North Ossetia-Alania is one of the sovereign republics of Russian Federation. It is situated on the northern slopes of the central Caucasus between two of the highest mountain peaks in Europe, Elbrous (5613m) and Kazbeck (5047m).
North Ossetia-Alania is one of the smallest, most densely populated and multi-cultural republics in Russian Federation. The findings of the last census of 1989 show that the population of 646,000 inhabitants represents about 100 nationalities living on an area of 8,000 sq.km. (81 people to every sq.km.). Vladikavkaz is the capital of North Ossetia-Alania.
Since before recorded history, North Ossetia-Alania has been the crossroads of main Caucasus routes and a bridge between Transcaucasus and Europe. Due to its strategic geographical position, North Ossetia-Alania has always been the subject of dispute for all the great empires. The Great Silk Route, which bound all civilized mankind from China to the Atlantic coast at the begining of our time, passed through the Alan kingdom, from which Ossetia inherited its ethnic and cultural traditions. During the times of II-I millennia BC one of the oldest cultures of the world—the Coban culture, transient from the Bronze to the Early Iron Age, was formed in the territory of modern Ossetia. “The Narts” cultural liturature, known worldwide, is a witness to the culture and ways of life, social and economic structure, traditions, habits and religious beliefs of the Ossettes for thousands of years.
Historically the Ossetes have been divided between two states, Georgia, to which South Ossetia belongs and Russia, of which North Ossetia is a constituent republic.
North Ossetia is a presidential republic. Ahsarbek Galazov, the first president in the history of Ossetia was unanimously elected and inaugurated on 16th of January, 1994. He is, and has always been, a vigorous participant of peacemaking actions aimed at the different situations in the region.
Yuri Biragov has been nominated to the office of Chairman of the Government of the Republic North Ossetia-Alania in February, 1995. Yuri Biragov is an experienced politician and parliamentarian. He stands for reasonable transformation of existing economical relations into a market economy.
North Ossetia is a highly developed industrial republic. A high concentration of labour and important industries such as non-ferrous metallurgy, electronics, chemical industries, machine building, starch and molasses production and food processing determine the significance of the Republic among the CIS countries and Russian Federation.
More than 130 industrial enterprises of the Republic produce lead, zinc, dolomite, sulphuric acid, electric bulbs, glassware, refractory metals and polymer items. These products are exported to all states of the Commonwealth of Independent States and many countries of the world.
“Electrozinc” and “Pobedit”, situated in Vladikavkaz, are among the largest non-ferrous metallurgy plants in Russia. Zinc and lead are the main products of “Electrozinc” plant. Other metals, such as cadmium, bismuth, silver, gold and indium are also extracted.
“Pobedit”plant produces metallic tungsten, tungsten wire, metallic rhenium, metallic molybdenum and various hard alloys.
“Polymer” group of industrial and research enterprises is engaged in the development and production of materials and devices for electronics industry, using the most sophisticated technologies.
“Beslan Maiz Plant” is the largest producer of starch and molasses in the CIS. Starch, molasses, dextrin, glucose and corn oil are exported to all states and republics of the CIS and Russian Federation and many other countries of the world.
North Ossetia has unique natural and climatic environment. More than half of the territory of the Republic is occupied by high mountains, rich in deciduous and coniferous woods, as well as alpine pastures.
The Republic has abundant mineral resourses and its numerous mountain rivers serve as an important source of electric power. The government is working on the project “Oil of Ossetia”. Fullfilment of the project will allow the extraction of up to 98,000 tons of crude oil and 27,400,000 m3 of gas annually by the year 2003. Unexploited prospected deposits make up 35,000,000 tons of crude oil.
The Bosninski dolomite deposit is one of the largest high quality deposits in the world. 93% of the total requirement for glass making, metallurgy and building industries in the CIS is covered by this deposit. Lead and zinc ores have been extracted in the mountains of North Ossetia for over 100 years.
There are 250 springs of 10 types of table and mineral water with highly effective tonic and curative characteristics. In spite of their unique features and chemical composition, only a few of them have been commercially exploited.
Eight districts of the Republic are primarily engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and the processing of produce. North Ossetia is a unique country for mountain sheep and goat breeding. There is an area of 100,000 hectares of ecologically clean alpine pastures. Farmers cultivate the best hybrid elite brands of corn seeds.
The beauty of North Ossetian mountains attracts tourists from many countries, for they have the opportunity of hunting, mountain climbing, trekking and skiing.
The scientific and cultural potential of Ossetia is very high. There are 4 higher educational establishments: the National University, the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Medical Academy and Agrarian Academy, as well as 13 medium level special colleges, where 22 thousand students study. 3 Academicians, 7 corresponding members of different academies, 120 professors and 800 candidates of sciences make up the scientific, teaching and intellectual staff of multi-cultural people of the Republic.
Ossetian and Russian theatres of drama, Musical Theatre, Children's and Youngster's Theatre, Equestian Theatre “The Narts” is the only one of its kind, are professional theatres. The State Folk Dance Ensemble “Alan”, the Choreographic Ensemble “Art” and the Symphonic Orchestra and choir are very successful. There are many museums, cultural clubs, cinemas and public libraries.
North Ossetia is the motherland of talented and prominent people such as Kosta Khetagurov, a great poet and philosopher, Academician Vaso Abayev, Svetlana Adyrhayeva, ballet dancer and People's Artist of the USSR, Veronica Doudarova, the first female conductor in the world and People's Artist of the USSR, Valery Gergiyev, conductor and People's Artist of Russia, Vladimir Tkhapsayev, one of the best performers of Shakespearean drama and People's Artist of the USSR; The Touganovs and Kantemirovs, famous circus equestians and painters Shalva Bedoyev, Chermen Dzanagov and many others.
All sports fans know the names of free-style wrestling's twice Olympic champions Soslan Andiyev, Arsen Fardzayev and Makharbek Khadartsev. Ossetian athletes have won 17 Olympic medals, 7 of which were gold.
Vladikavkaz soccer team “Spartak” has become well known to European fans since the club participated in the 1993 UEFA Cup championship for the first time in its history. In 1995 it won the Russian championship title.
In May 1995, the First Ossetian Hymalayan expedition carried out an ascent to the highest summit on the Earth, Mount Everest, along an unknown route, discovered some years ago, adding another fine chapter to the history books of sport in Russia. After ascending to the top, a message from the President of the Republic North Ossetia-Alania was delivered to the world's nations and governments.
The Republic North Ossetia with its multi-ethnic, hospitable and industrious people, advanced industry and agriculture, vast scientific and cultural potential is rightfully recognized as one of the most developed republics of Russian Federation.