Carpatho-Rusyns - Sociopolitical Organization

From the 1940s until recently, all countries in which Carpatho-Rusyns live have been ruled by Communist governments. Since 1989, other parties have come into existence in both Poland and Czechoslovakia, where the Communist party is no longer the dominant political force.

Politicai Organization. Until recently, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia were, theoretically speaking, federal states. In the Soviet Union the Carpatho-Rusyns lived in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, in Czechoslovakia in the Slovak Socialist Republic. The basic administrative subdivision is the district or county ( raion in the former Soviet Union; okres in former Czechoslovakia; województwo in Poland). Each village has its own people's council with members elected from the local inhabitants. Heads of the village councils as well as their staff were (at least until 1989) expected to be Communist party members. The village councils carry out government policies as passed down from the federal, republic, and district levels.

Conflict. As a minority people, Carpatho-Rusyns were historically subordinate to the governments that ruled them and that, by the late nineteenth century, had tried to assimilate them. This was particularly the case in Hungary, where Magyarization policies were implemented especially in schools and cultural life. Similar policies in Poland toward the Lemkos during the interwar years culminated in the group's displacement from their native Carpathian villages between 1945 and 1947. Thus, Carpatho-Rusyn popular attitudes are marked by a sense of resentment toward Hungarians and Poles. Internally, Carpatho-Rusyn society is marked by conflict over religion (Greek Catholic versus Orthodox) and national identity (Rusyn versus Ukrainian).

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