"The process of returning [of Russian ethnic Germans] is underway. One cannot say that it is mass but it is rather stable, with 11-12 families of Russian [ethnic] Germans annually returning from Germany to Crimea for permanent residence. Just recently, we have welcomed one more family. They are currently preparing to settle in Dzhankoy district; they run their own small business," he said.
He added that Russia's ethnic Germans wished to build a settlement in Crimea in a German architectural style with the aim of preserving their culture and traditions.
"I think [the initiative] has good prospects. Moreover, such a project has already been implemented in Kazakhstan," he noted.
According to Gempel, about 2,000 ethnic Germans are currently living in Crimea.
On April 21, the peninsula marks the Day of Revival of Rehabilitated Peoples of Crimea, which were repressed under the rule of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. On this day four years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order the rehabilitation of Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Crimean Tatar, and German peoples. The order also stipulates measures of state support for these peoples’ revival and development.