloodiest incident by far was the September 2004 Beslan hostage crisis, in which Chechen Muslim separatists of Shamil Basayev seized control of a school. In the firefight between the terrorists and Russian forces that ended the crisis, 335 civilians, the majority of them children, died.

Geography

The Republic is located in the northern Caucasus. The northern part of the republic is situated in the Stavropol Plain. 22% of the republic's territory is covered by forests.

Time zone

North Ossetia-Alania is located in the Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).

Rivers

All of the republic's rivers belong to the basin of the Terek River. Major rivers include:

Mountains

All of the mountains located on the territory of the republic are a part of the Caucasus. Mount Dzhimara is the highest point (4,780 m), with Mount Ulipata being the second highest (4,638 m).

Natural resources

Natural resources include minerals (copper, silver, zinc), timber, mineral waters, hydroelectric power, and untapped reserves of oil and gas.

Climate

Climate is moderately continental.

  • Average January temperature: −5°C
  • Average July temperature: +24°C
  • Average annual precipitation: 400-700 mm in the plains, over 1,000 mm in the mountains.

Administrative divisions

Demographics

  • Population: 710,275 (2002)
    • Urban: 464,875 (65.5%)
    • Rural: 245,400 (34.5%)
    • Male: 336,035 (47.3%)
    • Female: 374,240 (52.7%)
  • Females per 1000 males: 1,114
  • Average age: 33.8 years
    • Urban: 34.2 years
    • Rural: 32.9 years
    • Male: 30.4 years
    • Female: 36.9 years
  • Number of households: 200,191 (with 690,806 people)
    • Urban: 143,397 (with 447,884 people)
    • Rural: 56,794 (with 242,922 people)
  • Vital statistics (2005)
    • Births: 7,894 (birth rate 11.2)
    • Deaths: 8,654 (death rate 12.3)

  • Ethnic groups

The Ossetian population of North Ossetia is predominantly Christian with a large Muslim minority, speaking Ossetic and Russian.

According to the 2002 Census, Ossetians make up 62.7% of the republic's population. Other groups include Russians (23.2%), Ingush (3.0%), Armenians (2.4%), Kumyks (12,659, or 1.8%), Georgians (10,803, or 1.5%), Ukrainians (0.7%), Chechens (3,383, or 0.5%), and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. 3,283 people (0.5%) did not indicate their nationalities during the Census.

census 1926 census 1939 census 1959 census 1970 census 1979 census 1989 census 2002
Ossetians 139,120 (60.3%) 165,616 (50.3%) 215,463 (47.8%) 269,326 (48.7%) 299,022 (50.5%) 334,876 (53.0%) 445,310 (62.7%)
Russians 50,272 (21.8%) 122,614 (37.2%) 178,654 (39.6%) 202,367 (36.6%) 200,692 (33.9%) 189,159 (29.9%) 164,734 (23.2%)
Ingush 1,540 (0.7%) 6,106 (1.9%) 6,071 (1.3%) 18,387 (3.3%) 23,663 (4.0%) 32,783 (5.2%) 21,442 (3.0%)
Armenians 6,921 (3.0%) 8,932 (2.7%) 12,012 (2.7%) 13,355 (2.4%) 12,912 (2.2%) 13,619 (2.2%) 17,147 (2.4%)
Ukrainians 14,282 (6.2%) 7,063 (2.1%) 9,362 (2.1%) 9,250 (1.7%) 10,574 (1.8%) 10,088 (1.6%) 5,198 (0.7%)
Others 18,646 (8.1%) 18,874 (5.7%) 29,019 (6.4%) 39,896 (7.2%) 45,139 (7.6%) 51,903 (8.2%) 56,444 (7.9%)

Vital Statistics for 2007: Source

Birth Rate: 13.45 per 1000

Death Rate: 11.25 per 1000

Net Immigration: -1.0 per 1000

NGR: +0.22% per Year

PGR: +0.12% per Year

Politics

The head of government in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania is the Head of the Republic. As of 2005, the head of the republic is Taymuraz Mamsurov. Mamsurov succeeded Alexander Dzasokhov, who voluntarily quit his post on May 31, 2005.

Economy

In terms of its infrastructure, North Ossetia-Alania ranks second in the Southern Federal District and 10th in the nation. The nature and climatic conditions of the republic contribute to the successful development of various economic sectors, which is compounded by the abundance of natural resources. The most widespread resources are zinc- and led-containing complex ores. There are deposits of limestone, dolomites, marble and touchstone. There is also a large availability of construction materials, such as clay, sand and gravel. The local oil deposit reserves are estimated at 10 million metric tons.

The republic has over 250 mineral and fresh water springs, with estimated daily reserves of 15,000 cubic meters. North Ossetian mineral waters are known for their unique qualities, as well as special mineral composition.

The republic has some of the most extensive telecommunication networks in the North Caucasus region and in Russia. It ranks first in terms of its telecom network installations in the Southern Federal District.

Local agriculture focuses primarily on livestock, especially sheep and goats, and the cultivation of grains, fruit, and cotton.

Transportation

The republic ranks fourth in Russia in terms of its paved roads, and its expanding transport and logistics complex provides communication networks between Russia and the South Caucasus, as well as Central Asia. The complex includes two federal highways (Georgian Military Road connects Vladikavkaz with Transcaucasia) running across the Greater Caucasus Range, two customs checkpoints for cars, a developed railway network, Vladikavkaz international airport, and well-equipped transport terminals.

Culture

There are six professional theaters in North Ossetia-Alania. Also Ossetian State Philarmonia.

Education

The most important facilities of higher education include North Caucasus State Technological University, North Ossetian State University, North Ossetian State Medical Academy, and Mountain State Agrarian University; all located in Vladikavkaz.

Religion

The predominant religion is Russian Orthodox Christianity, followed by Islam. Many of the native rituals predate both faiths. Some estimations state that the share of Muslim population in the republic is about 30%.

See also

References

External links

General

Education

Mass media

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