Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Over 100,000 migrants left Kyrgyzstan in the 1990s, a good number moving to Germany. Many of them were descended from Mennonites who over a century earlier had walked from the steppes of southern Russia to Kyrgyzstan.

article summary —

In the early 1880s, a distinctive religious landscape developed in Kyrgyzstan. Until 1874, Mennonite colonists in southern Russia enjoyed special privileges which included a dispensation from military service. The withdrawal of those privileges sparked mass emigration. Many of the most effective farmers left Russia’s Volga region, some bound for North America, others heading for central Asia. Those who stayed in Russia were offered, as an alternative to military service, the chance to work in the Russian Forestry Service which quickly developed entire brigades composed only of Mennonites.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 47.