The Volga Germans were ethnic Germans living along the River Volga in the region of southeastern European Russia around Saratov and to the south. Recruited as immigrants to Russia in the 18th century, they were allowed to maintain their German culture, language, traditions and churches: (Lutheran, Reformed, Catholics, and Mennonites). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Volga Germans emigrated to the Dakotas and other states in the Western United States, as well as to Canada and South America.
After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 during World War II, the Soviet government considered the Volga Germans potential collaborators and transported many of them eastwards, where several died. After the war, the Soviet Union expelled some ethnic Germans to the West. In the late 1980s, many of the remaining ethnic Germans moved from the Soviet Union to Germany.