Flag of Rusyns
Coat of arms of Rusyns
(est. 1.2-1.6 million)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Rusyn · Ukrainian · Slovak|
Serbian · Hungarian
|Mostly Greek Catholic (Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church) with Eastern Orthodox minority (Russian Orthodox Church and Serbian Orthodox Church)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Ukrainians, Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians|
Rusyns (Rusyn: / Rusyn?), sometimes referred to as Rusnaks (Rusyn / Rusnak?), also known as Carpatho-Ruthenians or Carpatho-Russians (Rusyn- / Karpato-Rusyny), are an East Slavic people who speak the Rusyn language. They descend from an East Slavic population which inhabited the northern regions of the Eastern Carpathians from the Early Middle Ages. Together with other East Slavs from neighboring regions, they were often labeled[by whom?] by the common exonym Ruthenians, or by the regionally more specific designation Carpathian Ruthenians, with sub-group designations such as Dolinyans, Boykos, Hutsuls and Lemkos. Unlike their neighbors to the east, who adopted the use of the ethnonym Ukrainians in the early 20th century, Rusyns kept and preserved their original name. As residents of northeastern regions of the Carpathian Mountains, Rusyns are closely connected to, and also sometimes associated with, other Slavic communities in the region, like the West Slavic highlander community of Gorals (literally, "Highlanders").
The main regional designations for Rusyns are: Carpatho-Rusyns, Carpatho-Ruthenians and Carpatho-Russians, with the "Carpatho-" prefix referring to Carpathian Ruthenia (Rusynia), a historical cross-border region encompassing south-western parts of modern Ukraine, north-eastern regions of Slovakia, and south-eastern parts of Poland. Of the estimated 1.2-1.6 million people of Rusyn origins, only around 90,000 individuals have been officially identified as such in recent national censuses. That is because many census-taking authorities regard them as a sub-group of Ukrainian people, but some countries officially recognize them as an ethnic minority.
The term Rusyns (rusyny) is derived from Rus' (Ruthenia) and has been widely used for centuries for East Slavs inhabiting Carpathian Rus'. Since the 18th century this term "came to be associated primarily with those Ukrainians who lived under the Habsburg monarchy, in Galicia, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia", and since early 20th century "became even more restricted: it was generally used to refer to the inhabitants of Transcarpathia and to Transcarpathian emigrants in the United States", for whom the terms Rusyn and Carpatho-Rusyn are more commonly used since the 1970s. In the Kingdom of Hungary, officially the term Ruthenians was used for the Rusyns of Transcarpathia until 1945. The terms Rusyn, Ruthenes, Rusniak, Lemak, Lyshak, and Lemko are considered by some scholars to be historic, local and synonymical names for the inhabitants of Transcarpathia; others hold that the terms Lemko and Rusnak are simply regional variations of Rusyn or Ruthene.
The region of the Ukrainian Carpathians (including Zakarpattia and Prykarpattia) have since the Early Middle Ages been inhabited by the tribes of White Croats.[Note 4] There are different theories to explain Rusyn origins. According to Paul Robert Magocsi, the origin of the present-day Carpatho-Rusyns is complex and not exclusively related to the Kievan Rus'. The ancestors were the early Slavs whose movement to the Danubian Basin was influenced by the Huns and Pannonian Avars between the 5th and 6th centuries, the White Croats who lived on both slopes of the Carpathians and built many hill-forts in the region including Uzhhorod ruled by the mythical ruler Laborec, the Rusyns of Galicia and Podolia, and Vlachian shepherds of Transylvania.George Shevelov also considered a connection with East Slavic tribes, more specifically, the Hutsuls, and possibly Boykos, argued to be the descendants of the Ulichs who were not native in the region. In Ukrainian encyclopedias and dictionaries, and the Great Russian Encyclopedia, the Rusyns are generally considered to be the descendants of the White Croats.[Note 5]
According to anthropological studies, the Eastern Carpathian population makes one of the sub-regional clines of the Ukrainian population, which can be regionally divided into Eastern and Western Carpathian variants. In the study by M. S. Velikanova (1975) the skulls from a medieval necropolis near village Vasyliv in Zastavna Raion were very similar to contemporary Carpathian population, and according to S. P. Segeda, V. Dyachenko and T. I. Alekseyea this anthropological complex developed in the Middle Ages or earlier, as descendants of the medieval Slavs of Galicia and carriers of Chernyakhov culture along Prut-Dniester rivers, possibly with some Thracian component. According to data, the population has the lowest admixture in Ukraine of Turkic speaking populations, like Volga Tatars and Bashkirs, while in comparison to other populations they have similarities with neighbouring Eastern Slovaks, Gorals of Poland, Romanians, some groups of Czechs and Hungarians, Northwestern Bulgarians, Central and Northern Serbians, and most of Croatians.
