timeline


 

Important Dates in the History of German Russians

 

April 21, 1729


  Sophia Augusta Frederica of Anhalt-Zerbst was born in Germany. She later ruled Russia under the name Catherine II. (Catherine the Great)

     
1756-1763


  Seven Years' War. Important factor in bringing Germans to Lower Volga to establish colonies.

     
June 28, 1762

  Catherine II ascends the throne of Russia

     
December 4, 1762


  First Manifesto issued by Catherine II, inviting foreigners to come to Russia. It brought few results.

     
July 22, 1763




  Catherine II issued second manifesto. It spelled out the conditions under which they could immigrate and granted special rights and privileges. Large numbers of German peasants accepted the invitation.

     
1764-1767

  Founding of German colonies along the Lower Volga River.

     
1771-1774


  Kirghiz Raids and Pugachev's rebellion, called the Pugachevshchina, ravished the Volga colonies.

     
1786




  Mennonites from West Prussia began immigrating to Russia due to 1772 Partition of Poland, which threatened their military service exemption as conscientious objectors. Settlements were established primarily in the Taurida region of South Russia.

     
1793


  Second Partition of Poland grants area of Volhynia to Russia. Polish landowners invite German peasants to lease land for cultivation.
     
November 6, 1796

  Death of Catherine II at age sixty-seven.

     
1796-1801

  Reign of Czar Paul I, son of Catherine II

     
February 20, 1804


  Alexander I modifies and reissues manifesto of Catherine II, inviting foreigners to settle in New Russia.

     
1825-1855


  Reign of Tsar Nicholas I, Grandson of Catherine II, and brother of Alexander I.

     
1830


  Polish Insurrection brings about immigration of many Polish Germans to the Bessarabia and Volga Region.

     
1855-1881


  Reign of Tsar Alexander II, great-grandson of Catherine II, son of Nicholas I.

     
1860s




  Another wave of Germans immigrate to Volhynia prompted by 1861 abolishment of serfdom, leaving significant drain on work force. Second Polish Insurrection of 1863 brought more Polish Germans to Volhynia and other areas of Russia.

     
1871




  Germany unified as a nation for first time. Created unease among European nations and Russia. Time of increased animosity towards foreigners in Russia due to Slavophile movement and growing nationalism.

     
June 4, 1871



  Imperial Russian Government issues decree repealing the Manifestos of Catherine II and Alexander I, terminating the special privileges of the German colonists.

     
January 13, 1874





  Imperial Russian Government issues second decree amending the previous one. This decree instituted compulsory military conscription for the German colonists. These decrees impelled thousands of German Russians to immigrate to North and South America

     
1881-1917




  Reign of Tsar Nicholas II, descendent of Catherine II. He abdicated during World War I. On July 16, 1918, the Bolsheviks executed him and his family. Nicholas II was the last monarch to rule Russia.

     
July 28, 1914

  Outbreak of World War I.

     
1915


  Advancement of Eastern front. Volhynian Germans deported to Volga and South Russia.

     
December 13, 1916


  Volga Germans ordered to be banished. This order was never carried out because of internal troubles in Russia.

     
November 7, 1917



  Bolshevik Revolution in Russia led by Vladimir Lenin. The beginning of the Communist regime. (October 25, 1917 by old-style Russian Calendar).

     
June 29, 1918



  Lenin established Autonomous Volga German Workers' Commune, forerunner to the ASSR of the Volga Germans, founded in 1924.

     
1920-1923




  1920-1923 Period of famine in Russia. Death by starvation in the Volga-German colonies alone estimated at 166,000 lives, one third of the population. American Relief Administration provided assistance.

     
January 1924


  Autonomous Socialistic Soviet Republic of the Volga Germans established.

     
1928-1933


  Second period of famine again claims many lives throughout Russia.

     
1928-1940



  German farms and property expropriated by Soviet government. Germans forced into collective farms or migrate to the cities. Period of Stalinization.

     
September 1, 1939

  Outbreak of World War II.

     
June 22, 1941

  Nazi Germany invades Soviet Russia.

     
August 20, 1941


  Beginning of the banishment and exile of the German populations in Russia. Crimean Germans deported.

     
August 28, 1941


  Decree ordering deportation of Volga Germans to northeastern part of Soviet Union, Middle Asia, and Siberia.

     
October, 1941


  Germans in the North and South Caucasus deported. St. Petersburg Germans also deported.

     
1991

  Fall of Soviet Union.