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Thread: Ruthenians and Ukrainians

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    Ruthenians and Ukrainians

    What is the difference between Ruthenians and Ukrainians?

    (I grew up in Ukraine, and I'm ashamed not to know.)

  2. #2
    Ukrainians are people who are citizens of the Republic of Ukraine, or are ethnic Ukrainians, or both.

    As far as Ruthenians are concerned, there is a wide variety of definitions, which are detailed here.

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    "Ruthenians" seems to be the Western academic/propagandist term for any of the western branches of Rus' (whether this tribal continuum was a real entity or not) as opposed to "Russians" in the modern sense; the narrowness of the definition varies though.

    Most immediately this refers to the westernmost population of trans-Carpathian Ukraine and bits of Slovakia.
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    Historically it was used in parts of Europe about the Rus', the people civilized from Kiev. Most importantly, the Habsburg empire, as they controlled land populated by such people, thus calling that land Ruthania.

    But if you hear it today, it may be a reference to a group of people in westernmost Ukraine that rejects an ukrainian identity, and has adopted the wrod for themself sepcificly. But this is new, and not to be confused with historical usage.

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    Defloratus Maximus pithorr's Avatar
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    There is a simple parallel of ancient Ruthenians to Germanic tribes for instance, which evolved to different nations like Germans, English, Danes etc.
    From Ruthenian people emerged nations like Russians, Belorusians or Ukrainians.
    It is of course the simplification, it has happened for hundreds of years in complex historical process...
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    Corporal Skovac's Avatar

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    If you are asking about Ruthenians living in Zakarpats’ka oblast’ (that are counted as separate nationality), they simply werent involved in Ukrainean national awakening because they were part of different state. Ukrainean nationalism was based on distinguishing themselves from ruling, catholic Poles (as Ukraine was part of Poland) while Transcarpatia was part of Hungary/Habsburg empire, so the matters in Poland didnt concerned them. Basicaly it is just a result of 750 years of separation of one people (until 12th century Transcarpatia was part of Kievan Rus, after its dissolution part of Kingdom of Hungary, since 1918 part of Czechoslovakia and just from 1945 part of Ukraine again)

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    Captain igen7777's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    (until 12th century Transcarpatia was part of Kievan Rus, after its dissolution part of Kingdom of Hungary, since 1918 part of Czechoslovakia and just from 1945 part of Ukraine again)
    no, it newer was the part of the Rus state, it always belonged to the owner of the carpathian basin. the ruthenians were immigrants who migrated to the unpopulated areas of the nortwestern carpathians at the 12-13th century.

    off

    Bratislava is Pozsony, not Poszony in hungarian. it's original slovakian name is Prešporok

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    In the Land of Disappointment motiv-8's Avatar
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    'Ruthenian' as I see it is a fabrication to disambiguate peoples from one another. The Eastern Slavs are basically divided into three groups, Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarussians. These groups never existed before ca. 1350, and came about primarily because of the Mongol invasion. Of course, some may see this is a gross simplification of a complicated process of ethnic divergence and crystallization, but its what I've taken from my Early Russian History course.
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    Defloratus Maximus pithorr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motiv-8
    'Ruthenian' as I see it is a fabrication to disambiguate peoples from one another. The Eastern Slavs are basically divided into three groups, Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarussians. These groups never existed before ca. 1350, and came about primarily because of the Mongol invasion. Of course, some may see this is a gross simplification of a complicated process of ethnic divergence and crystallization, but its what I've taken from my Early Russian History course.
    In the matter fact before 1350 any nation in Europe have not existed (in today standards) , not only Russian or Ruthenian but also Polish or French...
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    In the Land of Disappointment motiv-8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pithorr
    In the matter fact before 1350 any nation in Europe have not existed (in today standards) , not only Russian or Ruthenian but also Polish or French...
    Err... that depends on what you mean by "today standards". France certainly existed as distinct from England and the German lands in almost every way short of its (much increasing) territorial integrity and cohesiveness. Hungary and Poland were beginning to thrive and expand.

    Anyway, I'm not even referring to states in general, I was speaking more in linguistic or 'ethnic' terms.
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    Defloratus Maximus pithorr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motiv-8
    Err... that depends on what you mean by "today standards". France certainly existed as distinct from England and the German lands in almost every way short of its (much increasing) territorial integrity and cohesiveness. Hungary and Poland were beginning to thrive and expand.

    Anyway, I'm not even referring to states in general, I was speaking more in linguistic or 'ethnic' terms.
    Really? You've just described how the states were forming, not nations
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  12. #12
    "Nation" is pretty modern term that came with nationalism.
    Simple peasant in 1350 really didn't bother in what state he lives (and often even didn't know). Even if he identified himself with something or someone it was only his landlord-master and/or his local village population.

