Andy Warhol

















Paiting Art




Sing Song






He didn’t live to see his last book


15 Years of Truth in the Mirror of Time and Era

After 15 Years, the Editorial Flower Still Alive

For many pages and blessed pens!

The Difficulties with Issuing Rusyn Newspapers Should Not Split Rusyns up

“Wake up, Rusyns, So That Your Sons and Daughters Do Not Get Lost, So That the Graves of Your Fathers Do Not Cry!“

The Power of Mother Tongue

Is fifteen years a Lot or Few?

Thank You, Narodne Novînky

In the Beginning There Was RUSÎN

In Celebration of Rusyn Narodne Novînky

Holos Rusîniv (The Voice of Rusyns) grew into Rusîn and Narodny Novînky

We were young and had ambitions...

On the Platform of Cyrillic and Independence


Narodnî novînky

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7/2015 8/2015 9/2015 10/2015 11/2015 12/2015




He didn’t live to see his last book


The second part of Бібліоґрафії русиньскых народных співанок і народной творчости Русинів выходного Словеньска (Bibliographies of Rusyn Folk Songs and Spoken Word of the Rusyns of Eastern Slovakia) stayed unfinished in the publishing house. Who are we talking about? PhDr. Michal Hirjak, CSc., who, as a consequence of a severe and malicious illness, deceased on March 20th, 2007 and to whom we said our last goodbyes on March 23rd, 2007 in the Chapel of Rest in Prešov. His soul has found its peace and his remains, according to his last will, were buried in his home village of Pichňa in the Snina region, where he was born on November 27th, 1933.


Life runs like an impetuous horse and we do not even have the time to live, meet each other, or talk to each other. We did not even have the time to visit him in the hospital... It is sad, but there is nothing we can do now to make up for it, but we promised that his work will not be in vain, after all, apart from his last book that was left in the publishing house, he issued a treasure trove of publications, which will stay here for future generations. Whether it was a number of books of children’s stories, anthologies of folk spoken word, folk calendars, or numerous journalistic and academic articles in the area of ethnography. In each of his works there is a piece of him, that is how he gave himself and it was not for nothing. His descendants, the future generations, will find the golden seeds in his works and read them. His name is already inscribed on the Rusyn pantheon, he will be talked about in encyclopaedias, textbooks and monographs, which already happened while he was alive, and this is not the case with everybody.


In his life, M. Hirjak did a lot, apart from writing and working in the editorial office all his life long, he taught and educated the young generation at the Philosophical Faculty in Prešov, the P. J. Šafárik University in Košice, for many years, where he gave interesting lectures and seminars in the area of Rusyn folklore in Slovakia. What he knew, he also tried his best to pass onto his students. Surely, he will be remembered by many and they will always think good of him. After all, it was him who helped them explore the world of knowledge, to live a life full of productive work, and that means a lot. He also helped his children – son Slavo and daughters Taňa and Ľudka, whom he brought up with his wife Anna. For them, his passing is most poignant, as in them, his children, his blood flows. That is why their sorrow cannot be compared with our sorrow, or the sorrow of his long-term friends and colleagues.


M. Hirjak, from the very first days of the existence of our Rusyn Narodny Novînky and the magazine Rusîn, became an active correspondent, colleague, author of a number of books, which were published in cooperation with our editorial office. His contribution is undisputable, his work is rooted in hundreds of pages written in Rusyn. That is where his awakened self is, where his message should be looked for, where the treasure of spoken word of our Rusyn predecessors, which he collected, can be found. Thanks go to him for what he did for his Rusyn nation. Let’s not forget it!

Vičnaja Tobi pamjať! (Always in our hearts and minds.)

Alexander ZOZUĽÁK, Photo by the author, March 26th, 2007









The cover of the zero edition of Rusîn, which was released in June 1990 and issued by the Andy Warhol Association in Medzilaborce under the leadership of Michal Bycko.


15 Years of Truth in the Mirror of Time and Era


Although every ordinary man is proud of their roots and ancestry, and then they feel like concealing their origins. Not long ago, I met a Professor of Art Theory from Canada and he, while we were drinking beer, told me: „In your country, everything is so beautiful, so lovely, and special ..., even women, but everything is so cheap!.“ Naturally, it hurt me a bit and I countered that cheapness and rarity can be very close in Canada, as well as in our country. I was not successful, though; he had more arguments to provide. Unfortunately.


