Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is Ruthenia rising again?
I thought it was a nation very briefly at the end of WWI (with the breakup of Austria-Hungary — the world would have been better off if they’d won) right before it voted (including votes from immigrants in America) to join Czechoslovakia. It had a flag (blue on red like the Haitian flag with the Ruthene/Rusyn badge in the middle) and an anthem, ‘Подкарпатски Русини’ (‘Subcarpathian Rusyns’), written by a 19th-century Greek Catholic priest, Fr Alexander Dukhnovich, which you can understand if you know Russian:
Оставьте вас от глубокий сом!
Народный голос зовет вам...
Наш народ, наш народ любимый
Да будет, да будет свободный!
Wake up from your deep sleep!
The nation’s (people’s) voice is calling to you...
Our nation, our beloved nation
Will be, will be free!
Worth noting:
  • In the 1940s Lemko Rusyn mountaineers in Poland were heroes who fought and lost a guerrilla war with the Communists. The Polish Communists burnt down their villages, dispersed and deported (to the USSR) their people and gave some of their Greek Catholic churches to the Polish RCs (lots of guilt to go round in that part of the world).
  • As in the Ukraine and elsewhere the Communists often put Greek Catholics under the state-controlled (literally beaten into submission) Orthodox churches, which they resisted. In the failed Czech revolution in 1968 almost all went back to the Greek Catholic Church.
  • But in Deer Hunter country (America’s Rust Belt) more than half of the Russian Orthodox are ethnic Ruthenes. Long story short: the Greek Catholic Ruthenes were brought over to be strike-breakers in the mines, the resident Irish RCs told them to get lost and most of them did, skedaddling over to their Russian cousins.
A list of famous Ruthenes begins and pretty much ends with Andy Warhol.
Sandra Dee and Robert Urich.


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