Measures to support the German minority in Ukraine

Project description

Title: Measures by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) to support the German minority in Ukraine
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI); German Federal Office of Administration (BVA)
Country: Ukraine
Lead executing agency: Council of Germans in Ukraine (RDU)
Overall term: Since 1993

Ukraine. Teilnehmende am Ausbildungsprojekt für deutschstämmige Jugendleiter „Schule der Avantgarde“ während des Besuches im großen deutsch-ukrainischen Unternehmen „ SE Bordnetze Ukraine“, das ein erfolgreicher ethnisch Deutscher aus Chernowitz leitet.

From the end of 18th century through to the Second World War, the area along the Black Sea coast was home to one of the largest settlements of ethnic Germans in the former Russian Empire and Soviet Union – second only to the Volga Region. Back then around 400,000 Germans lived in the area of present-day Ukraine. However, most of them were deported to Siberia and Central Asia as soon as the Second World War broke out.

Today, the German minority in Ukraine numbers around 33,000, many of whom emigrated there from Russia and the countries of Central Asia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. By way of reparation for the Second World War, the German Government is committed to improving the living conditions and prospects of the German minority in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states.

The German minority represents its interests independently in its country of origin, developing its ethno-cultural identity and actively fulfilling its role as a bridge between Germany and the country of origin.

Ukraine © GIZ

The measures, which promote cultural activities, youth work, the German language and social projects but also help build leadership capacity and strengthen self-organisation, are organised by a countrywide network of 170 civil society organisations established by the Council of Germans in Ukraine (RDU) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

GIZ is supporting RDU and its implementing organisation, the Gesellschaft für Entwicklung (GfE), to efficiently represent and finance civil society organisations acting on behalf of the German minority. Besides providing organisational, legal and process consultancy, GIZ has financial oversight and is responsible for the results-based monitoring of all ongoing projects.

GIZ training and advisory inputs have led to the creation of supraregional and regional structures for the German minority in Ukraine that now plan, implement and manage these support measures independently.

A comprehensive range of language and training courses as well as extensive leisure activities for young people communicate, preserve and promote the ethnic minority’s cultural heritage and identity. These measures have resulted in a close-knit network of youth clubs that are well integrated within their respective communities where they make an important contribution to the minority’s social interactions as well as to other aspects of their lives.

Joint cultural projects with other minorities within and outside Ukraine are helping to boost the profile of the German minority at home and abroad. At the same time, they enable ethnic Germans to act as intermediaries between Ukraine and Germany. Leadership figures from various sectors in Ukraine’s ethnic German community play an important role here. Thanks to bespoke academic, cultural and social support programmes, they are able to harness their artistic and social engagement to showcase their own lives and the life of the German minority in Ukrainian society.

Ukraine © GIZ