Rusyns were a separate people who chose to not adopt the Ukrainian national identity ... that dates way back to some time in the nineteenth century. So, controversy surrounds the true ethnic identity of Rusyns.
Some say Rusyns are a distinct Eastern Slavic identity, separate from Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. Some group the Rusyns into the Ukrainian nation.
My fascination is purely relative in the sense that my paternal ancestry traces to the Rusyn people.
Image Credit: Our People: Carpatho-Rusyns and Their Descendants in North America.
The Rusyns People Poll
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Influence of Andy Warhol's Carpatho-Rusyn Heritage
How many Rusyns?
Of the approximately 2 million people claimed by Rusyn organizations as being Rusyns, only 55,000 declare themselves as having this nationality.
Shepherds Tending Sheep, Bucegi Mountains, Carpathian Mountains,
Transylvania, Romania Framed Art Print
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Notable Rusyn Americans
Juliya Chernetsky, Hostess of various TV shows on Fuse TV music tv network.
Sandra Dee, actress
Steve Ditko, comic book illustrator and co-creator of Spider-Man
Bill Evans, jazz musician (Rusyn mother)
Thomas Hopko, Orthodox Christian theologian
Tom Ridge, politician (Rusyn mother)
Tom Selleck, actor (Rusyn father)
Mark Singel, politician (Rusyn mother)
John Spencer, actor (Rusyn mother)
Michael Strank, soldier
Robert Urich, actor (Rusyn father)
Andy Warhol, artist
James Warhola, illustrator
Peter Wilhousky, composer
Gregory Zatkovich, lawyer and political activist
Paul Zatkovich, newspaper editor and cultural activist
Rusyn language dialect of Ukrainian?
Rusyn (less accurately referred to as the Ruthenian language) is close to the Ukrainian language-enough so that the Ukrainian government considers Rusyn merely a dialect of Ukrainian, to the resentment of some Rusyns. In the extreme west of Carpathian Ruthenia, the language approaches Slovak.
Morphophonemic Variability, Productivity, and Change (Trends in Linguistics)
On the vast, fertile plain of Vojvodina, the autonomous province of Yugoslavia's Serbia, lives a small Slavic minority, the Rusyns, whose history and, particularly, language have captivated and perplexed many a scholar, and who, despite the controversies with regard to their ethnic and linguistic origin resounding in the scholarly sanctuaries, have developed a dynamic and distinct social structure within the larger society in which they live.
Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language.
Straddling Borders: Literature and Identity in Subcarpathian Rus' - The Subcarpathian Rusyns are an east Slavic people who live along the southern slopes of the Carpathian mountains where the borders of Ukraine, Slovakia, and Poland meet. Through centuries of oppression under the Austro-Hungarian and Soviet empires, they have struggled to preserve their culture and identity. Rusyn literature, reflecting various national influences and written in several linguistic variants, has historically been a response to social conditions, an affirmation of identity, and a strategy to ensure national survival.
In this first English-language study of Rusyn literature, Elaine Rusinko looks at the literary history of Subcarpathia from the perspective of cultural studies and postcolonial theory, presenting Rusyn literature as a process of continual negotiation among states, religions, and languages, resulting in a characteristic hybridity that has made it difficult to classify Rusyn literature in traditional literary scholarship.
Rusinko traces Rusyn literature from its emergence in the sixteenth century, through the national awakening of the mid-nineteenth century and its struggle for survival under Hungarian oppression, to its renaissance in inter-war Czechoslovakia. She argues that Rusyn literature provides an acute illustration of the constructedness of national identity, and has prefigured international postmodern culture with its emphasis on border-crossings, intersecting influences, and liminal spaces. With extracts from Rusyn texts never before available in English, Rusinko's study creates an entirely new perspective on Rusyn literature that rescues it from Soviet dominated critical theory and makes an important contribution to Slavic studies in particular and post-colonial critical studies in general.
Places inhabited by Rusyns
Prior to the middle of the 19th century, all Ukrainians were referred to and known as Rusyns. Term Ukrainian is rather new and came in wide-spread use only in modern times, slowly replacing term Rusyn first on the banks of the Dnieper and later so in western Ukraine, where still into 1930s it was widely used. Today only a minority group uses it as self identity and this applies to the mountain areas of western Ukraine, namely Transcarpathia and bordering areas in Slovakia. Having not adopted Ukrainian identity like the rest of Rusyns all over the land of old core Kyivan Rus state (Ukraine) this minority group keeps using term Rusyn having developed local separate Rusyn nationalism.
