Articles / Gypsies


Subject / Ethnic culture/Ethnic communities

Gypsies (their native name is Roma) is an ethnic community which is a part of the population of the Leningrad Oblast. The descendants of the migrants from Germany and Sweden related to the group of "Russian Roma" were noted on the territory of the present Leningrad Oblast in the beginning of the 18th century. In 1733 the Senate issued an edict allowed the Gypsies to "live and sell horses" in Ingermanlandia, the Gypeies were included to the poll tax. The most of Gypsies professed the Orthodoxy, but in Ingermanlandia were also noted Gypsies- Lutherans. Gypsies were occupied with trade, handicrafts, professional begging and cadging, a special occupation of the women is fortune-telling. In 1897 in the Saint Petersburg there were 271 Gypsies. In 1926 and 1928 decrees of the supreme government bodies of the USSR and RSFSR were passed. They had to promote to transition of the Gypsies to a settled way of life. In the 1930s some activities for joining Gypsies in collective farms were conducted. In 1941- 44 the Gypsies found themselves on the territory occupied by German forces were liable to destruction. In 1956 the decree of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium about joining Gypsies in a settled way of life and the resolution of the RSFSR Council of Ministers No 685 dated 20 October 1956 "About Joining the Gypsies Who Are Occupied with Vagrancy in Work" were passed. Little by little a part of Gypsies are getting to have a permanent place of residence. According to the official data in 2002 in the Leningrad Oblast there were 4,6 thousand Gypsies (actually there were probably more Gypsies as it's quite difficult to account the number of nomadic Gypsies). On the territory of the oblast there are different groups of Gypsies including Kotlyars or Kelderars - descendants of Romanian Gypsies migrated to Russia in the middle of the 19th century (environs of Leskolovo Village); Kishinyovtsi - descendants of the migrants from Bessarabia of the 19th century (Taytsi Urban Settlement). Hungarian Gypsies have nomadic life, also Gypsies -Lyuli (come from Tajikistan, Muslims) appeared in the Leningrad Oblast last years lead such way of life. In S.Petersburg there is a Northwestern Centre for Social and Legal Protection of Roma (Gypsies) which works under S.Petersburg department of the Society "Memorial" and is occupied with social and legal protection of Gypsies.

Chistyakov, Anton Yuryevich

Historical Toponyms/Ingermanlandia (Ingria)
Leningrad Oblast, the/Vsevolozhsk District/Leskolovo Village
Historical Toponyms/Saint Petersburg Gubernia, the
Leningrad Oblast, the/Gatchina District/Taytsi Urban Settlement

Деметер Н., Бессонов Н., Кутенков В. История цыган: новый взгляд. Воронеж, 2000
Сайт Н.В. Бессонова «Цыгане России». URL:

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Ethnic groups if the Leningrad Oblast
Ethnic communities of the Leningrad Oblast. The settled communities of people historically formed on the certain territory, having the common features of culture and self-consciousness expressed in the native name are called an ethnic community (or... more