Would it be possible to explain many deportations that occurred among ethnic Germans in the USSR without acknowledging the dispersed nature of Germanic population in Russia and the Soviet Union and the fact that prior to the deportations, ethnic Germans never comprised a coherent group with a common national consciousness? I believe the answer is no. Hence it is my purpose here to demonstrate this diversity and lack of unity among German people in the Russian Empire. Nowadays, we often hear about “Soviet Germans” or “Russian Germans.” But the term “Russian Germans,” a term that unified various Germanic groups in Russia, did not exist and was not used in pre-revolutionary historiography on German settlers and colonists in Russia and its immediate environs.1 For example, the greatest historians of Russia, namely Kliuchevskii and Soloviev, note that Nemetskaia sloboda (German settlement in Moscow during the reign of Peter the Great) included Prussians, Swiss, and other foreigners from a variety of nations. These historians did not perceive that other German settlements elsewhere in Russia (for example, in the southern parts of the Russian Empire) were a part of the common history of German settlements or German presence in Russian territory.2 Similarly, a well-known Russian historian A. Velitsyn did not perceive the Germans of St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Pskov and Livland regions, and various Germanic colonists residing along the Black Sea coast and the Volga River banks as members of the same ethnic group.3 He referred to the colonists by two general terms of “nashi inostrannye kolonisty” (our foreign colonists) and people of “nerusskie vladeniia” (nonRussian property holders).4 Velitsyn divides them into various ethnic and confessional groups, using terms that included Hamburg, Danzig, Swiss,5 Bavarian,6

and Prussian colonists;7 Crimean Germans,8 Khortitsa colonists,9 settlements of Scottish missionaries and Lutheran pastors;10 Evangelical, Catholic,11 Stundist, Anabaptist, Separatist, Presbyterian colonists and colonies of Dancing Brotherhood,12 Baptists, Mennonites, and Molokans.13 Not once does Velitsyn say that any of these various groups comprised a coherent ethnic entity, let alone could be commonly referred to as “Russian Germans.”