Rusyns: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regions with significant populations
 Romania 7,000
 Slovakia 24,201 [1]
 Serbia 15,626 [2]
 Ukraine 10,100 [3]
 Croatia 2,337 [4]
 Poland 5,800

Rusyn, Pannonian Rusyn, Ukrainian, Slovak


Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic

Related ethnic groups

Other Slavic people, Ukrainians

Rusyns (Rusyn: Русины, also referred to as Carpatho-Rusyns and Rusniaks) are an Eastern Slavic ethnic group who speak an Eastern Slavic language or dialect known as Rusyn. Rusyns descend from Ruthenians who did not adopt the Ukrainian ethnic identity in the early twentieth century. Some governments have prohibited the use of the term Rusyn, as seen in after 1945 in Soviet Transcarpathia and Poland, and by the early 1950s in Czechoslovakia.[5]

Today, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia and also Croatia officially recognise Rusyns as an ethnic minority.[6] In 2007 Rusyns were recognized as a separate ethnicity in Ukraine by the Zakarpattia Regional Council. Ruthenians within Ukraine have Ukrainian citizenship, and most have adopted a Ukrainian ethnic identity[3]. Most contemporary self-identified ethnic Rusyns live outside of Ukraine.

Of the estimated 1.2 million people[5] of Rusyn origin, only 55,000 have officialy identified themselves politically or ethnically as Rusyns according to contemporary censuses. The ethnic classification of Rusyns, however, is controversial as contemporary scholars claim it as a separate East Slavic ethnicity, distinct from Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.[7][8][9] The majority of Ukrainian scholars, as well as some Rusyns when considering their self-identification, consider Rusyns to be an ethnic subgroup of the Ukrainian people.[10][11] This is disputed by Lemko scholars.[12]

The terms Rusyn, Rusniak, Lyshak and Lemko are considered by some scholars to be historic, local, and synonymical names for Carpathian Ukrainians. Others hold that the terms Lemko or Rusnak are simply regional variations for Rusyn[5].



Until the middle of the 19th century, ethnic Ukrainians referred to themselves as Ruthenians ("Rusyn" in Ukrainian). This term continues to be used today and is found in Ukrainian folk songs. The ethnonym Ukrainian came into widespread use only in modern times for political reasons, replacing the ethnonym Ruthenian initially in Sloboda Ukraina, then on the banks of the Dnieper River, and spreading to western Ukraine in the beginning of 20th centure. Today a minority group continues to use the ethnonym Rusyn for self-identification. These 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. Having eschewed the ethnonym Ukrainian, the Rusyns are asserting a local and separate Rusyn ethnic identity. Their distinctiveness as a nationality is, however, disputed.

Those Rusyns who self-identify today have traditionally come from or had ancestors who came from the Eastern Carpathian Mountain region. This region is often referred to as Carpathian Ruthenia. 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 Slavonia). Rusyns also migrated and settled in Prnjavor, a town in the northern region of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. Analysis of population genetics shows statistical differences between Lemkos, Boykos, Hutzuls, and other Slavic or European populations.[13]

Many Rusyns emigrated to the United States and Canada. With the advent of modern communications such as the Internet, they are able to reconnect as a community. Concerns are being voiced regarding the preservation of their unique ethnic and cultural legacy.


Rusyns formed two ephemeral states after World War I, the Lemko-Rusyn Republic and Komancza Republic. Prior to forming the state, some of the founders of the Lemko-Rusyn Republic were sentenced to death or imprisoned in Talerhof by the prosecuting attorney Kost Levytsky (Ukrainian: Кость Леви́цький), future president of the West Ukrainian National Republic.[14] In the interwar period, the Rusyn diaspora in Czechoslovakia enjoyed liberal conditions to develop their culture (in comparison to Ukrainians in Poland or Romania)[15]. The Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine, which existed for one day on March 15, 1939 before it was occupied by Hungarian troops, is sometimes considered to have been a self-determining Rusyn state that had intentions to unite with Kyiv. The Republic's president, Avgustyn Voloshyn, was an advocate of writing in Rusyn.

