Council of Europe Round Table On the situation of the Roma in the Russian Federation, 2001

Strasbourg, 6 November 2001 MG-S-ROM (2001) 14 rev.

Council of Europe Round Table On the situation of the Roma in the Russian Federation

Saint Petersburg, 25-26, June 2001

Prepared for the Council of Europe by Nicky Torode (Consultant, UK)
and assisted by Alexandr Torokhov (Consultant, Russia)

Comments to :


Introduction 3

Part 1: Summary of discussions 4

1. Participation in decision-making 4
2. Education 4
3. Media 5
4. Civil and political rights 6
5. Economic and social development 6
6. Development of Roma civil society 7
7. Recognition and identity 7
8. Culture 7

Part 2: Analysis and Conclusion 8

Part 3: Recommendations 12


Appendix 1: List of participants 18

Appendix 2:
Information document prepared by the Ministry for the Affairs of the
Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies of the Russian Federation 23


1. This was the second inter-regional roundtable organised by the Council of Europe to look at the situation of Roma in the Russian Federation. (for the first roundtable report, see Consultant's Report, doc. MG-S-ROM (2001) 8: Council of Europe contact visit and roundtable on Roma in Russia, Moscow, October 3-6, 2000, hereafter called Moscow report).

2. This roundtable was jointly organised by the Council of Europe, the Ministry of the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies of the Russian Federation and the Administration of the City of Saint Petersburg, in the framework of the Council of Europe Programme of cooperation and assistance with the member States.

3. The aim of this roundtable was to have a detailed understanding of the situation in the Saint Petersburg region (hereafter called “oblast”) and to hear about examples of good practice from the regions. Roma representatives and representatives from national and regional authorities from Volgograd, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg, Novgorod, Moscow, Samara and Yaroslav were present. In addition the participants prepared recommendations to federal, regional and local authorities, the media and other organs of power to grant Roma the rights and equal treatment as accorded to other citizens.

4. The consultants recruited by the Council of Europe for this roundtable were Mr Alexandr Torokhov, Deputy Director of the National Cultural Autonomy of Roma in the Urals, Ekaterinburg and Ms Nicky Torode, part-time Roma Programme Coordinator at Minority Rights Group International, UK and author of the Moscow report

Part 1: Summary of discussions

5. The discussion points during the roundtable have been summarised under the following themes from which the recommendations were drawn:

1.1 Participation of Roma in policy-making bodies
1.2 Education
1.3 Media
1.4 Civil and political rights
1.5 Economic development
1.6 Development of civil society
1.7 Recognition and identity - Holocaust
1.8 Culture

1.1. Participation of Roma in decision making bodies

6. A commission on Roma issues for the Kaliningrad oblast has been established. Specific agencies have been nominated to work in cooperation with the Romani community and its associations.

7. Mr Nikolai Bugai of the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation commented that it was difficult to speak about establishing such a body at federal level as the Russian Federation consists of 177 nationalities and it cannot establish inter-branchial commissions for all nationalities.

8. As for the lack of Roma working in the political sphere and in the administration, the representative from the Tula region mentioned that they had invited Roma to be represented in the municipal authority.

1.2. Education

9. There were some examples of Romani children being taught about Romani culture and basic Romani language as an extra curricular subject. The training of qualified teachers needs to be addressed. One participant felt that it was not necessary to call for separated education but the priority was to get Romani children into schools. The teaching of singing and dance was considered by one participant not to be education and that it is not necessary to call for Sunday schools but rather for specialised classes with educational themes on ethnic issues. The issue of coursebooks was raised and a proposal made to establish an academic committee for the development of coursebooks.

10. The representative of the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation noted that in areas where Roma live compactly the Ministry can render support in establishing preparatory classes.

11. Mr Venali Amelin of the Administration of the Orenburg region stated that any ethnic group should use the legal basis which obliges the local authorities to provide mother tongue classes and materials. This was considered insufficient by Mr Boris Koptin of the St Petersburg Administration who stated that we have to look at the reality of implementation given that in St Petersburg for example there are 120 nationalities.

St Petersburg:
12. The experience of school No. 462 in Alexandrovskaya was quoted as an example of good practice. Most students are ethnic Russians but there are about 20 Romani children attend. The director of the school carried out outreach work with Romani parents to encourage the Roma to send their children to school. She travelled to areas where Roma live compactly and disseminated information about their history and culture. She also developed a user-friendly attractive environment in the school. The children learnt dance, music and singing from Svetlana Mikhailovka, a professional actress, and basic Romani language from a professional linguist, Olga Branika. The Romani pupils speak Russka Romanes and Moldovan. The children also learn folklore and Russian. The teachers also encourage the parents to visit the school to see how their children are being taught. School number 462 is hoping to develop the practice with other rural schools and to promote the exchange of information.

13. Mr Artur Gorbatov, director of the Roma organisation, Tsiganskaya Associatsia, which was registered in July 1999, explained that one of the main aims of his work is to ensure that the Roma know about their culture, language and people. He noted that there are no textbooks or references to the Romani people. In one of the middle schools in Volgograd theyorganised the first facultative class for Roma where children could learn Romani language, grammar, culture and history. For the next academic year, Tsiganskaya Associatsia is planning to open other Romani classes in different schools. They have also published the book Tsiganskaya Mir (Roma World), written by Valeriy Sukhoverov. It contains information about art, history of Roma, folklore and Romani language.

14. It was noted that there is a Step-by-Step programme, funded by Open Society, which provides for Romani classes in 4 general schools.

