The Institute of Geography is one of about 400 research institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The plans of the Institute comprise studies in the fields of both physical and human geography, particularly the interaction between society and environment, regional problems and the territorial organisation of society, the features of Russian ethnic, cultural and political space and the pattern of Russia’s relations with neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. Problems of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia (now called the South Caucasus) have always been in the focus of IGRAS research. Since the late 1970s, the Institute has participated in international projects on Caucasus in cooperation with the Mountains’ Group of the UNESCO MAB-6 Programme. During the 1980s, five to seven field groups worked in the Caucasus every summer. Since the early 2000s, research on Caucasus has resumed and embraced the main cities and some rural areas of Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, the republics of Karachaevo-Cherkesia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia and Dagestan.