Most of Kelderari men are freelance craftsmen and in Soviet times they always looked for a possibility to get permission for this almost forbidden way of earning a living. A lot of Kelderari had created cooperatives after the revolution, but in the beginning of the 1930ies all members of such cooperatives fell victim to repressions in which most of them were shot or died in prison. 

Only much later some people were able to restore their position as freelance craftsmen. An interesting example was given by Vladimir Afanasiev, whose family already for decades lives in the town Bataysk in the Rostov province. In the end of the 1970ies, his father went to Moscow to apply for permission to do “home-based work” giving as a reason the fact that all the men in his community had very many children and therefore could not work far away from their homes. The permission was given and all the men of this settlement started to work together in the workshop in their street and professionally survived. They produced metal tanks, pipelines etc. for agricultural firms. Later in perestroika time this business became private and enabled them to continue their independent style of life. Since the end of the 1990ies their business started to decline. It became very difficult to find orders as there appeared strong competition in this branch. Therefore, the poverty increases and the private economy declines, even among those, who used to do well after the break-down of the Soviet system. 

In modern Russia, Kelderari Roma are depending on certain niches in free professions ever since full employment ceased to exist. Collecting scrap metal is one of such niches, which is mainly considered a way for the poor to survive. Richer and better skilled Kelderari Roma earn a living by trading metal, welding metal or refitting electric engines and gear boxes. Small communities like the Bobokony of Novosibirsk manage to lead a prosperous life with their hard and intensive work on refitting and trading mining equipment. 

Kelderari communities themselves regard this way of the only perspective they can imagine to reach prosperity. The leader of a very poor and big community in Shakhty (Rostov province), of whom most of people have no permanent work, Dudury Burlin proposes to help his community by creating working places for all of the men and women of his community in metal work by organizing a cooperative workshop in the settlement, that he could coordinate in a just way. Unfortunately, they have no funds nor resources to accomplish that themselves, but if they could, they would share the work and in this way share the prosperity. 

The majority of Kelderari Roma women are working in the streets by telling fortune, although this traditional way of earning money is disappearing because of targeted persecution by police in the last years. 

Examples of Kelderari Roma employed in regular jobs by state or private companies mainly show the difficulty for Kelderari Roma to overcome discriminatory practices. In Usad (Vladimir province), Kelderari Roma workers at the Lespromkhoz wood products plant mentioned a double standard, being paid much less than their ethnic Russian colleagues for doing the same job. Their complaints were not taken into consideration by the company’s director Mr. Zotov.It is commonly the case that the standard income generated by Kelderari Roma is significantly lower than by Russians. 

Another aspect of discrimination in employment is the refusal of companies and entrepreneurs to employ Kelderari Roma. In  yazan, local Kelderari Roma tried to get employed through the service for migrants workers, to do cleaning jobs and construction work. They were refused as being gypsies. The only option available was to do season work in Kolkhozes, that would pay not in money, but in kind with part of the harvest. As a result these hard working Kelderari Roma do not know how to survive winter. Kelderari Roma of the settlement Plekhanovka (Tula) received help from the local head of administration Mr. Ivantsov, who called local factories and tried to get Kelderari Roma workers employed, but even he was refused when he mentioned that the job seekers were Roma. 

The widespread practice of corruption aimed at forcing Kelderari Roma to pay for any violation of the law or just for state protection has often replaced the practice of paying tax. Sadly enough, Russia’s Kelderari Roma community has not been able to profit from the economic growth of the country and neither they nor any experts see any perspective in the short term.