Our “national cheapness “, by means of the ontogenesis of our nation, has not lost its edges, but, on the contrary, mutates, takes on new negative social-economical “manners“ of the transforming system. Moral prostitution has become natural and if you happen to wonder why it is, everybody would find you at best “weird”. Mother History changes its face according to the approach of “academic people” as those in power (or temporary superiority) wish. Simply status quo of nowadays as well as “quo vadis Ruthenia?“


15 years ago, in the eyes of many of those who are considered “revivalists“ nowadays, some Rusyn “fools“, messers Zozuľák, Kaliňák, Guba, Ing. Bicko, Ing. Roháč, Cepko, Chomča, Fecura, Bycko, Father Krajňák, Dr. Turok and so on; in the “Velvety mist“, “made up their minds to“ try to play the strings of moral and ethnic awareness of “Rusnaks”. In the times when many cared about how to “hang” these guys (among them also “revivalists” of nowadays); they stood in frost and snow and, in public, risking to at least get a thick ear, literally spread words to save  Rusyn writing, speech, customs and traditions. No Canadian professor, no Slovak professor, assistant professor and so on, showed their heads from “their trench” to say in public who we are. They patiently watched TV at home, wearing slippers, and waited to see what comes of the “To je ono!“ (“That’s it!” – a well-known rallying cry of the Velvet Revolution – translator’s comment), whether there will be something for them, too and if not, they were not there, their hands are clean. The blind democracy in form of anarchy and chaos decoction..., like never before, gave a chance to everybody, even the last “human vermin” to shine in public as the sunny side of the era. The unclear, bad, chaotic era, the times like foul water, the best for fishing. And those real “masters of revolution”, they as if had overslept and did not even notice that the moss of hypocrisy and suit-changing has overgrown them and, as “Out of sight, out of mind” is still true, they were forgotten. Just like Mrs Maďarová, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, who, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the museum’s establishment remembered not even one of its founders, as if the museum had been in this world only since she was appointed the director. However, the museum was born in the same “nappy” with VPN (Verejnosť proti násiliu – Public Against Violence, a political party of the Revolution of 1989 – translator’s comment), the Rusyn Revival, the magazine Rusín... Similarly, a Canadian professor included in the “who’s who” names of all and sundry, but did not even mention those who, risking their own safety and the safety of their families, actually set something up. And to contribute a little to the opinion of our “cheapness” described in the troublesome image of nowadays; today, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the magazine Rusín, I would like to and I have the right or even the obligation to say:


RUSYNS, you may have come from “fish “, “pike“, or “lobster “; you might be “hyphenated“, or “non-hyphenated“ (I am saying this being motivated by dividing Rusyns into “heaps“, which happens nowadays and why gradually NOTHING will be left of Rusyns!!!); intelligent, simple or even stupid, (Please God forgive me, but everywhere there are also stupid people); Greek-Catholic, Orthodox or atheists...,  THAT IS THE TRUTH.


All that has its continuation in form of the Rusyn Revival, Rusîn, Narodne Novînky Press, InfoRusin, etc. ..., was originated in Medzilaborce in the times of the “Velvet Revolution“. Here, with the best intention and in the nicest way possible, the basis for the sake of Rusyns, their culture, belief and language were laid. Here, important plans were cooked up; the plans how to avoid assimilation (which is already here), how to keep the Cyrillic alphabet, schools... Those men who I have mentioned were there. I am still, thank God, a living witness and I will impart this image of the truth as it happened. Even if anyone tried to deny all this and write a bastardised history of the Rusyn Revival after the “Velvet Revolution”, the truth is what it is. You can deny anything in you, if nothing else, you will stay, in spite of everything, one of our golden children, as all that forms the substance of all Rusynity in Slovakia, as well as your active work (good or worse...), is the product of thoughts and courage of those November days and nights in 1989. The only facts that might be different are those that I have forgotten to mention, that is why I apologise in advance (after all, I was not given enough space for my statement to be more detailed), but I have said the “pillar“ of the truth with the main “supporting constructions“ not only of the Rusin magazine origination... I thank everybody for the GOOD that has been done for Rusyns and I criticise others for what could have been done and was not (being also self-critical!!!). Either way, I disdain all artifice, paranoia and mendacity that serves to someone as gloss for fame, often at the expense of humiliating “God’s true warriors“.


I wish the editorial office of Rusín (just like to a child of mine, as it came into being in Medzilaborce and I was there) a lot of readers, more cultivated content of higher quality, less “storms in teacups“ on its pages, more intellectual spirit, a broad-spectrum of culture and arts, and so that we could be presented to the world as real people with souls, brains, culture, art and science.                                                    

Dr. Michal BYCKO, PhD.


The front page of the first edition of Narodny Novînky Press,

issued on August 21st, 1991.


The front page of the celebratory edition of Narodny Novînky Press,

issued on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Rusîn and Narodny Novînky Press

on August 21st, 2006.

