Volga German ASSR

Volga German ASSR (German: Autonome Sozialistische Sowjetrepublik der Wolgadeutschen; Russian: Автономная Советская Социалистическая Республика Немцев Поволжья; Avtonomnaіa Sovetskaіa Sotsialisticheskaіa Respublika Nemtsev Povolzhіa). An Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic formed in 1924 out of the Volga German Autonomous Oblast (est 1918). The region, covering 28,200 sq km along the Volga River, was colonized by Germans beginning in the 1770s. Its capital was Pokrovsk (renamed Engels in 1931). According to the Soviet census of 1926 most of the republic’s population (66.4 percent) was German (379,600); after the Russian minority (20.4 percent), the second-largest national minority were Ukrainians (12 percent, or 68,600 people). The Ukrainian population lived in compact islands and constituted the largest ethnic group in Pokrovsk (51.3 percent) and Staraia Poltavka (44.8 percent) raions. In September 1941 the German population was deported to the east, and in 1945 the republic was abolished.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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