Romani Studies

Gypsies in the Russian Empire: Theories and practices addressing their situation during the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century

Romani Studies (2018), 28, (2), 195–217.

Abstract

The history of Gypsies in Russia is a tabula rasa against the background of myriad studies in the development of diasporas (Jews, Germans, Poles, Finns, Chinese, and Koreans). There are few publications, and based on a limited range of subjective sources. Reasons can include both the absence of written sources, authored by Gypsies, and specialists’ ignorance of an array of historical sources that have been preserved in the archives. In our paper, we will review the history that surrounds the formulation of basic legislative acts concerning Gypsies in the Russian Empire until the mid-1850s. By using specific examples, we will demonstrate the practice of enforcing tsarist edicts and the way Gypsies adapted to them. We employed both published laws and archival documents from the archives in St Petersburg and Pskov, which are first introduced into academic research. These allow us to conclude that the tsarist policy towards Russian Gypsies had common features with similar campaigns in European nations as well as its own individual features. In terms of its content, the policy was not intended to eliminate Gypsies as a special ethnic group, even in the context of military-police absolutism established by Paul I and Nicholas I. But even a limited goal – to turn nomadic Gypsies into sedentary farmers or townspeople – was not achieved.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Bell, John. 1763. Travels from St. Petersburg in Russia, to diverse parts of Asia. Glasgow: Robert and Andrew Foulis. Travels from St Google Scholar

Bessonov, Nikolaj, Demeter, Nadezhda, and Kutenkov, Vladimir. 2000. Istoriya tsygan. Noviy vzglyad [History of the Gypsies. A new look]. Voronezh: IAE [In Russian]. Istoriya tsygan Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Danilovich, Ignaty. 1826. Istoricheskoye i etnograficheskoye issledovaniye o tsyganakh [Historical and Ethnographic Study of the Gypsies]. Severny Arkhiv. Vol. 20. Part. 6: 184–208 [In Russian]. Istoricheskoye i etnograficheskoye issledovaniye o tsyganakh [Historical and Ethnographic Study of the Gypsies] Severny Arkhiv 20 184 208 Google Scholar

Denisov, Denis Nikolaevich. 2013. Orenburgskiye tsygane v 60-ye gg. 18– nachale 20 v. [Orenburg Gypsies in the 60s of the eighteenth–early twentieth century]. In: Gypsies in Orenburg society. Proceedings of the roundtable devoted to the International Romani Day. Orenburg: OOO IPK “Universitet” Publications, 44–9 [In Russian]. Orenburgskiye tsygane v 60-ye gg. 18– nachale 20 v. [Orenburg Gypsies in the 60s of the eighteenth–early twentieth century] Proceedings of the roundtable devoted to the International Romani Day 44 9 Google Scholar

Eingorn, Vitaly. 1908. K istorii inozemtsev v staroy Malorossii: [Otzyv ob issledovanii M.M. Plokhinskogo: “Inozemtsy v staroy Malorossii, ch. 1. Greki, tsygane, gruziny. Moskva. 1905 g.”] [On the history of foreigners in Old Little Russia: [A review on the study by M.M. Plokhinsky “Foreigners in Old Little Russia. Part 1. Greeks, Gypsies, Georgians. Moscow. 1905”]. Moscow: Society of Russian History and Antiquities at the Moscow University, 1908 [In Russian]. K istorii inozemtsev v staroy Malorossii: [Otzyv ob issledovanii M.M. Plokhinskogo: “Inozemtsy v staroy Malorossii, ch. 1. Greki, tsygane, gruziny. Moskva. 1905 g.”] Google Scholar

German, Alexandr. 1930. Bibliografiya o tsyganakh Ukazatel knig i statey s 1780 do 1930 gg. [A bibliography on the Gypsies. Index of books and articles from 1780 to 1930]. Moscow [In Russian]. Bibliografiya o tsyganakh Ukazatel knig i statey s 1780 do 1930 gg Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

