The Kumyk of Russia
The Kumyk are located primarily in the Daghestan Republic, a region of southwestern Russia that borders the Caspian Sea. Some also live in the Caucasus Mountains regions of Chechnya, Ingush, and Ossetia. The climate for this area provides hot, dry summers, rainy autumns, and cool winters. The Kumyk are one of the indigenous peoples of Daghestan, where they are called "dwellers of the lowlands."
During the tenth century, some Turkic-speaking tribes migrated into the Daghestan area, resulting in an intermingling of their languages. Today, the Kumyk speak a Turkic language that includes some elements of the Bulgar, Khazar, and Oghuz Turk languages.
During the 1400's and 1500's, the Kumyk gained political power and formed their own state, Shamkhalat of Tarki. In 1867, Shamkhalat came under Russian administration. Today, the Kumyk enjoy full Russian citizenship and are found in all income brackets.
What are their lives like?
For several hundred years, the Kumyk economy has been based primarily on agriculture. Even today, most of the Kumyk are farmers. They use crop rotation and artificial irrigation, both of which are profitable techniques. They raise sheep and cattle for milk and meat, horses, and water buffalo are also raised. Fishing is also important.
Today, the Kumyk who are not farmers work in many of the same fields and occupations as other Russian groups. About one-third of Kumyk work in industry. Wool and cotton textiles, wood and metal items, leather, pottery, and woven rugs are among the products manufactured. A very important trade route passes through the Kumykia region, since it was once the main provisional center for many regions of Daghestan.
Most of the Kumyk live in villages. Their homes are usually one of three types of dwellings. The first is a one-story house built on a low foundation. These are the most common and are found in the lowland areas. The second is a one-and-a-half-story house built on a high stone foundation. These homes are found primarily in the foothill regions. The third is a two-story house.
Traditionally, most homes were built with their windows, porches, and doors facing South or Southeast, to catch more of the sun's heat during the cold winter months. Today, most homes are warmed by the use of steam heat, and gas and coal stoves are used for the preparation of foods.
A favorite Kumyk national dish is khinkal, dumplings boiled in meat bouillon, served with sour cream gravy and garlic. The Kumyk also eat grape or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and sausage, rice porridge, soups, pies, breads, and pastries.
The Kumyk are an artistic people, decorating their homes with clay and wood carvings and inscriptions. Their songs and dances are accompanied by stringed instruments called kumuzes, wind instruments, and accordions. Their traditional clothes and weapons were decorated with gold and silver trim. Today, many of the urban Kumyk wear European dress rather than the traditional tunic-shaped shirt and pants, and the quilted coats.
In times past, the women alone had the responsibility of rearing the children and showing them affection. Today, those Kumyk who continue to follow these customs will not allow a man to help rear his children or show them fatherly love.
What are their beliefs?
The Kumyk are virtually all Muslim. However, some of their Islamic beliefs exist alongside some of their traditional pagan beliefs. For instance, ritual dances are offered to the dead. Ritual dances are also performed at the dedication of a horse.
What are their needs?
There are nearly 300,000 Kumyk in Russia and less than 1% of them know Jesus Christ. There are no missions agencies working among this people group at the present time. Only portions of the Bible have been translated into the Kumyk language. Neither the Jesus film nor any Christian broadcasts are available to the Kumyk. Prayer is the key to seeing them reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Russia and share Christ with the Kumyk.
- Ask God to anoint the few Kumyk believers to share the Gospel with their friends and families.
- Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to translate the entire Word of God into the Kumyk language.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the father heart of God to those Kumyk who have never known a father's love.
- Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors to faithfully stand in the gap for the Kumyk.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that have kept the Kumyk bound for many generations.
- Pray that the Lord Jesus will begin revealing Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Kumyk by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kumyk
- Country: Russia
- Their language: Kumyk (Buinak)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 28
- Scriptures in their own language: Portions
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 0
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 44,400 (16%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 232,700 (84%)
- Country: Russia
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 50
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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