Valery Novoselsky (1970 April 15 – 2016 August 20)
Written by Katalin Bársony
Valery Novoselsky, founder of Roma Virtual Network, and a dear friend left us on Sunday. A solid, hard-working activist, Valery worked tirelessly over the past 25 years to create, collect and distribute news about matters of pressing concern to the Romani movement. An activist of Romani and Jewish origin, Valery was exceptional in many ways, always refusing to conform to the average.
During the years when Romedia was traveling around Europe to create the Mundi Romani TV series, Valery was always a great supporter. He helped create a safe environment and informed network to support our hectic filming operations. Once, in 2011, we visited Athens together, investigating the situation of the Romani communities there. His enormous efforts and constant questioning alienated some but also earned him the respect and appreciation of Romani communities far and wide.
The Romani Virtual Network was a necessary precondition to help connect Romani voices and communities from around the world, providing information without boundaries. Without the work of Valery, we will be left without an essential network that was highly regarded by all. Please see the full list of testimonials about the Roma Virtual Network below.
Valery over the years created an enormous resource for our community. He created invaluable lists by country of Romani people and, like a news agency, daily filled all our email boxes with information about Romani communities. He had a stubborn need to inform us.
Valery normally was awake four hours before us in Budapest, sending out news pieces in the middle of the night from Kiryat-Shemona, Israel, where he was living with his mother. He worked in a supermarket during the day, desperately trying to find a way to be able to continue his work. This morning I found no news pieces from Valery and there was no one anymore who would be able to generate buzz around a single post. A good colleague and a friend is gone, and we mourn him.
Valery Novoselsky was born into a Ukranian Romani family in the city of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine (then part of the USSR). His mother was part-Romani. After graduating from secondary school, he studied history at the Dnepropetrovsk National University and worked in a factory, as a hospital attendant and an apprentice shoemaker. He and his family emigrated to Israel in 1995. He studied and worked as an English-Russian translator in the Galilee Bible College in Haifa, and obtained a BA degree in Theology and Bible Studies in 2002.
Valery was fluent in Hebrew, Ukrainian, Russian, Romani, English and Spanish. He was an active member of the Romani movement since July 1999. His connection was due to his former participation in Israeli Evangelical movement (September 1995 – September 2002), in an organization which represents the interests of non-Jewish Russian immigrants from a Christian background living in Israel. During his most active years he was worked for the International Debate Education Association, the European Roma Rights Center, the Roma Decade Secretariat, the Roma Education Fund, the European Roma Information Center and the Romedia Foundation too.
The Romedia Foundation team, friends and admiring colleagues, would like to send deep and heartfelt condolences to Valery’s mother and family. Rest in peace Mr. Valery Novoselsky!
Testimonials from 2011 of the supporters of Roma Virtual Network (RVN)
“I am deeply convinced about the necessity and importance of Roma Virtual Network. I proudly announce the use on daily basis of the information’s of RVN – because it has a bright and neutral scale of information. The author and editor of it, Valery Novoselsky is very committed and hard working person.” – Agnes Daroczi, scientific researcher and activist (Budapest, Hungary).
“As a researcher in these issues, I hail the RVN both as a rich source of information and a communication space which has allowed me to conduct different research into the experience of its early years on Portuguese gypsies. Daily insights from different parts of the world on social and government policies, situations of discrimination, exclusion and marginalization, conditions, strategies and (re)actions of the Roma individuals or groups in the face of such situations, consultation with (new) projects covering fields such as culture, history, justice, education or economy are only some of the information that I find in RVN. Simultaneously, this network promotes the interconnection of different Romany and non-Romany individuals considering their comments and suggestions, contributing to social science researchers’ entry into the universe of Roma issues.” – Ana Brinca, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, New University of Lisbon (Portugal).
“Since its establishment in 1999, the Roma Virtual Network has been a very important channel of communication and information sharing for all the Roma and non-Roma individuals and organizations interested or involved in the faith of the Roma people. The information is flowing without any disruption, despite of only one individual`s efforts. And it is difficult to imagine the international Romani movement without its voice.” – Ana Oprisan, Euro Asia Projects (Istanbul, Turkey).
