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Ethnic Ruthenes of sub-Carpathian Ukraine demand autonomy

December 23, 2016, 2:22 UTC+3 KIEV

The Ruthenes are an indigenous sub-Carpathian people. Ukrainian authorities do not consider them to be a separate ethnos and continue calling them Ukrainians

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People in traditional Ruthene outfits

People in traditional Ruthene outfits

© TASS archive

KIEV, December 22. /TASS/. Activists of a Slavic ethnic group known as Ruthenes or Rusyns who reside in the Trans-Carpathian (sub-Carpathian) region of Ukraine have turned to President Pyotr Poroshenko with a demand to recognize the results of a regional referendum held in 1991 where 78% residents of the region voted for granting it the status of a self-governed region.

"We have two main demands - to recognize the Rhuthenes as an ethnos and to acknowledge the regional referendum of 1991 where 78% sub-Carpathians voted for the region’s getting the status of a self-governed territory within Ukraine," Vesti publication quoted Ivan Palinkash, the leader of the Ruthene movement and a member of presidium of the People’s Council of Sub-Carpathian Ruthenes.

Natalya Magalina, a deputy of the Uzhgorod district council told a meeting of leaders of Ruthene ethnic organizations it was important to maintain the Ruthene language by establishing minimal norms for broadcasts in the native tongue over the state regional TV Channel Tisa-1.

This is not the first time that the Ruthenes of the sub-Carpathian area are asking the Kiev government to recognize the outcome of the referendum held 25 years ago. The Coordination Council of Ruthene Organizations of the Trans-Carpathian Region turned to the central authorities with the same requirement the previous time in the summer of 2015.

It was also in the summer of 2015 that the activists of Ruthene organizations adopted an appeal to the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the UN, as well as to the parliaments of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to wield pressure on President Poroshenko and to force the Ukrainian government towards accepting the results of the referendum.

The Ruthenes are an indigenous sub-Carpathian people. Ukrainian authorities do not consider them to be a separate ethnos and continue calling them Ukrainians, although the UN has issued recommendations more than once to recognize their status as a separate ethnos.

More than that, Kiev accuses the leaders of Ruthene organizations of making appeals for encroachments on the territorial integrity of the country.

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