Other Ethnic Groups
Besides the ethnic groups granted official jurisdictions in the Russian Republic and later in the Russian Federation, several minority groups have played an important role at some stage of the country's development. Among those that exist in significan
t numbers in parts of post-Soviet Russia are Germans, Koreans, and Roma.
According to the Soviet census of 1989, a total of 842,000 Germans lived in Russia. The remains of a large enclave that was settled along the Volga River beginning in the time of Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725), the "Volga Germans" were the ethnic basis
of an autonomous republic before World War II. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph V. Stalin (in office 1927-53) dissolved the republic and dispersed the German population into Central Asia and Siberia. Although some German prisoners o
f war remained in the Soviet Union after the war, many others returned to Germany in the decades that followed. By 1991 less than half of the German Russians claimed German as their first language.
Because of the discrimination suffered by the Volga Germans, the postwar constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) granted ethnic Germans in Russia the right to citizenship if they moved to Germany. Russia's German population began
lobbying for reestablishment of the prewar Volga German Autonomous Republic in 1990. In 1991 President Yeltsin began discussions with the German government on creation of a German autonomous republic on the lower Volga near Volgograd. A protocol of coope
ration signed in 1992 arranged for such a republic in exchange for significant financial aid from Germany. However, the proposed German enclave encountered strong local resistance from populations that would have been displaced by the Germans on the lower
Volga; official discussion of the issue ended in 1993. In 1995 about 75,000 Russian Germans settled in Germany.
Data as of July 1996