Russia's ethnic Germans who live in Germany want back home

More and more ethnic Germans will return to Russia in the next few years, says Vladimir Bauer, president of the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Russian Germans. He believes that both the autonomy and Russia as a whole should facilitate this process.

Vladimir Bauer said some 1.5 million ethnic Germans from Russia and other ex-Soviet republics, above all Kazakhstan, had taken up permanent residence in Germany. "In the early 1990s Russian Germans emigrated mostly for economic and family reasons," he said. But more and more of them are failing in their assimilation efforts and some of them would gladly return to Russia provided they are offered acceptable living conditions.

According to Bauer, Germany is pursuing a harsh policy with regard to immigrants from the CIS countries that frequently borders on violations of human rights. For example, immigrants from Russia cannot choose the city of residence and are deprived of allowance if they demand respect for their choice. The language tests for immigrants have become incredibly difficult. "In the past one member of the family was required to speak German, while now everyone is required to pass a test, even the old men who had been prohibited to speak German," says Bauer.

He said that late this week a constituent congress of a new international organisation, the Convent of Russian Germans set up to protect the rights of Russian Germans in Germany, will be held in Berlin.

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