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1. Ruthenians or Ruthenes- group of Slavic tribes living in Eastern Europe between the Black Sea (south) and the White Sea (north). Their name first appears in the 9th century AD. The most important tribes were (according to the Primary Chronicle): the Polans (the area around Kiev), the Volhynians (Volhynia), the Dregovichs (Drehovichs) (Polesie, Belarus, Ukraine), the Drevlians, the Radimichs, the Krivichs, the Ilmen Slavs.

2. Ruthenes - inhabitans of Ruthenia - Rus. In general Ruthenes means all people speaking East Slavic languages.

3. Ruthenes - former name for Ukrainians.

4.Ruthenes (also called Rusyns, Rusins, Rysin, Carpatho-Rusin, Russniaks) are several East Slavonic ethnic groups speaking dialects related to Ukrainian. There also exists a Rusin national movement considering national unity of those groups as a separate Slavonic ethnic group with language related to the Ukrainian and Slovak. They inhabit the Carpathian Ruthenia region of western Ukraine and parts of Slovakia and Poland. Main groups of Ruthene Higlanders in the former Galician Carpathians are called ( from west to east) Lemko (Poland), Bojko (Ukraine), Hucul(Ukraine).

A note on History

The mountain areas of the Carpathians were settled down since the 14th century in the process of Wallachian colonization. Eastern Slavic populations engaged in the colonization were known as Ruthenes.

Untill 18th century all Ukrainian speaking peoples (however this name have not appeared in national sense till beginning of 19th century) were named as Ruthenians (Ruthenes) (in Poland) and Little Ruthenians or Little Russians, Maloross (in Russia) and their language was known as Ruthenian (Malorossian). In the first decades of 19th century the Ukrainian national movement was created and Ruthenian inteligencia from Lvov and Kyiv started to call themselves Ukrainians and did not use name of Ruthenians any more. Hovewer some Ruthenian ethnic groups living at the borders of Ruthenian (Ukrainian) language territory (for example Carpatho-Ruthenians, Don Cossacks, Poleshuks, Ruthenians of Podlasie) was not fully included into creation of the Ukrainian nation. Some of them continued to call themselve Ruthenians. In contrary to Ukrainian national movement, modern Ruthenian movement was based on the concept of unity with Russians. In this sense Carpatho-Ruthenians represent typical ethnicity of borderland and their national awakening is negation of Ukrainian nationalism. Carpatho-Ruthenian national movement is especially strong amongst those Ruthenian groups that became early geographically separated from Ukrainian ethnic territory (for example Ruthenian settlers in Serbia, emigrants in USA and Canada). It should be noted that majority of Ruthenian speakers from Carpathian Mountains area consider themselves as Ukrainians or have separate (other than Ukrainian or Ruthenian) ethnic consciousness (for example Lemko).

Throughout history they were regularly assimilated by neighbouring larger Slavic peoples (Russian, Polish and Ukrainian) whose national states encompassed the Ruthenian regions. With the onset of the Internet, some of the Ruthenian emigrees to the west acquired a vehicle to voice their concerns and try to preserve their separate ethnic and cultural identity.

During the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (18th and 19th centuries), some Ruthenians moved to what are now the northern regions of Serbia (Voivodina) and Croatia (Slavonia). There they are called by the name Rusins.

Warning: While reading the sources listed below, as well as sources of Ukrainian and Polish origin, one has to be careful to recognize the underlying interest of each of these groups supporting their own national mythology by selective presentation of information and the inter- and extrapolations favorable to that mythos.


Carpatho Rusyn Web Page including Lemko, Bojko, Hucul pages