Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Suitcase to the Station… Podkarpatskaya Rus: Is Zakarpatskaya Saying Goodbye to the Ukraine?

00 podkarpatskaya 01. 09.09.14



This piece proves the dank racism of the Galician Uniate fascists… they don’t even abide people of the same faith who disagree with their fanciful imaginings. If you support “the Ukraine”, that is what you support, and I’ll call you evil to your face. Note well that stipulation applies to many in the OCA/ROCOR First Families and to SVS… is applause and money so important to them?



Who are the Sub-Carpathian Rusins? Why aren’t they pleased with the Ukraine? Why did they, unlike the Little Russians, understand the core essence of the current fascist junta in Kiev (they blocked their mountain passes during the so-called “Euro-Revolution”)?

With the beginning of the “Russian Spring”, announcement of the establishment of People’s Republics began to come not only from Novorossiya, but also to the surprise of many, from the Far Western Ukraine, namely, from the Carpathians. We found out that those who live in the land south of the “Ukrainian” Carpathians, the Rusins, threatened to block the mountain passes, where it’d be easy to destroy  Galician Right Sector thugs or Natsgadi irregulars, no matter how many of them tried to push in. With the loss of hope for Russian armed intervention to help the anti-fascist resistance in Novorossiya and the Ukraine, the Rusin Republic activists went underground, but they didn’t “lay down and give in”.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Podkarpatskaya Rus formed its first National Union opolchenie battalion” in the LNR… the Rusin Battalion “Ivan Kundry (Archimandrite St Iov Ugolsky)”… named for an Orthodox missionary in the Carpathians and a veteran of the VOV. The unit included Rusin volunteers from Podkarpatskaya Rus (the original name of Zakarpatskaya Oblast), Pryashevshchina (Slovakia), Lemkovshchina (Poland), and from northeastern Hungary. Unlike the so-called understrength Natsgadi “battalions” (usually, only about 100 troops, at company strength), the Rusin battalion is more up to TO&E, with 380 men.

I’ve been in Podkarpatskaya many times (but this was the first time in 6 years), I talked with both Lemkos and Boykos from the more remote villages (where buses can’t reach in the winter), and with the leading elements, such as the chairman of the Sojm of Podkarpatskaya Rus. Therefore, I know the Rusin question not only from books, but from life, too.

Rusins (those who use that ethno-social self-identification) say that there are four ethnic groups in Holy Rus… Byelorussians, Great Russians, Little Russians, and Rusins, and don’t agree with the formulation of “Three Related Peoples”. For those who don’t accept the theory of fraternal peoples, who posit a single Russian people with more than three subgroups, Rusins are southwestern Russians (including Lemkos, Boykos, Hutsuls, etc.), which unlike the Galicians don’t consider themselves as Ukrainians. That’s not because the best sons of the Russian people in Galicia less bravely defended their nationality, it’s because not only did distant Vienna issue negative decrees against them, but also the local Polish authorities were hostile to those favourable to the idea of the “Russian question”. However, the local authorities in Podkarpatskaya Rus (mostly Magyars and Slovaks) were much more indifferent as the self-identity of the highlanders.


00 podkarpatskaya 02. 09.09.14


Repression tightened sharply at the beginning of the 20th century, when Rusins, through the efforts of ascetic priest Aleksei Kabalyuk (canonised in 2006 as St Aleksei of Podkarpatskaya Rus) began a mass return to Orthodoxy, rejecting the Unia. The Habsburg authorities labelled Orthodox converts as Russian spies. The apogee of persecution was the tragic Marmaroš-Sigetskie trials, where the Austrians imprisoned dozens of villagers from Iza, dooming their families to hunger and wandering. However, these persecutions were only the prelude to the physical destruction of Rusins in the first concentration camps in Europe, Terezín and Talerhof. In all, the Rusin genocide in 1914-17 by the Habsburgs liquidated or broke the health of more than 60,000 Russophile-minded Galicians, Bukovinians, and Rusins. More than 100,000 people passed through the concentration camps. Tens of thousands died during forced deportations deep into Austria-Hungary. When the Russian army retreated, up to half-a-million people fled from certain death at the hands of the Habsburgs, going to safety in Russia.

