Official anti-Roma racism from Russia on the Internet

02 April 1998

The Internet homepage of the contains a text entitled, "Everyone Must Know This", by Artemij Lebedev, originally published in the September 1997 issue of the women’s magazine Ona. It reads as follows:

„It seems like they [Roma] are the most difficult to get rid of. They do not pay the least attention to protests. Gypsy women, according to the old tradition, offer to read your future. But in fact only few really know the ancient art of reading the future.

„In most cases, if you pay to have your fortune told, you get either a set of standard phrases or meaningless gibberish. Gypsy kids beg directly. [...]”

„But the main danger is that, in contrast to the art of fortune telling, the art of pick-pocketing is far from forgotten among Gypsies. While the Gypsy woman is ‘reading’, a Gypsy man, taking advantage of the possibility, ‘investigates’ the contents of your pockets.”

„Do not let yourself be dragged into conversation under any conditions. A Gypsy woman may ask to hold some money from your wallet. She says she will cast a spell on it, and there will be a flood of money that is attracted by this ‘bait’. All this is, of course, fraud. Do not give them your money. If you do, you can say goodbye to it. The note magically disappears from the unwashed palm, and you will be told that it ‘flew away to call her friends to your wallet’.”
„Attempts to insist on the return of the money, as a rule, do not lead to anything positive. From the crowd, the colleagues of the ‘magician’ appear, and a horrible noise begins. After a minute of this, the only thing you want is to get rid of the noisy crowd, and after another minute your desire is fulfilled. The police usually do not investigate such cases, because the fraud is almost impossible to prove. The only effective way to avoid such problems is a banal escape. If you are surrounded by Gypsies, try to break out of the circle as soon as possible and lose yourself in the crowd.”

Anti-Roma slander is also available on unofficial Russian websites. The student newspaper homepage of the Journalism Department of Moscow State University contains an article from an issue dated March 25, 1997. This claims that the Director of the Centre of Narcology for the Ministry or Health stated that the increase in instances of HIV in Russia is due to Roma who sell drugs. This is allegedly caused by Roma who sell ersatz morphine which they have infected with their own blood.



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