Monitoring of Online Media with Respect to the Hate Speech and Ethnic Tension Level Among the Population in Relation to the Roma in the Transcarpathian Region

hate speech

Calls for aggressive actions against the Roma, abuse and neglect of them are characteristic of the commentators on the Internet. To deal with such a negative phenomenon, the law can only help.

A comment of an anonymous user on the Internet under the article “How to solve the problems of the Roma

“It’s a very easy solution to the problem – one volley of the “GRAD” system”

Two peoples, who for centuries had no own country, as well as the territory where would be “all ours” and, consequently, no strong foundation and protection, you can find a lot of similarities in their fate. As the reader you might have guessed, we are talking about Jews and Roma. Of course, it’s two very different people, with different national traits, traditions and lifestyle. What unites them, it is that the representatives of both national minorities were at all times treated hostile by nations living next to which the Roma and the Jews.

Both have been accused of evil intent, extraordinary abilities, which they used to harm the indigenous people, looking for the root of almost all of the biggest troubles in their existence, and in terms of their mental and physical abilities were trying to “solve the problem”.

These “sweet” stereotypes

It is easy to find in every country in Europe plenty of evidence of pogroms of ‘outsiders’, murders and public executions under the approval of the crowd. In the end, both the Roma and Jews were the victims of a terrible genocide, organized and carried out by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

In a blind hatred of Jews and Roma, people of Europe do not consider it necessary to delve into the reasons for their hatred. Not eager to realize that their behavior in relation to these national minorities is only the fear of a stranger, that is – xenophobia. For Jews it ended up eventually in the past, thanks to the creation of their own state.

But Roma are in the same situation as before – in foreign land and in the atmosphere of total rejection and hostility. We have previously mentioned how difficult it is for this national minority to get along with the authorities, representatives of which, at best, simply ignore their needs, and at worst – just hurt.

But in everyday life relation to Roma is even worse, because people in their hatred are not restrained by the duty of officer or police officer, so do not have to hide their true attitude. As we noted in a previous materials, in the situation with the Roma myth of the tolerant Transcarpathian region is completely implausible.

hate speech

Anyway, it seems that the term “tolerance” have replaced banal passivity and indifference. It can be assumed, focusing on a survey by the Razumkov Center, conducted in 2011. The question “in what cases you can take part in legitimate protest (rallies, demonstrations, pickets)?” Only 4.8% said that they would come up against discrimination based on racial or ethnic grounds. In the action against the arbitrariness of local authorities have already reached 26.9% of Ukrainians. According to experts of the Razumkov Center, such data suggest that the Ukrainian society has not yet formed the attitude of tolerance as one of the conditions for the development of democracy.

Fierce, and sometimes completely unfounded hatred for all the Roma, brings together all the other nationalities who reside in the territory of Transcarpathia.

Destroy, banish, humiliate

And it is most clearly evident from the comments on the Internet, where a sense of impunity and anonymity allows commentators to show their true colors, which are sometimes very far from the concept of “civilized man.”
It is reading the comments by our news and publications on the subject of the Roma, that clearly convinced that the myths which have developed over the centuries around the Roma, have not disappeared. On the contrary – it has acquired additional “details”, and in addition many new legends were born. It is clear that all of them are extremely negative.

We tried to analyze the main trends of anti-Roma commenting on Transcarpathian sites using comments on website under news and articles (authorship of the employees of the Foundation “Development”) for the convenience.

So on what are Roma blamed by the Transcarpathian Internet users?

They are accused of unsanitary conditions. Comments were translated from Russian and Ukrainian, see originals in the Russian version of the article. Initially the comments included foul language.

“Living next to Roma? Total unsanitary. Their well-wishers should have lived next to them for at least a week. Settling where they want, steal, no authorities reaction”
Мар’яна, 14.08.2013.

“You Roma lovers, come visit the kids playground (Roshen) at 10 hours. Crowd of Roma teenagers there, spit, throw up, swear dirtily, shove kids.
No reaction for telling-off, then pooping write on the playground. Sorry, but let them get lost…”

Я 20.07.2013 18:51.

