The Destinies of German-Born People in Russia at the Turn of the Millennium




migration, historical demography, Russia, repatriation, social integration, population censuses


This article studies the stories of Russian citizens who were born in Germany but reside in Russia. Most of them had relocated to Russia as a result of the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany after 1990. Analysing individual data from the 2002 and 2010 censuses, the author traces the lives of children born into the families of Soviet military men based in East Germany after World War II. Over 140,000 such migrants can be found in the 2002 census, far more than from any other country that was not part of the Soviet Union. Repatriation was accomplished from 1991 to 1994; and even though Germany financed part of the operation, it was necessary to solve the problems of accommodation and employment of the military men and their families locally. As a result of the study, the author manages to determine the territories inhabited by Russians born in Germany in the early twenty-first century. The number of people among them who speak foreign languages and have post-secondary education is higher than average, which testifies to the fact that the joint effort of the two countries was more beneficial for the future of the people born in Germany than might have been expected. The competence and education they acquired, together with the social networks between those repatriated, added significantly to their human capital and their contributions to Russian society.

Author Biography

Gunnar Thorvaldsen

Dr., Professor, University of Tromsø, Research Fellow, International Demographic Unit, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin.

18, Hansine Hansens veg, N 9037, Tromsø, Norway.

19, Mira Str., 620002, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-9462-7589


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How to Cite

Thorvaldsen, G. (2021). The Destinies of German-Born People in Russia at the Turn of the Millennium. Quaestio Rossica, 9(3), 861–874.



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