October Manifesto 1905

(Source: Ingeborg Fleischhauer and Benjamin Pinkus: The Soviet Germans – Past and Present edited with an introduction by Edith Rogovin Frankel, St. Martin’s Press, New York in association with the Marjorie Mayrock Center for Soviet and East European Research ant the Hebrew University, Jerusalem 1986)

In constitutional Russia, after the proclamation of the Manifesto 1905 by the tsar Nicholas II, started a spontaneous formation of German clubs and unions in all the centers of German life. The tendencies arose for closer contact between the three parts of the German national group - the Baltic Germans, city and court circles, and colonists. Representatives of the urban intelligentsia in Odessa united with the spokesmen of the South Russian colonies, their journalists, zemstvo activists, teachers, clergymen and publishers, in the Südrussischer Deutscher Bildungsverein (South Russian German Cultural Union); in St. Petersburg a Deutscher Bildungs- und Hilfsverein (German Cultural and Aid Union) came into being around the publisher of the newspaper St. Petersburger Zeitung, the Baltic German Karl von Kügelgen. In Moscow, Baltic German and urban circles of the liberal professions formed the Moscow Deutscher verein. In Saratov, Adolf Lane, the new editor of the Saratower Deutsche Zeitung, founded the Saratower Deutscher Verein. German unions were also created in Piatogorsk in the Caucasus, in Aleksandrovsk-on-the-Dniepr, in Novorossisk and in Vladivostok.

Particular significance was attached by the German unions in the main German population centers in Poland and first in foremost in the Baltic gubernie on account of their numerical and economic weight. Here some minor parts of the Baltic German nobility that were gravitating progressively toward the German Reich exercised decisive influence: Eduard Freiherr von Stackelberg held the chairmanship of the Deutscher Verein in Estonia; Karl Wilhelm Baron von Manteuffel-Katzdangen led the Deutscher Verein in Courland; and a member of the von Sievers family headed the Deutscher Verein in Livonia. Like the Polish German Vereine, the Baltic German ones, registered as educational institutions, pursued national aim far more strongly than the Russian German Vereine did. It was also at their instigation that the first endeavors were made to bring about an organizational unification of all the German national groups in Russia. (pp. 24-25)

Read more about the German minority in Russian empire