“As a United Nations staff member, involved since long in endeavours seeking to further dialog and respect among the peoples of the world, I can only stress how important I feel the Roma Virtual Network is. In that respect, I find an active Romany presence on the Internet necessary and I commend how successfully the Roma Virtual Network meets that purpose. I also must note the excellent quality and completeness of the daily Roma news coverage. The RVN is a precious, comprehensive and easily accessible well of information to any journalist working on Roma issues, which are more and more central to Europe`s very identity.” – Andre Dryansky, Court Interpreter, UN Assistance to Khmer Rouge Trials (Phnom Penh, Cambodia).
“Gypsy Roma Traveller communities continue to suffer from acute exclusion and xenophobia, in these troubled times the information service and platform for advocacy provided by RVN is of paramount importance and is delivered by the RVN in a professional and efficient manner. Given the critical stage we are at in the development of the EU Framework for National Integration Strategies it is evident that the RVN will play a key role in enabling a range of stakeholders including researchers to observe and compare the progress of this initiative.” – Dr. Andrew Ryder, Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary).
“The project of the Roma Virtual Network is really unique in terms of scope of provided information on various aspects of the life of Roma, Sinti, Travellers and other related groups usually referred to as Roma. The contribution of the Roma Virtual Network and its founder, Mr. Valery Novoselsky, cannot be overestimated both in terms of awareness raising, dissemination of information and advocacy. The Roma Virtual Network has undoubtedly become by far the most extensive and detailed source of information about various aspects of the Roma issues. This is virtually unprecedented source of numerous and timely data on the situation of Roma in virtually all European states, emergencies and problems faced, as well as views of Roma leaders, organizations and communities on different issues.” – Boris Cilevics, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Latvia, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Rights of Minorities, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
“Keeping in view that Roma are the oldest migrants from India, we have been making a cultural bridge between Roma and India. Ever since we got in touch with Roma Virtual Network, we are able to contact a large number of Roma organization and individuals of eminence importance and our activities with Roma have enhanced manifold. We receive latest information on Roma everyday through emails from Mr. Valery Novoselsky, who is running Roma Virtual Network. We personally feel if there is no communication from Roma Virtual Network on Roma, Roma people and we particularly people from India will not be able to know latest happenings on Roma. His efforts to unite Roma World are highly laudable and he deserves to be appreciated by one and all.” – Dev Bhardwaj, Director of India Inter-Continental Cultural Association (Chandigarh, India).
“During the past Decade Roma Virtual Network gradually became the biggest channel of communication among Roma NGOs, experts and institutions engaged with Roma integration. It provides all stakeholders with the chance to distribute information about their activities as well as to express opinions and to share views. In fact, there is no similar analogue with the other Roma media. Roma Virtual Network has proved to be an efficient in-time good-quality on-line service, which makes biased Internet Roma-friendly. It gives opportunity to many Roma grass-roots organizations and activists to have their voice heard. It was not “an elite club” but rather a field of exchange of information, good practices, etc. Through the years it has often been the tool for a number of advocacy campaigns and a means for mobilizing the Roma community not just over Europe but world-wide. Furthermore, Romani language is one of the main languages of RVN listserves. This is a not just a policy but another significant contribution to preserving Roma language and culture. Center Amalipe perceives Roma Virtual Network as the main way to distribute information about our work and we do this permanently. The same is done by many other colleagues from Roma NGOs in Bulgaria. At the same time I can guarantee that most of the officials from Bulgarian institutions engaged with Roma integration are also subscribed for Roma Virtual Network and use it as main channel of information.” – Deyan Kolev, Chairman of Center Amalipe (Veliko Tirnovo, Bulgaria).
“As a development officer at the Swedish Equality Ombudsman, I have benefited greatly from Roma Virtual Network (RVN) in my work, including Roma issues. This source of Roma news at the international level is invaluable in the absence of anything like this range. RVN is not only the spreading important news of Roma which may be negative news like poverty and discrimination, it also spreads positive examples around Europe and other continents which are really important to get in to the public eye for the change of stereotypes.” – Domino Kai, Development Officer at the Swedish Equality Ombudsman.