O’Keeffe, Brigid. 2014. Gypsies as a litmus test for rational, tolerant rule: Fin-desiècle Russian ethnographers confront the comparative history of the Gypsies in Europe. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 38 (2): 109–31. Gypsies as a litmus test for rational, tolerant rule: Fin-desiècle Russian ethnographers confront the comparative history of the Gypsies in Europe International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 38 109 31 Google Scholar

Patkanov (Patkanian), Kerop Petrovich. 1887. Tsygany. Neskolko slov o narechiyakh zakavkazskikh tsygan: bosha i karachi [Some words on the dialects of Transcaucasian Gypsies: Bosha and Karachi]. St Petersburg: Printing house of the St Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1887 [In Russian]. Tsygany. Neskolko slov o narechiyakh zakavkazskikh tsygan: bosha i karachi [Some words on the dialects of Transcaucasian Gypsies: Bosha and Karachi] Google Scholar

Plokhinsky, Michail. 1905. Inozemtsy v Staroy Malorossii. Tchast 1. Greki, tsygane, gruziny [Foreigners in Old Little Russia. Part 1. Greeks, Gypsies, Georgians]. Moscow: Printing house of G. Lissner and D. Skobko [In Russian]. Inozemtsy v Staroy Malorossii. Tchast 1. Greki, tsygane, gruziny [Foreigners in Old Little Russia. Part 1. Greeks, Gypsies, Georgians] Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Sanarov, Valery. 1970. The Siberian Gypsies. Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 49 (3–4): 126–36. The Siberian Gypsies Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society 49 126 36 Google Scholar

Sauer, Martin. 1802. Voyage fait par ordre de l’Impératrice de Russie Catherine II, dans le nord de la Russie asiatique, dans la Mer Glaciale, dans la mer d’Anadyr, et sur les côtes de l’Amérique / rédigé par M. Sauer, et traduit de l’anglais avec des notes par J. Castera. Tome 2: depuis 1785 jusqu’en 1794, par le Commodore Billings. Paris: F. Buisson. Voyage fait par ordre de l’Impératrice de Russie Catherine II, dans le nord de la Russie asiatique, dans la Mer Glaciale, dans la mer d’Anadyr, et sur les côtes de l’Amérique / rédigé par M Google Scholar

Shaidurov, Vladimir Nikolaevich. 2013. Evrei, nemtsy, poliaki v Zapadnoi Sibiri 19 – nachala 20 v. [Jews, Germans, Poles in Western Siberia in the nineteenth–twentieth century]. St Petersburg: Nevsky Institute of Language and Culture Press, 2013 [In Russian]. Evrei, nemtsy, poliaki v Zapadnoi Sibiri 19 – nachala 20 v. [Jews, Germans, Poles in Western Siberia in the nineteenth–twentieth century] Google Scholar

Shaidurov, Vladimir Nikolaevich. 2014. Yevrei i ikh mesto v sotsialnoy strukture sibirskogo obshchestva v XIX v. [Jews and Their Place in the Social Structure of nineteenth Century Siberian Society]. Bylye Gody 32 (2): 239–44 [In Russian]. Yevrei i ikh mesto v sotsialnoy strukture sibirskogo obshchestva v XIX v. [Jews and Their Place in the Social Structure of nineteenth Century Siberian Society] 32 239 44 Google Scholar

Shaidurov, Vladimir Nikolaevich. 2017. On the history of the Roma in the Russian Empire (second half of the eighteenth – first quarter of the nineteenth century). Bylye gody 46 (4): 1207–18. DOI: 10.13187/bg.2017.4.1207. On the history of the Roma in the Russian Empire (second half of the eighteenth – first quarter of the nineteenth century) Bylye gody 46 1207 18 Google Scholar

Shchukina, Darya Alexeevna, and Egorenkova, Natalya Andreevna. 2017. “Rhetoric Practice” by I.S. Rizhsky (1796) at the Mining University: History and Contemporaneity. Zapiski Gornogo Instituta. Vol. 225. P. 376–84. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18454/pmi.2017.3.376. Google Scholar