The Rusyns have always been subject to larger neighbouring powers, such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Poland, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, and Russia. In contrast to the modern Ukrainian national movement that united Western Ukrainians with those in the rest of Ukraine, the Rusyn national movement took two forms: one considered Rusyns as a separate East Slavic nation, while the other was based on the concept of fraternal unity with Russians.

Most of the predecessors of the Eastern Slavic inhabitants of present-day Western Ukraine, as well as Western Belarus, referred to themselves as Ruthenians (Rusyns) (Ukrainian: Русини, translit. Rusyny) prior to the nineteenth century. Many of them became active participants in the creation of the Ukrainian nation and came to call themselves Ukrainians (Ukrainian: Українці, translit. Ukrayintsi). There were, however, ethnic Rusyn enclaves, which were not a part of this movement: those living on the border of the same territory or in more isolated regions, such as the people from Carpathian Ruthenia, Poleshuks, or the Rusyns of Podlachia. With no reason to change their self-identifying monikers, these groups continue to refer to themselves as Rusyns. According to a 2001 Ukrainian census,[16] an overwhelming majority of Boykos, Lemkos, Hutsuls, Verkhovyntsi and Dolynians in Ukraine stated their nationality as being Ukrainian. However, some of these ethnic groups consider themselves to be separate ethnicities, while others identify themselves as Rusyns. About 10,100 people, or 0.8%, of Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast (Province) identified themselves as Rusyns; by contrast, 1,010,000 considered themselves Ukrainians.[3] 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 with the strongest pro-Rusyn cultural and political activism, found that only nine percent of the population of these areas claimed Rusyn ethnicity.[17][18] 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.[3]

Pannonian Rusyns in Vojvodina, Serbia (2002 census)

The Rusyn national movement is much stronger among those Rusyn groups that became geographically separated from present-day Ukrainian territories, for example the Rusyn emigrants in the United States and Canada, as well as the Rusyns living within the borders of Slovakia. The 2001 census in Slovakia showed that 24,000 people considered themselves ethnically Rusyn while 11,000 considered themselves to be ethnically Ukrainian.[19] The Pannonian Rusyns in Serbia, who migrated there during the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, also consider themselves to be Rusyns. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some Rusyns resettled in Vojvodina (in present day Serbia), as well as in Slavonia (in present-day Croatia). Still other Rusyns migrated to the northern regions of present Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the 1971 Yugoslav census, both Ukrainians (Serbian: Украјинци, tr. Ukrajinci) and Rusyns (Serbian: Русини, tr. Rusini) in these areas were recorded collectively as "Ruthenes". Podkarpatskije Rusiny is considered the Rusyn "national anthem".

In March 2007 the Zakarpattia Regional Council adopted a decision which recognized Rusyns as a separate national minority at the oblast level.[6][20] By the same decision the Zakarpattia Regional Council petitioned the Ukrainian central authorities to recognize Rusyns as an ethnic minority at the state level.

Historically, the Polish and Hungarian states are considered to have contributed to the development of a Rusyn identity that is separate from that of traditional Ruthenians. Rusyns were recorded as a separate nationality by the censuses taken in pre-WWII Poland (see Cezary Chlebowski's Wachlarz), Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

Separatist movement

Rusyn flag[21]

In recent times considerable controversy has arisen regarding the Rusyn separatist movement lead by the Orthodox priest Dmitri Sidor, his relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church or Moscow Patriarchate, and the funding for his activities[22]. This movement has been expedited by financial support from non-Ukrainian and anti-Ukrainian sources.[23]


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 Byzantine Rite Catholic affiliations, 270,000 to the largest Orthodox affiliations, and 100,000 to various Protestant and other denominations.[24] Many Rusyn churches are named after theEastern Christian saints Cyril and Methodius, who are often referred to as the "Apostles to the Slavs."


Eastern Catholics

Most Rusyns are Byzantine rite Catholics, 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 Catholic Church, distinct in some ways from the Latin-Rite Catholic Church. These retain some aspects of the Byzantine Rite liturgy, sometimes including the Old Slavonic Church language, and some of the outward forms of Byzantine or Eastern Christianity.

