Digor people

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Total population
est. 52,000
Regions with significant populations

est. 52,000

Ossetian: Digor and Iron dialects, Russian
Sunni Islam, Orthodox Church
Related ethnic groups
Iron people

The Digor (Ossetian: дыгурон - dɨguron, pl.: дыгур, дыгурæттæ - dɨgur, dɨgurəttə, Digor dialect: дигорон[1] - digoron, pl.: дигорæ, дигорæнттæ - digorə, digorənttə) are a subgroup of the Ossetians. They speak Digor dialect of the Eastern Iranian language Ossetian language, which was in USSR considered as a separate language until 1937. The speakers of the other dialect - Iron nearly do not speak, or understand the Digor. But the Digor usually understand and speak Iron, as it was the only official language of the Ossetian people and taught in all schools. In the 2002 Russian Census only 607 Digors were registered,[2] but in the 2010 Russian Census their number was only 223.[3] Most of them declared themselves just as Ossetians. It was estimated that there are 52,000 speakers of the dialect. They mainly leave in Digorsky, Irafsky, Mozdoksky districts and Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia–Alania, also in Kabardino-Balkaria, Turkey and Syria.


Among the tribal names given in "Ashkharatsuyts" there is an ethnonym ashdigor, which is considered to be the name of the Digors. Due to this fact and linguistics, it is believed that Digor dialect became separated from Proto-Ossetian during the Mongol conquests.

Digors make the majority of the Ossetians in Digoria - the western part of the North Ossetia–Alania (Digorsky and Irafsky districts) and in Kabardino-Balkaria. In the beginning of the 19th century some families from Digoria resettled in Mozdoksky District and there are 2 large settlements of them.

Digoria was annexed to the Russian Empire quite late if compared to the rest of Ossetia.

The Digors were converted to Sunni Islam in the 17th and 18th century[4] under the influence of the neighboring Kabarday people who introduced Islam to them.[5] In the second half large numbers of Muslim Digors emigrated to the Ottoman Empire. (see: Ossetians in Turkey)

During the World War II, North Ossetia–Alania was occupied by German armies in 1942. While under Nazi occupation the Ossetians remained unmoved, after the Germans forced out of the region, the Muslim Digors, like the other Muslim people, were accused of Collaboration with the Germans and deported to Central Asia. Estimations say 50% of the Digors died during deportation. They were rehabilitated in the mid 1950-s, and were allowed to repatriate.[5][6]

Now the Digors who live in Irafsky District of North Ossetia–Alania and in Kabardino-Balkaria are predominantly Muslims.

See also[edit]


  • Wixman. The Peoples of the USSR, p. 58


  1. ^ Камболов, Тамерлан Таймуразович (2006). Очерк истории осетинского языка. Владикавказ: Ир. p. 410. (Russian)
  2. ^ "Russian Census 2002: Population by ethnicity". Retrieved 19 April 2014. (Russian)
  3. ^ "Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity". Retrieved 19 April 2014. (Russian)
  4. ^ Minahan, James (2012). Miniature Empires: A Historical Dictionary of the Newly Independent States. New-York: Routledge. p. 211. ISBN 1-57958-133-1. 
  5. ^ a b Olson, James S. (editor) (1994). An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-313-27497-5. 
  6. ^ Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World. Vol. III (L-R). Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 1478. ISBN 0-313-32111-6.