“The RVN is an extremely valuable source of news, information and discussion relating to all matters pertaining to Romani peoples and is extraordinarily useful to those of us working in academia, research and the field of Roma rights. I have been and continue to be, an active listserve member of the Network since its earliest inception and have benefited very much from the daily postings that have allowed me to follow both items that are informative, useful and in many cases, needful for my work as an educator and activist. On many occasions I have been able to resource important and detailed information that I could pass on to other colleagues in my work with iNGO’s (such as Save the Children) or utilize in my teaching of students. Whilst the Network continues to connect all of us who are subscribed, this allows us to respond to the various campaigns and issues that arise, quickly and effectively and disseminate that information to those who can be brought to support our efforts in promoting the rights of Romani people across the world. In this way, as in many others, the Network is an invaluable tool for our work and daily activities.” – Dr. Adrian Marsh, Researcher in Romani Studies (London, UK).
“From its beginning the Roma Virtual Network has been of great assistance to me in my academic work, constantly updating me with news that otherwise I might not have received. I am able to file the most important (for me) e-mails by subject or by country so that I can refer to them as necessary for teaching, research or writing. They are also invaluable in supplying examples in my work as an expert witness in court cases concerning Roma, Gypsies and Travellers. It is also the quickest way to disseminate news when I have something of importance to communicate to academics and activists. In the global village of Romani Studies, Novoselsky is truly the invaluable editor of the village newsletter.” – Dr. Thomas Acton, The University of Greenwich (UK).
“During the past decade, the Roma Virtual Network circulated numerous documents and allowed the growth of a transnational movement for the rights of Romani people worldwide not only through a mechanism of knowledge-transfer but also through the construction of a huge contact-network. As PhD Researcher and activist, I recognize the importance of the Roma Virtual Network. I have personally benefitted of the data circulated through the news-letters but also used the blogs to quickly diffuse high-priority messages regarding facts that might have an imminent effect on the wellbeing of the local communities.” – Elisabetta Vivaldi, PHD Researcher (Naples, Italy).
“Dissemination and exchange of information is if utmost importance for the Roma movement. Thus, RVN is a reliable network, connecting people and creating awareness not only among the Roma, but also to a wider audience from grassroots to international institutions. The Roma Virtual Network is indeed an excellent information sharing facility!” – Ruus Dijksterhuis, Director ERGO Network (Utrecht, Netherlands).
“Roma Virtual Network has worked with us sharing important and precious information relating to Roma people issues, useful to our Human Rights work and to grant social assistance to the Roma community all around Europe, and in particular to report to the European institutions and to the UN offices of the High Commissioner for Human Rights the living conditions of this minority and the Human Rights violations carried out by authorities and EU governments towards it. Furthermore, the Roma Virtual Network allows NGOs to act in an efficient network that is crucial all over Europe for co-operating with international institutions to fight against discrimination.” – Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Co-Presidents of EveryOne Group (Florence, Italy).
“In our daily work we count with the regular updates of the Roma Virtual Network as a source of information, news and research. RVN for us is the principal channel of communication with other Roma NGOs at the European and international levels. Without the Roma Virtual Network the organization of international events, exchange of information between different stakeholders and gaining international visibility of our activities would not be possible. Until now, the RVN has been one of the best tools of communication within the international Romani movement that allows us to stay in touch, and most importantly, to stay informed. We consider the work of Mr. Valery Novoselsky, the Editor of Roma Virtual Network, as professional, dynamic and effective. For us, strengthening the voice of the Roma world-wide is made possible thanks to his dedication and implication.” – Jose Santos Silva, President of The Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia (FAGIC).
“The information of the ROMA VIRTUAL NETWORK – Is something that I really need in my daily work. As a person who is known as an expert on Roma, I often have to give interviews and statements to the official press. Thanks to the ROMA VIRTUAL NETWORK I can be sure about the quality of the information I get and spread. Due to the situation that Roma face in many Countries of Europe nowadays I am glad to be well informed about Meetings, Conferences and Seminars all the time. And I found a lot of new friends and discussion partners all over the world.”– Gilda-Nancy Horvath, Roma Journalist (Vienna, Austria).
