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RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service

RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service is one of the few independent media outlets reporting in this predominantly Muslim region, one of the most repressive and arbitrary in the Russian Federation. ​

Fast Facts

  • RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service, operating out of Prague, is the only international, Chechen-language broadcaster providing an independent alternative to the tightly controlled official press in this notoriously arbitrary region of Russia.
  • The Service’s audience spans the Russian North Caucasus territories of Chechnya, Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai, Adygheya, North Ossetia, and Stavropol Krai.
  • In addition to its news coverage, the Service is dedicated to covering human rights and other sensitive topics. The Service also covers the life of the North Caucasian diasporas in Europe that grew considerably after two Chechen wars.
  • In 2017 the Service launched Kavkaz.Realii, a Russian-language website that provides the region’s Russian speakers with accurate and uncensored news.
  • The Service’s correspondents are regularly subjected to threats and intimidation.
  • Assassinations and bombings are common, and anyone viewed as a potential threat to the local leadership or crossing “red lines” can be imprisoned. Therefore, almost all have been forced to stop their activities, and some have left the republic.
  • The North Caucasus is included with Russia in most press freedom rankings. Reporters Without Borders in its 2020 press freedom index ranked Russia as 149th out of /180 countries surveyed. The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported the killings of 58 journalists in Russia since 1992 in connection with their work and condemned the government’s selective use of legislation to police and prosecute independent media, bloggers, and social media users.


January – December, 2020

  • Website and Apps (in Russian and Chechen)​: 10.9 million visits; 14.9 million page views; 7.1 million unique visitors
  • Facebook (in Russian and Chechen): 10.9 million visits; 14.9 million page views; 7.1 million unique visitors
  • YouTube (in Russian and Chechen):​ 14.3 million views; 113,000 subscribers
  • Instagram: Nearly 190,000 video views; almost 815,000 IGTV views; 14,300 followers

Facts & Stats about Russia

  • Global Freedom Index (Russia) (Freedom House): Not Free, ranked 20 out of 100 (2020)
  • Press Freedom Index (Russia) (RSF): 150 out of 180 (2021)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 129 out of 180 (2020)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 154 out of 163 (2020)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Russia (2020)
  • Amnesty International: Russia Report (2021)

Facts & Stats about Chechnya

  • Population: 1,268,989 (2010 census)
  • Ethnic Groups: Chechen, Russian, others
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox
  • Languages: Chechen, Russian, others

Facts & Stats about Dagestan

  • Population: 2,910,249 (2010 census)
  • Ethnic Groups:Northeast Caucasians (Avar, Dargin, Lezgin, others); Turkic and others (Kumyk, Nogai, Azeri, and others); Russian
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox
  • Languages: Russian, over 30 others (11 indigenous)

Facts & Stats about Ingushetia

  • Population: 412,529 (2010 census)
  • Ethnic Groups: Ingush, Chechen, Russian, other
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox
  • Langagues: Ingush, Russian

Facts & Stats about Kabardino-Balkaria

  • Population: 859,939 (2010 census)
  • Ethnic Groups: Kabardin, Russian, Balkar, other
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox
  • Languages: Kabardin, Balkar, Russian

Facts & Stats about Karachay-Cherkessia

  • Population: 477,859 (2010 census)
  • Ethnic Groups: Karachai, Russian, Cherkess, Abazin, Nogai, other
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim, Eastern Orthodox
  • Languages: Karachai, Cherkess, Russian, others​

Updated: January 2021

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