CIA Data on Roma Contradicts Bulgarian National StatsDomestic | July 27, 2011, Wednesday // 10:57| views
Tsvetelin Kanchev, leader of the Bulgarian "Evroroma" party, blames the flawed National Statistics questionnaire which led to underreporting of the number of Bulgarian Roma. Photo by BGNES
There are about 870 000 Bulgarian Roma, according to Tsvetelin Kanchev, leader of the Bulgarian Evroroma" party.
In an interview for the TV channel bTV, Kanchev stated this data comes from the CIA and the one published by the National Statistics Institute, NSI, is wrong.
Last week NSI released the official results of the February Census, listing Bulgarian Roma at 325-343 000.
Kanchev explained he has a concrete proposal where the State can learn the exact number of Roma in Bulgaria in just days with local mayors submitting the number of Roma in their municipalities.
The Roma leader pointed as a reason for the flawed NSI data the questions about ethnicity and religion being to close to each other in the poll.
"In the Roma language a Bulgarian equals Christian while Turk and Muslim is also the same thing. In addition, some Roma had been threatened there social welfare money would be taken away if they label themselves Roma. And some mayors from the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, listed Roma as Turks," Kanchev said.
The leader of the nationalist VMRO party, Krasimir Karakachanov also took part in the discussion and confirmed the number of Roma in the country is much higher than the one reported by NSI – over 700 000 people have left the question about ethnicity blank while another 50 000 said they did not know their ethnicity.
Karakachanov further explains the data discrepancy with Roma being illiterate and pointed out the State' Roma policy is wrong, leading to the increase of the crime rate because Roma remain isolated and uneducated.
Meanwhile, "Erevan," the leading Armenian newspaper in Bulgaria voiced doubts about the number of Armenians in the country, listed by NSI at 6 500. According to the publication, there are way over 10 000 Armenians in Bulgaria.