This is coolbert:
"The Volga Germans (German: Wolgadeutsche or Russlanddeutsche) were ethnic Germans living along the Volga River in the region of southern European Russia around Saratov and to the south."
The Volga Germans. Ethnic Germans who have lived in Russian for centuries. Invited first by the Empress Catherine [herself an ethnic German] to settle in regions that were basically unpopulated but potentially fertile. Lands that the ethnic Russian would not or could not develop on their own. For a variety of reasons.
" . . . "Catherine the Great" published manifestos in 1762 and 1763 inviting Europeans to immigrate and farm Russian lands while maintaining their language and culture."
"Germans responded in particularly large numbers due to poor conditions in their home regions."
Land in the southern reaches of the Volga, marginal but considered vital to Imperial Russian rule. Declaring your rule is one thing. Populating a land with your loyal subjects is another.
The Volga Germans were a success story. As with German populations all over the world, hard-working, orderly, neat, clean, industrious, forward-looking, educated, etc. And generally peaceful.
Traits that stood them in good stead, but contrasted with their ethnic Russian neighbors. A degree of resentment directed from the Russian toward the Volga German was present from the get-go!!?? "Why are you successful when I am not?" "Why do you have land when I do not?" "Why are you prosperous and educated and I am not?" That sort of thing I can well imagine! Loyalty was always a question too?
A population always resented to some extent? Became much more so during World War Two [WW2]. Resentment that became subject to the paranoia of Stalin and his henchmen!
Thanks here to Al Nofi [CIC # 149], through StrategyPage.
"On June 22, 1941, Hitler invaded Russia and changed the whole program. Once again, the Volga Germans came under enormous suspicion."
"Alarmed by a few instances of actual subversive activity by some Volga Germans (an infinitesimal percentage of the population), the NKVD decided to 'test' the loyalty of the Volga Germans".
"In August of 1941, even as Hitler’s hordes were shattering the Red Army at the front, some Soviet airborne troops were provided with German uniforms and dropped near German villages. If the local people welcomed the apparently German troops, whole villages were wiped out. On the other hand, villages that resisted the 'German attackers' were considered to be loyal, though not for long."
This is a strange, unusual, and UNHEARD OF USE OF PSEUDO-UNITS. Military units dressed in the uniform of the enemy. Impostors seeking that advantage on the battlefield by use of a ruse that most consider abhorrent. The NKVD did have the responsibility for unconventional warfare. ON SOVIET TERRITORY AGAINST THEIR OWN PEOPLE!!
"When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin worried that the Volga Germans might collaborate with them. On August 28, 1941, he dissolved the Volga-German ASSR [Volga German autonomous area] and ordered the immediate relocation of ethnic Germans, both from the Volga and from a number of other traditional areas of settlement. These were stripped of their land and houses, and moved eastwards to Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia, Altai Krai in Siberia, and other remote areas . . . In 1942 nearly all the able-bodied German population was conscripted to the labor army. About one third [1/3] did not survive the labor camps"
Stalin was one of the most evil minded persons of all time. I don’t think anyone would dispute that! Whole peoples were subject to his paranoia and rabid mental distortions. And he had at his disposal with the NKVD a group compliant with the “wishes” of the dictator. Those Volga Germans had lived among the Russians for almost two hundred years and were still not trusted. The communists have always been and where ever they are now noted for their guile, deceptions, trickiness, etc. Deceitful persons who revel in their deceit??!! Such as with the tricks done to the Volga Germans. With the fall of communism, those Volga Germans nowadays are finally returning to Germany proper!! Decided finally, after much travail, where their future is much more secure!
Stalin! Evil, evil man!
[today, those Tu-95 bombers currently active fly out of military airfields located in Engels, across the Volga from Saratov.]