Constituent Convention of Organisation Representing Russia's Germans to Open in Berlin, August 30

The constituent convention of the International Assembly of Russian Germans will be held in Berlin on August 30. This is according to the statement made yesterday at a press conference by Vladimir Bauer, the President of the Federal Ethnic Cultural Autonomy of Russia's Germans. Mr. Bauer said the purpose of the new organisation is the protection of the rights of ethnic Germans residing in the former Soviet republics and wishing to move to Germany.

Mr. Bauer also said, 'we intend to strive for the complete exoneration of Russia's Germans and the official admission of guilt on the part of Russia, as the successor of the USSR and Germany and their assumption of responsibility for moral and material loss suffered by ethnic Germans due to deportations and repression. This is necessary for the victims to became entitled to appropriate compensations.

The leaders of the new organisation of Germans believe that Germany greatly shares responsibility for what happened to Russia's ethnic Germans because repression against them was triggered by Hitler's attack on the USSR. The government of Germany, Mr. Bauer said, should take up the material compensation of the victims and pay for their return to their original places of residence.

About 1.5 million Russia's ethnic Germans were forcibly deported to remote areas during WW2. About 0.5 million of them died over the following several years. In the meantime, these people have never been officially exonerated. A draft law to this effect introduced into the State Duma is being ignored by Russia's parliamentarians because of 'opposition on the part of the government' refusing to visa the document. At this time, according to Mr. Bauer's information, there are about 860,000 ethnic Germans in the Russian Federation. Most of them still reside in the remote areas they or their parents were exiled to. Over 75% of these people reside beyond the Urals.