After 15 Years, the Editorial Flower Still Alive



Why such a title and subtitle? Those who read the Narodne Novînky Press know what I am talking about. Five years ago, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of our newspaper, I wrote an editorial entitled “The Bubble Has Not Burst Even After 10 Years” (at the beginning of their existence, our and your Narodne Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn were named “a bubble“ by the so-called Rusyn-Ukrainians):”You might not believe me, but yesterday, looking at a map of Greece and its islands, I found a small island situated between Turkey and Crete called Karpathos. Jokingly, I said to myself that we, Rusyns from under the Carpathian Mountains, should go there, as we have a lot of problems with our “relatives” Rusyn-Ukrainians or just Ukrainians. There, we would finally live and work in peace and we would leave behind those Rusyns who do not help the other Rusyns but impede and harm them. And this also applies to some members of the Rusyn Revival and the Association of Rusyn Intelligentsia in Slovakia....“ And these words are still “half-topical”, even at the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the above-mentioned Rusyn periodicals. Why “half”–topical? Because we have no more problems with so-called Rusyn-Ukrainians or Ukrainians, we do not “fight” with them anymore, they have their own business and we have ours. But the second part of the quoted statement is still current; the situation concerning the “pests” from the side of some leading members of the Rusyn Revival in the Slovak Republic and the Association of Rusyn Intelligentsia in Slovakia, has become even more pressing. And this is rather tragic in the Rusyn movement, although it might be natural; as where there is no “outer enemy” to fight, a fight within the actual movement (and not just the Rusyn movement) arises. This is what has become evident over the past five years, when the fight of our “pests“ has intensified and sharpened, about which our “former enemies” (some leading Rusyn-Ukrainian or just Ukrainian representatives) can be happy. And this is to harm not just us, our editorial office but also the civic association Rusín and Ludove Noviny Press, and the whole Rusyn movement, the Rusyns in Slovakia generally. I do not want to go into detail, as about many of them you could read and learn from the pages of Narodny Novînky Press. I just want to say that we have reached the stage when our enemies, “the pests of the editorial flower“, have come so far that the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia is now in court with our civic association. The Rusyn Revival is lead by the main organiser of this work, “the chief pest“ from the leadership of the Association of Rusyn Intelligentsia in Slovakia, who uses for his personal objectives “minor pests” from the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia, who have been joined by other “Stefan’s-pests“ from the leadership of the Russian Club – 1923, now the Russian Club 1923 Foundation in Prešov...


But today, when we celebrate a jubilee of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn, I do not feel like dealing with this situation, which was also indirectly helped by the leading representatives of the Slovak Ministry of Culture, who passed the buck saying: you can solve it on your own; or, this is how you yourselves have solved it (I especially mean the solution of the Rusyn National Minority Committee as an advisory organ of the Ministry of Culture, which suggests dividing the state grant for the development of Rusyn culture). Yes, we have “solved” it like we have solved it... But in spite of bad soil, in spite of pests, the editorial flower is still alive, it is growing and blossoming. And this is not only thanks to the flower’s immunity, but also the help of those who now and then water the flower and fertilize its soil, so that it could keep growing and flourishing. By this I mean you, our loyal readers, subscribers, correspondents, co-workers and benefactors, to whom big thanks go for not letting the editorial flower die. The flower is alive and pleases its many well-wishers, but saddens many naysayers! And this flower will be how we have raised it together, it will not change; whether someone likes it or not. Whether we can keep feasting our eyes on it, depends on our viability but also your care.


Just like at its 10th jubilee, I called the editorial a SMALL ISLAND OF RUSYNITY; now the analogy with a FLOWER came to my mind. But whether it is a birth of an island or a flower, the facts stay facts; and I am going to delve into the past a bit. And it will not be anything new if I say that the ISLAND or FLOWER was born on the “Ukrainian ground of Nove žytťe (The New Life) and the Association of Rusyn-Ukrainians of Czechoslovakia, where, after the revolutionary wave in 1989, a page and later several pages in Rusyn – Holos Rusîniv (The Voice of Rusyns) – started to be published. Then, in Medzilaborce, the zero and first issue of Rusîn was released; which happened with the help of us, “the Rusyns in a Ukrainian river“. The big fish from ZRUČS, though, criticised me for sitting on the fence between the Ukrainian and Rusyn side; and although we are of one Rusyn  origin, some did not realise the times have changed – nobody will order us around... (then, we meant the leadership of ZRUSR, now ROSR and ZIRS).


And that is how the seeds of hostility were sown and there were no regrets, it was just needed to separate the “Rusyn rotten fish from the pedigree Ukrainian fish“. It has been done, and we are thankful for that, because in this way, the ice on the stagnant waters could break more easily. (That can be said about the Rusyn Revival of the past five years; however, the “pedigree fish” was this organisation, for a change; at least, its leadership thinks so, and we are still the “chaff”, which needs to be got rid of! This is how those from the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia and “shark Janko“ are thinking.)


