The Ossetians (Ossetic: iraettae, iraettae) are an Iranic ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, indigenous to the region known as Ossetia. They speak Ossetic, an Iranian language of the Eastern branch of the Indo-European languages family, with most also fluent in Russian as a second language. The Ossetians are mostly Eastern Orthodox Christian, with a Muslim minority. The Ossetians mostly populate Ossetia, which is politically divided between North Ossetia_Alania in Russia, and South Ossetia, which since the 2008 South Ossetia war_has been de-facto independent from Georgia. The Ossetians and Ossetia received their name from the Russians, who adopted the Georgian designations Osi (sing., pl.: Osebi) and Oseti ("the land of Osi"), used since the Middle Ages for the Iranian-speaking population of the central Caucasus and probably based on the old Alan self-designation "As".
Contributions by Taamu, Kober, and Alaexis.