"On July 22nd, 1763, a young woman sat down at a neat little table in the cabinet of Peterhof Palace close to Petersburg, got out a quill and signed a ‘ukaz', a decree. "We, Catherine the second, Empress and Autocrat of all the Russians at Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir … We permit all foreigners to come into Our Empire, in order to settle in all the governments, just as each one may desire." The Manifesto is now kept in Russia's state archive.
"While the offer was directed at all foreigners, Catherine was targeting Germans in particular. Born in 1729 as Sophie Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst-Domburg in Stettin in Pommerania, Prussia, the tsarina was herself a German national. Afer a coup d'etat and the murder of her husband Peter III. (who was born Peter Ulrich von Holstein-Gottorp and a German prince himself), Catherine came to power in the summer of 1762."
History Deutsche Welle explores the history of the Russian-Germans, a history which began with Catherine The Great: