MPs want exiled Carpathian Czechs compensated

Radio Praha [13-03-2008 15:03 UTC] By Dominik Jůn

Czech lawmakers have recommended that people forced to abandon their homes in Carpathian Ruthenia, when this part of Czechoslovakia was ceded to the Soviet Union at the end of WWII, be compensated. Estimates suggest that this may cost the Czech government as much as 1 billion crowns.

In 1945, at the end of WWII, Czechoslovakia regained about a third of its territory. The Sudeten regions, annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938, were formally returned to Czechoslovakia and the country’s original borders were restored. But a lesser known fact is that the country also lost part of its territory, a region known as Carpathian Ruthenia or Sub-Carpathian Rus. This territory stretched from what is the present-day eastern border of Slovakia, eastward along the Carpathian Mountains.

The sub-Carpathian region became part of Czechoslovakia when the country declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. At that time, the region was populated mostly by Ruthenians, with a small German and Hungarian population also present. In addition, there was also a tiny Czech and Slovak population, numbering less than 10,000 people. During the First Republic, Carpathian Ruthenia received substantial infra-structure investment from Prague, with new roads and railways aiding the economy of this still backward region. After the invasion of the Czech lands in 1939 by Nazi Germany, and only a day after Slovakia declared its own independence from Czechoslovakia and allied itself with Nazi Germany, the region declared independence as the Republic of Carpath-Ukraine. But its independence proved fleeting - 24 hours later, it was invaded and annexed by Hungary, an ally of Nazi Germany.

In 1944, invading Soviet troops, refused to return control of the area to the Czech authorities, and in June 1945, Czechoslovakia was forced to cede the territory to the Soviet Union. It then became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Around this time, most of the Czech and Slovak inhabitants living in the region fled the territory. At present, the region remains part of Ukraine.

The current proposals put forth collectively by the Civic and Social Democrats along with the Czech Communist party seek to compensate those that were forced to abandon their properties and possessions and flee to Czechoslovakia in 1945. The legislation recommends a maximum compensation of two million crowns to be given to either individual survivors or their families. For compensation to be received, the families must prove the value of lost property, something the government has insisted is still documented in the national archives.

Although the number of survivors directly affected by this proposal is relatively small, it is still viewed by the government as a just attempt to compensate Czechs dispossessed from their country of origin.



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Miroslaw Nahacz, dead at 23

Miroslaw Nahacz was found dead yesterday, apparently having committed suicide.

Nahacz was a Lemko from Gladyszow in the Beskid Niski but moved to Warsaw at an early age. He was a student of cultural studies at the University of Poland at the time of his death.

Nahacz burst onto the Polish cultural scene in 2003 with the publication of his first novel, Osiem czery (Eighty Four), which won an award from the Natalia Gall and Ryszard Pollak Literature Foundation. His second novel, Bombel, appeared in 2004 also to much acclaim.

Excerpts in English from both novels can be found on the
author’s website (click “English” from the menu, otherwise in Polish).

Art Papier


Il'ko on the World Congress

Il'ko: I don't believe that Rusyns from all over the world came to the World Congress. And where in Romania could they find such a big bar?

Mesačník infoRUSÍN - č. 7-8, júl - august 2007

Resolution of the Delegates of the 3rd World Forum of Rusyn Youth

23 June 2007, Maramorosh-Sighet

1. The delegates of the 3rd World Forum of Rusyn Youth (SFRM) as its most important task recognizes the admission of two new members, Rusyn youth organizations from Croatia and Romania.

2. We have taken the decision to create a website for the SFROM which would function as a press agency. And this activity will fall to groups of young people from various countries who will work on the website.

3. SFRM at its plenary meeting elected its president - Slavko Zahirsky of Poland and vice-president - Alena Blykhova of Slovakia.

4. SFRM unanimously expressed its appreciation that the president or the vice-president are now able to take part in meetings of the World council of Rusyns, with voting rights.

5. The work of the SFRM at its first meeting resolved that its next meeting will be held in the fall of 2007 in Presov in Slovakia.

Photo: President of the World Council of Rusyns Paul Robert Magocsi with the new president of the Council of the World Forum of Rusyn Youth Slavko Zahirsky of Poland and Vice-President Alena Blykhova of Slovakia.

Orthodox Ruthenians protest against American NMD in Transcarpathia

Uzhgorod, July 16, Interfax - The Ruthenians oppose plans to set up American NMD in Rovna and Stoj planes, the Ruthenian leader Archpriest Dimitry Sidor, speaker of the Sojm (Ruthenial national assembly) and rector of the Holy Cross cathedral in Uzhgorod, said.

'Most Ruthenian groups decided to campaign for declaring Transcarpathia demilitarized zone, where only hotels and sanatoriums may be built,' Fr. Dimitry told Interfax.

He said that in 1980s he protested against large radar constructed near Mukachevo, Transcarpathian Region.

'But how could I predict that Americans would come to replace the Soviets with their military bases!' he said.

Commenting the schism of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the speaker of the Ruthenian Sojm said that the Ukrainian people 'really valued their belonging to the canonical Orthodoxy' and would never leave the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate 'regardless of any political processes in Ukraine.'

'The Ruthenians consider Filaret's schismatics as cultist who may be accepted into the Church only if they repent,' he said.

The Ruthenian language, he added, is very close to the Church Slavic, 'so we do not have the worship-language problem that is known in Russia and especially in Ukraine.'