Daisy Sindelar, RFE/RL
As Russia kicks off its first nationwide census in eight years, a quick conversation with Shamkhaldibir Isayev is all it takes to demonstrate the logistical challenges ahead.
Isayev, a law professor at Daghestan State University in Makhachkala, is Chamalal -- a small ethnic group native to the North Caucasus republic's southwestern highlands.
Chamalals are considered a subgroup of Avars, one of the largest of Daghestan's major ethnic groups. There are believed to be just 5,000 ethnic Chamalals, but even so, the group's indigenous language is further broken down into two distinct dialects -- Gigatl and Gakvari -- depending on geographic location.
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In Ethnically Diverse Russia, 2010 Census Presents Logistical, Political Headaches