The 2006 mitochondrial DNA study of Carpathian Highlanders - Boykos, Hutsuls and Lemkos people - showed a common ancestry with other modern Europeans. A 2009 mitochondrial DNA study of 111 samples found that in comparison to eight other Central and Eastern European populations (Belorussian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian), the three Rusyn groups have a greater distance between themselves than these populations, with Boykos showing the greatest distance from all and did not cluster with anyone because have atypically low frequencies of haplogroup H (20%) and J (5%) for a European population, while Lemkos are closest to the Czech and Romanian (0.17) population, and Hutsuls closest to the Croatian (0.11) and Ukrainian (0.16) population.
The 2014 Y-DNA studies of 200 Pannonian Rusyns in the region of Vojvodina, Serbia, found they mostly belong to haplogroup R1a (43%), I2 (20%), E-V13 (12.5%), and R1b (8.5%), while I1, G2a, J2b, N1 between 2.5-4.5%, and J1, T, and H only in traces of less than 1%. They cluster closest to the Ukrainian and Slovakian population, "providing evidence for their genetic isolation from the Serbian majority population". The 2015 Y-DNA study of 150 men from Zakarpattia and Chernivtsi Oblast (Bukovina), found they mostly belong to R1a1a1*(?198), I2a (?37.2), R1a1a1 (?458) ranging around and less than 30%, with E1b1b1a1 (M78), R1b1b2 (M269), and I1 (?253) ranging between 4-14%. The sampled population is most similar to other Ukrainians, while the Bukovina population slightly "differs from the typical Ukrainian population" because has highest percentage of I2a (>30%) and lowest percentage of R1a (30%) in Ukraine. Bukovina's percentage of I2 is similar to near Moldovan and Romanian population, while the highest percentage is among South Slavs in Western Balkans. It was concluded that although bordered by diverse nations, the Carpathians seemingly were a barrier decreasing gene flow southward of N1c (?178), R1a (?198) and northward of E1b (?78), R1b (?269), J (?304) and G (?201) to the region.
The Rusyns have always been subject to larger neighboring powers, but in the 19th century a Rusyn national movement was formed which emphasized distinctive ethnic identity and literary language. During the Spring of Nations on 2 May 1848 in Lemberg (today Lviv) was established the first political representation of the Galician Rusyns, the Main Ruthenian Council (Ukrainian: ? ?, Holovna Ruska Rada). The most active and leading stratum among Rusyns was Greek-Catholic clergy (see Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, a successor of Ecclesia Ruthena unita).
During the Dissolution of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (1918), various parts of Rusyn people were faced with different political challenges. Those who lived in northeastern counties of the Hungarian part of the former Monarchy were faced with pretensions of Hungary, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. On the other hand, those who lived in the former Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria were faced with pretensions of Poland and Ukraine.
Rusyns formed two ephemeral states after World War I: the Lemko-Rusyn Republic and Komancza Republic. Prior to this time, some of the founders of the Lemko-Rusyn Republic were sentenced to death or imprisoned in Talerhof by the prosecuting attorney Kost Levytsky (Ukrainian? ?), future president of the West Ukrainian National Republic. In the interwar period, the Rusyn diaspora in Czechoslovakia enjoyed liberal conditions to develop their culture (in comparison with Ukrainians in Poland or Romania).
In the 1920s and 1930s a dispute existed between Russophile and Ukrainophile Rusyns. In October 1938, a series of political reforms were initiated, leading to the creation of the Second Czechoslovak Republic, consisting of three autonomous political entities, one of them being the Subcarpathian Rus' (Rusyn ?). On 11 October 1938, first autonomous Government of Subcarpathian Rus was appointed, headed by prime-minister Andrej Bródy. Soon after, a crisis occurred between pro-Rusyn and pro-Ukrainian fractions, leading to the fall of Bródy government on 26 October. New regional government, headed by Avgustyn Voloshyn, adopted a pro-Ukrainian course and opted for the change of name, from Subcarpathian Rus' to Carpathian Ukraine.
That move led to the creation of a particular terminological duality. On 22 November 1938, authorities of the Second Czechoslovak Republic proclaimed the Constitutional Law on the Autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus' (Czech: Ústavní zákon o autonomii Podkarpatské Rusi), officially reaffirming the right of self-determination of Rusyn people (preamble), and confirming full political and administrative autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus', with its own assembly and government. In the constitutional system of the Second Czechoslovak Republic, the region continued to be known as the Subcarpathian Rus', while local institutions promoted the use of the term Carpathian Ukraine.
The Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine, which existed for one day on March 15, 1939, before it was occupied and annexed by Hungary, is sometimes considered to have been a self-determining Rusyn state that had intentions to unite with Kiev. The Republic's president, Avgustyn Voloshyn, was an advocate of writing in Rusyn. The Hungarian annexation caused support for Russophile direction, while in Germany occupied Poland support for Ukrainian identity. In 1947, under the Operation Vistula happened forced resettlement of c. 150,000 Lemkos, Boykos and other Ukrainians between Poland and Ukraine. In the same time some 8,500 Rusyns voluntarily emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Ukraine, but more than half of them returned during the 1960s.
After World War II, they were declared as a part of the Ukrainians. By the end of the 20th century appeared many societies and organizations considering Rusyns as people separate from Ukrainians. By the early 21st century they had representatives in parliaments of Serbia, Hungary, and Romania, have published own press, and in 2007 was opened Museum of Ruthenian Culture in Pre?ov, Slovakia.
A considerable controversy has arisen regarding the Rusyn separatist movement led by the Orthodox priest Dimitry Sydor (now Archbishop of Uzhorod, in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)), his relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church and funding for his activities. Russia has, as a result of the Russian census of 2002, recognized the Rusyns as a separate ethnic group in 2004, and has been accused[by whom?] of fueling ethnic tensions and separatism among Rusyns and Ukrainians.
A criminal case under Part 2, Art. 110 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code was initiated after the 1st European Congress of Rusyns took place in Mukachevo on June 7, 2008. At that particular Congress, it was recognized the reinstating of the Zakarpattia's special status as special "territory of Rusyns to the south of the Carpathians" with self-government under the constitutional name Subcarpathian Rus. On October 29, in Mukachevo at a 2nd Congress, a memorandum was signed calling for the authorities to recognize the Subcarpathian Rus autonomy (by December 1). That same day, according to the Kommersant-Ukraine (Ukrainian edition) agents of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) questioned Dmytro Sydor and Yevgeniy Zhupan. They were summoned to SBU as witnesses in a criminal case "on the infringement on territorial integrity of Ukraine" initiated in June 2008.
Research conducted by the University of Cambridge during the height of political Rusynism in the mid-1990s that focused on five specific regions within the Zakarpattia Oblast having the strongest pro-Rusyn cultural and political activism, found that only nine percent of the population of these areas claimed Rusyn ethnicity. These numbers may change with the further acceptance of Rusyn identity and the Rusyn language in educational systems in the area; nevertheless in the present day, according to the Ukrainian census, most - over 99% - of the local inhabitants consider themselves to be Ukrainians.
In 1994, the historian Paul Robert Magocsi stated that there were approximately 690,000 Carpatho-Rusyn church members in the United States, with 320,000 belonging to the largest Greek Catholic affiliations, 270,000 to the largest Eastern Orthodox affiliations, and 100,000 to various Protestant and other denominations.
Most Rusyns are Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, who since the Union of Brest in 1596 and the Union of Uzhhorod in 1646 have been in communion with the See of Rome. They have their own particular Church, the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, distinct from the Latin Catholic Church. It has retained the Byzantine Rite liturgy, sometimes including the Old Church Slavonic language, and the liturgical forms of Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
The Pannonian Rusyns of Croatia are organized under the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Kri?evci, and those in the region of Vojvodina (northern Serbia), are organized under the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Ruski Krstur, headed by bishop ?ura D?ud?ar, who is an ethnic Rusyn. Those in the diaspora in the United States established the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh.
Although originally associated with the Eastern Orthodox Eparchy of Mukachevo, that diocese was suppressed after the Union of Uzhhorod. New Eastern Orthodox Eparchy of Mukachevo and Pre?ov was created in 1931 under the auspices of the Serbian Orthodox Church. That eparchy was divided in 1945, eastern part joining Russian Orthodox Church as the Eparchy of Mukachevo and Uzhhorod, while western part was reorganized as Eastern Orthodox Eparchy of Pre?ov of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church. The affiliation of Eastern Orthodox Rusyns was adversely affected by the Communist revolution in the Russian Empire and the subsequent Iron Curtain which split the Orthodox diaspora from the Eastern Orthodox believers living in the ancestral homelands. A number of émigré communities have claimed to continue the Orthodox Tradition of the pre-revolution church while either denying or minimizing the validity of the church organization operating under Communist authority. For example, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) was granted autocephalous (self-governing) status by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1970. Although approximately 25% of the OCA was Rusyn (referred to as "Ruthenian") in the early 1980s, an influx of Eastern Orthodox émigrés from other nations and new converts wanting to connect with the Eastern Church have lessened the impact of a particular Rusyn emphasis in favor of a new American Orthodoxy.
Many Rusyn Americans left Catholicism for Eastern Orthodoxy in the 19th century due to disputes with the Latin Church bishops, who viewed different practices in the Byzantine Rite (such as married clergy) with suspicion. After a bitter fight with Archbishop John Ireland, Father Alexis Toth, himself a Rusyn from Hungary, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and eventually led as many as 20,000 Rusyn-Americans from Catholicism into Eastern Orthodoxy, for which he was canonized by the Orthodox Church.