The Rusin victims proved to Europe that they had the right to their own state. In 1918, only newly independent Hungary proclaimed, “We create a Rusin territory to the south of the Carpathians, with broad autonomy, under the title Ruska Krajina”. By the end of the First World War, the Czechoslovak Republic annexed the area. The Treaty of Saint-Germain between the Allies and the Czechoslovak Republic in 1919 called for the formation of a Podkarpatskaya Rus “with full self-government compatible with the concept of the unity of Czechoslovakia”. This entailed their own Sojm (legislature) and autonomous government. However, Czechoslovakia not only wasn’t quick to carry out this provision, in many ways it violated it. Only in 1938, feeling the breath of war, the Czechoslovakian government made concessions to their people… in May 1938, they finally proclaimed the autonomy of Podkarpatskaya Rus. Moreover, it acquired the status of a federal subject, as did Slovakia (which is independent today).

In a referendum held in Podkarpatskaya Rus in the same year, 76 percent favoured making the Russian literary language the official language of instruction in schools… thus, throwing twenty years of violent Ukrainisation on the rubbish tip. Unfortunately, the Rusins didn’t have this happy state for long. Barely two weeks after announcing autonomy, on orders from Berlin, Prague installed a totalitarian puppet junta in Podkarpatskaya Rus headed by Uniate clergyman Avgustin Voloshin, backed by tanks of the Czechoslovak army. Ukrainisation returned in an even more brutal form. According to historian Aleksandr Karevin:

He closed down all opposition newspapers, dissolved all local governmental bodies, and forced the use of the Ukrainian language in all public venues, such as government agencies and teaching in schools. They hastily changed all street signs in the cities (they used to be in Rusin). ‘Nationally Conscious’ figures took all positions of responsibility… as there weren’t enough of these amongst Rusins, they were mostly OUN extremists ‘imported’ from Galicia.

The fanatics dealt with the disgruntled in a summary fashion, planning a wave of arrests. On 18 November 1938, Voloshin ordered the first concentration camp in Podkarpatskaya Rus at Gore Dumen (near Rakhova). Without court sentences, the junta imprisoned not only opposition politicians and journalists, it also placed peasants, intellectuals, and workers behind barbed wire for making unflattering comments about the newly-minted “leaders” and “father” of the nation. Voloshin spread Mein Kampf all over Podkarpatskaya by his personal order. As noted above, he banned the activities of all political parties, except his Ukrainian National Unity (UNO) (which had no support amongst normal Rusins). However, there was one exception… “All citizens of German nationality, regardless of their state allegiance, are allowed to organise themselves as the German Party on the on the basis of National-Socialist ideas, as well as wearing the proper insignia and bearing the swastika banner”. At the same time, Voloshin strictly prohibited any anti-Nazi propaganda. When Germany invaded the USSR, Voloshin wrote Hitler a letter offering himself as the President of the Ukraine occupied by the Germans. At the same time, he advised the Führer to liquidate the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine and replace it with Catholicism (the secret dream of many Ukrainian “patriots”). Nevertheless, as you know, Hitler had other plans.


00 podkarpatskaya 04. 09.09.14


In 1944, keeping in mind all the “charms” proclaimed by Voloshin in the so-called “Carpatho-Ukraine”, Orthodox priests in Podkarpatskaya Rus made an appeal to Stalin to ask entry in the USSR as a separate SSR without being part of the Ukrainian SSR, “in the form of the Podkarpatskaya Rus SSR”. Alas, Stalin acted in the tradition of Lenin’s national policy (which he had implemented, presenting the Donetsk-Krivoi Rog People’s Republic to the Ukrainian SSR). For almost half a century, the Ukrainians denied Rusins their status of a separate nationality, so the referendum held on 1 December 1991 was a shocking surprise to the rest of the Ukraine. 80 percent of those voting in Zakarpatskaya Oblast were in favour of reinstating the status of a self-governing territory. The Ukraine showed its inherently totalitarian nature by ignoring the results of the referendum. Then, the Zakarpatskaya Oblast Soviet addressed the Verkhovnaya Rada to recognise the Rusin nationality as called for in the Constitution and as expressed in the 1 December 1991 referendum. In reply, the Rada simply said, “The request hasn’t gone unnoticed… the issue is now under special consideration”.