Finally clean the bathroom! and not that constant “how much of winter”, they’ll wash themselves! and a pool in summer! yeeeeeeeep….
01.11.2013 16:01(under the information about installment of the litter bin in the camp)

Lets organize obligatory cleanings for the city dwellers at those inhumans once a month. That would be a good thing! And the Roma would go stealing and begging.
Лєна 18.12.2013.

The popular myth that all Roma are thieves is also popular
Got nothing to do? Protecting Roma. You’d better depart them all. Though, they wouldn’t live alone. Got no one to steal from. Jackals.
Граматон Клерик 18.07.2013 07:11.

To Едіт: giving land to Roma is no solution – you’ve given them land in Chindaev, but they still need something for their living. When they got nothing, they start stealing…

I live in Chyndaev, and what I faced was Roma had stolen fittings and a steel sheet from my fence, though those were there for ages, before the Roma arrived. And, from my grandma, living on the street Zelena, a cast-iron tube was stolen in broad daylight. On that side of the railway, where people have land, the Roma dig out the metal tubes for water draining and sell it as metal scrap. THE DWELLERS OF CHYNDAEV THANK MISTER MOSHAK FOR REGISTERING ROMA IN THE TRANSCARPATHIAN REGION, (for them to vote for him at the village council head elections), AND PROMISE TO NEVER FORGET IT!
philosofik 20.07.2013 09:08.

For the last 1000 years, the Roma haven’t changed anywhere, at any regime. Being criminals is in their blood. Have Nataliia Kozyr ever thought, why the foreign “charitable” funds support not the state building nations, but the destructive minorities? If she would start to clarify that, her grants will disappear at once. So will the “freedom of speech” do.
Вартан 21.07.2013 07:58.

Don’t like Roma: they’ve stolen the metal scrap from my yard, I cannot plant anything next to my country cottage – for 10 years, because the Roma will come before me and steal it all.
ккк 22.07.2013 12:11.

The commentators think that Roma make profit out of their taxes, living parasitic. Firstly, they mention the child birth payments. Also, the other social payments. In their opinion, the state should discriminate the citizens of Ukraine according to their nationality when providing payments.

If you come from Chyndaev, than you can see Roma getting the money from ATMs or at the post office, you’ll never earn that much, they have 4 and more children, they get 100000 after the third kid, where you can earn hundred thousand? And you write, they have no money, these are we who have no money. .. In Chyndaev 320 little Roma were born during the year, that’s official data from the Chyndaev hospital, there are 680 Roma registered in the Chyndaev camp, 400 more are not registered.
Едіта 21.07.2013 00:35.

Вася – my respect to you.
The only person getting what’s happening .
The paleface caught it at last with their human rights and racial INdiscrimination. The smoked of all the shades play accordingly to what the noble white smarty-pants do: insolently get on the hands of the (honestly) working part of the people. It’s convenient to live on the social payments: plus the outcome from stealing and begging.
The very social payments are the legal stealing from taxpayers, from whom the state is stealing.
That is money launder.
Lots of social services (paid from our taxes, producing NOTHING)…
So the lovable smoked are fed.
And the normal people don’t like to procreate poverty… ))))

Гость. 03.05.2013 13:38.

The commentators think, the Roma interfere their fade. In particular, the opinion is popular, that they decide everything at the local elections, and it is good for politicians who pay them for voting.

Because Roma vote too, and everybody knows for whom.
До дивного 02.11.2013 09:25.

Baloga understood, that they may win the next local elections only with the votes of Roma. So they started to enlarge their electorate, handing out passports to every Roma, so there would be more voters. And the average Mukachevo people will continue keeping silent and suffer, when the Roma decide, who will be a deputy. And then the major elections… It is interesting, who gave money for that legal center? And why does it get so much PR at The answer is obvious
Fredy 01.04.2013 18:29.

You can call me fascist for 1000 times, I cannot understand – how that will influence the Roma family, that does not and will not pay for communal public services, does not want to get documents for their house (if their barns can be called so), neither for their land, does not want to get a job and pay taxes, the obtaining of a passport??? You, dear tolerant, cannot see, why they are really legalized? They will vote for any dog instead of us, only if they get sponsored. Then the local government will get idea, who to use this unthinking herd armed with their passports (most importantly – for our money, we pay as taxes).
Fredy 02.04.2013 13:19.

The commentators state, the very existence of Roma is a threat for other nationalities. In that case, the rhetoric is like the one against the people from Caucasus in Russia or against Arabic in Europe. The main threat is said to be their having many children. Another opinion is that Roma neglect other nationalities themselves so they deserve the same attitude.

Степан Anti-Romanism is immunity, worked out during a long period, it protects from treating Roma as normal people. There is a word in Roma language for all people who are not Roma, and that word is a curse.
Calling for tolerance should appear after raising the average culture level of Roma.

Бендера Степан 17.07.2013 14:44.

the problem is serious. The Roma are quiet for now, but if there are more of them, they will make gangs and then I wonder what their protectors would do. The Negros used to be quiet slaves too, now look what’s happening in France and other countries of Europe. Yes, I also think that their birth giving should be granted no financial support. If they want to help them, they’d better use the money for education of Roma. And why don’t they clean the streets as it used to be? Why aren’t they invited for those works and get paid? And where is the musical education for Roma children, I think they should be educated to music, they have talent.
закарпатка 11.03.2013 22:05.

Right! In ten years or earlier the major of Mukachevo will be a Roma baron, because they are born in geometric sequence. And for those Mukachevo people, who will dare to stay in the city (because, most of them will go away because of the total lawlessness and corruption) there will be e reservation on the place of the Roma camp. BRAVO!!!
мукачівець 11.10.2013 12:55.

The commentators mainly see the only way out in disappearance of Roma.
People!!! What’s happening in Transcarpathian?? Why are we discriminated like white ones in America by the Negros? Why not gather for a rally in front of the city council and make the authorities bring that camp down or the way it was done in Kiev – burn that damned camp down. This Roma problem may be solved in a week!!! The whole kyshtanowytsa [place in Transcarpathian region, Ed.] will follow me! THEY ARE NOT HUMAN!

нацист микола 17.07.2013 18:41.

One measure can be advice (convincingly) Roma to move to the place where they are loved and there is no anti-Romanism. Kiev, for example, where people, unlike the intolerant Transcarpathian ones, feed the Transcarpathian Roma-visitors with biscuits and sweets, organize children parties for them. See “The dwellers of Holosievo made a party for Roma” The money for that come from the capital too, so that would be logical.

Because these are we who don’t need the population growth – population density in the Transcarpathian region is like in Asia, more than 100 people for 1 sq.m. The Ukrainian government needs that, starting from Kuchma, Yushchenko up to Yanukovych enlarging the “payments for children”, thanks to which the number of Roma is growing. So take the “fruits of your care” to yourself!
Др. Мальтус 19.07.2013 00:17.

They need to be driven out of here. Do those human rights protectors tell them, that they need to move to some place far from Transcarpathian region, where they can implement their rights more efficiently and so on…? Their gangs idling about the streets, behave defiantly, pick on the people, steal, do hooliganism… and got their rights explained. You rights protectors go live in the camp, have a closer look at the “victims” and catch on, come off it!
Я 27.03.2013 06:52.

You’d better teach them to use condoms…
111 26.03.2013 23:37.

In the commentators’ opinion, the Roma problem in the Transcarpathian region has been created by outside enemies. It is about the famous conspiracy theory, convincing that supporting Roma harms Ukraine. In this regard, the name of George Soros, a famous supporter of the Roma integration, is frequently mentioned.

one more nonsense paid by the roma-sores. I don’t think anyone has beaten the kids. they just needed a loud name for an article, to draw attention to anew term Anti-Romanism. me and my family we found and will find that roma are not human, they are disease (like cancer), that needs radical cutting out of the organism. And all those tolerant roma-lovers go jump in the river… until Roma will poop at your door, steal, beat kids, infect them until you’re tolerant.
гуцул 18.07.2013 18:42.

“All the Nazis” should settle the Great Philanthropist in the Roma camp. Then he would hate Soros and other enemies of humanity, that finance the dangerous elements in all the states.
Вартан 21.07.2013 21:39.

Др. Мальтус is talking about that funny liberal staff. For 2000 years, Roma haven’t changed and wouldn’t. It is in their blood. It has nothing to do with education. Misters soroses and other know that well. They don’t even think of helping constructive European nations. They deliberately help parasites to lessen the chances of the competitors of their over national structure.
Ваня 05.04.2013 20:24.