But becoming and being the river, the island, the flower, that is to the credit of the editorial staff, and also some “fish from Ukrainian waters“...  Surely, we cannot omit (in a good sense) all our colleagues, correspondents and readers, especially those who have helped us to create and develop the island of Rusynity or grow its flower, those who stayed loyal even in the hardest times and until now. Thanks for preserving and nourishing the island (flower) go especially to the members of our small editorial team. And last but not least to those Rusyn businessmen who have supported us financially. And to make it complete, we have to mention the state support, especially the Slovak Ministry of Culture; without the foundation of which we would have “suffocated as fish without water” (or dried out as a flower) a long time ago.



This is what, on this festive day,

Alexander ZOZUĽÁK, editor in chief


For many pages and blessed pens!


To work for the nation is holy work. This is also what Rusyn editorial staff were thinking at the beginning of the 1990s when they started to publish Narodne Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn. It is not a long time ago but the balance sheet brings high spirits.


The editorial team has not changed its personnel, but, over the years, Narodne Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn have improved their contents in the quality of the published materials. A literary appendix entitled Pozdraľiňa Rusîniv was created, the proposal to which I handed in to the editor-in-chief A. Zozuľák over a decade ago and he willingly brought it to practice. Shame though that the literary appendix is issued rather irregularly.


Narodne Novînky Press and Rusîn, from the very beginning, mobilised me to start writing in Rusyn, which happened soon afterwards. The folk language of everyday use, with which we enter the world – is the first phenomenon of thinking and speaking. It came to my mind that I could use it as an instrument of literary communication. And that is how I was born “literary”, for the second time. This is also why Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn should be honoured.


A man often realises what harm has been done to him only after it is over. And that is why we have to try not to let it happen. The same I expect from Mr Zozuľák and the whole editorial office. Do your piece of work with such zest so that we do not have to be sorry for you but so that we admire you.


Better years come in turn with worse years and there were such years when the editorial was not given a crown from the state. It was necessary to look for sponsorship but Saša Zozuľák with his team would walk around like the apostles in the past on Holy Ground. From one door to another. Shame aside – the Christ also preached to his disciples: Knock and the door will open, ask and you will be given. And the newspaper and the magazine were saved. Well, it is easier said than done but they all have showed they can stick to their guns. For a good cause, which, in the end, is the uplifting of the Rusyn national culture.


One day, when Rusîn and Narodne Novînky Press will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their foundation, the followers of today’s editors will commemorate their nation-loving deeds. The newspaper will have a high printing rate, its own printing press, technical equipment of high quality and their own editors will just be peppered around. Today’s conditions of the editorial work will seem petite; however, no follower will make fun of it. Let us, contemporaries, honour these people, which they truly deserve.


Na mnohaja strán a blahaja per, bratia a sestry!

(To many pages and blessed pens, brothers and sisters!)


Mgr. Štefan SUCHÝ,

A methodologist of Rusyn language, writer, laureate of the Alexander Dukhnovich Award for Rusyn Literature

The Difficulties with Issuing Rusyn Newspapers Should Not Split Rusyns up


On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the emergence of Narodne Novînky Press and Rusîn, I would like to congratulate their editorial office and to wish the editorial team good health, personal happiness, a lot of creative strength, and also a lot of active and loyal readers and correspondents.


I am looking forward to every issue of Narodne Novînky and Rusîn, knowing I will learn the most topical information about Rusyn life and I will also find articles on the most frequently discussed problems that trouble Rusyns. I am convinced that Narodne Novînky Press have their irreplaceable position in the Rusyn press in Slovakia! And although we can meet an opinion that this newspaper is not needed, I do not agree with those who say that. I think that also the monthly periodical InfoRusîn and the cultural-religious bimonthly Rusîn have their position in the Rusyn periodical press. And if someone started to issue another serious and well-founded periodical, no harm would be done. Nowadays, competition is needed and no activities or initiatives of those who are willing and able to do something for Rusyns should be disapproved of. No problem with issuing newspapers should tear Rusyns apart.


