Update to ROM24599.F of 19 July 1996 on the treatment of Lippovans [ROM41054.E]

Romanian Lippovans (Lipoveans, Lipovians, Lipovans) are variously described as the descendants of Russian "Old Believers" who settled in Romania in the late 18th Century (Aboutromania.com 2001; ITAR-TASS 28 Oct. 1996), as "Old Pravoslavnic Russian[s]," (Esteem Network Feb. 2002, 130) and as "Russians" (OSCE 15 Jan. 2001, 8). Estimated in 1994 as numbering 29,774 persons (COE 13 Mar. 1999), Lippovans are concentrated in the counties of Tulcea, Carcaliu, Sarichioi, Jurilovca, Braila, Ghindaresti, Lipoveni, Mitocu Dragomirnei, Radauti and Manolea (Romania 2001, 69).

The Research Directorate found no reports of either mistreatment or discrimination against Lippovan Romanians among the sources consulted. The editor of the Zorile Review of the Union of Lipovan Russians of Romania was reported to have declared in 1999 that she did not "feel like a person belonging to a minority" and that she felt she had integrated into Romanian society (Rompres 5 July 1999). A Romanian government report on national minority education noted that Russian-language education had been provided to 1,630 Lippovan students in 1999/2000 and that 29 teachers had taught the language (2001, 69).

Lippovans are predominantly adherents to the "Old Rite Christian Church" (RIRF 2002, 7 Oct. 2002, Sec. 1), also known as the "Old Believers" sect of the Russian Orthodox Church (ITAR-TASS 28 Oct. 1996). This sect is listed among the 15 religions recognized by the Romanian government, meaning, it receives state support, and various rights including one to establish schools and teach religion (EDRC 19 Feb. 2003). Old Rite members are concentrated in the provinces of Moldovia and Dobrogea (AIRFR 2002, 7 Oct. 2002) and centred in Braila (Breila), called the "Mecca" of the Old Believers church (ITAR-TASS 29 Oct. 1996).

Politically, Romanian electoral law has mandated that 18 national minority organizations receive representation in Parliament (Rompres 4 Dec. 2000). After 1996, the Community of Lipovan Russians in Romania (CRLR) came to represent the minority population on the Romanian Council of National Minorities (Romania 25 Apr. 1996), and in 2000, Ignat Miron was elected as the CRLR deputy representing Lippovans in Romania's Parliament (ibid. n.d.). However, Dr. Maxmilián Strmiska, Associate Professor of Political Science at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, was of the opinion that even while Romanian law mandates minimum parliamentary representation of ethnic minority representatives, their actual political role is marginal (CEPSR Spring 2001, n. 8). Yet, according to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Lippovans "did not express serious concerns with the electoral process, including the electoral legislation itself, minority representation in Parliament, or minority participation in the process" (OSCE 15 Jan. 2001, 8). The OSCE also noted that Lippovans, along with other smaller minority groups, "appear to greatly appreciate provisions for minority associations and feel their concerns and issues are being adequately and effectively addressed by the current system" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Aboutromania.com. 2001. "Postcards from Romania." http://www.aboutromania.com/danube8.html [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2002 (ARIRF). 7 October 2002. "Romania." United States Department of State. Washington, DC. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2002/13957.htm [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Central European Political Science Review (CEPSR). Spring 2001. Vol. 2, No. 3. Maxmilián Strmiska. "Parties, Poles, Alliances And Romanian Pluralism (1990-2000)". http://www.iips.cz/cisla/texty/clanky/romanian201.html [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Centre for OSCE Research (CORE). 2002. István Horváth. "Facilitating Conflict Transformation: Implementation of the Recommendations of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities to Romania, 1993-2001." CORE Working Paper No. 8. http://www.core-hamburg.de/documents/34_CORE_Working_Paper_8.pdf [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Council of Europe (COE). 13 March 1999. "ECRI's Country-By-Country Approach: Report on Romania Made Public on 13 March 1999." (CRI [99] 9) http://www.coe.int/T/E/human_rights/ecri/5-Archives/1-ECRI's_work/1-Country_by_country/Romania/Romania_CBC_1.asp [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Esteem Network. February 2002. Transnational Tool Box for Environmental Adult Education. Vol. 2 of 2 vols. http://esteem-network.ise.ro/ro/networking/ttb_dwld/TTBPartIIEng.pdf [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center (EDRC) [Cluj-Napoca, Romania]. 19 February 2003. Correspondence with Executive President.

ITAR-TASS [Moscow, in English]. 28 October 1996. Nikolai Morozov. "Russian Church in Romania Elects New Head." (NEXIS)

Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 15 January 2001. Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. "Romania Presidential & Parliamentary Elections, 26 November and 10 December 2000: Final Report." http://www.osce.org/odihr/documents/reports/election_reports/ro/ rom2000fin.pdf [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Romania. 2001. Ministry of Public Information, Department for Interethnic Relations and the Ministry of Education and Research in Romania, General Directorate for Education in the Languages of Minorities. Minorities and Education in Romania: 2000/2001 School Year. http://www.edu.ro/download/minedu.pdf [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

_____. 25 April 1996. Ministry of Domestic Affairs. "Ordinance No. 136/1996 of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs." Excerpt and unofficial translation by MINELRES. http://www.riga.lv/minelres/NationalLegislation/Romania/Romania_RealEstateRecord_excerpts_English.htm [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

_____. n.d. Chamber of Deputies. "Community of Lipovan Russians in Romania." http://www.cdep.ro/pls/parlam/fp2?i=14 [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Rompres [Bucharest, in English]. 4 December 2000. "Central Electoral Bureau Publishes New Romanian Parliament Configuration." (FBIS-EEU-2000-1204 4 Dec. 2000/WNC)

_____. 5 July 1999. "National Minorities Feel Well in Romania." (Minelres-L@riga.lv List Serve 8 July 1999/MINELRES) http://www.riga.lv/minelres/archive/07081999-18:00:51-23776.html [Accessed 18 Feb. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Nations Without States

Political Parties of Eastern Europe

Political Parties of the World

Internet sites, including:


Council of Europe, Directorate of Human Rights



Unrepresented Nations and People's Organization

World News Connection

World Religions