The Soros mafia doesn’t support the Ukrainian workers and everything constructive, because those are their possible competitors. That’s why they support everything parasitical and destructive – Roma, gays, “modern art”, multicultural staff that demoralize Ukraine (and other European nations) from inside.
Вася 03.05.2013 01:17.

Roma are still those who they were 1000 years ago. They were, are and will be parasites everywhere und any conditions. It’s genetics. The Roma problem can be solved only through creating a separate state for them, departing them into it compulsory-voluntary. Whether they will work honestly there or parasitize one on another – these are already their problems. The main issue – who would give money for that noble thing. The powers that be wouldn’t do that, even such as odious Soros supporting their multiplication through his funds. They don’t need independent European nations, because those are hard to rule, they need to be racially diluted, mixed. The Roma problem is a weapon (one of hundred) against the Arian nations.
Колян 13.03.2013 22:35.

There is no need to execute anyone. At first, we need to get the full picture of what’s going on. The Roma problem is just one of many thrown to us. Maybe, only the Hungarian government tries to do something with the parasites. And to actually understand the logic of such beings as the “Great Roma lover” Soros, learn what do his partners say.
Вася 06.04.2013 18:56.

Hatred to Roma is spread also on the human rights organizations working on this issue. They are accused of eyewash, being naive, getting occupied with harmful activity and serving “enemies”.

I’m shocked… How empty and washed are they brains of those who cannot see anything!!!!!!!!!
You take refuge in your liberal views, emancipation, overall tolerance…
In reality, you’re lice, having no own opinion, you take refuge in nice sayings instead of making your brain work.
If you think you’re equal with Roma, if you think they’re not worse than you, that their children aren’t worse than yours, and that sincerely, I would like to take a look at you.
You don’t know anything about Roma, that’s why you’re screaming so loudly.
When they’ll appear in the kindergarten or class with your children or in your neighborhood then I’ll accept your arguments.
Until that – it’s proofless, self-deception, wish to look better than you actually are.

Я 02.04.2013 14:00.

The news say, they will close ordinary schools; will they open those for people who have stealing, cheating, drugs dealing and down-and-out way of life? What a load of bull, or as said below, that is what the western organizations need, such as represented by Grigoryev O., to procreate those who will squeeze us out in number. Then we’ll have hear a “ghetto” and the worse one than in Europe. Roma have specific world view, or rather no self-identification, baron rules everything, they can be easily guided and used for mercenary ends. They’d better think of education for our kids, to whom alcohol is imparted since childhood in mass-media, tobacco and drugs at schools and exploitative lifestyle, and those “digitalizing” Roma had better sort out the global processes.
% 02.04.2013 00:55.

Stop casting pearls before swine!
Got money to burn?
Those activists had better organized Roma for cleaning.
And spent the money not for educating uneducable, but for playgrounds for kids, litter bins in parks or fixing benches. Messing about with those Roma, showing off for who knows whom, and that when nobody helps normal people.
Roma are incorrigible, they don’t need help, much as they were washed, they would still find dirt and get dirty.
Much as they were fed, they would still go stealing.
Much as good be done for them, they would still make you dirty and smile, meaning, are you a fool, didn’t you know, it would be so.
Roma nation is incorrigible, firstly, because they need other things but those that the rights protectors try to sell a bill of goods for them.

Я 01.04.2013 19:16.

The more reading comments, the more getting sure that my opinion is rights in spite of anything the Roma lovers, or Roma themselves (which I doubt), or people who never met them and had no business with the, hope that the opinion of the Roma-lovers will change without meeting Roma and even more this race is not worth an article even on this recourse.
еколог 02.04.2013 16:16.

In fairness, we add that the comments from the opposite point of view are also found, but they are lost in the mass of negative messages. We deliberately brought a large number of comments, to be seen: it is not individual opinions, a considerable number of active Internet users do in such way describe their attitude towards the Roma and their problems. Such statements are typical of other Transcarpathian information resources. A site where the audience would be characterized by a tolerant attitude to the Roma topic doesn’t exist.

