The Germans were a very substantial minority in Russia, and many leading figures, including the Empress Catherine the Great, were German. Using rarely seen archival information, this book provides an account of the experiences of the Germans living in the Soviet Union from the early post-revolution period to the post-Soviet era following the collapse of communism. Setting out the history of this minority group and explaining how they were affected by the Soviet regime’s nationality policies, the book:
- describes the character of the ethnic Germanic groups, demonstrating their diversity before the execution of the policy of systematic deportations by the Stalinist authorities from 1937 to 1947
- argues that there was not one but several episodes of deportation within this period
- considers the different dimensions of this policy, including the legal and economic structures of, and everyday life in, the Soviet special settlements
- investigates the ‘women’s dimension’ of deportation, especially the role of women in the preservation of ethnic identity among the afflicted groups
- explores the long term consequences of Soviet deportations and exile on the identity of the Soviet Germans.