The Rusyns of the former Yugoslavia are organized under the Eparchy of Krizevci. Those in the diaspora in the United States established the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh.

According to Andy Warhol, a Byzantine Catholic from Pittsburgh, the beginning of the film The Deer Hunter shows an authentic Rusyn wedding, although the movie was about Orthodox Rusyns.

Eastern Orthodox Church

Although originally associated with the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, the affiliation of the Rusyn Orthodox Church was adversely affected by the Communist revolution in the Russian Empire and the subsequent Iron Curtain which split the Orthodox diaspora from the 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 Orthodox émigrés from other nations and new converts wanting to connect with the "early" church have lessened the impact of a particular Rusyn emphasis in favor of a new American Orthodoxy.


Rusyn (also referred to as the Ruthenian language) is similar to the Slovak language and Ukrainian language; Ukrainian scholars consider Rusyn a dialect of Ukrainian, to the resentment of some Rusyns.

Pannonian Rusyn

Pannonian Rusyn has been granted official status and was codified in Serbian's province of Vojvodina. Since 1995, it has also been recognized and codified as a minority language in Slovakia (in those areas comprising at least 20% Rusyns). The Rusyn language in Vojvodina, however, shares many similarities with Slovak, and is sometimes considered a separate (micro)language, sometimes a dialect of Slovak.


See also


  1. ^ Permanently resident population by nationality and by regions and districts - Population and Housing Census 2001, Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic
  2. ^ Zoran Jančić, ed (December 24 2002). "3. Population by national or ethnic groups by Census 2002, by municipalities". Issue LII, No. 295, Final Results of the Census 2002 (Communication ed.). Belgrade: Republic Statistical Office of Serbia. pp. 6–7. YU ISSN 0353–9555 SRB 295 SN31 241202.  
  3. ^ a b c d Про кількість та склад населення Закарпатської області
    за підсумками Всеукраїнського перепису населення 2001 року
    . The higher figure is an estimate based on the proportions of local-born ethnic "Ukrainians" living in relevant West-Ukrainian oblasts; the Dolinyan, Boyko and Hutsul areas are included. See Карта говорiв украïнськоï мови, 10.10.2008; Энциклопедический словарь: В 86 томах с иллюстрациями и дополнительными материалами. Edited by Андреевский, И.Е. − Арсеньев, К.К. − Петрушевский, Ф.Ф. − Шевяков, В.Т., s.v. Русины. Online version. Вологда, Russia: Вологодская областная универсальная научная библиотека, 2001 (1890−1907), 10.10.2008; Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Edited by Gordon, Raymond G., Jr., s.v. Rusyn. Fifteenth edition. Online version. Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.: SIL International, 2008 (2005), 10.10.2008; Eurominority: Peoples in search of freedom. Edited by Bodlore-Penlaez, Mikael, s.v. Ruthenians. Quimper, France: Organization for the European Minorities, 1999–2008, 10.10.2008. How this estimate has been prepared in detail, is represented in the Table 1 of this article.
  4. ^ Permanently resident population by nationality and by regions and districts - Population and Housing Census 2001, Statistical Office of the Croatia
  5. ^ a b c Magocsi, Paul Robert (1995). "The Rusyn Question". Political Thought (  2-3 (6): 221–231.  
  6. ^ a b Ukraine’s ethnic minority seeks independence. RT
  7. ^ Professor Ivan Pop: Encyclopedia of Subcarpathian Ruthenia(Encyclopedija Podkarpatskoj Rusi). Uzhhorod, 2000. With support from Carpatho-Russian ethnic research center in the USA ISBN 0-972-01175-3-4.
  8. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi, Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture . University of Toronto Press, June 2002. ISBN 9780802035660
  9. ^ Tom Trier (1998), Inter-Ethnic Relations in Transcarpathian Ukraine
  10. ^ Wilson, Andrew (2000), The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08355-6.
  11. ^ Taras Kuzio (2005), "The Rusyn Question in Ukraine: Sorting Out Fact from Fiction", Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism, XXXII
  12. ^ Trochanowski, Piotr (14 January 1992). "Lemkowszczyzna przebudzona [Lemkivshchyna Awakened]" (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza (Krakowski dodatek), (Cracow): p. 2.  
  13. ^ Nikitin, AG; Kochkin IT, June CM, Willis CM, McBain I, Videiko MY (2008). "Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in Boyko, Hutsul and Lemko populations of Carpathian highlands.". Human Biology 81 (1): 43–58. ISBN 0018-7143. OCLC 432539982. PMID 19589018. "Lemkos shared the highest frequency of haplogroup I ever reported and the highest frequency of haplogroup M* in the region. MtDNA haplogroup frequencies in Boykos were different from most modern European populations.".  
  14. ^ Vavrik, Vasilij Romanowicz (2001) (in Russian). Terezin i Talergof : k 50-letnej godovščine tragedii galic.-rus. naroda. Moscow: Soft-izdat. OCLC 163170799. Retrieved 2009-06-21.  
  15. ^ Orest Subtelny, Ukraine. A History. Second edition, 1994. p. 350-351. Subtelny treats transcarpathian Rusyns as a group of Ukrainians
  16. ^ Всеукраїнський перепис населення 2001:
  17. ^ Taras Kuzio (2005). The Rusyn Question in Ukraine: Sorting Out Fact from Fiction. Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism, XXXII
  18. ^ Political and Ethno-Cultural Aspects of the Rusyns’ problem: A Ukrainian Perspective - by Natalya Belitser, Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy, Kyiv, Ukraine
  19. ^ 2001 and 1991 Slovakian censuses
  20. ^ Decision of Zakarpattia Oblast Council recognizing Rusyns
  21. ^
  22. ^ here
  24. ^ Magocsi, Paul R (1994). Our People: Carpatho-Rusyns and Their Descendants in North America. Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario. ISBN 0919045669 : 9780919045668. OCLC 30973382.  


