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The Germans of Kazakhstan 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.[1] Most of them are descendants of Volga Germans, who were deported to the Kazakh SSR (now the sovereign state of Kazakhstan) from the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic at the beginning of World War II. Large portions of the community were imprisoned in the Soviet labor camp system. About one third of them did not survive the labor camps.

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 USSR for centuries.

A proposal in June 1979 called for a new German Autonomous Republic within Kazakhstan, with a capital in Ermentau. The proposal was aimed at addressing the living conditions of the displaced Volga Germans. At the time, there were approximately 936,000 ethnic Germans living in Kazakhstan, as the republic's third largest ethnic group. On June 16, 1979, demonstrators in Tselinograd (Astana) protested this proposal. Fearing a negative reaciton among the majority Kazakhs, and calls for autonomy among local Uyghurs, the ruling Communist Party scrapped the proposal for a German autonomy within Kazakhstan.

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).[2]

Due to the German right of return law that enables ethnic Germans abroad who had been forcibly deported to return to Germany, Volga Germans were able to immigrate to Germany after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[3] In 1999, there were 353,441 Germans in Kazakhstan.

Since 2003, approximately 3,000 Germans had returned to Kazakhstan from Germany, asking for Kazakh citizenship. The "Rebirth" organization, founded in 1989, handles cultural and community affairs of the ethnic German community.

Most German Kazakhs speak only Kazakh and Russian. In religion, most are Protestant Christians, while a few are descendants of converts to Sunni Islam.

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