Recently events have occurred in Pskov which alarmed the Romani population as well as human rights activists: in many places of the city were posted anti-Romani leaflets, which raised a national quarrel. “Memorial” contacted the law machinery of Pskow with letters – one of those we are publishing here.
Open letter to the head of the administration of domestic affairs (UVD) of Pskov V.I. Petrov
Dear Victor Ivanovitsch!
We contact you now for the second time on the occasion of the situation in Pskov. We are aware of new facts about the discrimination of the Romas in Pskov, among others about the appearance of new anti-Romani leaflets and about beatings of Romas on the streets of Pskov.
Apparently, the law enforcement in Oskov didn’t take effectual measures to stop the unlawful actions of “Free Russia” (Svobodnaja Rossija), which diffuses these anti-Romani leaflets. Also the second of these leaflets includes intolerable nationalistic attacks against Romas and appeals to a pogrom: “By the dispersion of drugs Romas play the role of the spider, from which all silks come from…People! Let’s fight together against these horrible “spiders”!” Besides these cited above threatening the leaflet allocates “address and name” of “honest” inhabitants of Pskov.
We are extremely anxious about such appeals to fight against a certain nation and about the readiness of the pogrom-makers to hand out their address and name. Already in September 2005 a Romani family became victim of a racist attack in a Russian city – Belgorod. The pogrom-makers lighted the house and beat members of the family. Prosecutor and police of Belgorod weren’t able to prevent this delinquency. Russian and international human rights organizations addressed their selves to the commissioner for human rights of the Russian Federation V.P. Lukin to direct his attention to the nationalistic character of this crime.
In September 2005 such attacks against Romani inhabitants agglomerated in Pskov. On August 30 Vladimir Berezovskij was kidnapped and murdered, and at the beginning of September – after the appearance of the anti-Romani leaflets – the members of his family had to experience threats and intimidations from unknown men. Despite the family addressed itself to the police, not even an investigation was carried out. A few days later Alexej Mixailov was beaten, whereas a clarification of this nationality and a discussion about the death of Berezovskij had preceded the beating. Indeed we know that the disappearance and death of Berezovskij and the beating of Mixailov is brought before court, we still have the opinion that the police does not draw enough attention to the persecution of Romas and its obvious connection with these anti-Romani leaflets. In order to prevent new crimes of nationalists, we ask you to intensify your watchfulness and to call the persons to account, which arouse fanaticism throughout their leaflets.
Yours sincerely, the executive director of “Memorial” in Saint Petersburg Stefanija Kulaeva
Answer of the first mutual police department of Pskow to our letters: “The request for indictment of unknown persons was declined by reason of absence of a crime.”