Bezhta people

Total population
Regions with significant populations
Bezhta language, Avar, Russian
Sunni Islam

The Bezhta (also Kapuchi) are an Andi–Dido people living in the Tsuntinsky region in southwestern Dagestan. In the 1930s along with the rest of the Andi-Dido peoples they were classified as Avars. However, some people identified themselves as Bezhta in the 2002 census of Russia. They speak the Bezhta language, but many of them also speak Avar, Russian or other Tsezic languages of their region. They numbered 1,448 in 1926. According to the Russian census in 2002, there were 6184 self-identified "Bezhtins", though the real number is probably higher.


The territory of the Bezhtas was nominally part of the Avar Khanate. In 1806, the Bezhtas were incorporated into the Russian empire. Tight colonial control of the region was enforced during the 1860's and 1870's.[2] During Soviet rule, the Bezhtas witnessed collectivization, urbanization, education mainly taught in the Russian language, and a erosion of Islam and traditional Bezhta culture.[2]


The Bezhta are primarily Sunni Muslims. The presence of Islam in the land of the Bezhta can be traced back to the 8th and 9th centuries. Most natives of the region were Muslim by the 17th century.[2]

The Bezhtas used to be livestock breeders. They mainly raised sheep, horses and oxens. The Bezhtas also practiced terrace farming and grew rye, wheat and other grains.[2]


  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (in Russian)
  2. ^ a b c d "The Bezhtas". www.eki.ee. The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  • Wixman, Ron. The Peoples of the USSR, p. 28

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