15. It was noted that there are no classes at the moment. Sunday schools were organised 12 years ago. Also teachers were being trained but this no longer exists.

1.3. Media

16. The media invariably print negative articles about the Roma: as drug dealers, as thieves, assailants and kidnappers. When ethnic Russians carry out the same actions, their nationality is not mentioned.

St Petersburg:
17. The association Memorial has been monitoring the representation of Roma in the press. It was noted not only that the journalists tend to sensationalise and write to particular themes (mafia, drugs, etc …) but that sometimes when Roma are interviewed they unwittingly contribute to the negative image as they do not anticipate how their words will be reported. Reporters also tend not to distinguish between fact and opinion and often do not attribute quotations.

18. Artur Gorbatov informed the participants that Tsiganskaya Associatsia produce the free Romani paper Tsiganskaya Vesti.

19. The supplement Romano Duma is produced in the Samara regional paper, the Samarskaya Gazeta.

20. Romano Kher monitors the media and notes that despite the existing media laws there are constant breaches of it.

1.4. Civil and political rights

21. Mr Alexandr Molchanov, a Romani lawyer from Yaroslavl, noted that over the past five years he had never come across a case involving a Rom which had been conducted objectively. In addition he claimed that the law enforcement organs abuse the legal illiteracy of the Roma. He requested that an appeal be sent to the Duma and Federation Council, the Supreme Court and General Prosecutor's Office and to send a delegation to the Duma to expose the current practice whereby the Roma are not having equal access to justice. The legal education of Roma about their rights is also a priority.

22. Romano Kher added that the militia extorts bribes from Roma and the latter would be under the threat of a charge against them if they refused.

1.5. Economic and Social Development

23. One participant requested that local authorities need to create the economic environment so that Roma can engage in business such as leasing land and access to bank loans.

Veliki Novgorod:
24. Tsiganskya Obshina have prepared proposals to develop farming in the Borisova area.

St Petersburg:
25. Although nobody spoke on the theme of the desire to develop the hippodrome site in the village of Popovka, the British consultant on an earlier trip and a representative from the Council of Europe on this trip visited it. The request for funding of such a project would enable the Roma to be employed and skilled and would be a means of preserving Romani culture.

26. Financial support has been allocated for the construction of the village where Roma live and for road repairs. This has enabled the school bus to take the children to school. The heads of the local administration and local enterprises will be examining the situation of unemployment of the Roma.

1.6. Development of Roma civil society

27. Mr Tumashevich and Mr Sukhovski of Tsiganskaya Obshina of St Petersburg and Veliki Novgorod noted that their requests for premises from the local administation were turned down. One participant noted that the Roma should not be dreaming about getting separate premises but should share resources which are made available to other ethnic groups by the local administration.

28. One participant noted that finding office space was in itself insufficient and that premises for the carrying out of social and cultural activities was needed.

1.7. Recognition and identity

29. Mr Vladimir Schnittke from the human rights organisation, Memorial in St Petersburg spoke about the process of sending in applications to the German Fund for the compensation of victims of forced labour during the Nazi era, which is being administered by the International Organisation for Migration. Participants noted that the process itself was unfair given that the Roma often did not have such documentary proof as requested by the German Fund to grant compensations.

1.8. Culture

30. It was noted that there is a lack of support for Romani culture which is perishing, according to one participant. Concerning funding allocated for the development of national cultural autonomies as provided under the Law on National Cultural Autonomies, Mr Nikolai Bugai noted that the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation is developing amendments to the Law to deal with issue of the funding which is currently frozen.

31. On April 8, Tsiganskaya Associatsia organised a concert to celebrate International Roma Day. The event was attended by representatives of the Volgograd Regional and City Administration, representatives of the regional branch of the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation and participants from other ethnic minority associations.

St Petersburg:
32. Mr Valeri Jukov, president of the Society for the Gypsy Choir in St Petersburg, spoke about the tradition of Romani choirs in St Petersburg and the need to find sponsors to allow this to continue.

33. Romano Kher mentioned that they are ready to establish a cultural centre and are looking for funding.

34. The national cultural autonomy of Roma in Tula have organised a festival of Roma national culture.

Part 2: Analysis

35. The following analysis is provided by Alexandr Torokhov, Council of Europe consultant for this roundtable.

The Romani movement is increasing in strength and scale all over the world. This is one of the main indicators of the development of the democratic process.

The Roma national minority in Russia today does not possess sufficient means to protect itself from different types of discrimination. It is difficult to initiate an open dialogue and attracting the attention of the international community to the internal affairs of the Russian Federation. Practically all problems of Romani people are typical in many countries where Roma live. So issues connected to Roma in Russia is not only an internal question of Russia, but for the international community as a whole. International interest in the situation of Roma can greatly change the attitude by Russian authorities to this issue. Russia is moving along the way of democratic transformation, and so therefore it supports international solidarity policies in deciding global problems. The holding of round tables, conducted in Russia under the aegis of the Council of Europe, is one of the ways to begin a process of dialogue with the state power, as well as from public bodies on Roma issues through the participation of regional Romani leaders. On the one hand dialogue aims at supporting initiatives of the Romani community, arousing their internal power, and raising their level of national consciousness. On the other hand, it assists in raising the interest of the Russian authorities to cooperate in the development of the Romani movement in Russia.

36. Therefore round tables can help to solve Roma issues in two ways:

1. Searching for ways of stimulating Romani initiative in solving the issues in accordance with the culture, education, legal protection etc.

