|68 million est.
(57.5m Ukrainians, 10.5m Belarusians, 0.1m Rusyns)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
The English term Ruthenian, also Ruthene, also Rusyns, (Russian: Русины, Ukrainian: Русини, Руські, Belarusian: Русіны, Rusyn: Русины); Latin Ruthenia, is a well established if sometimes obsolete exonym originally used for the people of Rus, primarily the medieval kingdom of Kievan Rus', comprising parts of modern-day Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Historically, Ruthenian was the ethnonym used for the East Slavic peoples who lived in Rus'. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the term was used predominantly to refer to East Slavs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or to Ukrainians or Little Russians of the Russian Empire as opposed to Great Russians centered on Moscow. With the emergence of Ukrainian nationalism in the mid nineteenth-century, the term went out of use in what is now eastern and central Ukraine, with the western region of Ukraine later following suit in the late 19th century. In the interbellum period the term was also used in the Second Polish Republic for people from the Kresy Wschodnie. Today it is predominantly used as autonym by a small population within Slovakia, Serbia (Pannonian Rusyns), and pockets within central Europe; Ruthenian Catholic émigré populations; and a minority within Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast (within historic Carpathian Ruthenia).
Originally, the term Rusyn was an ethnonym applied to the eastern Slavic-speaking ethnic group who inhabited the cultural and ethnic region of Rus' (Русь); often written through its Latin variant Ruthenia.
The names "Ruthenians" or "Ruthenes" were the Latin terms referring to Slavic people (those who spoke the Ruthenian language) living successively in the kingdom of Kievan Rus' and then the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With borders that varied greatly over time, they inhabited the area that is now Belarus, Ukraine, eastern portions of Slovakia and Poland, and Western Russia (area around Bryansk, Smolensk, Velizh and Vyazma).
After the area of White Ruthenia (Belarus) became part of the Russian Empire, the people of the area were often seen as a sub-group of Russians, and were often referred to as "White Russians" due to a confusion of the terms "Russia" and "Ruthenia."
Later "Ruthenians" or "Ruthenes" were used as a generic term for Greek Catholic, who inhabited Galicia and adjoining territories until the early twentieth-century; this group spoke Western dialects of the Ukrainian language and called themselves Русины, Rusyns (Carpatho-Russians).
The language these "Ruthenians" or "Ruthenes" spoke was also called the "Ruthenian language"; the name Ukrajins’ka mova ("Ukrainian language") became accepted by much of the Ukrainian literary class only in the early twentieth-century in Austro-Hungarian Galicia. After the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918 the term "Ukrainian" was usually applied to all Ukrainian-speaking inhabitants of Galicia.
A number of Ruthenians who still identify under the historic Rusyn ethnonym consider themselves to be a separate national and linguistic group from Ukrainians & Belarusians. This is recognized in 22 countries around the globe. According to the 2001 All-Ukrainian Census in Zakarpattia Oblast, approximately 10,000 Rusyns reside within Ukraine.
In 1992 and 2002 the regional council of Zakarpattia appealed twice to the members of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) with a request to recognize Rusyns as a distinct nationality. In August 2006, the UN Committee on liquidation of racial discrimination urged the Government of Ukraine to recognize Rusyns as a national minority. In March 2007 the Zakarpatttia regional council recognized that ethnic group on territory of the region as a nationality.
According to the "Kommersant-Ukraine" (Ukrainian edition) on October 29, 2008 the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Zakarpattia Oblast agents questioned the leaders of Subcarpathian Rusyns Dmytro Sidor and Yevgeniy Zhupan. They were summoned to SBU as witnesses in a criminal case on the infringement on territorial integrity of Ukraine initiated in June 2008. However the investigators were interested in the circumstances and sources of financing the 2nd European Congress of Rusyns that took place on October 25, at which the memorandum on reinstating the Rusyn's statehood was signed. According to Dmytro Sidor the Rusyn's movement is financed through a medium business. At the same time Rusyn leaders claim that do not infringe on territorial integrity of the country.
The criminal case (part 2, Art.110 of the Criminal Code) was initiated right after the 1st European Congress of Rusyns took place in Mukachevo on June 7, 2008. At that particular congress it was recognized the reinstating of the Zakarpattia's special status as special "territory of Rusys to the south of Carpathians" with self-government under the constitutional name Subcarpathian Rus. On Saturday, October 29, in Mukachevo at the 2nd Congress the memorandum was signed and was intended to go into force on December 1, 2008. Until then the authorities had to start a process on recognition of the Subcarpathian Rus autonomy.
See also 
- Ruthenian (disambiguation)
- Polish–Lithuanian–Ruthenian Commonwealth
- Ukrainian Russophiles
- Encyclopædia Britannica
- (Ukrainian) "Лідерів русинів допитали в СБУ" (Leaders of Rusyns were questioned in SBU) by "GlavRed". October 30, 2008
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