Translated title of the contribution: To the question about oral history : on the example of the missed Gypsy autonomous republic in the USSR

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the 1920s and 1930s in the USSR, nation-building was carried out in line with the paradigm of “affirmative action”. This led to the creation of many national administrative-territorial units at different levels. The leadership of the All-Russian Union of Gypsies has also repeatedly raised the issue of the need to create a Gypsy national region, which will develop into a Gypsy autonomous republic, and some Gypsy activists have also pleaded for this in their letters to Stalin. In 1936, a meeting of the Council of Nationalities of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR decided to start preparatory work in this direction and issued the corresponding Resolution of the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. A comprehensive survey of the places of possible future Gypsy national unit in the West Siberian Territory was organised, as well as other preparatory work. However, for various reasons at the end of the 1930s the topic of the Gypsy Autonomous Republic disappeared from the agenda. The article presents these events which were preserved in the oral history of the Gypsies and also how the memory of these events intertwined with the memories of the deportation of nomadic Gypsies from Moscow to Siberia in 1933. As a result of the contamination of memories of these two events, a historical narrative was created in folklorised form. A discussion is offered about method of oral history, in which the interpretation of events can develop into a national narrative, far from always being a reliable historical source. To achieve full historical knowledge, it is necessary to verify the oral history with existing documentary sources, taking into account the general socio-political context in which the Roma historical narrative was created and functions.
Translated title of the contributionTo the question about oral history : on the example of the missed Gypsy autonomous republic in the USSR
Original languageRussian
Title of host publicationЦыганские сообщества в социуме
Subtitle of host publicationадаптация, интеграция, взаимодействия
EditorsA.V. Cernykh, Elena Marushiakova, N.G. Demeter
Place of PublicationSt Petersburg
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9785910762583
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022
EventXIV Kongress antropologov i ėtnologov Rossii - Tomsk, Russian Federation
Duration: 6 Jul 20219 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameБиблиотека цыгановедческих исследований [Biblioteka t︠s︡yganovedcheskikh issledovaniĭ]


ConferenceXIV Kongress antropologov i ėtnologov Rossii
Abbreviated titleKAĖR
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation


  • Gypsies
  • Oral history
  • National narratives
  • Archives
  • Autonomy


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