2. Involving the participation of international organizations (such as the Council of Europe) in the dialogue with regional authorities to demonstrate their efforts and interests in solving the issues which the Romani movement face.

37. The support given to regional Romani associations represented by National Cultural Autonomies from the international community is advantageous for relations between the power and public associations in regions. It is necessary to continue the practice of conducting round tables in large regions of Russia, taking into account the experience of the work carried out in Moscow and in St Petersburg. However, to make similar meetings more effective it is necessary to take into consideration the following aspects:

1. More careful participants selection, taking into account their suitability for the themes of the round table, but also by inviting participants from the previous meetings who can present the most interesting positive experience of activity in this sphere;
2. To disseminate the preliminary analysis of particularities of the situation of Roma in this region, and familiarization with the results of this analysis to all participants before the beginning of the meeting;
3. Concrete problems which the Roma are facing should be included into the agenda of the roundtable;
4. It is necessary to constantly monitor contact between all round table participants and the provision of necessary material on conduct work;
5. Ensure wide coverage of the process and results of the roundtable in the media.

38. The conducting of the round tables in Moscow and in Petersburg represents the first experience of international cooperation in this sphere on the territory of Russia, therefore the issues under discussion were general in nature. The roundtable is not the only form of conducting such meetings. For solving more concrete tasks other forms of contacts can be used, for instance seminars, conferences or study visits of international organization representatives in Russian regions.

39. The following additional analysis is provided by the author Nicky Torode, Council of Europe consultant for this roundtable.

The bringing together of key actors from the federal and local administration, Roma leaders and activists, media and human rights organisations has facilitated the beginning of a process of dialogue, contact and hopefully cooperation. The Council of Europe is now more fully informed of the situation of Roma in the Russian Federation and will consequently be able to tailor its input more effectively. Furthermore international organisations reading this report will have gained a better understanding of the needs and areas of concern which can be used to conceptualise projects. The contacts made during the seminars are invaluable in informing Romani participants of various training opportunities that the Council of Europe, Russian or international human rights organisations carry out such as the Council of Europe lawyers' training course and the courses for young Roma leaders.

The author agreed with the comment from Mr Tumashevich,however, that theroundtable discussions were general in nature. However, on the positive side the meeting was well-attended by representatives from the Ministry of the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies and local administrations which indicated an interest in the issues. From this point on the author believes that the Council of Europe's role should shift from this fact-finding and expository phase to a direct assistance phase to support the development of Romani civil society and the infrastructure/policy making by the Russian authorities. The ways the Council of Europe can assist in these processes were elaborated in part 6 Recommendations and Conclusions of the Moscow report. In addition it should be noted that the Council of Europe, while not a funder to solicited proposals, can and should, with the Inter-Agency Commission of the Russian Federation for Cooperation with the Council of Europe, assist in and monitor the implementation of the recommendations.

41. The author would finally like to make the following recommendations to the Council of Europe:
- the Council of Europe should, through its Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies, seek to raise the concerns of the governemental representatives from the Russian federation;
- the Council of Europe should make sure that there is a representation from the Russian federation at its meetings of national human rights institutions;
- the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance should be informed of concerns concerning Roma, to be raised in their country-by-country reports about the Russian Federation;
- the Council for Cultural Cooperation should prepare a case-study on the situation of Roma in the Russian Federation;
- the Council of Europe should seek to inform Russian Roma of relevant activities throughout the Council of Europe in which they could usefully take part;

42. Finally, the consultant recommends the following follow-up activities to be envisaged:
- Study visits to the Russian Federation, comprising governmental and Romani representatives, to regions of Russia where there are good examples of cooperation between and support from the local authority and Roma organisations;
- Study visits abroad, for governemental and Romani representatives, to Central and Eastern European countries which can provide examples of good practice at the governemental and civil society level;
- Training for governmental and Romani representatives in international and regional human rights standards and implementation mechanisms (European Convention on Human Rights, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, …);
- Training and technical assistance for governemental and Romani representatives on governmental strategies and implementation plans for the improvement of the situation of the Roma, as adopted in other European countries. This would be a preparatory stage for the drafting of a federal strategy for Russia, if considered appropriate.
- Interships with local authorities: Romani representatives interested in learning more about political structures and policy-making could be assisted by the Council of Europe in being placed in their local authority to “shadow” / be mentored by a local governemental employee.


43. The author notes, as after the first roundtable, a heightened sense of expectation by the Roma participants for the federal and local authorities to initiate policy and programmes aimed at improving the situation of Roma in Russia. There is also the expectation that the Council of Europe will play a more active role in this process.



Saint Petersburg 25-26 June, 2001

The roundtable was jointly organised by the Council of Europe (Division of Migration and Roma/Gypsies, General Directorate of Social Cohesion), the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies of the Russian Federation and the Administration of the City of St Petersburg

The following recommendations, which build on suggestions made at the first roundtable held in Moscow 5-6 October 2000, were prepared and adopted by the participants of the roundtable who came from Romani organisations from across the Russian Federation, representatives from the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, local administration of St Petersburg, a representative from the local militia, representatives from regional administrations across the Russian Federation, local non-governmental organisations and the media. The following actions envisage a partnership between governmental representatives, Roma organisations and non-governmental organisations and the media. It is important to note that these recommendations are not demanding extra or special status for the Roma but greater political will through the increased allocation of resources, both financial and material, and for more effective implementation of existing national legislation.



