In late October, the commission entrusted Bezliudskii and his fellow ARGU activists with the urgent task of "going out to the people" in order to gauge the willingness of Roma to settle and take up agriculture.
Already by this time, the ARGU had been engaged in efforts to conduct a long-distance census of the Soviet Union's Romani population.
As ARGU activists saw it, a crucial component of their task and a necessary ingredient of their information gathering was a propaganda campaign designed not only to inform Roma of the opportunities available to them as Soviet citizens but also to impress on all non-Roma the necessity of bringing enlightenment to their "backward" Gypsy compatriots.
ARGU leaders recognized, however, the difficulties inherent in their efforts to propagandize among their estranged Gypsy brethren.
While the ARGU could rely somewhat on the "cultured" among them to establish contact with individual nomadic groups and on local authorities to help spread the posters' message, they could aspire to reach only a few of those Roma who were indeed illiterate and isolated from surrounding populations.
Yet the difficulty of reaching out to illiterate nomads was but one of many problems facing the ARGU and threatening its very survival.
Meanwhile, the Commission on the Settlement of Toiling Gypsies had hoped to receive by 1 January 1927 a complete report from the ARGU regarding Romani nomads and their willingness to settle.
While this discouraging reality could not legitimately be blamed on the ARGU, Soviet officials nonetheless began to regard the ARGU still more skeptically, if not outright disdainfully.
In January 1927, Sovnarkom officials informed Moscow's Romani activists of their doubts that the ARGU could successfully lead the struggle to sedentarize Romani nomads.
In response to this severe criticism, the ARGU governing board met several times in the summer of 1927 to debate the best approach to carrying out work among the empire's "backward" Gypsies--especially among nomads.
Neither central nor regional state authorities paid enough attention to those Gypsies who were writing to the ARGU "from every corner of the USSR" and expressing their "desire to transition to settled agriculture.
In September, for example, the ARGU received word from four Romani families near Pskov who, despite having received plots of land from their local authorities, were finding it impossible to reconstruct their lives according to the Soviet template of communal prosperity.