Are Russian Germans the backbone of the populist AfD?

Surveys show that the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party performs notably better in areas that are densely populated by Russian-born Germans. This is no small advantage — there are currently 3,166,000 migrants from ex-Soviet states living in Germany, or some 3.8% of the country’s population.

The majority of them are so-called ethnic Germans who moved to Germany from Eastern Europe in the decades following World War II. This group, some 2.5 million people, were given German passports. However, there are also some 220,000 people who became German residents in a special program to take in Jewish migrants from the former USSR. There are also a significant number of students coming from the post-Soviet region, as well Russian-speaking spouses of German residents. And, there are a growing number of Russian professionals working at German companies.

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