Pseudo-freedom of speech

This behavior and the style has long been studied and classified. This is the so-called hate speech. The systematic application of speeches aimed at the expression of aggression directed at a person or group of persons on account of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe defines hate speech as a all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred on the grounds of intolerance, including: intolerance expressed in the form of radical nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.

hate speech

Ukrainian experts who have examined the issue, has repeatedly pointed out that hate speech is quite common in the Ukrainian media, even in the leading and respectable ones. Perhaps the most egregious case of regular use of hate speech in Ukraine is the magazine “Personnel” of the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management. For a long time this edition is headed by well-known in Ukraine, now-deceased journalist Igor Slisarenko, printing negative articles of sharp anti-Semitic nature, passing them off as the views of the authors.

To all the disturbances of the Jewish community, chief editor said that democratic principles do not allow him to deny the authors in presenting their point of view. It took a lot of scandals and complaints to court to get Igor Slisarenko resigned as chief editor of the “Personnel”. However, all articles of anti-Semitic nature can still be found on the magazine’s website.

It is democratic and freedom of expression that often attributed to permit abusive comments on news sites. However, as we have seen from the numerous examples above, comments are not simply an expression point of view. They insult, contain false information or exaggeration, call for violence against members of the Roma nationality.

The “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination” banned these types of hate speech as: incitement to discrimination or acts of discrimination, in particular, acts of violence against any race or group of persons of another skin color or ethnic origin, spread doctrine of superiority based on racial difference, the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred; promotion of ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one color or ethnic origin; justification for racial discrimination and racial hatred; promoting racial discrimination and racial hatred.

Responsibility for words

It is easy to see that all the comments showed that in sufficient quantities.
If information sites claim to be serious sources of information, they should not allow this commentary remain. They must either promptly remove them or punish (e.g., block), commentators, or introduce compulsory registration on the site with an indication of personal data so that if commentators expressed xenophobic point of view, they would not hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.

Difficulties in restoring order with xenophobic statements on the Internet are still in the absence of legislation to Internet resources. For example, news sites are still not legally media, and therefore not subject to the laws governing the media.

Meanwhile, in Europe for already a long time, you can be punished for the offense in the virtual world.
The European Court of Human Rights holds such a position: the owners and staff of the website take the responsibility for the contents of comments. Moreover, if the moderators do not control the comments and do not remove them in case of offensive content.

There was a case on Estonian site “Delfi” in 2006. In the comments under the note on the website were many insults and derogatory comments about the shipping company and its owner. Offended owner filed website for a court. If the first court took the side of the site, the Appeal court has held that the information resource should care for anonymous comments. “Delfi” went to seek justice in the European Court of Human Rights, but there the Estonian Court of Appeal was supported. Noting that freedom of speech isn’t canceled in this case, but the tone of the comments was so offensive that it had violated the rights of the company.

We believe that such responsibility should be taken by the Ukrainian, and in particular the Transcarpathian sites. Recognizing the right of the Carpathian commentators to express themselves and have their views about the behavior, life and Roma motives, we still believe that the open aggressive rhetoric, manipulation of unverified facts, often simply false ones, provoke incitement of ethnic hatred, and eventually may become one of the factors, that provoke violence against Roma.

“Swarthy perpetrators”

However, the problem is not only in the comments. Of course, hardly anyone of journalists publicly dares to express openly xenophobic remarks against the Roma, but even here the trend is not comforting.

“In May 2013, a few materials on Roma were reported in the media. The attitude to the representatives of national minorities in Ukraine is quite ambiguous and mostly is based on stereotypes about Roma”, – the expert public Monitoring Center Marina Dovzhenko says in her work “Inter-ethnic and religious tolerance in the Ukrainian media: it is not so bad. ” She gives examples of how the capital publication describe in detail the “occupation” by Roma in the funeral days the Kiev cemeteries, and pointed out that the people of Kiev are sensitive to it. On the other cemeteries, employees of security firms are hired to protect against Roma. There were also reports that the camp in Kiev Osokorki district moved closer to the Darnitsky cemetery and its inhabitants, according to people, foraged theft from local residents.

The author observes that the authorities also sometimes sin of intolerance towards Roma. Thus, the European Roma Rights Centre complained to the President of Ukraine to the Secretary of Yalta City Council Sergei Ilasha on what he called representatives of the people “little animals”.