In 1996, the instructions of the Cabinet of Ministers State Committee on Nationalities finalised a secret government “Action Plan to address the problems of Ukrainians-Rusins”. Here are just a few points from it:

  1. Clearly outline and declare the position of the Ukrainian state on the futility of the ideology of an autonomous Podkarpatskaya Rus on any cultural or ethnic basis. Distribute through the Ukrainian Embassies in Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, and Poland a series of publications in the local media regarding the Ukrainian position on “Rusinism”.
  2. Implement a system of measures aimed at strengthening the position of Ukrainianism in Podkarpatskaya Rus through language, culture, and the recruitment of proper cadres.
  3. Prevent the holding of local referenda to express “self-identification” in Ukrainian Zakarpatskaya.
  4. To implement a system of measures for ideological, material, personnel, and cultural support of Ukrainian communities in Eastern Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Poland.
  5. Expand the supply of materials in the Podkarpatskaya media focusing on the fact that this region is an ancient Ukrainian land.
  6. Apply to members of unregistered regional “Company of Podkarpatskaya Rusins” and its “provisional government” the relevant rules of current administrative and criminal legislation.


00 podkarpatskaya 03. 09.09.14


In March 2008, Ukrainian Minister of Justice Nikolai Onishchuk responded to the request of ombudsman Nina Karpachova to President Yushchenko “to recognise the Rusin nationality in Ukraine in accordance with UN recommendations” by saying, “Rusins have always been an integral part of the Ukrainian nation”. He said that despite the fact in a half-dozen countries where Rusins live together with Ukrainians, they have recognition as a separate ethnic group. In the EU, instead of the deadly stalling found in the Ukraine, Rusin magazines, newspapers, and book publishing receive government support and there are Rusin schools, including in higher education. In Hungary, there are 13 self-governing Rusin areas. Even the US State Department in its annual reports on human rights criticised the Ukraine for refusing to recognise the Rusins as a national minority. In 2006, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended that the Ukraine to recognise them as a national minority “in view of the significant differences between Rusins and Ukrainians”.


00 fr dmitri sidor. 09.09.14


Mitred Archpriest Dmitri Sidor, the head of the Sojm of Podkarpatskaya Rusins (international organisation), told me, “The official definition given by the Ukrainian Minister of Justice was the impetus for the convening the First Congress of Podkarpatskaya Rusins in June 2008”. A memorandum of the First Congress stated, “With this letter, official Kiev actually passed a ‘death sentence’ on Rusin identity in Zakarpatskaya-Podkarpatskaya Rus”. Fr Dmitri noted, “On 7 June 2008, the Congress declared to the world that the Rusin people live, that they aren’t assimilated, and that they remain a subject of international law. The Rusins are a people who’ve exercised their right to self-determination. Thus, we are only demanding our due rights in demanding recognition for our new Rusin state”.

However, the Ukraine, instead of coöperation, instead of discussing the issues peacefully, decided to terrorise the Rusins with the “club” of the SBU… threatening Fr Dmitri with an official warning about his “doubts about the Ukrainian identity of Zakarpatskaya”. When it became clear that the Ukraine wasn’t going to satisfy the legitimate demands of the Rusins, the Second Congress convened. Fr Dmitri noted, “We wanted to prevent any disruption of our peaceful assembly. The SBU flooded the Mukačevo Russian Drama Theatre, where we held the Congress, with its agents, and it brought in busloads of nationalist extremists from Lvov. Nevertheless, all 109 delegates and more than 200 guests of the Congress passed an act re-establishing the Rusin autonomy of 1938 (with the formation of a state executive power), which corresponds to the will of our people in the 1991 referendum for a special self-governing territory within the Ukraine”.

After that, the head of the SBU opened a criminal case against Fr Dmitri. On 19 March 2012, the Court of Appeal in Zakarpatskaya Oblast, as the court of first instance, found him guilty of endangering the territorial integrity of the Ukraine (although autonomy doesn’t imply a change of state borders) and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment and a suspended sentence of two years and denied him the right to legal appeal. As we can see, it happened under Yanukovich. What can the 740,000 Rusins (70 percent of Zakarpatskaya Oblast) expect from the current junta in Kiev, well, it’s best not to guess. Anatoly Sava, a member of the World Council of Rusins, said, “The Ukraine’s refusal to honour the outcome of the 1991 referendum means that Podkarpatskaya Rus can automatically secede from the Ukraine without any further ado”.  On top of that, a representative of the Magyar minority said that Magyars won’t die in the Donbass to secure the riches of the Ukrainian oligarchs. I don’t think that Slovaks, Poles, Romanians, Roma, and other minorities in Podkarpatskaya want to die in the Donbass for that either.

1 September 2014

Dmitri Skvortsov



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