Ethnic conflict in Central Russia, Slavs vs. Roma :(

The Man

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Jul 2011
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#1
Couple days ago, there was a violent incident in the village of Chemodanovka, in Penza region of Russia


By the facts which are ascertained, there was a "brawl" between Slavic and Roma men, which left at least half a dozen badly injured in hospital on both sides; with one, a Slav, dying of his wounds yesterday; exactly what prompted the confrontation is disputed. The Slavs claim that Romas had sexually assaulted two young Slav women on the local beach, and their fathers, along with friends for back up, went after them (the Romas) for retribution. The Romas, meanwhile, have denied that their young men touched any Slavic woman, on the beach or anywhere else...

Someone's car, smashed up by the combatants (unclear from which side), during the fighting


Regardless, the Slavic residents staged a mass protest, with some even demanding all Romas be expelled from their community; Ivan Belozertsev, the Governor of Penza region, personally went there to talk them down, after they blocked a federal highway


He met also with the family members of the man who died


The Governor promised that all responsible for the mayhem in the village will be brought to justice; and also implored everyone to stay calm and refrain from any further violence: "Last thing we need is anybody else being hurt here."

Meanwhile, extra police and National Guard paramilitary forces reportedly have rolled into the village

here, a photo of at least two large mobile prisoner trucks ("avtozak") they have brought in


They have reportedly detained nearly two hundred people in the village, of both ethnic groups, rounding up for questioning all who had anything to do with the brawl.

Here, a well dressed man who, to me, looks like a leader of the local Roma community, is marched into a regional police station in handcuffs


Some of the weapons apparently confiscated from people in the village, again, unclear from which side


Andrey Ogly, recognized head of the Roma community in Penza region, recorded a video address today

He expresses condolences to the family of the man who died, on behalf of the community, says it is a tragedy for them too; also says that the Romas are "not looking for conflict with our neighbors here", that they too want to see those bad ones responsible for this punished, including the ones on their own side, and that the community is fully cooperating with law enforcement agencies to this regard. And also just asks the Slavic people to "not give in to emotions", that Romas are not their enemy; etc. Basically, trying to calm things down.

Not sure how well it worked, because, since then, there's been an incident in downtown city of Penza itself, an apparent "fight", between two groups of individuals, after which a young man "of non-Slavic appearance" was left on the ground very badly injured "his head was covered in blood", and his friends trying to help him

There's talk online that they were young Romas, who were attacked by Slavic skinheads or whoever, in apparent retaliation for the death of the Slav man in Chemodanovka.

It's a hell of a mess...

Penza region has long had a large Roma population, especially the area near Chemodanovka. Majority of the Roma families, around 1000 people, in all, live in their own separate village nearby, Lopatki; their children have also own separate section in the local school (I have to wonder if this segregation contributes to such bad relations between the communities?)

Here, a police officer (in uniform at left) and a member of a volunteer citizen patrol talk to a Roma woman in the village outside her home


Nadezhda Miryaeva, deputy head of administration of Chemodanovka

She has lived in the village since 1983, she says, and never recalls any trouble with their Roma neighbors; she blames OTHER "non-local" Romas, who moved to the area from elsewhere in Russia in last 5 years, apparently, there are so "no good people" among them, apparently, whom even their own local Romas dislike too, they apparently told Nadezhda herself as much too: https://riapo.ru/penza/proisshestvi...ij-iz-administracii-chemodanovskogo-selsoveta

Good news for Chemodanovka, they are now, finally, actually will get their own police station, which, believe it or not they did not have before (!); now the Governor has decreed it, concerned about law and order in the area, after talking to the protesters: В Чемодановке появится полицейское отделение

Nadezhda Demeter, the head of the national Cultural Autonomy of the Roma People

has now also spoken out about the incident. She railed at the media for twisting the facts about it and making her people look like bloodthirsty maniacs who ran around the village attacking unarmed people for no reason; when, in reality, it was the Slavic men who "barged into the home of a Roma family, with knives in their hands, and stabbed people there; and the men from the family then fought back, defending their children! What would you do if a mob with knives kicks your door down and come in by force into your house?" The media, btw, claimed that the Slavic men only went over to "talk" with the Romas. With knives and axes, you know... ;)

It's complicated for Romas over there...