As the Roma population live in diaspora as an extra-territorial minority in the Russian Federation it is desirable to create a mechanism such as a Federal Commission on Roma Affairs which would enable Roma representatives to input into decision-making processes. Lessons can be learned from Kalingrad oblast which has established a regional commission. At present there is no federal programme on the development of the Romani community. There is no Romani representation in federal, regional or local government.

Recommendations to:
Ministry Affairs for the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
to recognise the uniqueness and urgency of the Roma situation by working out the powers, area of competence and terms of reference for the creation of a Federal Commission on Roma Affairs, comprised of governmental representatives and Romani leaders
to task a working group of the aforementioned Commission to carry out an audit and evaluation of Romani initiatives through contact visits to subjects (regions) of the Russian Federation
to task a working group of the aforementioned Commission to draft a Federal Programme on the development of the Romani population
to facilitate access for Roma participants to attend political leadership courses such as those run under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Diplomatic Academy

Regional and municipal authorities:
to create regional and municipal commissions or advisory boards, learning from the model in Kalingrad
to train personnel on the aforementioned commissions in understanding Romani culture

National and international human rights organisations:
to deliver political leadership courses for Roma


Despite the legal provisions for minority education contained in the Federal Law on the Languages of the People of the Russian Federation (1998), National Cultural Autonomy Law (1996), the obligations under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages which the Russian Federation has signed, there are very few state-supported Romani language classes in the areas where Roma live compactly. The examples which exist of preparatory classes (Volgograd), elementary and secondary classes (St Petersburg and Samara oblast) are privately funded. There are few textbooks which are in the Romani language or which refer to Romani culture. The ones that exist have been either funded by the Romani organisations themselves (Tsiganskoe Obshina, Volgograd) or have been funded by international organisations.

Recommendations to:
Ministry of Education and regional and municipal authorities:
to learn from and expand the good practice as carried out in School N.462 (St Petersburg oblast)
to financially support the creation, development and distribution of coursebooks in the Romani language
to support the pedagogical training of Roma to become teachers and classroom assistants in schools in areas where Roma live compactly
to ensure that schools provide teaching in Romani for the areas where Roma live compactly
to cooperate with university departments in guaranteeing places for Roma to enter university courses

National and international human rights organisations:
to cooperate with authorities in carrying out educational projects


The continual publishing of hate-speech and stereotypical, inaccurate information about the Roma in the Russian media goes unsanctioned despite the Mass Media Law 1996 and the Framework Convention, which prohibits the use of hate speech. The few examples of Romani media which exist, such as Tsiganskiye Vesti (Volgograd) and Romani Duma (Samara oblast) are privately funded.

Recommendations to:
Federal, regional and municipal authorities:
to financially support the development of Romani print and broadcast media
The Ministry of Communications: to condemn racist coverage
The Union of Journalists, reporters and editors:
to observe the spirit and letter of the industry code on reporting on race issues
to not print the ethnicity of the convicted criminal
Media training organisations:
to run diversity training for majority journalists
to invite/facilitate access of Roma on journalist training courses
to create diversity training manuals for journalists
to monitor the media and campaign against racist, inflammatory and inaccurate coverage


Despite the civil and political rights, including due process rights, which are enshrined in the Constitution and national legislation, the Roma are frequent victims of a stop and search policy carried out by police officers (militia) under the pretext of enforcing the residency regime (propiska). Many Roma do not have this or other residency documents and are therefore denied access to other socio-economic rights. In addition Roma are alledgedly subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, are forced to pay bribes to the militia and raids on private property. When Roma are the victims of crime, investigations are seldom carried out or are not serious. There is also evidence of discriminatory attitudes displayed by judges and prosecutors.

Recommendations to:
Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, General Prosecutor, Supreme Court and Militia:
review previous criminal and civil cases which involved Roma
review police complaints procedure
to assist Roma through a Romani Liaison Officer of the aforementioned Federal Commission to register for residency permits

National and international human rights organisations and lawyers:
to deliver human rights training for police officers, Prosecutor’s Office and judges
to facilitate access of Roma to legal profession training
to deliver advocacy and rights training for Roma to improve their legal knowledge
to develop rights awareness materials to improve legal knowledge of Roma


The loss of jobs in the transitional period has left many Roma, alongside ethnic Russians, unemployed. The conditions in the areas where some Roma are living lack basic infrastructure and sanitation.

Recommendations to:
Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health, regional and municipal authorities:
to provide financial support for the development of business initiatives proposed by Roma such as the hippodrome in St Petersburg oblast and agricultural initiatives in Veliki Novgorod
to support job creation initiatives as carried out in Kalingrad oblast
to invest resources in the development of infrastructure and improved conditions in the areas where Roma are living, as carried out in the Kalingrad oblast
to support access to vocational training opportunities and reskilling opportunities
to provide adult literacy initiatives

Vocational training colleges:
to invite/facilitate access for Roma to vocational training courses

National and international organisations:
to invite Roma to attend job seeking skills courses
to fund and coordinate income-generation projects


The creation of Romani associations to raise awareness about the Romani community needs is a relatively new trend in the Russian Federation. Unlike other non-governmental organisations Roma organisations receive less state funding or funding from international sources. Much of the work is carried out by Roma in a voluntary capacity from personal premises and is self-funded. Under its obligations of the National Cultural Autonomy Law 1996 the Russian Federation should ensure that it financially and materially supports the establishment and development of Romani organisations

