So far, the commitment to an ethnic understanding of being German in the Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire has been largely seen as result of the anti-German upheaval during the first Russian Revolution in 1905/06. The foundation of explicitly „German“ associations indeed took place in the aftermath of this event, using the new freedoms granted by Emperor Nicholas II in 1905. However, these associations soon lost their clientel, and especially for the Baltic German business elites in Riga any kind of strong identification with the German cause would have been commercially difficult because they benefited from the Russian imperial market. So far, we do not know anything about those people of German decent in the Baltic provinces who did not belong to the political, social and mercantile elites. The presentation will discuss the various paths of being German during this period in the Baltic provinces.