Narodny Novînky Press was founded in the times when the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia was originated and it is an inherent part of its history. Narodny Novînky has helped to push forward the interests of the Rusyn Revival since its establishment, to realise its goals and present the opinions of us, Rusyns, to the naysayers of Rusynity and those who wanted to liquidate the Rusyn Revival at the very beginning. Narodny Novînky Press has survived 15 years in uneasy financial conditions, but managed to be issued as viable press. And we were actually lucky to have Narodny Novînky, as the ideas and goals of the Rusyn movement without a newspaper, without a public medium would equal a discussion “with nobody”. The main credit at the 15-year existence of Narodny Novînky Press goes to its editorial staff and especially its editor-in-chief Mgr. Alexander Zozuľák. The major burden and responsibility to maintain the newspaper and the magazine Rusîn, to publish their every issue; have always been on his shoulders. It is said that he who does nothing, cannot spoil anything and those who work, also make mistakes. It is valid in general, and also about the work of the editorial of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn. There are things to be corrected, improved in their work, whether it concerns the contents of the periodicals, broader variety of articles, the amount of information about the life of Rusyns. Surely, the editorial team with their head are aware of it. Naturally, a lot depends on the finances, although this issue can be influenced only to some degree. We hope that the new government and the new upcoming law about financing national minorities will bring some positive changes also in solving the problems connected with publishing Narodny Novînky.


As far as the future of Narodne Novînky is concerned, I am an optimist and I believe in its further successful existence for the sake of the ethnic, cultural, and social life of us, Rusyns in Slovakia.



A former member of the executive committee and spokesman of the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia

“Wake up, Rusyns, So That Your Sons and Daughters Do Not Get Lost, So That the Graves of Your Fathers Do Not Cry!“


Not so long ago I came across the latest issue of the Christian magazine Blahovistnîk and the first sentence to attract my attention was: “Wake up, Rusyns, so that your sons and daughters do not get lost, so that the graves of your fathers do not cry!”

These or similar words might have been the motto of the first newspaper in Rusyn with the idea to enhance the Rusyn nation so that it does not get lost.


Now, it has been 15 years since the foundation of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn and that is the time to recapitulate, the time to look back and see the beginnings of the editorial work, to see how many plans there were, and how much willingness to work. There was a team of people who pulled the same end of the string and moved in the same direction. Surely, it was not easy to start from nothing, from square one, just with enthusiasm to work for the nation. But it might have been the reason for having done so much positive work.


For a nation, it is very important to have their newspapers published, to be able to read their mother tongue printed. Children are able to study and read in Rusyn also thanks to Narodny Novînky and its appendix Rusalka, students have the space to realise themselves and write in Rusyn. It is a big issue which cannot be paid for and although it does not often seem to be the case, it is a hard job that must often face a lot of various problems. It should be emphasised that, from the very beginning, it has been the first and only periodical to openly, without censorship, write and fight against slovakisation in the church, which was not even mentioned in the official independent mass media. From the editorial office, a lot of books have come out – academic literature as well as prose and poetry; and textbooks and children’s books are published too. From the very beginning, the Rusyn editorial was the place for the Rusyn intelligentsia and students to meet and work.


Not everything can be mentioned here, but, during those 15 years, a lot of good work has been done, which can be seen in all spheres of the Rusyn movement. But you cannot mention one without the other. It is said that you forget as time goes by and remember just the good. But you should also learn something from the good, so that you do not fall asleep on your laurels. Rusyns have this flaw that makes them lament and discuss over and over how things used to be in the past or what is necessary to be done, but, in the meantime, they oversleep and do nothing. However, no one will wait for Rusyns to wake up.


It is true that nobody has been sleeping here but we still have to be alert. We must not forget the good that used to be here, but, most importantly, we must not forget to live and think ahead. So let the words “Wake up, Rusyns, so that your sons and daughters do not get lost, so that the graves of your fathers do not cry!” be a maxim for everybody. They might be sharp words, but they give a true picture of the Rusyn movement of nowadays. After all, they are words of Rusyns themselves (common Rusyns, not those “educated” ones), who see and feel what is going on around them, who are like pharmacist’s scales: they show the smallest disturbance, the tiniest whiff in the intelligentsia circles. I think it is a rescue call of the nation.  


I wish the whole editorial a lot of strength in further work, enthusiasm and courage and so that it does not fall asleep, but cheerfully continue the started work to glorify Our Father and ensure welfare for our nation „ that our children do not get lost and our fathers’ graves do not cry“. Because the work has not been finished, we are still at the beginning and there is still a lot to do. And the work for our nation has never been and never will be easy.

Mgr. Alena BLICHOVÁ,

Chairperson of the Association of Rusyn Youth in Slovakia

and  Deputy of the World Forum of Rusyn Youth

August 21st, 2006

The Power of Mother Tongue


Only one writing in his mother tongue speaks to a broad community, he can experience and feel its power, its influence on those who he is addressing, be it in speaking or writing.