Recommendations to:
Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Human Rights Division), Presidential Commission on Human Rights, Federal Ombudsman and regional and local authorities:
to provide financial and material assistance to nascent Romani associations
to extend the jurisdiction of the National Cultural Autonomy Law beyond a cultural focus to include standard human rights work such as lobbying and advocacy
to invite/facilitate access of Roma to human rights training and awareness activities

National and international human rights organisations:
to provide seed grants for the acquisition of office premises and equipment
to invite Romani leaders to attend capacity building training courses for Romani organisations
to invite Romani leaders to attend legal/human rights advocacy and rights training courses


There is no official monument to the Romani victims of the Holocaust on the territory of the Russian Federation. Compensation to Romani victims of the Holocaust is at last available although the process of submitting the application and locating documentary evidence is unrealistic criteria for Roma who were nomadic at the time and had many of their documents destroyed.

Recommendations to:
Ministry of Culture:
to fund and find premises for the establishment of a monument to the Roma victims of the Holocaust
to financially support the data collection by Roma organisations for applications for compensation for the Holocaust

International Organisation for Migration (IOM):
bearing in mind that the Roma in Russia have not yet received compensation for the Holocaust, and lack the documentary proof of victim status, applications which arrive after the deadline, August 11 2001, should be considered.


Romani culture has long played a pivotal role in the culture of the Russian Federation. Since the collapse of communism support for the development of Romani culture has declined.

Recommendations to
Ministry of Culture and regional and municipal authorities:
to financially support activities which develop Romani culture such as Romani ensembles (Gilori, Luludi, Droma Moscow), Aleksei Dulkievich's choir (St Petersburg), film/concert centre (Romale, Moscow)
to support the creation of a Romani cultural centre as proposed by Romano Kher (Moscow)
for the 300 Committee of St Petersburg, tasked in funding cultural projects for the 300th anniversary of the city, to make a commitment to fund Romani cultural proposals

National and international human rights organisations:
to financially support the development of Romani cultural activities
work in partnership with the Romani organisations on cultural projects

As part of the framework of co-operation with the Government of the Russian Federation it is recommended that the Council of Europe, through a process of constructive dialogue, encourage the promotion and implementation of the above recommendations.


25-26 June 2001

Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies:

Bugai, Nikolaï Fedorovitch
Mukabenova, Aïssa Bokkaevna
Riabukhin, Boris Konstantinovitch
Trubnikovskii pereulok, 19
121819 Moscow
Tel.: +7 095 248 85 02 (Mukabenova); 203 07 88 (Bugai); 248 84 60 (Riabukhin)
Fax: +7 095 202 44 90

Moscow Region
Association “Romano Kher”
Demeter Nadejda
Ul. Gurianova, 7-5-4
109388 Moscow
Tel.: +7 095 179 27 00

National-Cultural Autonomy for Roma
Kutenkov, Vladimir Nikolaievitch, President
Ul. Gurianova, 7-5-4
109388 Moscow
Tel. : +7 095 354 71 47
Fax: +7 095 179 27 00

Bariev, Alexander, Vice-President
Riazanski Prospekt 39, korp. 1
109428 Moscow
Tel.: +7 095 171 16 02 ext. 18/mobile: 776 26 26
Tel/fax: +7 095 171 95 21

Volgograd Region:

“Association of Gypsies” in the Volgagrad Region
Gorbatov, Artur Murshevitch, President
Tel.: +7 8442 39 54 12/39 71 27/mobile: 98 38 78

Saint Petersburg Administration :
Tchukhov, Vladimir Evguenevitch
Deputy-Head of the Committee for Foreign Relations
Jukovskaia ul., d. 6, office 25
Saint Petersburg

Koptin, Boris Nikolaievitch
Committee for Foreign relations, Head of the Department for nationalities organisations
Manorov, Ivan Stepanovitch
Jukovskaia ul., d. 6, office 25
Saint Petersburg
Tel.: +7 812 279 92 38
Tel/fax: +7 812 272 34 91

“Gypsy Society of North-West Russia”
Tcherepovski, Vassili Nikolaievitch, Head
Obvodini kanal d. 59, kv. 19
Saint Petersburg
Tel.: +812 166 80 66

Tumashevitch, Alexandr Ianovitch
Ul. Mojeboskaia 12
198 323 Saint Petersburg
Tel/fax: +7 812 141 52 04
Tel.: +7 812 141 19 26

Sinitsin, Alexei Nikolaievitch
Prospekt Veteranov d. 90, kv. 123
169 260 Saint Petersburg

Poliakov, Nikolai Vassilievitch
Serpukhovaia 44
Saint Petersburg
Tel.: +7 095 317 91 37

Tiurina, Tatiana Gennadievna
Park Lenina, 1
197198 Saint-Petersburg
Tel.: +7 812 146 53 36
Fax +7 812 232 48 28

Novgorod Regional Branch
Sukhovski, Evgraf Nikolaievitch
Ul. Novaia, 23
Veliki Novgorod
Tel. : +7 8162 138 101
Fax : +7 812 8162 66 32 25
E-mail :

National-Cultural Autonomy of Ural
Torokhov, Alexandr Alexeievitch
Transitni pereulok 16
620146 Ekaterinburg
Tel.: +7 3432 43 99 22

Orenburg Region
Amelin, Venali Vladimirovitch, President
Committee for Interethnic Relations
Administration of Orenburg’s Region
Dom Sovietov
460015 Orenburg
Tel.: +7 3532 77 97 25

