Many Germans remained in this central region, maintaining their middle-German Prussian dialect, similar to the Silesian dialect, and their religions.
With World Wars I and II, the eastern front hovered on their doorstep and conscription increased.
The earliest German settlement in Russia dates back to the reign of Vasili III, Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533.
These early colonies were attacked during the Pugachev uprising, which was centred on the Volga area, but they survived the rebellion.
German immigration was motivated in part by religious intolerance and warfare in central Europe as well as by frequently difficult economic conditions.
Catherine II's declaration freed German immigrants from military service (imposed on native Russians) and from most taxes.
It placed the new arrivals outside of Russia's feudal hierarchy and granted them considerable internal autonomy.
By the next decade (1999–2002), the population will have fallen to the half, to roughly one million: 597,212 Germans were enumerated in Russia (2002 Russian census), making Germans the fifth largest ethnic group in that country; 353,441 Germans in Kazakhstan and 21,472 in Kyrgyzstan (1999); In the Russian Empire, Germans were strongly represented among royalty, aristocracy, large land owners, military officers, and the upper echelons of the imperial service, engineers, scientists, artists, physicians, and the bourgeoisie in general.
The Germans of Russia did not necessarily speak Russian; many spoke German, while French was often the language of the high aristocracy.The Vistula Germans' migrations from Congress Poland increased.Some became Polonized, however, and their descendants remain in Poland.After World War II, many of those who retained their German language and customs were forcibly expelled by the Russians and the Poles, with the loss of all their property.Tsarina Catherine II was a German, born in Stettin in Pomerania, now Szczecin in Poland.From already-Prussian Silesia to the southwest some German Roman Catholics also entered the region.