A natural way of connecting people, apart from other mass media, is surely newspapers and magazines. In this case, we are talking about our Rusyn Narodny Novînky and the magazine Rusîn. For 15 years, they have in writing talked not only to Rusyns in Slovakia but in the whole world. During those years, the newspaper and the magazine have been trying to help Rusyns to find themselves in their autonomy and identity. They do not misguide, they advice and help. And they have not stopped, although they have been criticised and almost been liquidated. By whom? By naysayers and people who would like to “preach“ to our Rusyns, but, doing that, they keep forgetting a very important thing: If someone wants to write or talk to Rusyns of in Slovakia and in the world, most importantly, they should be aware of normative, standard Rusyn language, which was codified in 1995. And they should also write in the Cyrillic alphabet, not in Latin. That is what was approved at the codification and as far as I know, there was no further official codification. Until these people are aware of that, they have no right to interfere and attack people who, for 15 years, have been helping our Rusyns and who have stayed loyal to our native Cyrillic!!!


To their 15th birthday, I wish our Narodny Novînky and Rusîn, which mean a lot to me, to be able to keep helping Rusyns in the homeland and abroad in their ethnic life, in maintaining and developing the beautiful Rusyn traditions and great treasure we were given by our ancestors. Let nobody take or destroy it!


Deputy of the Rusyn Cultural-Educational Association of Alexander Dukhnovich

August 21st, 2006

Is fifteen years a Lot or Few?


When fifteen years have passed, it is a time worth looking and  casting our minds back. In 1991, I shyly wrote my first letter to your editorial, awaiting what will follow. To this letter I also attached a poem entitled “Nezabúdajte, deti” (Do not forget, children). The poem was published in Narodny Novînky and I was very pleased, as it was my first poem published in our newspaper. I kept writing articles and poems, and they were gradually published in Narodny Novînky and Rusîn. And that is how my correspondent’s work started.


Then, after 1989, our Rusyn nation was abandoned like a homeless person, left with nothing. And it was no one else but your editorial office, which started to fulfil its mission. You started to issue Narodny Novînky and the magazine Rusîn. There, articles were written in our mother tongue, in Rusyn. It was a great gift for our people. Although you were fighting serious problems and imperfections, the major thing missing was money. You did not surrender, but, with sacrifice have continued in serving our nation, for which you deserve warm and deep thanks.


Gradually, the group of readers started to cast its net wider. Narodny Novînky Press and the magazine Rusîn have been improving. They have been bringing information from various areas of Rusyn life not only in Slovakia, but also abroad, where Rusyns also live. They have started to fulfil their mission and I hope they will keep on.


Is 15 years a lot or few? In human life it is not long, but in the life of the Rusyn printed word it is a nice age. To the following 15-year period, I wish you all in the editorial office good health, lots of happiness and energy at your hard and responsible work for all Rusyns.

Štefan SMOLEJ,

Rusyn writer

August 21st, 2006


Thank You, Narodne Novînky


There is a wise old proverb saying that great is not the one who starts the work, but the one who keeps on through troubles and complications. We could also say that about the history of the first post-revolution issue for Rusyns in Slovakia entitled Rusîn and Narodny Novînky. For 15 years, they have been enriching the national-educational field for our Rusyn nation with their work.


On the occasion of the significant jubilee of our Narodne Novînky Press and Rusîn, I decided to briefly consider my relationship towards the above-mentioned issues. I was very lucky to learn about the work of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn while I was a student of the Pedagogical Faculty, University of Prešov. Many times, the nice editorial team welcomed me in their premises with caring words and not once gave me precious advice. In Narodne Novînky, I was given a chance to publish in my mother tongue and, in this way, I could meet the codified Rusyn language. In my opinion, Narodny Novînky Press was of great importance in forming my national awareness. Thank you, Narodne Novînky, that through you I could find out who I am.


The quarterly appendix Rusalka, aimed at children and youth, which has been published for six years, is surely an individual chapter in the history of Narodny  Novînky. Rusyn youth was in this way given a chance not just to read but also create and publish their own works. And, as we can see, the number of young correspondents and emerging writers is increasing. In Rusalka, you can find interesting articles, contemplations, poems, experiences, and narrations, the authors of which are our young people. Even though, from the very beginning, Rusalka was a thorn in the side for many, it has been issued until this day and still has its correspondents, which shows how important Rusalka is for young people. I try to publish in each issue of Rusalka and, at the lessons of Rusyn, I also try to get my students to write articles and poems. Writing articles, which they can later read in Rusalka, is very motivating for them, just like it was for me in the past.


The editorial team under the leadership of Alexander Zozuľák has a great responsibility for publishing Narodny Novînky Press. It is necessary to praise them for saving Narodne Novînky and maintaining their publication in spite of many problems. Only thanks to them we can today celebrate the 15th birthday. I believe that the creative work of the editorial team will always be prosperous and that their leadership will never forget to allow space for young ones. Because it is they who are important for the future, only they will carry on in working for the Rusyn nation.