Rusyns (those who keep identifying themselves so today in difference to all other Rusyns who call themselves Ukrainians today) have traditionally inhabited the area of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains and still inhabit those areas. While their homeland is often referred to as Carpathian Ruthenia, that area no longer exactly corresponds with the places inhabited by Rusyns. There are also resettled Rusyn communities located in the Pannonian plain, as well as in parts of present day Serbia (especially in Vojvodina – see also Ethnic groups of Vojvodina), as well as in present-day Croatia (in the region of Slavonia). Still other Rusyns migrated to the northern regions of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Many Rusyns also emigrated to the United States and Canada, and now are able to reconnect as a community with the advent of the internet, voicing their concerns and trying to preserve their separate ethnic and cultural identity.
More info on the Rusyn peoples
Carpatho-Rusyn Knowledge Base - This independent website, that debuted in January 1995, is the result of the support of countless fellow Rusyns worldwide as well as independent research and the efforts of many friends.
The Carpatho-Rusyns Part I - This is the first part of a general introductory article an all aspects of Carpatho-Rusyn life which we intend to run in the next several issues of the Carpatho-Rusyn American. We ran a similar series in the very first issues of our publication back in 1978. Considering the enormous changes that have taken place in the European homeland during the past few years, we feel it appropriate to provide our readers with new and updated information. This first part will deal with geography, the economy, and religion. Subsequent issues will cover language, identity, culture, and history.
The Carpatho-Rusyns Part 2 - This is the second part of a general introductory article on all aspects of Carpatho-Rusyn life which we began in the last issue of the Carpatho-Rusyn American (Vol XVIII, No. 2, Summer 1995) Considering the enormous changes that have taken place in the European homeland during the past few years, we feel it appropriate to provide our readers with new and updated information.
What is Rusyn? - >Rusyns (sometimes spelled Rusins, or called Carpatho-Rusyns signifying their villages being in the Carpathian Mountains) are one of the many nationalities/ethnic groups of Slovakia, along with Slovaks, Hungarians, Germans, and Romanies (Gypsies).
Ukrainian Rusyn Slovak What's the Frequency Kenneth? - Carpatho-Rusyns in the US often became confused as to what to call themselves. Many whose family history was from Slovak territory, adopted the name for themselves, even mistakenly referring to the liturgical language heard in church (Church Slavonic), as "Slovak."
A People without a Country - Hitler and his cronies knew of us: a people who for the most part were poor, uneducated farmers dwelling in the Carpathian Mountain regions of present day southeastern Poland, western Ukraine and eastern Slovakia - and who were targeted for extermination by the Nazis.
The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, Second Edition
This marvelous work examines Ukrainian history and politics in light of the literature of the country's nationalism.
Legends of a heroic past buttress feelings of kinship within national groups, and nationalists, consequently, look to antiquity to rally popular support. Accordingly, Wilson (Ukrainian studies, University Coll., London) surveys the myth of national origin conveyed by Ukraine's supposed biblical origins and the lays (ballads) of ancient Russia. Memories of past grievances, such as subjugation to foreign powers, typically bolster national sentiments.
Though Russia dominated the country until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukrainians take pride in their ancient culture, and the widespread use of the Russian language is a daily reminder to the Ukrainians of their traumatic past. Wilson rounds out the study by assessing the country's economic prospects and sketching a future course for Ukrainian geopolitics.
Rusyns Early Independent Statehood
Rusyns are an ethnic group that never attained the status of independent statehood, except for ephemeral Lemko-Rusyn Republic and Komancza Republic after World War I, and Carpatho-Ukraine, in existence for a few days in 1939.
Rusyns are a Modern Ethnic Group
Ruthenians, Ruthenes, Rusins, Carpatho-Rusyns, and Rusnaks are a modern ethnic group that speaks the Rusyn language and are descended from the minority of Ruthenians who did not adopt a Ukrainian national identity in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Rusyns outside Ukraine
Because an overwhelming majority of Ruthenians within Ukraine itself have adopted a Ukrainian identity, most modern self-declared Rusyns live outside Ukraine.
Controversial Ethnic Identity
The ethnic identity of Rusyns is therefore highly controversial, with some researchers claiming a separate East Slavic ethnicity distinct from Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians, while others considering Rusyns to be a subgroup of the Ukrainian nation.
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History: Rusyns : People Without a Country was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on January 20, 2008. Highest lensrank ever achieved: #2,814 overall. Lens #258 in the quest for Giant Squid 300 Club.