  13. #13
    Corporal Skovac's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by igen7777
    no, it newer was the part of the Rus state, it always belonged to the owner of the carpathian basin. the ruthenians were immigrants who migrated to the unpopulated areas of the nortwestern carpathians at the 12-13th century.
    Sorry, checked my sources again and I have to correct myself: it was under influence of Kiev until 10th century, and since then it became gradually part of Kingdom of Hungary (there was power vacum, it still took Magyars some 200 years to control the whole Basin ). But hardly unpopulated, since Slavic migration started in 6th century and by 7th century they were already spread from Oder to Volga and from Baltic Sea to Greece, so I dont see a way how would they overlook a place in the middle of this all

    Bratislava is Pozsony, not Poszony in hungarian. it's original slovakian name is Prešporok
    Thanks, i will correct it

    Quote Originally Posted by Vis(uz)
    "Nation" is pretty modern term that came with nationalism.
    Simple peasant in 1350 really didn't bother in what state he lives (and often even didn't know). Even if he identified himself with something or someone it was only his landlord-master and/or his local village population.
    I found that "middle ages didnt know the concept of nation" a modern myth. Surely it wasnt matter of simple uneducated peasants, who never left village or area where they lived so they never met someone of different customs/language. To be aware of your nationality, you have to know people of the other. But in multinational cities (like in Bohemia or Hungary) there were common "national clashes". For example King Louis of Hungary granted to city Žilina, after many appeals of Slovak citizens, special chart "Pro Slavis" (in 1381) that stated that city council will be composed of 1/2 of SLOVAKS and 1/2 of GERMANS. Another example is the founding charter of Charles University in Prague (1348), that stated how many votes will CZECH professors have and how many GERMAN professors. As you see, nationality was clearly designated.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    I found that "middle ages didnt know the concept of nation" a modern myth. Surely it wasnt matter of simple uneducated peasants, who never left village or area where they lived so they never met someone of different customs/language. To be aware of your nationality, you have to know people of the other. But in multinational cities (like in Bohemia or Hungary) there were common "national clashes". For example King Louis of Hungary granted to city Žilina, after many appeals of Slovak citizens, special chart "Pro Slavis" (in 1381) that stated that city council will be composed of 1/2 of SLOVAKS and 1/2 of GERMANS. Another example is the founding charter of Charles University in Prague (1348), that stated how many votes will CZECH professors have and how many GERMAN professors. As you see, nationality was clearly designated.
    Norman Davies says that people were "conscious of belonging...to a group possessing a local language whose members could communicate without recourse to Latin or Greek" (Europe: A History, 382).

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    My family is actually Ruthenian (we are from Mukachevo).

    Skovac was pretty much right when he said:

    "If you are asking about Ruthenians living in Zakarpats’ka oblast’ (that are counted as separate nationality), they simply werent involved in Ukrainean national awakening because they were part of different state. Ukrainean nationalism was based on distinguishing themselves from ruling, catholic Poles (as Ukraine was part of Poland) while Transcarpatia was part of Hungary/Habsburg empire, so the matters in Poland didnt concerned them. Basicaly it is just a result of 750 years of separation of one people (until 12th century Transcarpatia was part of Kievan Rus, after its dissolution part of Kingdom of Hungary, since 1918 part of Czechoslovakia and just from 1945 part of Ukraine again)"

    Basically the Ruthenians formed due to them being seperated from the rest of the western slavs by the Carpathian Mountains and political affiliation (i.e. Hapsburg) over hundreds of years.. After WWI it was supposed to be an autonomous region inside Slovakia. But after WWII, Stalin reincorperated it into Ukraine, even though most of the Ruthenian population did not want to be annexed into Ukraine. Thus you had a quasi-nationalist reaction, and thus the ethnic difference today.
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    In the Land of Disappointment motiv-8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pithorr
    Really? You've just described how the states were forming, not nations
    While I applaud you for actually making the distinction between nation and state that is so often mistaken, I must contend a couple points with your response.

    State-building in the Middle Ages and early modernity was based usually on one of two models; the multi-cultural empire ie Habsburg Austria and Ottoman Empire, and the nation-state ie France, Poland, Hungary (before 1526), Poland, Portugal, Spain. In some ways applying the term nationalism to this formation is anachronistic, in some ways not; the above-mentioned Norman Davies is particularly good at fleshing out distinctions, especially when it comes to his beloved Poland.
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    Quote Originally Posted by motiv-8
    State-building in the Middle Ages and early modernity was based usually on one of two models; the multi-cultural empire ie Habsburg Austria and Ottoman Empire, and the nation-state ie France, Poland, Hungary (before 1526), Poland, Portugal, Spain.
    This categorization doesn't really work - all the countries in both categories, with the possible exception of Portugal (although not if you include its overseas colonies), were highly multi-ethnic and essentially constructed along dynastic or political lines, rather than according to any principle of ethnic commonality.