On behalf of all the young, I wish Narodny Novînky, Rusalka and Rusîn many successful years to come and the editors a lot of enthusiasm and patience in their hard, but for the nation very useful, work.

Mgr. Marek GAJ,

Rusyn language teacher at the Primary School in Radvan nad Laborcom,

Former first Chairman of the Association of Rusyn Youth in Slovakia

And the World Forum of Rusyn Youth

August 21st, 2006

In the Beginning There Was RUSÎN


The Holy Gospel of John starts with the words: „In the beginning there was the word...“ With the word, God started and with words, every  work of a man starts too. With the word, the Rusyn Revival started 15 years ago, when (at the Andy Warhol Association and the Town Cultural Centre of Medzilaborce) in 1991, the magazine Rusîn and Narodny Novînky started to be regularly published. I was also present, in the beginning of this work. And that is why I think, it is also my place to think back...


Medzilaborce, 1990, Michal Bycko, Father Krajňák, Michal Turok-Heteš, the Festival of Culture and Sports, the zero issue of Rusîn...


Nowadays, nobody would be surprised by decadent Andy on the cover page of the magazine. However, then, in 1990, many were. But, at the same time, many people were surprised by the actual contents of the magazine. Mostly, it was a positive and generous surprise, but there were also some critics who were disappointed that „Rusnaks “ got “theirs”...


I also got mine. The critics were mostly annoyed with the “Greek-Catholic spirit“ of the articles about Alexander Dukhnovich, the Monastery of Krasnobrod and by the “idea of a Rusyn standard language“. The article entitled “The Babylon Tower in the Carpathian Mountains” fired up the blood of many. And it kept doing so for 15 years and it seems it will continue for many years ahead. If this is what happens with the enemies, so be it! But if this is the case with “our own people“, for whom the development of the Rusyn literary language is a “minor job as long as there are our festivals “; it is rather shameful.


Without literary language, without the teaching of the standard Rusyn language at schools, without Rusyn religious ceremonies, we will die as a nation! Every enemy of our work knows that. That is why they want Rusyns to be just a funded festival corpse.


Fifteen years ago in Rusîn, I wrote about the Monastery of Krasnobrod being in ruins and that it lacked the lovely singing of Basilian fathers. Today, a lovely new monastery is there, unfortunately however, the lovely singing of monks still cannot be heard... A funded corpse...


I wish Rusîn and Narodny Novînky vitality which can not only strengthen the hearts of all Rusyns, but also wake up those who dream the dreams of the dead.

