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North Ossetia–Alania (Russia)

Severnaâ Osetiâ / Alania

Last modified: 2021-12-31 by valentin poposki
Keywords: north ossetia–alania | alania |
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Северная Осетия / Аланиа

North Ossetian flag image by António Martins, 07 October 2000
Subdivisions of North Ossetia-Alania See also:

Presentation of North Ossetia–Alania

(Note: You need an Unicode-aware software and font to correctly view the Cyrillic text on this page. See here transliteration details).

  • Name (english): North Ossetia–Alania • (Russian, short form): Северная Осетия | Severnaâ Osetiâ • (Russian, long form): Республика Северная Осетия – Алания | Respublika Severnaâ Osetiâ – Alania • (local, short form): Аланиа | Alania
  • Local official language: Ossetian
  • Capital: Владикавказ | Vladikavkaz • (former name): Ordẑonikidze | Орджоникидзе (1931-1944, 1954-199X), Dzaudẑikau | Дзауджикау (1944-1954)
  • Area: 8 000 km2 (≅3 100 sq.mi.) • Population: 678 600 inhabitants in 2000
  • Status: Republic (Республика | Respublika) within the Russian Federation
  • Flag adopted on 1991.10.02 • Coat of arms adopted on 24.11.1994

Status: North Ossetia–Alania: A constituent republic of the Russian Federation. South Ossetia: Self-proclaimed independence from the Republic of Georgia, which whom conflict continues. A North Ossetian Autonomous Region was created in 1924, two years after a South Ossetian Autonomous Region. To further complicate matters, North Ossetia was part of Russia and South Ossetia part of Georgia. This ethnic time-bomb duly exploded when Georgia became a separate state. Ossetians in South Ossetia, desiring union with their kinsmen in the north, declared their republic a part of Russia rather than Georgia in 1989. A year later (Georgia having abolished the autonomous status of the region) South Ossetia declared independence and armed conflict, which has still not been resolved, erupted. The Ossetians are said to be descendents of the Sarmatians, a Central Asiatic people who migrated westwards into the region in the 7th century BC.
Stuart Notholt, 05 Oct 1995

North Ossetia has changed its name to North Ossetia-Alaniya, to reflect their heritage.
Robert Czernkowski

Description of the flag

The flag of North Ossetia-Alania is: a horizontal tricolour of white-red-yellow (not purple). This version is not only used by pan-Ossetian nationalists, but it is the official flag of the republic. I’ve been in North Ossetia in May/June 99, and you see this tricolour everywhere there (boring enough), also on government buildings, at official ceremonies etc. In an Ossetian nationalist book (Osetiya i osetiny, Sost.: Kazbek Chelechsaty, Vladikavkaz; Sankt-Peterburg 1994.) I bought there, the meanings of these colours are explained as following: White: moral cleanliness Red: martial courage Yellow: wealth and happiness. Another question is, how much of these qualities you find in North Ossetia. But in fact the Ossetian are charming hosts.
Klaas Bähre, 12 Sep 1999

Variation with coat of arms

North Ossetian flag with COA image by António Martins, V. Ivanov and S. Tabujev, 07 Oct 2000

Some people also put the coat of arms on the flag but this is not the official norm.
V. Ivanov and S. Tabujev, 19 Mar 1999

According to the Law of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania relative to the coat of arms of the Rep. of NO-A of the 24 November 1994, No.521, the coat of arms is a disk gules with a snow leopard passant or with sable spots on a ground or with as background seven mountains argent. [a red disk with a yellow leopard spotted in black on a yellow ground and as background seven white mountains]. So there isn’t here also any purple colour. The picture is clear: used here are some vertical straight lines for the disk which in the heraldic system are for gules [red].
Pascal Vagnat, 21 Nov 1997

Could it be that the colors of this coat of arms originated those of the flag?
António Martins, 23 Sep 1999

Incorrect depictions with purple stripe

North Ossetian flag with P stripe image by António Martins, 28 Apr 2000

This flag is listed under number 110 at the chart Flags of Aspirant Peoples [eba94] as: «North Ossetia (Iristi) [Ossetes] - North Caucasus, Russia».
Ivan Sache, 15 Sep 1999

North Ossetia-Alania has flag with colours, "white, red, yellow" not "white, purple (violet), yellow".
Nina Afletunova, 09 Feb 1999

The North Ossetian flag has also a red stripe, and not a purple one.
Ralf Stelter, 27 Jun 1999

Most probably all regional government translators used the English word "purple" to translate Russian "purpurnyĭ" — which in fact means "dark red". (In fact it was quite puzzling that South Ossetia had a white, red and yellow flag and North Ossetia a white, purple (violet) and yellow one.) This translation error propagated spurious versions of some Russian regional flags (notably the chuvash one) among western vexillologists — not knowing Russian (or not having access to the original texts) and relying on fax instead of e-mail…
António Martins, 10 Feb 1999

The problem of the flag of North Ossetia (Russia) is probably more complicated. The middle stripe of its flag is reported as "dark red" or "purple" by Russian vexillologists so that it may be distinguished from the flag of South Ossetia (Georgia) with bright red middle stripe. Since the North Ossetian political representation supports separatist movement in South Ossetia and its attempts to join Russia, I believe that small differences between these two flags are to be expected.
Jan Zrzavy, 18 Nov 1997

The flag of North Ossetia is quite the same as of the South Ossetian: white - red - yellow.
V. Ivanov and S. Tabujev, 19 Mar 1999

Mozdok flag
(Моздок, a county-status city)

Mozdok flag image by Pascal Gross, 06 Jul 2001

The flag is of ratio 2:3, the yellow stripe being 1/20 of the flag height and the mauve stripe being 1/5 of the flag height. The flag has been adopted on April 18, 2000. I would guess that the flower displayed on this flag is a crocus.
Pascal Gross, 06 Jul 2001

The city of Mozdok is in North Ossetia–Alania The city and the surrounding area, which are populated by [Terek] Cossacks of Russian and Ukrainian origin, made some moves in mid 1990s to separate from the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania. That move didn’t find any support from the Russian government and was abandoned.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 14 Sep 2002

Situated in the extreme north of the republic, Mozdok is connected to the rest of North Ossetia by a narrow isthmus. The land here is flat with rich soils and a well-developed irrigation system which guarantee Mozdok the highest agricultural yields of any part of the republic.

However, of a population numbering around 80 000, only 6000 are ethnic Ossetians. And the predominantly Russian population nurses ambitions to secede to the neighbouring Stavropolsky Kray.

In fact, Mozdok only became part of North Ossetia shortly after the Second World War when the Soviet leadership decided the region «did not have enough ploughed land to sustain its population». The move was part of a general trend in the North Caucasus during the 1950s. Each of the potentially mutinous republics was “awarded” a stretch of Russian- or Cossack-populated land in a bid to dilute its ethnic make-up.

A few Ossetian settlers had moved down to Mozdok in the late 18th century but they never made up more than 10 per cent of the population. And, after Mozdok was assimilated into North Ossetia, the proportion of ethnic Ossetians across the republic dropped to 50 per cent — a level that remained consistent until the 1980s.

Pascal Gross, 06 Jul 2001, quoting from

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