Another large segment of Rusyn Americans belong to the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, which is headquartered in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. From its early days, this group was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a self-governing diocese.
Those who use the ethnonym Rusyn for self-identification are primarily people living in the mountainous Transcarpathian region of Western Ukraine and adjacent areas in Slovakia who use it to distinguish themselves from Ukrainians living in the central regions of Ukraine.
Those Rusyns who self-identify today have traditionally come from the Eastern Carpathians. This region is often referred to as Carpathian Ruthenia. Since mid-18th century there are resettled Rusyn communities located in the Pannonian Plain, parts of present-day Serbia (particularly in Vojvodina - see also Ethnic groups of Vojvodina), as well as present-day Croatia (in the region of Vukovar-Srijem County). Rusyns also migrated and settled in Prnjavor, a town in the northern region of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. Around 225,000 Rusyns emigrated to the United States and Canada at the end of the 19th and early 20th century.
Of the estimated 1.2-1.6 million people of Rusyn origins, only around 90,000 individuals have been officially identified as such in recent national censuses (see infobox above). This is due, in part, to the refusal of some governments to count Rusyns and/or allow them to self-identify on census forms, especially in Ukraine. The ethnic classification of Rusyns as a separate East Slavic ethnicity distinct from Russians, Ukrainians, or Belarusians is, consequently, politically controversial. The majority of scholars on the topic consider Rusyns to be an ethnic subgroup of the Ukrainian people. This is disputed by some non-mainstream scholars, as well as other scholars from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada, and the United States. According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, about a third of Rusyns in Ukraine speak the Ukrainian language, while others stick to their native language. However, about 10 thousand people, or 0.8%, of Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast (Province) identified themselves as Rusyns; by contrast, over 1 mllion considered themselves Ukrainians.
The endonym Rusyn has frequently gone unrecognised by various governments, and has in other cases been prohibited. Today, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Croatia officially recognize contemporary Rusyns as an ethnic minority. In 2007, Carpatho-Rusyns were recognized as a separate ethnicity in Ukraine by the Zakarpattia Oblast Council on a regional level, and in 2012 the Rusyn language gained official regional status in certain areas of the province, as well as nationwide based on the 2012 Law of Ukraine, "On the principles of the state language policy". However, most contemporary self-identified ethnic Rusyns live outside of Ukraine.
Rusyns subgroups are Carpathian Rusyns, mostly from Carpathian Ruthenia who speak the Carpathian Rusyn language, and Pannonian Rusyns, mostly from Voivodina who speak the Pannonian Rusyn language. Other more specific ethnic groups with regional identity are Dolinyans,Lemkos who are considered as a distinct ethnic minority in Slovakia or with some ethnic recognition in Poland, but both with Boykos and Hutsuls are considered as part of Ukrainian nationality in Ukraine. Some scholars also regarded them as a Vlach minority.
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Rusyn, Rusyn ruskyi, also called Ruthenian, Carpatho-Rusyn, Lemko, or Rusnak, any of several East Slavic peoples (modern-day Belarusians, Ukrainians, and Carpatho-Rusyns) and their languages
There were different theories to explain the presence of Rusyns. In his The settlements, economy and history of the Rusyns of Subcarpathia (1923) A. Hodinka wondered if Russians arrived before the Magyars, at the same time or later? Were they White Croats? Slavs who mixed with nomad Vlachs?
The purpose of this somewhat extended discussion of early history is to emphasize the complex origins of the Carpatho-Rusyns. They were not, as is often asserted, exclusively associated with Kievan Rus', from which it is said their name Rusyn derives. Rather, the ancestors of the present-day Carpatho-Rusyns are descendants of: (1) early Slavic peoples who came to the Danubian Basin with the Huns; (2) the White Croats; (3) the Rusyns of Galicia and Podolia; and (4) the Vlachs of Transylvania.
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The prevailing religion among Lemkos and Boykos, who are the representatives of the Vlach minority in Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, includes the Orthodox faith and then the Greek Catholic Church ... Hutsuls, who inhabit the south-west of Ukraine (Chornohora) and the north of Romania, are mostly Orthodox and, to a much lesser extent, Greek Catholics
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The Boikos are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Slavic tribe of White Croatians that came under the rule of the Kyivan Rus' state during the reign of Prince Volodymyr the Great. Before the Magyars occupied the Danube Lowland this tribe served as a direct link between the Eastern and Southern Slavs.
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In the opinion of some scholars, the ancestors of the Lemkos were the White Croatians, who settled the Carpathian region between the seventh and tenth centuries.