In neighboring Ukraine, there have been recently pogroms and much violence on Romas, see through this thread: Roma pogroms in Ukraine

In Russia, people are mostly much more tolerant of them. I've mentioned before, Russians love Roma music.

You see live Roma bands in many restaurants there

They are pretty much customary at weddings too

There are really famous and hugely popular Russian Roma artists, like Alexander Martsinkevich and his band "Kabriolet"

Moscow, as I have mentioned before in previous threads on this subject, has an actual Roma arts theatre, "Romen", unique place, no other such theatre anywhere else in the world

But, unfortunately, plenty of Romas also go to the dark side, some of their communities are heavily into drug dealing, for example.

Here, heroin is confiscated from a Roma woman
They are also stereotyped as thieves and con artists (latter one also more for women, who are said to use their (also widely presumed due to stereotypes) mythical powers to psychologically manipulate and control people's minds to make people give them money, etc. They can convince the gullible that they can read fortunes and such, and some people hand over small fortunes to them, for such "prophesies" (largely - made up fake nonsense...)

Back in 2015, there was a big brouhaha, when this supermarket security guard in Moscow, himself a minority, Armenian like me

apparently hit this Roma boy with an electric stun device, which left marks on his body

The guard accused the kid of stealing some ice cream, no joke. In reality, it seems some kind man offered to buy the young lad the ice cream, and the guard did not see that.

The guard ended up fired (rightly) and even went to prison. But the case caused a lot of issues between the Armenian and Roma communities, to this day...

The bad ones are a tiny fraction among all the Romas.

I would say a lot of their crime is a result of poverty (and also, yes, some elements within their own culture); the Romas are a fast growing ethnic group, they have high birth rates, it is not uncommon among couples there to have five kids

Between the 2002 and 2010 Census, their population grew from 183,000 to 220,000 souls; and over 50% of them are under the age of 25!

Unfortunately, majority of their communities have high unemployment, and lack of access to education and legitimates incomes for all their young people. And they must both feed their family and also, in many Roma communities, pay an informal yet absolutely mandatory tax to their leader, their "Baron". So, of course plenty end up on wrong side of the tracks... :(

The Romas also have certain "traditions" which the Slavs dislike, such as early (childhood) marriage: they often marry off their kids at 13, 14, 15


But, still, I don't see widespread violence against them breaking out, countrywide; most Russians are still relatively ok with Roma, certainly more so than are aforementioned Ukrainians; or Romanians: Amnesty International: Roma face systematic discrimination in Romania

Or Bulgarians: Forced Evictions, Discrimination Continue to Afflict Bulgaria's Roma

Or Italians: Italy's treatment of Roma people rooted in centuries-old prejudice

There has certainly been some discrimination and violence against them from regular citizens too, mainly whipped by racist media.

Romas who were hurt in an attack in southern Russia by dozens of Slavic nationalist youths back in 2009

In that case, the local press blamed them for a drug over doze death of a popular young schoolboy. Later, it turned out that he did not buy his narcotics from a Roma, but from a Slavic man, son of a prominent local official, no less. That oen was jailed; but, meanwhile, at least one Roma man had been killed in the vigilante attacks.

Also, just last year, in July, in Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine, a 9 year old girl was abducted, sexually victimized, and killed; the actual perpetrator turned out to be a Slavic man, a drifter without fixed address or legal ID and with multiple previous criminal convictions

But, because of erroneous (or even deliberately slanderous) local media reports, at least some based on rumours spread by racist far right groups, the local Roma community was mistakenly blamed for the girl's death.

As a result, Slavic youths violently attacked Romas in retaliation, and at least some Roma families had their houses set on fire


Roma women and children who, apparently, had fled their homes in the village

There were claims of full scale rioting in the village in question, Urazovo, and multiple Roma casualties, including fatalities. Nothing can be confirmed, since the government, as it often does in such cases, quickly threw in large numbers of security forces, sealed off the area, and imposed a media blockade. But photos like the above were leaked from there online...

Continued below.
 
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The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
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#2
Such thing are relatively rare, though, against the Roma, again, they are much more well liked, especially because of their music, than other minorities...

I am much more worried about what the government may do to them, in this case. Russian authorities have, previously, overreacted when Romas were seen to cause trouble.