Smirnova-Seslavinskaya, Marianna Vladimirovna. 2013. Tsygane Zapadnoy Sibiri i Urala v istoriko-etnograficheskikh istochnikakh i issledovaniyakh 18-nachala 21 v. [The Gypsies of Western Siberia and the Urals in Historical and Ethnographic Sources and Studies in the eighteenth – early twenty-first century]. In: Gypsies in Orenburg society. Proceedings of the roundtable devoted to the International Romani Day. Orenburg: OOO IPK “Universitet” Publication, 22–43 [In Russian]. Tsygane Zapadnoy Sibiri i Urala v istoriko-etnograficheskikh istochnikakh i issledovaniyakh 18-nachala 21 v. [The Gypsies of Western Siberia and the Urals in Historical and Ethnographic Sources and Studies in the eighteenth – early twenty-first century] Proceedings of the roundtable devoted to the International Romani Day. Orenburg: OOO IPK “Universitet” Publication 22 43 Google Scholar

Smirnova-Seslavinskaya, Marianna Vladimirovna. 2014. K istorii tsygan-lingurarov i kishinevtsev v Rossii [To the History of Gypsies-Lingurary and Kishinyovtsy in Russia]. Romii/Ţiganii din Republica Moldova: Comunitate etnosocială, multiculturală, istorico-tradiţională (1414–2014). Chişinău: Academia de Ştiinţe a Moldovei Institutul Patrimoniului, Cultural Centrul de Etnologie, Secţia “Minorităţi entice,” Grupul “Etnologia romilor,” 141–64 [In Russian]. K istorii tsygan-lingurarov i kishinevtsev v Rossii [To the History of Gypsies-Lingurary and Kishinyovtsy in Russia] Chişinău: Academia de Ştiinţe a Moldovei Institutul Patrimoniului, Cultural Centrul de Etnologie, Secţia “Minorităţi entice,” Grupul “Etnologia romilor,” 141 64 Google Scholar

Smirnova-Seslavinskaya, Marianna Vladimirovna. 2015. Formirovaniye tsyganskogo naseleniya Rossii: ranniye migratsii [Formation of the Gypsies Population in Russia: Early Migrations]. Observatory of Culture 1: 134–41 [In Russian]. Formirovaniye tsyganskogo naseleniya Rossii: ranniye migratsii [Formation of the Gypsies Population in Russia: Early Migrations] Observatory of Culture 1 134 41 Google Scholar

Smirnova-Seslavinskaya, Marianna Vladimirovna. 2016. Migratsii tsygan v yuzhnyye regiony Rossiyskoy imperii i Krym, formirovaniye obshchnosti krymskikh tsygan [The Gypsy Migration in the Southern Regions of the Russian Empire and Crimea, Formation of the Crimean Gypsy Community]. Tavricheskiy nauchnyy obozrevatel 11 (16): 5–41 [In Russian]. Migratsii tsygan v yuzhnyye regiony Rossiyskoy imperii i Krym, formirovaniye obshchnosti krymskikh tsygan [The Gypsy Migration in the Southern Regions of the Russian Empire and Crimea, Formation of the Crimean Gypsy Community] Tavricheskiy nauchnyy obozrevatel 11 5 41 Google Scholar

Smirnova-Seslavinskaya, Marianna Vladimirovna. 2017. Zakonodatelstvo i gosudarstvennaya politika Rossiyskoy imperii v otnoshenii tsyganskogo naseleniya [Legislation and state policy of the Russian Empire with regard to the Gypsy population]. Genesis: Historical Research 8. URL: http://e-notabene.ru/hr/article_22213.html [In Russian]. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Zelenchuk, V.S. 1979. Naselenie Bessarabii i Podnestrov’ia v 19 veke (Etnicheskie i sotsial’no-demograficheskie protsessy) [The Population of Bessarabia and the Dniester in the nineteenth century (Ethnic and socio-demographic processes)]. Kishinev: “Shtinica,” 1979 [In Russian]. Naselenie Bessarabii i Podnestrov’ia v 19 veke (Etnicheskie i sotsial’no-demograficheskie protsessy) [The Population of Bessarabia and the Dniester in the nineteenth century (Ethnic and socio-demographic processes)] Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Shaidurov, Vladimir N.