“Mr. Novoselsky’s work is incredible and daily update of information he has been providing is excellent and important especially in countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Canada are, where there does not exist any media that covers Romani problematic even though there live 100.000 Roma in Bosnia and 35.000 in Canada . The Roma Virtual Network is the only way we Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Canada could get some info about our brothers and sisters around the world. The Roma Virtual Network is a daily friend of mine and of all people they get informed through. The Roma Virtual Network, also allows for cooperation and this is the way that should be. In that name, thanks to Mr. Novoselsky and his excellent work.” – Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić, Coordinator for Roma in The Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“During the past decade, the Roma Virtual Network has gradually become the biggest channel of communication among Romani NGOs, experts and institutions engaged in Romani integration. It provides all stakeholders with the chance to distribute information about their activities as well as to express opinions and to share views. There is no analogue with any other Romani media. I regard the Roma Virtual Network as being the main way to distribute information about our work, and it does this continually. It is a reliable and useful source of information that benefits both, the Romani community and those who work on Roma-related issues. All to often, the mainstream media are silent on these issues, and thus it is vital to have this world-wide source of information that the Roma Virtual Network has proven itself to be.” – Dr. Ian Hancock, Director of The Romani Archives and Documentation Center in The University of Texas (USA).
“My name is Jorge Bernal, and as a writer, activist and regular user of the Roma Virtual Network, I confirm that the services which the network offers for the Roma community and pro-Roma organizations are for us and for our work a very important source of information. It helps us to know and to understand the problems of the Roma in Europe and in the Americas as a whole. The daily update and the network’s e-mail services are, we believe, excellent tools for spreading information about the life of the Roma in all the countries which are part of the Network. The provision of information not only improves awareness as such, but at the same time also allows for cooperation on a far more effective basis, as it offers the rapid seeking out contacts and the like.” – Jorge Bernal, President of Asociación Identidad Cultural Romani de Argentina (AICRA).
“We have followed actively the work Mr. Valery Novoselsky as the IT-manager of the Roma Virtual Network for many years and do hold him and his work in highest regard. Mr. Novoselsky have demonstrated his dedication to run an objective IT-network serving the entire European Roma population in an accurate and excellent manner. Roma are weakly organized and do virtually have no political or economic power, therefore distribution of information and building Roma information-network structures have to be seen as especially important. The Roma Virtual Network have offered the most important international common communication and media-news channel between the different Roma, Sinti, Travellers and other related groups on the topical issues concerning Roma in different countries. Roma Virtual Network is efficiently serving the majority of those Roma who are interested to follow Roma related issues via computer network.” – Miranda Vuolasranta, Director of Finland´s Roma Forum Federation.
“Since the summer of 1999, I have been aware of the tremendous impact and contribution of RVN (Roma Virtual Network), both in the field of Romani media and in the Romani communities across the globe. Its dynamic and stalwart editor, Mr. Valery Novoselsky, first initiated this valuable electronic portal on Romani issues over 12 years ago on a voluntary basis and since then, RVN has been a consistent source of timely information for both Roma and non-Romani activists, students, policy-makers, scholars and journalists. The emerging international Romani movement as well as the diverse Romani communities of Europe and those in the diaspora have benefited enormously from the connections that RVN has nurtured and catalyzed over the previous decade. Romani youth and students have been able to exchange ideas relevant to their work in community development across not only central/eastern Europe and Russia, but also across Iberia, the British Isles, Scandinavia and even North America and Latin America, not to mention Asia (from Lebanon to India). Scholars and policy-makers have also been enriched as the RVN publicizes some of the latest pieces of research on Romani communities, many times offering critical perspectives missing from the mainstream media.” – Dr. Nidhi Trehan, Political Sociologist and Educator (Haryana, India).
“During our work we faced the need of valuable data and information that can later be assessed and analyzed. This information is condensed in reports and recommendations. This can help us to understand and compare policies and actions, if they are bringing the right results toward Roma inclusion. This is also the core of the work for the Decade Watch, in collecting reliable and valuable information that can help in understanding and sway to further concrete steps in all the sectors, communities, governance instances and authorities, in order to reach the goals of Roma Decade. The information provided by Roma Virtual Network was always accessible and easy to use in the path of Roma inclusion. The facts and data helped us to tackle the stakeholders, to find allies, to highlight specific issues, to sway the authorities, and as well to raise awareness among the majority, and make the Roma community more conscious on the grassroots mobilization for lobby and advocacy.” – Adriatik Hasantari, Director of Roma Active Albania.