Samara region
Ossipova, Nadejda Petrovna
Administration of samara,
Senior specialist, Department for relations with NGO’s, nationalities and religious groups

Association « Romani Soul »
Kutenkov, Vassili Viktorovitch
Iangarienaia 111
443050 Samara
Tel.: +7 8462 92 33 07

Yaroslav Region
Moltchanov, Alexandr
Lawyer, Yaroslav Bar Association
Ulitsa Komarova dom 7
Korpus 2, kvatira 24
Tel.: +7 852 25 79 03

Kaliningrad region
Kuksin, Anatoli Stepanovitch
Administration of Kaliningrad,
Committee for information, publications and relations with society
Ul. D. Donskovo, 7
238007 Kaliningrad
Phone : +7 0112 53 86 05/46 23 50

Tula Region
Miakhkov, Viktor Gavrilovitch
Administration of Tula Region
Deputy-Head of the Department for work with territories and relations with NGO’s
300002 Tula
Tel.: +7 0872 27 73 26/30 61 29

Representatives of NGO’s 

Memorial Saint Petersburg:
Schnittke, Vladimir Eduardovitch
Kulaeva, Stephania Borissovna

Raseszaya 9,
Tel/fax: +7 812 314 23 68/110 65 19

NGO’s Development Center:
Besprozvannaya, Polina
Editor of Pchela Magazine
M. Konyushennaya st., 5
191186 Saint-Petersburg
Tel./fax.: +7 812 325 89 13/325 89 14

Gypsy Choir Saint Petersburg
Jukov, Valeri Pavlovitch, President
Society for Gypsy Choir in Saint Petersburg
Tel/fax: +7 812 268 52 69
Dumkievitch, Elexei Vassilievitch
Ul. K. Zaslonova d. 36/38, kv. 23
191119 Saint Petersburg
Tel.: +7 812 112 10 23

Newspaper “Petersburg’s Nationalities”
Sepivanova, Ilina Nikolaievna
Tel.: +7 812 314 10 95

Council of Europe Information and Documentation Centre in Saint Petersburg:
Baryshnikov, Dmitri Nikolaievitch, Director
Evstifieva, Elena Borissovna, Documentalist
International Relations Faculty
Universitetskaya nab. 7/9
199034 Saint Petersburg
Tel.: +7 812 276 61 16
Fax: +7 812 276 62 29

Council of Europe Secretariat :

Françoise Kempf
Activities on Roma/Gypsies, DGIII, Migrations and Roma/Gypsies Division
67075 Strasbourg cedex
Tel. : +33 3 88 41 38 54
Fax : +33 3 88 41 27 31
E-mail :

Vladimir Nikolaievitch Tchernega
Tel.: +33 3 88 21 45 68


Nicky Torode
Minority Rights Group London
379 Brixton Road
London SW9 7DE
E-mail :

Mr Alexandr Torokhov
Transitni pereulok 16
620146 Ekaterinburg
Tel.: +7 3432 43 99 22


Background documents prepared by the Ministry for the Affairs of the federation, Nationalities and Migration Policies of the Russian Federation

Number and Location

According to the general census of 1989 there are 152,939 Roma living on the territory of the Russian Federation.
According to the data of non government organizations there are more than one million Roma living in Russia at the present day.
Roma are settled all over the country, among them.


Number of persons
According to 1989 general census

Situation for 01. 05. 2001 (information as received from regions)



About 3,000

St Petersburg



The Adygei Republic



The Kabardin-Balkar Republic



The Karelian Republic



The North-Ossetic Republic



Krasnodar Territory



Krasnoyarsk Territory



Stavropol Territory



Astrakhan Region



Volgograd Region



Vologda region



Voronezh Region



Irkutsk Region



Kemerovo Region



Leningrad Region



Lipetsk Region



Nizhegorodsky Region



Novgorod Region



Novosibirsk Region



Orenburg Region



Penza Region


About 3,000

Perm Region



Pskov Region


More than 660 (18,500*)

Rostov Region



Ryazan Region



Samara Region



Saratov Region



Sverdlovsk Region


About 6,000

Tambov Region



Tver Region



Tula Region



Note: data taken from non government organizations are indicated with (*).
Prepared by the Department for Nationalities of the Ministry for Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policy of the Russian Federation

Roma National Non Governmental Organisations
and National-Cultural Autonomies

In March 2000 the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of the Russian Roma (G.S. Demeter) was registered in Moscow. FNCA established connections with Romani organizations of Komi republic, Nizhny Novgorod, Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Tula, Tver, Saint-Petersburg, Pskov, Veliki Novgorod.
As of the 1st January 2001 there were 17 national associations and seven national-cultural autonomies.

National-Cultural Autonomies of the Russian Gypsies

Region Name of the NCA Address Authority

Moscow Region
FNCA of the Russian Roma
117292, Moscow, Profsoyuznaya St., 16/10, flat 300, tel. 354 71 47, fax. 503 34 28President Demeter Georgy Stepanovich
Komi Republic
Komi Republic NCA of the Roma
Komi Republic, Syktyvcar, Maksanovka vil., Michiyag St., 20 Council of Elders, Baurov Michail Dmitrievich, tel. 23 23 45
Krasnodar Territory
Territorial Roma NCA Krasnodar Board of Administration
Krasnodar City Roma NCAKrasnodar Territory, Krasnodar Council
Sverdlovsk Region
Ekaterinburg Roma NCA (ERNCA)
620146, Sverdlovsk Region, Ekaterinburg, Tranzitnyi lane, 16 Board of Administration, chairman MatrushenkoL.A., tel. 43 99 92
Tula Region
Tula Regional NCA of the Russian Roma
Tula Region Council, Baron Ogly Aleksey Gasanovich, Tula, Nesterova St., 41, tel. 45 86 13
Romani NCA of the South-Eastern administrative okrug of Moscow
109388, Moscow, Gurjyanova St., 75, flat 4
Board of Administration, Chairman Kutenkov Vladimir Konstantinovich, Tel. 354 71 47, deputy chairman Demeter G.S.