    The closest you'd get to a definition of a "nation-state" in this timeframe is where the relevant "nation" is held to be the state's nobility - which was an idea often expressed in Early Modern Poland and France (although often had to co-exist with other legitimizing claims for the state). However, this was a manner of conceiving of "nationality" based on particularist claims to class, rights or descent, and has virtually nothing in common with what is meant by the term today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    I found that "middle ages didnt know the concept of nation" a modern myth. Surely it wasnt matter of simple uneducated peasants, who never left village or area where they lived so they never met someone of different customs/language. To be aware of your nationality, you have to know people of the other. But in multinational cities (like in Bohemia or Hungary) there were common "national clashes". For example King Louis of Hungary granted to city Žilina, after many appeals of Slovak citizens, special chart "Pro Slavis" (in 1381) that stated that city council will be composed of 1/2 of SLOVAKS and 1/2 of GERMANS. Another example is the founding charter of Charles University in Prague (1348), that stated how many votes will CZECH professors have and how many GERMAN professors. As you see, nationality was clearly designated.
    There was certainly an awareness of distinct linguistic, legal or cultural communities, particular in urban or border regions - some of which (although usually with some fudging of the specifics) can be aligned with "modern" national communities. However, the sense of "nationality" was largely devoid of the political sense of modern nation-state based nationalism, that all members of a state or political community should be of the same nation. In addition, this sentiment was often much less important than other forms of identity, based on region, class or religion.

    As both your examples show, the disputes are over the rights of specific cultural groups within existing political structures - they're more communal or ethnic struggles than strictly "national" ones. I'd also be quite interested to know exactly how "Slovaks", "Czechs" and "Germans" were defined in both of these decrees - IIRC, "Germans" where divided into "Saxon" and "Bavarian" nations in Prague University in the Middle Ages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    Sorry, checked my sources again and I have to correct myself: it was under influence of Kiev until 10th century,
    No, it was not, because it could not. The Rus state was a state of a viking originated ruling class, which assimilated to their slavic subjects. These vikings were interested in the trade between the Baltic and the Black sea, so they tried to control the trade routes between these two seas. This mean that they mostly contolled the area near the Dniepr river, and partly the area near the upper Volga river. The inner areas of the carpathian basin were absolutely not important for them, that's why they did not had any influence inside (it was even too far to reach for them). The northeastern part of the basin was the least populated area inside, none of the states which had influence in the basin tried to control it. Not the morva (? I don't know their english name) state, nor the bulgarians, it was too far for the franks, and the avar "state" (it was rather a tribal federation than a state) was destroyed by Charlemagne at 800 a.d.


    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    and since then it became gradually part of Kingdom of Hungary (there was power vacum, it still took Magyars some 200 years to control the whole Basin ).
    that 200 years were 10, but never mind. however I can accept this if you would say that it took centuries to populate the unpopulated areas, and this is important, because this happened in that area which is now zakarpatia oblast in Ukrainia. But this does not mean that this area was not under the control of the state, it was, because it was an important part of the eastern defence line of the state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    so I dont see a way how would they overlook a place in the middle of this all
    very easily, because that area did not contain any habitable land. the slavic migration went through moldova and wallachia to the south, and through poland to the west. the carpathians were a nearly impassable barrier. When the avars tried to invade to the Carpathian Basin, and attack the gepid state, they were only able to invade through the "Iron Gate pass" near the Danube, at the southern part of the basin, because the passes in the northeastern carpathians were impassable! there was a 100-200 km wide barrier of forests and mountains with absolutely no roads and paths.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skovac
    I found that "middle ages didnt know the concept of nation" a modern myth.
    no, it is not a myth. the nation not only means a group of a people who are speaking the same language. The nation is a group where people are equal, have the same traditions, etc. This did not work that way in the middle ages, however there were nations: the nobility of a kingdom was the nation of the kingdom. These nobles could be different in origin, could speak different language, but this was not important.
    Your example only shows, that the king corresponded with his subjects in that language which was the best to understand each other. As the mountaneous areas of the northern part of the kingdom was inhabited by slavs, the king communicated with them in their language.
    Last edited by igen7777; 13-04-2007 at 15:18.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan
    Ukrainians are people who are citizens of the Republic of Ukraine, or are ethnic Ukrainians, or both.

    As far as Ruthenians are concerned, there is a wide variety of definitions, which are detailed here.
    that page of wikipedia is not accurate.

    e.g. it states here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpathian_Ruthenia

    "In 981, the western border of Kievan Rus’ was redefined when Volodimir I (the Great) of Kiev signed non-aggression pacts with Bolesław I (the Brave) of Poland and Stephen I (the Great) of Hungary. "

    Well, Stephen I (and not great, but Saint) just was born at that time, he ruled from 1001...

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