Tutejszy (Polish pronunciation: [tuˈtɛjʂɨ]; Belarusian: Тутэйшыя, Tuteyshyya; Ukrainian: Тутешній, Tuteshniy; Lithuanian: Tuteišiai; Latvian: Tuteiši, literally meaning “locals”, “from here”) was a self-identification of rural population in mixed-lingual areas of Eastern and Northern Europe, including Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia, in particular, in Polesie and Podlasie. As a self-identification, it persisted in Lithuania’s Vilnius Region into the late 20th century.
The term entered into the scientific circulation in Poland in 1920-1930s. There are mixed opinions about the reasons, meaning, and implications of this term. The Polish census of 1931 asked respondents to identify their mother tongue. “Tutejszy” was included and was chosen by 707,000 respondents. In the Polish census of 1921 38,943 people had identified themselves as “Tutejszy”.
Report on Latvian census of 1930 describes Tutejszy as Catholic inhabitants of Eastern Latvia, who spoke Polish, Latvian and Russian equally and lacked ethnic identity (the Latvian census did not recognize these people as having a separate ethnic identity). The report notes that they could easily change their identity on a whim or after being persuaded by nationalist organizations, producing sharp changes in ethnic composition of some areas, the most noticeable changes being decrease of number of Belarusians in ten years since 1920 from 75,630 to 36,029 and number of Poles increasing more than could be explained with natural growth and immigration, suggesting that some 5,000 Tutejszy had chosen to identify as Poles. In addition uncertain number of them presumably chose to identify as Russians or Latvians.
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