Photo Report: The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe

Published on Saturday, 03 January 2015 13:14
Written by Aitor Sáez

Since 1989, many Roma in the former Soviet bloc countries have been suffering disproportionately, having been integrated in the new market economy with increased problems of discrimination. Despite some improvements over the last decade, the Roma’s problems in Eastern Europe have been accentuated since the fall of communism.

Due to their ethnic complexions, nomadic life, strong hierarchies, and sacred rituals, the Roma people have becomevictimsof marginalisation and accusations throughout history. Nevertheless, during the communist era, for instance, the Romanian and Hungarian governments tried to force Roma communities to adapt to the communist way of life and settle them in big cities. Widespread benefits such as access to housing, health care and jobs were guaranteed. In some cases, communists tried to encourage integration by forcing Roma people to live in the same buildings with local residents. But the local residents moved out as soon as the communist regime fell.