But the authors who go beyond the stereotypes, such as Bogdan Kostyuk with “Radio Svoboda”, in the article “Camp looking for a job: how the Roma live in Ukrane” makes the disappointing conclusion – the Roma in Ukraine face discrimination at various levels, problems with access to work, education, health care, despite the fact that the current government declares support for this nation.

Perhaps the worst thing that makes the media for Roma – constantly emphasize their nationality in criminal news. This emphasis, as a rule, is not done in respect of other nationalities. That is, you are unlikely to encounter messages like “Ukrainian of Russian origin robbed the house”, but the title “gypsies stole hatch” occurs constantly in the media.

At the time, the Interior Ministry, under pressure from human rights activists, banned a police press services to write nationality of the perpetrator, reporting on criminal offenses. Some authors have found a way out of such a “difficult” situation. They began to use the word “swarthy” to still emphasize – a crime was committed by the Roma.
In addition, the authors note that a criminal way of life for the Roma is quite typical, and they do crimes not because of the bad condition of life, but simply because it is easier to live so. Here is a typical example of such rhetoric: “Some persons of Gypsy appearance resorted to fraudulent machinations to feed their families and have a more or less prosperous life. Of course, why work when you can deceive people and quickly earn “easy money”. Sometimes they come up with new schemes of public deception. But police experiences show that old and already well run-in tricks, too, are triggered – and in some places quite good.”

It makes no sense to specify in what area this material was written, because such rhetoric is common to all, without exception, including the Carpathians.

Steps to correct

However, we have sinned against the truth, saying that Ukraine does nothing to remedy the situation with xenophobia. Only at the end of last year, news agency “UNIAN” and “Channel 5” held a joint roundtable titled “Hate speech in the Ukrainian media: how to deal with the existing stereotypes.” It took place in the framework of the program “high journalism”.

The roundtable participants expressed unequivocally: hate speech is the most common violation of journalistic ethics rules and at the same time is often one of the factors of destabilization of society.
They noted that even presenting citations from racist and xenophobic statements is a sign of the use of “hate speech”. In the midst of political debate politicians often speculate stereotypes about those or other nationalities. The media is happy to retransmit them, because “hatred (not only xenophobic and racist varieties), cynicism and violence are most in demand in the territory of the media market.”

At the same time, the editor that have been seen in the use of hate speech, take offense at the comments, feel their pressure on freedom of speech or slander on the part of competitors.

However, the meeting noted that this picture is not exclusively the problem of the Ukrainian media. As an example, the French media, who did not want to investigate the causes of the mass riots of young people from poor neighborhoods, held in Paris a few years ago and chose to portray their aggressive extremist-minded young people of Arab origin.

The roundtable participants see improving not in the state regulation, as it may be regarded as censorship, but in self-regulation of journalists, respect for journalistic ethics and high standards.

Tolerance level – low

However, formally our state is still struggling with racism and xenophobia in Ukrainian society. “Monitoring local media reports of relevant government agencies and non-governmental organizations indicates that the facts of racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic publications, public statements and statements by politicians, artists and journalists are annually recorded in Ukraine. Regular cases of physical violence against members of ethnic minorities or foreigners (especially for migrants from Africa and Asia), – that was said in a research note prepared by the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Ukraine. According to the author’s conclusion, in spite of having a stable level of xenophobia and lack of large-scale ethnic conflicts, Ukraine, on certain criteria, remains in the list of countries with one of the lowest levels of public tolerance.
At the same time the Ukrainians themselves, judging by the polls, do not believe that the level of inter-ethnic tensions in the country is high.

“According to a survey conducted on September 14-25th, 2012, by the company Research & Branding Group, 44% of respondents believe in ethnic relations of tolerance in Ukraine, against 14% who rate it as tensions and conflicts. 60% of respondents consider serious conflicts on ethnic grounds impossible, while the opposite view is held by 28%. Just quite a positive evaluation the state ethnic policy received: Positive assessment was given by 25%, and neutral – by 48% of respondents (versus 13% negative),”– a note said.