National Associations of the Russian Roma

Region Name of Organisation Address Authority

1. South-Western Region, Saint-Petersburg, Karelia Republic, Leningrad, Pskov, Novgorod, Vologda, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Kaliningrad Regions
Interregional Public Organization “Romani Commune”, Saint-Petersburg, Zdorovtseva St., 35-12
President: Samulevich Nikolai Ivanovich, Obvodnoi Canal, 59, flat 19, tel. 130 49 30, fax. 141 59 33
Manager of Novgorod subdivision: Sukhovskyi E.N.
2. Volgograd Region, Public Organization “Association of Roma” 400075, Volgograd, Zhigulevskaya St., 14
Board of Administration, Chairman: Gorbatov Artur Murgievich, tel. 35 93 49, 39 71 27
3. Krasnodar Territory, Krasnodar Romani National-Cultural Organization “Bare Roma” Krasnodar
4. Krasnodar Territory, Krasnodar Regional public organization “Roma of the Kuban”, Krasnodar
President: Chebotarev Nikolai Petrovich
5. Moscow region, Moscow Romani cultural-enlightening community “Romano Kher”, Moscow Region, Lubertsy 2, Kalinina St., 42, flat 249
Chairman: DemeterG.S. tel. 553 37 13
6. Moscow, Romani Fund “Romen” Leningradskyi Av., 32/2
Moscow Theatre “Romen”
7. Moscow, Interregional Public Organization “Romani Commune”Moscow, Ochakovskaya St., 8
8. Moscow, Romani Cinema-Concert Center “Romale” Moscow, Manezhnaya
Manager: Vishnevskyi Dufunya Belashevitch tel. 737 84 76
9. Moscow, Fund of revival and support of Romani culture “Roma”103495, Moscow, Varvarka St., 6, western building, office 3-065
President: Yanko Georgy Ganovich, tel. 232 44 23
10. Saint-Petersburg, Center of the Romani culture “Patalo”, Saint-Petersburg
President: Cherepovskyi V.N.
11. Novosibirsk Region, Novosibirsk national Romani cultural center “Roma” 630040, Novosibirsk, Anosova St., 14
Board of Administration, Chairman: Drushlyakov Oleg Nikolaevich
12. Rostov Region, Regional public organization Romani cultural-enlightening community “Roma and the World”
Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningradskaya St., 1
Council chairman: IvashchenkoV.I.
13. Samara Region, City public organization of the Roma “Romani Duma” Samara, Microraion Zubchaninovka
Chairman: Kutenkov Vasily Viktorovich
14. Samara Region, Public Organization Association of the Samara Roma Samara
Manager : Verbenko N.F.
15. Sverdlovsk Region, Ural center of the Romani Culture Ekaterinburg
Chairman: Torokhov Alexander Alekseevich
16. Tula Region, Regional national public organization of the Roma “Rada” 300028, Tula, Oruzheinaya St., 29-a, flat 2
Council, technical director: Tutaev Boris Michailovich, tel. 33 26 06
17. Tver Region, Public organization Center of the development of national culture “Romanimos” 170044, Tver, Vagzhanova St., 14
Board of Administration, cochairman: Makhotin Jury Alekseevich, tel. 31 17 86, 33 64 05

Prepared by the Department for Nationalities of the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policyies of the Russian Federation.

Education of the Russian Roma

Russian Roma are divided into the following ethnic groups: Plashchuni, Kaldarary, Lovari, Servi, Luli, Russka Roma, etc.
They speak many languages and dialects – Moldavian, Tatar, Baltic, Iranian, Tajik, Uzbek, etc. They often do not understand each other. The language of their communication is Russian. All the educational establishments freely enroll Romani children, providing where possible additional education (optional courses and hobby groups), teaching the Romani language (Romanes), culture and history are among them.

Region Type of educational establishment Activity

Moscow Experimental Romani class, Sunday school Studying of the Romanes, Russian and English languages, the Romani history, vocal, choreography and fine arts
Saint-Petersburg School # 466 20 Romani children study Romani culture, out of classroom are taught music and dancing
Volgograd Region School #97 Optional class where the Romani language, culture and grammar are taught
Novgorod Region School in the Romani settlement of the Chudovskoi DistrictIs under construction
Perm Region Specialized class in school Romani children are taught, with the out of classroom lessons in dancing and Romani songs
Samara Region Schools #98, 34 and 147 in Zubchaninovka village In cooperation with the institute “Open Society” an educational programme for Romani children “Step by Step” is realized
Tula Region Privokzalnyi Raion – three national classes in secondary school # 66; Leninskyi Raion – Plekhanovskaya elementary school for the Romani children and a Romani class in Medvenskaya elementary school. Children of different ages are taught at different levels

National cultural associations of the Roma get support from the local authorities in the field of preservation and development of the language, culture and education.
So, the educational department of the local administration of the Tula Region gives money to repair and equip schools, to construct a new building; the leaders of the Romani community participate in solving economic and educational problems, conduct explanatory work with the pupils' parents.
A methodological manual for the teachers of the secondary schools describing traditions and customs of the people who inhabit the Stavropol territory, including the Roma, was prepared by the department of the national and regional policy of the Stavropol territory.
The first in the CIS Romani language textbook was published at the expense of the Romani association “Romanimos” in Tver. This manual is used to teach Roma from the Western Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia.
Prepared by the Department for Nationalities of the Ministry for the Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policy of Russia “Round Table Discussion” on Roma issues,

Preservation and Development of Romani Culture and Traditions

Regional programmes directed at the preservation and development of culture and arts are being implemented in some subjects of the Russian Federation. Different events conducted by the artistic national groups, including Romani groups, get financial assistance from the local budgets.

