Ethnic group. An Indo-Iranian group of the Caucasus Mountains, the Ossetians are divided between Russia’s North OssetiyaAlaniya and the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Ossetians, or Ossetes, self-declare as Iristi or Irættæ, and descend from the Sarmatian Alans. Their ancestral language is the last surviving member of the northeastern family of Iranian languages, which also include Persian, Pashto, and Kurdish; it employs a Cyrillic orthography. Most Ossetians in the Russian Federation use the Russian language as a lingua franca, while those in South Ossetia use Georgian in their everyday activities. They are predominantly Eastern Orthodox; however, a significant number are Muslims, especially among the Digor subgroup. In total, they number 725,000, of which more than a half-million reside in the Russian Federation. The Ossetians, who were favored by tsarist as well as Communist authorities, benefited from World War II–era deportations of their Muslim neighbors; subsequent historical disputes with the Ingush have triggered ethnic violence since 1991. Attempts by authorities in North Ossetiya and South Ossetia to unify have been a major source of friction between Moscow and Tbilisi.
   See also Chechnya; Iran; South Ossetian war.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ossetians — (Ирæттæ) (left to right): Kosta, Gazdanov, Tokaty, Gergiev Total population 720,000 Regions with signific …   Wikipedia

  • Ossetians in Turkey — Ossetians and other Caucasian diaspora members protesting against Georgian assault on South Ossetia (August 13, 2008, Istanbul) Ossetians in Turkey are a national minority. They emigrated from North Ossetia since the second half of the 19th… …   Wikipedia

  • Ossetians in Trialeti — Trialeti Ossetians are shown as the extreme southern area of the Ossetian population …   Wikipedia

  • South Ossetia — Republic of South Ossetia Республикæ Хуссар Ирыстон / Respublikæ Xussar Iryston (Ossetic) სამხრეთი ოსეთი / Samkhret Oseti (Georgian) Республика Южная Осетия / Respublika Yuzhnaya Osetiya (Russian) …   Wikipedia

  • 2008 South Ossetia war — Part of Georgian–Ossetian conflict and Georgian–Abkhazian conflict Locat …   Wikipedia

  • Georgian–Ossetian conflict (1918–1920) — Georgian Ossetian conflict (1918–1920) Date 1918–1920 Location South Ossetia, northeast Georgia Result Georgian military victory Area was later Sovietized …   Wikipedia

  • Humanitarian impact of the 2008 South Ossetia war — South Ossetians= On 8 August the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged the combatants to form a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the wounded and besieged civilians from within Tskhinvali.cite web|url =… …   Wikipedia

  • Georgian–Ossetian conflict — Location of South Ossetia within Georgia. Date 1989–present Location …   Wikipedia

  • Timeline of the 2008 South Ossetia war — The 2008 South Ossetia war started on August 7, 2008 and involves Georgia, Russian Federation, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.Military conflict TimelineThe tensions have been escalating through the year of 2008, but the countdown to the open… …   Wikipedia

  • Iranian peoples — The Iranian people [local names Old Iranian: Arya , Middle Iranian: Eran , Modern Iranian languages: Persian: Iraniyan or Irani ha , Kurdish: Êraniyekan or gelên Êranî , Ossetian: Irynoau Adem , Mazandarani: Iranijş Benevarün or Heranaysi Adəmün …   Wikipedia