“Our Mundi Romani documentary films (www.mundiromani.com) have reached millions of Hungarian speaking viewers of Duna Television around the world in the past four years. One of the greatest challenges our team has been facing is to ensure that Romani activists around the world see the work we are doing, as they are the primary targets of our project. We therefore put a lot of efforts into translating our films into English and uploading them on our website. It is our constant cooperation with the Roma Virtual Network which ensures that Romani activists on all continents are informed of the release of our newest films on our website. We have been sending information about our films and advocacy campaigns such as the “I’m a Roma Woman” campaign (www.romawoman.org) to Mr. Valery Novoselsky ever since we started our project in 2007and have always been rewarded with the prompt and wide-reaching release of our news on the RVN.” – Katalin Bársony, Managing Director of Romedia Foundation (Budapest, Hungary).
“World Artists Initiative “Khetanes” relies on the permanent information services by Roma Virtual Network, as we start realising activities all over Europe, in close cooperation with artists, scholars and journalists. Like in former years, the Roma Virtual Network was also in recent months an inexhaustible source of adequate information, updating us on interesting initiatives and alarming events that influence our programmes and priorities, or supplying us with names and contact details of potential partners. RVN’s extended cooperation with scholars of Roma studies is a help for the many academics in our Initiative, whereas the daily news services are equally important for the growing group of reporters.” – Els De Groen, World Artists’ Initiative “Khetanes” (Oss, Netherlands).
“The Roma Virtual Network is a great source of information on Roma related projects, initiatives and events that helps a lot to stay in touch with both grassroots as well as large scale European-wide projects. For our organization, Anti Discrimination Centre Memorial, working on protection of Roma Rights in Russia, this project has not only been an opportunity to stay informed about other initiatives and events, but, also, it has been a unique chance to inform others about our activities and results. The work of Mr. Novoselsky helps to raise most actual discussions – while the editor remains open and critical to different voices and opinions.” – Stephania Kulaeva, Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial (Saint-Petersburg, Russia).
“The Public Institution Roma Community Centre permanently refers to Roma Virtual Network maintaining our own site www.roma.lt. We appreciate efficiency and meaningfulness of The Roma Virtual Network. It is an excellent initiative to make good use of a tremendous technological innovation of our time to link Roma communities together for information sharing and exchange, as well as to defend their rights.” – Svetlana Novopolskaja, Director of Roma Community Centre (Vilnius, Lithuania).
“The Roma Virtual Network (RVN) is a reliable and useful source of information that benefits both the Roma community and those who work on Roma issues. All too often the mainstream media is silent on these issues, so it is important to have the reliable continent-wide source of information that the RVN has shown itself to be.” – Timothy Jones, Barrister at the bar of England and Wales (UK).
“The Roma Virtual Network, thanks to Mr. Novoselsky’s dedication, has connected The UK Association of Gypsy Women (UKAGW) to people all over the world and has alerted our organization to some of the most terrible and inhumane violations of the Roma people’s human rights; and has supported UKAGW on many international campaigns. The Roma Virtual Network is an excellent initiative and utilizes technological innovation to link Roma communities across the world together providing information sharing and exchange, as well as providing the information in order to defend their rights.” – Rachel Francis-Ingham, Inclusion office (Darlington UK).
“The services which the network offers for the Roma community and international organizations are for us and for our work a very important source of information and help us to know and to understand the problems of the Roma not only in our country, in Ukraine, but globally as well. The Network is playing a serious role of a bridge between the CIS countries and the EU countries, Roma and non Roma organizations, national and international organizations. The provision of information not only improves awareness as such, but at the same time also allows for cooperation on a far more effective basis, as it offers the rapid seeking out of partners for projects and the like. The Roma Virtual Network project is a unique and successful virtual network, which is becoming even more professional and towards expanding its services, which will allow even larger connections to the organizations that work with this information.” – Zola Kondur, Vice-president of International Charitable organization “Roma Women fund ”Chiricli“ (Kiev, Ukraine).
Romedia’s hope is that Valery will be repatriated to Israel from Latvia, and have a funeral that exemplifies all that he has done for each of us! At this time, the mother of Valery cannot afford to pay for the funeral service and the costs of repatriating for Mr Valery Novoselsky. As such, we make a call for humanity and solidarity inviting you to raise funds to help the mother of Valery meet the costs of repatriation from Latvia to Israel.
Please see attachment the bank account details of Valery’s mother if you would like to join us in this call for humanity!
The Israel Postal Bank- Kiryat Shmona.
Beneficiary Name: Novoselsky Klavdia
ID Number: 316862960
Account Number- IBN: IL 83009001000002513276
Swift Code: IOPAILIJ
Bank Number: 09 – Branch: 01