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Prešov Region

Carpathian Rus/Karpats’ka Rus’


Prešov Region


Name for Rusyn-inhabited territory in present-day eastern Slovakia. It refers to approximately 300 villages, at least 50 percent of whose inhabitants were Rusyns at the outset of the twentieth century (ca. 1910). The Prešov Region is bordered on the east by *Subcarpathian Rus’ (present-day Ukraine’s Transcarpathia) and stretches westward to the village of Osturňa at the foot of the Tatra Mountains in north-central Slovakia. This territory basically falls within the jurisdiction of the *Greek Catholic Eparchy of Prešov (est. 1816), which in terms of historic Hungarian counties included the northern portions of *Spish (Hungarian: Szepes), Sharysh (Sáros), and Zemplyn (Zemplín), as well as western Uzh (Ung). The region’s name is derived from the city of Prešov, which since the early nineteenth century has been the seat of the Greek Catholic eparchy and the cultural center of Rusyns living in this part of *Carpathian Rus’. Prešov itself, however, is not within Rusyn ethnolinguistic territory.

The concept of a “Prešov Region” is of recent origin and the term began to be used only after World War I, when Rusyns living south of the Carpathians were divided by an administrative boundary, first that of *Rus’ka Kraïna under the short-lived Hungarian Republic (1918-1919), then that between the Czechoslovak provinces of Subcarpathian Rus’ and Slovakia (1919-1938)To distinguish the Rusyns under a Slovak administration from those in the theoretically self-governing Subcarpathian Rus’, the term Prešov Region (Rusyn: Preshovska Rus’/Priashivska Rus’; Russian: Priashevshchina/Priashevskaia Rus’; Ukrainian: Priashivshchyna) began to be used in the early 1920s by Rusyn civic and cultural activists. Although it was never an official term designating a specific territorial entity, after World War II Prešov Region (in the forms Priashevshchina and Priashivshchyna) was used as the name both of the newly established *Ukrainian National Council (1945-1949) and its newspaper, *Priashevshchina, some of whose supporters called for Rusyn territorial autonomy within Slovakia. Both Slovak Communist and non-Communist political and cultural activists were opposed to the term Prešov Region (there is no equivalent in the Slovak language), since it implies that there is a solidly inhabited region within “Slovak” territory within which Rusyns are a clear majority rather than a national minority. Rusyn-oriented publications, including this encyclopedia, use the term Prešov Region to refer to all villages within the present-day boundaries of Slovakia that at one time had a population of 50 percent or more Rusyns (see Maps 3 and 6).

Bibliography: Ivan Vanat, “Do pytannia vzhyvannia terminiv ‘Zakarpattia’ ta ‘Priashivshchyna’,” in Mykhailo Rychalka, ed., Zhovten’ i ukraïns’ka kul’tura (Prešov, 1968), pp. 602-603; Paul Robert Magocsi, “Mapping Stateless Peoples: The East Slavs of the Carpathians,” Canadian Slavonic Papers, XXXIX, 3-4 (Edmonton, 1997), pp. 301-331.

Paul Robert MAGOCSI

Carpathian Rus/Karpats’ka Rus’


Territory historically inhabited by Carpatho-Rusyns. It covers approximately 18,000 square kilometers located along the southern and, in part, northern slopes of the Eastern Carpathian mountain ranges, stretching about 375 kilometers from the Poprad River in the west to the upper Tisza/Tysa and Ruscova/Rus’kova rivers in the east. According to present-day boundaries this territory is divided among Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and a small part of Romania. Carpathian Rus’ may be subdivided into four regions, whose boundaries are determined by the states in which each is located: the *Lemko Region (in Poland), the *Prešov Region (in Slovakia), *Subcarpathian Rus’ (in Ukraine), and the *Maramureş Region (in Romania).

Both the concept of Carpathian Rus’ and its territorial extent have varied. During the second half of the nineteenth century scholars in the Russian Empire (Iakiv *Holovats’kyi, 1875; Ivan *Filevich, 1895; Fedor *Aristov, 1916) understood Carpathian Rus’ to include “Russian-inhabited” lands within the Habsburg Empire, that is, all of eastern Galicia and northern Bukovina as well as Ugorskaia Rus’ (i.e., Subcarpathian Rus’ and the Prešov Region in Hungary). As early as 1850 the Rusyn historian Andrei Deshko understood the term Carpathian Rus’ to include only Rusyn-inhabited lands in the Hungarian Kingdom (Subcarpathian Rus’ and the Prešov Region). At the close of World War I, however, Carpatho-Rusyn political leaders, in petitions submitted along with maps to the Paris Peace Conference (1919), defined Carpathian Rus’ to mean Subcarpathian Rus’, the Prešov Region, and, on the northern slopes of the mountains, the Lemko Region (as far east as the San River).

Paul Robert MAGOCSI