Experience of neighbors
The author does not believe that the media should only be blamed for the situation. Rather, it suggests that the presence of negative publications and news is a consequence of trends in society. In his view, the public authorities must introduce specific measures in the field of international relations, using the experience of other countries, first of all – the countries of the former USSR.

hate speech

Thus, in the Russian Federation, since 2001, it has been approved and adopted by a number of federal and regional target programs aimed at harmonization of interethnic relations, formation of citizens’ tolerance and combating xenophobia and extremism.

In particular, the education system has been actively involved. The schools conducted lessons of tolerance with the participation of representatives of national associations, public lectures were held by the well-known cultural figures. Students have special trips in the city’s museums. In general, we can say that trying to inculcate tolerance is done since childhood in Russia, considering that later in adulthood, when a person has already formed a certain consciousness, it will be harder to achieve results.

In Georgia, for example, there is a National Council for Tolerance and Civil Integration. This is a separate state agency. With financial support from foreign organizations “national integration program in Georgia” have started to operate here for the period 2006-2010, and “Strengthening National Integration in Georgia” for the period 2012-2015. The projects have been determined to promote tolerance and national integration of ethnic Georgian communities.

Difficult, but the only way

Ukraine also declared many government programs and activities aimed at raising political correctness, tolerance and inter-ethnic relations. However, due to the limited power of direct dialogue with the representatives of ethnic communities, they are declarative and non-viable.

The communication component of the formation of a tolerant society in Ukraine remains undeveloped. The limited power of direct dialogue with the representatives of ethnic communities greatly enhances declarative way and non-viability of the relevant government activities and programs.

To change this picture, you just have to take a series of measures, based on the effective experience of other countries.

In particular, it requires improvement of the legal framework to ensure the national ethnic policy. The Criminal Code of Ukraine should be supplemented with new articles; or amendments should be made to the existing Article 161 of the Criminal Code “Violation of citizens’ equality based on their race, national origin or religious beliefs” with a view to resolving the issue of combating xenophobia and racial and ethnic discrimination and to provide separate punishment for inciting ethnic hatred, public statements of such content, offensive actions against members of ethnic minorities, discrimination on ethnic and racial grounds, the desecration of cemeteries, places of worship and monuments.

Since the police are often reluctant to deal with crimes committed on ethnic grounds, they qualify them as hooliganism. To avoid this, special units should appear in the internal affairs agencies, that will deal just with offenses in the sphere of interethnic relations, not allowing qualifying the latter as ordinary hooliganism. In addition, these units should cooperate with civil society organizations involved in the protection of rights of national minorities in order to effectively combat discrimination.

As for the proper education of Ukrainians, the state scientific institutions must work, and the relevant authorities implement medium-term state program for the formation of the principles of tolerance in Ukrainian society and the prevention of xenophobia.

In schools, it is desirable to introduce a course or lessons of tolerance, and to include relevant concepts of the values, principles and skills of tolerant behavior in the general school program.

Media and the Internet should be used to promote tolerance, it is necessary to create and actively spread relevant PSAs.

A major role in this matter rests with the local authorities. Their cooperation with civil society, including organizations of national minorities, requires significant intensification and improvement. Together, government and public organizations can achieve better results in the destruction of stereotypes regarding ethnic minorities, in particular Roma.

We are well aware that at this point, in the current situation in Ukraine, the implementation of such events looks fantastic and overwhelming. In order to achieve tangible results, it will take years of hard work. Of course, the process should be two-way, to change the mentality, you need to break stereotypes both the Ukrainians and Roma. And it is very difficult and delicate task.

On the other hand, if nothing is done, the contradictions deepen, and when the problem will become extremely pressing, then there will be no time for solving it by gradual and long-term measures. With regard to the impossibility of breaking stereotypes, it is worth remembering how attitudes towards women have changed with each decade, to see – nothing is impossible.

Nataliia Kozyr
Oleg Grigoryev

The Charitable fund “Progress”

PS: The centers of legal information and advice that provide free legal aid to Roma people working with the support of the “Roma of Ukraine“, International “Renaissance” Foundation. To learn more about the activities of a network of centers, foundations and principles of work visit the website under “Legal Empowerment of Roma communities.” The views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the International “Renaissance” Foundation and other civil, religious and political organizations and individuals.