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by John McCannon
God of storms, thunder, and the harvest in the pagan pantheon of the Ossetians, a mountain people claiming descent from the Indo-Iranian Sarmatians and living in the Caucasus, on the border between Russia and Georgia. When the Ossetians adopted Christianity, they identified Wasilla with the figure of St. Ilya, or Elijah. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, both North and South Ossetia have witnessed a revival of pagan ritual, heavily mixed with Christian (and, among the Muslim minority, Islamic) practice.

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