Germans of Kazakhstan

(Redirected from Kazakhstan Germans)

The Germans of Kazakhstan (German: Kasachstandeutsche; Kazakh: Қазақстандық немістер) 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.[3]

Germans of Kazakhstan
  • Kasachstandeutsche
  • Қазақстандық немістер
Regions with significant populations
 Germany~1.3 million (2022)[1]
 Kazakhstan226,092 (2021)[2]
German, Kazakh and Russian
Protestantism; minorities of Roman Catholics, Irreligious
Related ethnic groups
Volga Germans, Germans in Russia and Kyrgyzstan Germans

Their number peaked at nearly 1 million (957 thousand people per 1989 census) near the time of the Soviet dissolution, but 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 dissolution of the Soviet Union. Between 2009 and 2021 the German population had increased by 26.7%, though mostly due to changes in patterns of ethnic identity rather than actual population growth.



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 "Khrushchev 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 Ereymentau, 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 tended to believe that reconstitution of the Volga Republic was the only way[4] 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) than in the whole of Russia, including Siberia (841,295).[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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. 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 Uspen (11.19%), Taran (10.14%), and Borodulikha (11.40%).[8]

The 2021 Census revealed for the first time since the dissolution of the USSR, that the ethnic German population of Kazakhstan had increased to 226,092 from 178,409 in 2009.


German historical population of Kazakhstan
Source: [9][10][11]
Source:[12] Population[13] Live births[14] Deaths[14] Natural change[14] Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Net migration[15]
1999[16] 353,441 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
2009 178,476
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
2015 181,958
2018[17] 179,476
2021 226,092

See also



  1. ^ "Population in private households by migrant background in the wider sense and by selected countries of birth". German Federal Statistical Office. 20 April 2023. Retrieved 22 October 2023.
  2. ^ The population of the Republic of Kazakhstan by individual ethnic groups at the beginning of 2022 Archived 27 July 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Committee on Statistics of the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan (in Russian)
  3. ^ Assessment for Germans in Kazakhstan Archived 2011-05-25 at the Wayback Machine, The MAR Project
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ KAZAKHSTAN: Special report on ethnic Germans, IRIN Asia
  6. ^ Russian-Germans: Back to the Heimat Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine,
  7. ^ "Демографический ежегодник Казахстана" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2010.
  8. ^ National Census of 2009, Kazakhstan
  9. ^ "Население Казахстана снова растет, повышается процент казахов". Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  10. ^ "Агентство Республики Казахстан по статистике. Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на 1 января 2012 года". Archived from the original on 15 November 2012.
  11. ^ "2014 жылғы мұрағат". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  12. ^ "GazStat". Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  13. ^ "2015 жыл басындағы Қазақстан Республикасы халқының жекелеген этностары бойынша саны". Archived from the original on 29 September 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  14. ^ a b c Қазақстанның демографиялық жылнамалығы Archived 29 September 2020 at the Wayback Machine p. 123
  15. ^ Қазақстанның демографиялық жылнамалығы Archived 29 September 2020 at the Wayback Machine p. 244
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на начало 2018 года". Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2023.