Into Their World… The Andi of Russia

The Andi of Russia need to
hear the gospel.

Although having a population no greater than ten thousand people, the Andi of Russia are an unreached people group in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Also known as the Qwannab, the Andi are one of the indigenous groups of the former USSR who live mainly on farms in western Daghestan. Although they were officially considered a distinct ethnic group with their own language until the 1930s, since that time they have been classified by the Soviet government as part of the Avar, the larger people group located farther south.

The Andi make their living raising livestock and are well-known for their work with gold and other metals. Although they wear typical European dress, the traditional woman’s costume—worn during ceremonial occasions—is unique with its chukhtu, an embroidered headdress in the form of a half-moon, with the ends pointing downward.

Andi traditionally marry at age 15 or older. Monogamy is commonplace; however polygamy has traditionally been permitted. Wedding ceremonies can last up to three days and can include horse-racing competitions.

Up until the 1300s it is thought that the Andi held a hybrid of Christian and ancient religious beliefs. However, the Andi soon adopted the Muslim faith and today nearly all members of society are Shafiite Muslims. With the growing popularity of Islam in the Russian Federation, Muslim influence continues to increase and infiltrate Andian society. It must be noted, however, that the spiritual life of the Andi also includes various elements of superstition. According to popular belief each person has a ghostly counterpart. The Andi believe that what happens in a person’s life is repetitive of what happened to his or her double.

The Andi have neither the Bible nor the JESUS film in their native language. No known mission agencies have targeted the Andi and no Christian broadcasts are being aired in their language. Pray that God will use his people to reach the Andi for his name.

For more information on the Andi of Russia, visit:

(Information compiled from

(Note: The website links above are intended to provide you with more information about this people group. Some of the links are to groups that are not religious in nature but who provide information and background that may be helpful in researching this people group. The content of each of the websites linked to is the sole responsibility of the linked-to organization. Views expressed on these websites do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the staff or writers of Lausanne World Pulse or those of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, Institute of Strategic Evangelism, Evangelism and Missions Information Service or Intercultural Studies Department.)

Laurie Fortunak Nichols is editorial coordinator of Lausanne World Pulse. She also serves as editorial coordinator for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and managing editor and book review editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). She has edited a number of books, including the recent Extending God's Kingdom: Church Planting Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, with A. Scott Moreau and Gary R. Corwin.