In 2016, for instance, in Plekhanovo, in Tula region, residents of that town's Roma community briefly clashed with authorities, after attacking officials from the gas service, who came to disconnect them from the gas pipeline they been illegally tapping (after repeatedly and fruitlessly asking for gas to be provided for their home, for all the four decades they had lived in that area)


The authorities responded by actually demolishing the whole Roma village, few months later, and forcibly relocating them elsewhere



:(

I hope it doesn't get this drastic here...
 
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The Man

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#4
House, reportedly belonging to the Roma Baron/chief, burned down in Lopatki
The Romas claim it was arson. Media thinks it's further retaliation from the Slavic residents at the Romas... :(

Governor Belozertsev, meanwhile, has issued a threat of criminal charges against media outlets who publish "fake news" about the events in Chemodanovka and fan the flames of ethnic strife in the area. It's getting pretty intense...
 

The Man

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Jul 2011
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#5
Holy shit... The entire Roma population has "voluntarily left" the Chemodanovka and Lopatki area, to "avoid further inflaming tensions" there: Все цыгане уехали из Чемодановки

Hundreds of people departed, leaving behind 90 empty houses! Most headed to Volgograd region, in Southern Russia, apparently, where about Roma community has offered to take them in, apparently. By some reports the local (Slavic) population is "distributing" livestock and other properties the Romas left behind among themselves, as the media gently described it (a commentator on that site I linked to, who had himself apparently just passed through the area, gave a more Frank description: "They are looting the hell out of the Gypsy houses right now..."

Insane. This is ETHNIC CLEANSING, pure and simple. And everyone is ok with it, media is all but applauding it! :mad:

That's what it's like to be a minority over there...
 
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The Man

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Jul 2011
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#8
Would Roma be what we might call Gypsies? O
Yep. I think most of yours are originally from the Balkans and Hungary and such though, rather than Russian/ex-Soviet ones. There are differences between them (many Balkan ones are Muslim, for instance, influenced historically by Tukrey; while Russian ones are all Orthodox Christian, just like Slav Russians.)
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
47,104
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#9
Russian Governor Blames America, Fake News In Aftermath Of Deadly Ethnic Violence

Wow... I wonder if there's anything that's actually NOT America's fault, over there???
lol Something else I just learned about this freak of a Governor.

Apparently he made a decree back in January, pandering to the Church, no doubt, mandating all heads of municipalities (i.e. Mayors) in his region to meet one on one with every woman in their areas who wish for an abortion, and attempt to convince that woman to forego the abortion

Because, you know, Mayors have fucking nothing at all better to do...

And you wonder why his region is such a God damned mess...
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
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#10
A community of about 900 Roma in Russia’s Penza region have been forcibly relocated to the Volgograd region following a mass brawl with local residents, the investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper has reported.

A mass fight reportedly broke out between residents of the village of Chemodanovka and the local Roma community on June 13, resulting in five people being hospitalized, one of whom died of stab wounds. The next day, about 1,500 residents held a rally, and on June 15, locals set fireto a Roma house in a nearby village.

Hundreds of Roma from Chemodanovka and the neighboring village of Lopatki were put on buses and moved to the Volgograd region about 500 kilometers away, Sergei Fadeyev, the head of the Chemodanovka village council, was cited as saying during a public forum with residents.

“All the Roma living here were taken to the Volgograd region, where the local diaspora agreed to shelter them,” Novaya Gazeta cited Fadeyev as saying. “This was done by force. We are studying the question of the legality of their residence in our village council.”

When asked by residents whether the Roma would return, Fadeyev said it wouldn’t happen soon, and likely not at all.

A spokesperson for the Penza region governor denied that the Roma had been relocated by force.

“The Roma voluntarily decided to leave their homes,” spokeswoman Dina Cheremushkina told Novaya Gazeta. “Where they went, I cannot say. Surely they have relatives or friends in different regions. Buses were not organized for them.”

A Penza region court sentenced 15 people to two months in jail over the mass brawl, the state-run TASS news agency reported on Tuesday.
900 Roma Forced to Move After Village Brawl in Russia – Reports - The Moscow Times

Also: Russian Court Orders Detention Of 27 Suspects Following Deadly Ethnic Brawl
 
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