Region Romani artistic group Types of activity

Moscow Cultural-educational center for children “Gilori”; Children drama theatre and ensemble “Luludi” (80 children); Course for Romani producers and actors; Romani musical salon; Ethnological exhibition of paintings, photography and historical and cultural documents of the Romani people. Studying of the Romani culture, music; singing and dancing performances in the concert programmes; Studying of the Romani culture; Singing, dancing and drama performances in the concert programmes; Professional education in the State Institute of the Theatrical Art; Permanently works at the Russian musical society; Traveling exhibition (was exposed at the State Duma of the RF and in clubs, is a base for a future museum).
Saint-Petersburg Amateur Romani hippodrome in the Krasni Bor; Conduct trotting races on the Ivan Kupala Day.
Leningrad Region Romani family groups of the Gatchinskyi District takes part in feature films production.
Novgorod Region Romani family ensembles and dancing groups takes part in the festival competition of the Romani songs “Sing, guitar, sing!”
Novosibirsk Region Romani artistic groups; Participation in VI Siberian festival of the national cultures
Penza Region Romani children ensemble of singing and dancing “Bukuria”Participation in the concert programmes, amateur arts festivals, and the festival devoted to the 200 anniversary of the Penza province
Rostov Region Romani ensemble “Elo Roman” in Chimlyanskyi districtParticipation in concert programmes, amateur arts and professional festivals
Samara Region Studio “Romani Arts Class” (school #98 of Kirovskyi district of Samara) Participation in the II regional festival of the national cultures
Sverdlovsk Region Romani ensemble of singing and dancing “Rhythm Roman” (in Ekaterinburg municipal Central Park of Culture and Rest after Mayakovskyi); Children choreography hobby group; Romani artistic groups; Participation in the concert programmes; Studying the basics of the Romani dancing art; Participation in the festivals of the national cultures
Tver Region Romani artistic groups of the “Romanimos” center; Romani folklore ensembles; Participation in film-making in Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, USA; Participation in the work of the International Biblical Society to translate the Bible into the Romanes language; Participation in the international festivals in the FRG, Poland, Slovakia
Tula Region Associations of amateur Romani artists of Bogoroditskyi, Leninskyi, Uzlovoi, Dubenskyi districts; Participation in zone and regional festivals of folklore, national cultures, family arts, contemporary variety song

Mainstream and Minority Media and Publications

Region Public union Edition
Moscow Moscow Community “Romano Kher” (with the State support)“Romani-Russian and Russian-Romani Dictionary”; collections of Romani songs and romances; Romani newspaper “Romano Kher” (separate numbers); Cultural-charitable bulletin “Shu Nen Romale” (separate numbers); Three collections of Romani music; Memoirs of Olga Demeter-Charskaya (in Russian and Romanes); “The History of Roma. A New view” (N.Demeter, V.Kutenkov, N.Bessonov)
Volgograd Region “Roma Association” Free Romani newspaper “Romani Vesti” (circulation – 1000 copies, monthly); A book of encyclopaedic character “Romani World”
Samara Region Association “Romani Duma” Radio programmes for the Roma at the multinational radio station “Radio 7 from Samara”, creation of the center organizing public lectures in the Romani history and culture is planned
Tver region Romani associations Bilingual programme at the Tver radio “Hey, Romale!” for and about the Roma (1996-1998)

In 2001 in Moscow days of the Romani culture will be conducted, 500 years since Romani arrival to Russia, the 70th anniversary of the “Theatre Romen” theatre and the international day of the Roma will be celebrated.
The center of the Romani culture “Petalo” in Saint-Petersburg is planning to celebrate the day of Ivan Kupala (6 July) with horse races at the Romani hippodrome. Guests from Byelorussia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Sweden will be invited.
In Volgograd region, “Roma Association” worked out a programme “National-cultural development of the Romani population in Volgograd region in 2001”. In accordance with this programme cultural-educational centers will be organized, methodical manuals on the Romani history will be published, regional museum fund of the Romani culture will be formed.

Prepared by the Department for Nationalities of the Ministry for Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policy of Russia

Social-Economical Development of the Areas where Roma live compactly

Region Authorities Material Values
Volgograd Region Regional Administration Roma get allotments for building houses and gardening (there are whole “Romani settlements”.
Penza region Municipal organs of Oktyabrskyi and other districts Romani settlement in Oktyabrskyi district (800 Roma) is electrified, supplied with gas, roads are repaired. Roma are given 60 allotments to build houses.
Tula Region Municipal organs of Plekhanovskyi Okrug Roma built 103 houses for living on the given territory.

Prepared by the Department for Nationalities of the Ministry for Affairs of the Federation, Nationalities and Migration Policy of Russia