The Germans of Kazakhstan (German: Kasachstandeutsche) are a minority in Kazakhstan, and make up a small percentage of the population. Today they live mostly in the northeastern part of the country between the cities of Astana and Oskemen, the majority being urban dwellers. Numbering nearly a million at the time of the Soviet collapse, most have emigrated since then, usually to Germany or Russia. However, after a significant decrease from 1989 to 2009, by 2015 the number had seen a slight increase of a few thousand, the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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Most of them are the offspring of Volga Germans, who were deported to the then Soviet republic of Kazakhstan from the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic soon after the Nazi German Invasion during World War II. Large portions of the community were imprisoned in the Soviet labor camp system.
After the deportation, Volga Germans, as well as other deported minorities, were subject to imposed cultural assimilation into the Russian culture. The methods to achieve that goal included the prohibition of public use of the German language and education in German, the abolition of German ethnic holidays and a prohibition on their observance in public and a ban on relocation among others.
Those measures had been enacted by Joseph Stalin, even though the Volga German community as a whole was in no way affiliated with Nazi Germany, and Volga Germans had been loyal citizens of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union for centuries. These restrictions ended, however, during the "Khruschev Thaw".
In 1972, over 3,500 German Russians sent a petition to Moscow again requesting an autonomous republic in the Volga regions. The government responded with an ad hoc committee to study this request. In 1976, the commission finally agreed to create an autonomous oblast (county) in Northern Kazakhstan, centered in Ermantau, 140 kilometers from Tselinograd (Virgin Land City and capital of the virgin lands district). The district would be partially located in the “virgin lands,” which had already put 41.8 million hectares into agricultural production, although this area had been one of the least developed in Kazakhstan. The success of Khrushchev's agricultural focus was largely due to the labor of the ethnic Germans exiled there. This government proposal created much opposition in Kazakhstan from residents, including a public protest, a rarity in the Soviet Union; every effort was made to keep the demonstration secret. Local Communist Party leaders also strongly opposed the plan, as it would diminish their authority in the Kazakh SSR. Ultimately, nothing came of the idea, which lacked support from even the German Russians, who believed that reconstitution of the Volga Republic was the only way toward full rehabilitation and restoration of their rights.
According to a 1989 census, more citizens of ethnic German origin lived in Kazakhstan, numbering 957,518, or 5.8% of the total population, more than in the whole of Russia including Siberia (841,295).
Due to the German right of return law that enables ethnic Germans abroad who had been forcibly deported to return to Germany, Volga Germans could immigrate to Germany after the dissolution of the Soviet Union., But due to widespread abuse of the system and the lack of interest on the part of the heavily-Russified newly arrived immigrants to assimilate, Germany abolished the policy during the early 21st century. By 2009 Russia had replaced Germany as the major immigrant destination for German Kazakhstanis. In 1999, there were 353,441 Germans remaining in Kazakhstan.
A small number of Germans have returned to Kazakhstan from Germany during the last several years, unable to assimilate into the German cultural sphere. The Rebirth organization, founded in 1989, handles cultural and community affairs of the ethnic German community.
Most Germans of Kazakhstan speak only Russian. Most were historically followers of Protestantism, but some are Roman Catholic and certain others adopted Russian Orthodoxy. Today many, possibly the majority, are irreligious. The heaviest concentrations of Germans in Kazakhstan can be found along the cities and villages in the Northern region, such as Wspen (11.19%), Taran (10.14%), and Borodwlïxа (11.40%).
|German historical population of Kazakhstan|
|||Population||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Net migration|
|1999||4 765||3 524||1 241||14.0||10.5||3.5|
|2007||4 267||2 606||1 661||19.3||12.1||7.2|
|2008||4 810||2 585||2 225||21.8||11.9||9.9|
|2010||179,398||4 573||2 469||2 104||25.5||13.8||11.7||-1,111|
|2011||180,376||4 405||2 481||1 924||24.4||13.8||10.6||-1,465|
|2012||180,832||4 380||2 405||1 975||24.2||13.3||10.9||-1,484|
|2013||181,348||4 319||2 213||2 106||23.8||12.2||11.6||-1,468|
|2014||181,928||4 241||2 110||2 131||23.3||11.6||11.7||-2,101|
- Assessment for Germans in Kazakhstan Archived 2011-05-25 at the Wayback Machine., The MAR Project
- Merten, Ulrich (2015). Voices from the Gulag: the Oppression of the German Minority in the Soviet Union. Lincoln, Nebraska,: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. pp. 285, 279, 280. ISBN 978-0-692-60337-6.
- KAZAKHSTAN: Special report on ethnic Germans, IRIN Asia
- Russian-Germans: Back to the Heimat Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine., kazakhstan.neweurasia.net
-  Archived July 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- National Census of 2009, Kazakhstan
- Население Казахстана вновь растёт — за исключением русскоязычных регионов
- Агентство Республики Казахстан по статистике. Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на 1 января 2012 года. Archived 2012-11-15 at the Wayback Machine.
- 2014 жылғы мұрағат
- 2015 жыл басындағы Қазақстан Республикасы халқының жекелеген этностары бойынша саны
- Қазақстанның демографиялық жылнамалығы p. 123
- Қазақстанның демографиялық жылнамалығы p. 244
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
- Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на начало 2018 года