The North Caucasus (Russian: , tr. Severnyy Kavkaz, IPA: ['s?evrn?j k?f'kas]), or Ciscaucasia (Russian: , tr. Predkavkazye), (Chechen: ? ) is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Sea of Azov and Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east, in Russia. Geographically, the Northern Caucasus (territory north of the Greater Caucasus Range) includes the Russian republics and krais of the North Caucasus. As part of the Russian Federation, the Northern Caucasus region is included in the North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts and consists of Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the constituent republics, approximately from west to east: the Republic of Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia-Alania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and the Republic of Dagestan.
Geographically, the term North Caucasus also refers to the northern slope and western extremity of the Caucasus Major mountain range, as well as a part of its southern slope to the West. North Caucasus is considered part of Eastern Europe. The Forecaucasus steppe area is often also encompassed under the notion of "Ciscaucasus", thus the northern boundary of the Forecaucasus steppe is generally considered to be the Manych River.
Ancient cultures of the northern Caucasus are known as Klin-Yar community, with the most notable culture being the ancient Koban culture. A genetic study in 2020 analysing samples from Klin-Yar communities, including the Koban culture, found that the ancient population had a low frequency (one sample) of paternal Haplogroup D-M55 (D1a2a1), which is surprising as this lineage is associated with the Ainu people. Other haplogroups were Haplogroup J1 and Haplogroup G-M285.
Ciscaucasus was historically covered by the Pontic steppe, mostly on fertile calcareous chernozyom soils, which has been almost completely tilled and grazed. It is bounded by the Sea of Azov on the west, and the Caspian Sea on the east. According to the Concise Atlas of the World, Second Edition (2008), the Ciscaucasus region lies on the European side of the "commonly-accepted division" that separates Europe from Asia.
Much of the Northern Caucasus seceded from Russia in March 1917 as the Chechen-dominated Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus, taking advantage of the instability caused by the February Revolution and becoming a minor participant in the Russian Civil War. Mountainous Republic troops engaged in fierce clashes against the invading White General Anton Denikin's Volunteer Army, before the latter's defeat at the hands of the Red Army. The region was informally occupied by the Soviet Union shortly afterwards, and the republic was forced into accepting a nonviolent annexation in January 1921. It was reformed into the Mountainous ASSR, which was later dissolved in October 1924, replaced by a series of autonomous Okrugs and Oblasts.
The outer border of the Soviet Union's North Caucasus Krai was the same as that of present-day North Caucasus Economic Region (Raion) which includes an oblast (Rostov Oblast), two krais (Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai), and seven republics. The former North Caucasus Military District (Okrug) also included Astrakhan Oblast, Volgograd Oblast, and the Republic of Kalmykia. Its administrative center was Rostov-on-Don until 10 January 1934, Pyatigorsk until January 1936, then Ordzhonikidze (today Vladikavkaz) and, from 15 December 1936, Voroshilovsk (today Stavropol).