  • Chlebowski, Cezary (1983). Wachlarz: Writings on the Liberating Organization, a Division of the National Army (Wachlarz: Monografia wydzielonej organizacji dywersyjnej Armii Krajowej : wrzesien 1941-marzec 1943), Instytut Wydawniczy Pax. ISBN 83-211-0419-3
  • Dyrud, Keith P. (1992). The Quest for the Rusyn Soul: The Politics of Religion and Culture in Eastern Europe and in America, 1890-World War I, Balch Institute Press. ISBN 0-944190-10-3
  • ed. by Patricia Krafeik (1994). The Rusyns, Eastern European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-190-9
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (1978). Shaping of a National Identity: Subcarpathian Rus', 1848-1948, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-80579-8
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (1988). Carpatho-Rusyn Studies: An Annotated Bibliography (V. 1: Garland Reference Library of the Humanities), Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8240-1214-3
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (1994). Our People: Carpatho-Rusyns and Their Descendants in North America, Society of Multicultural Historical. ISBN 0-919045-66-9
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (1994). The Rusyns of Slovakia, East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-278-6
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (1996). A New Slavic Nation is Born, East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-331-6
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (1999). Carpatho-Rusyn Studies: An Annotated Bibliography, 1985-1994, Vol. 2, Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-88033-420-7
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (2000). Of the Making of Nationalities There Is No End, East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-438-X
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert, Sandra Stotsky and Reed Ueda (2000). The Carpatho-Rusyn Americans (Immigrant Experience), Chelsea House Publications. ISBN 0-7910-6284-8
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (2002). Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture, University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-3566-3
  • Magocsi, Paul Robert (2006). Carpatho-Rusyn Studies : An Annotated Bibliography Vol.3 1995-1999, East European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-531-9
  • Mayer, Maria, translated by Janos Boris (1998). Rusyns of Hungary: Political and Social Developments, 1860-1910, Eastern European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-387-1
  • Petrov, Aleksei (1998). Medieval Carpathian Rus': The Oldest Documentation about the Carpatho-Rusyn Church and Eparchy, Eastern European Monographs. ISBN 0-88033-388-X
  • Rusinko, Elaine (2003). Straddling Borders: Literature and Identity in Subcarpathian Rus', University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-3711-9

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  1. Plural form of Rusyn.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address