Father ThLic. František KRAJŇÁK,

Governor of the Rusyn Culture Academy in Slovakia for Clerical Matters

and Deputy of the Slovak Association of Rusyn Organisations

August 21st, 2006

In Celebration of Rusyn Narodne Novînky

Thanks to the Velvet Revolution in 1989, after a long 40-year era, Rusyns awoke to their identity and founded the Rusyn Revival, which allowed the foundation of the Rusyn National Revival. Rusyns started to realise that without their own press body it would not be possible to successfully carry out the revival process. That is why in 1991, the first enthusiasts founded their national press body entitled Narodny Novînky Press. And this newspaper vowed to follow the good tradition of Rusyn newspapers of the past.
Narodne Novînky Press has, from the very beginning, provided the space where Rusyns living in Slovakia could express their opinions. Thanks to journalists, they can read and publish in codified Rusyn, which they consider their mother tongue, and can preserve for the generations to come in Slovakia.
Narodny Novînky Press, over the 15 years of their existence, has given the space to the topics which are of high interest among Rusyns, or concern them and which, in other media, would be only provided marginal space. Narodne Novînky Press has reached its present attractive form also thanks to a team of contributors and correspondents. Beginning with the first issue, Narodne Novînky Press has informed the Rusyn public at large about the most important news from the life of Rusyns living not just in Slovakia but also in other countries. It brings articles about interesting personalities from Rusyn circles and does not forget significant historic figures from both the recent past and a long time ago. It is shown as an example for the present time, which, in spite of globalisation, stands firm on identity of an individual, and also the autonomy of the Rusyn nationality. The national press in Slovakia has a low circulation, but plays an important role in the life of people of
 a particular national minority. It also contributes to the richness and culture of a country, which should care for members of every national minority to have the same chance for realisation and equal opportunities.
Narodny Novînky Press has played a significant role in its 15-year history, in many moments important to Rusyns. Rusyns are very aware of what an important role the newspaper plays, as it conveys the wishes of their ethnic group. The team of its creators realised that no nation can healthily develop without reviving the memories of their history. That is why in the contents of the newspaper, articles that revive and deepen these memories appear.
  Every beginning is hard, and that was also the case for Narodny Novînky Press. It was necessary to form a competent and experienced authorial team. Mgr. Alexander Zozulak, a brave enthusiast and experienced editor, took hold of this important pioneer work. And this is how the smallish editorial team, under his leadership, managed to involve the readers and from one year to another also broadened the group of its correspondents. Narodny Novînky Press became richer and richer in the variety of topics, its attractiveness and interest in national as well as general issues.
  The newspaper, from the very beginning, has been trying to form and deepen awareness of Rusyns. Through its content, it reaches the souls and hearts of all generations of Rusyns – from childhood, youth, middle-age to the oldest generation.
  Narodny Novînky Press has been everywhere where our Rusyn life pulses; that means our Rusyn villages and towns, where Rusyns live side by side with people of other nationalities. They publish articles connected to Rusyn history and literature, especially dating from the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. The reason lies in the fact that it was this very period, the second part of the 19th century, which gave us such significant revivalists as Alexander Dukhnovich, Adolf Dobriansky, Alexander Pavlovich and other historic figures of the religious circles, such as Jozef Gaganec, whose tradition was followed by well-known men of letters of the 19th and the beginning of 20th century. Extracts from their works appeared on the pages of Narodny Novînky Press, especially in the Literary Appendix Pozdravliňa Rusîniv. This is where great space for contemporary Rusyn writers and poets is provided. And it was no one else but the editorial office of Rusîn
 and Narodny Novînky Press who initiated the authors to provide manuscripts of their works to be published as books. Over a 15 year period, the editorial office prepared and published 72 belle-lettres books and Rusyn school textbooks. The editorial office of Rusîn and Narodny Novînky Press has become a propagator and organiser of our Rusyn culture but also a unifying factor in the Rusyn circles. The newspaper bravely fought for Rusyn radio broadcasting, for teaching the Rusyn language at schools and for the Institute of National Minority Studies at the University of Presov. It was also of great help prior to the census of residents in Slovakia. It awakened those whose nationality lay dormant and those who were denationalised. It reminded us of our past, our religious and secular traditions.
  Narodne Novînky Press, from the beginning of the 1920s, has also published articles, which supported the effort of those who were fighting for the return of the Russian House in Presov to Rusyns. Unfortunately, those who, thanks to the Russian House – 1923 Foundation in Presov, now own the property of Rusyns, keep forgetting it. They even called “enemies” some of those who made a major effort in the process of returning the property to Rusyns and those who were involved in our Rusyn culture.
  I am very thankful to Narodny Novînky Press for providing me with the opportunity to, from 1991, take part in creating its contents with my historical, literary and other articles. I was given the chance to publish and show our Rusyn public at large a selection of our historic and literary heritage belonging to my uncle Dr. Mikulas Beskyd, as well as of others who share our roots, who, in their time, gave a lot to Rusyns.
  Narodny Novínky Press, even with its short existence, has been of significant historical importance by having documented the authenticity of a particular period – particular historic events and issues. It is a document of its times and the national feeling and awareness. That is why also in the future, it can fulfil all that every generation is responsible for: to convey the most important Rusyn national treasure from our ancestors to younger generations.
  I would like to thank the editorial team for their patient, demanding and hard work. Especially, I would like to thank the editor-in-chief Mgr. A. Zozulak, who has been at the front of this team from the very beginning. Wishing all the best for the years to come!

  Mgr. Gabriel BESKYD
  Chairman of the Russian Club – 1923
  and the Alexander Dukhnovich Rusyn Cultural-Educational Association
  August 21st, 2006

Holos Rusîniv (The Voice of Rusyns) grew into Rusîn and Narodny Novînky

  Not many might remember, but the truth is that before the celebrated periodicals Rusîn and Narodny Novînky Press came to life, there had been a prologue to them – Holos Rusîniv, a double page in Rusyn dialect, which started to be published in February 1990 as a part of a Ukrainian periodical Nove Zitja (New Life) issued by the press body of a Ukrainian organisation entitled the Association of Rusyn-Ukrainians of CSFR (Czechoslovak Federal Republic). The double page emerged as a consequence of the November events of the revolutionary year 1989, and an extraordinary congress of the Culture Association of the Ukrainian Working Class (CAUWC; Kultúrny zväz ukrajinských pracujúcich – KZUP) in January 1990, where Rusyn ethnic orientation represented by the Culture Movement from Medzilaborce submitted primary demands for the language-ethnic-cultural orientation of CAUWC. This moment contributed to a certain transformation of CAUWC, and it has been the second time since the 1970s that the association had to make concessions to Rusyn orientation. But as opposed to the events of the 1970s, in the 1990s, the Rusyn line was not suppressed by any allied army. On the contrary, it brought democracy and the notorious 23rd anniversary of their invasion to Czechoslovakia was symbolically used to found the Rusyn editorial office of Rusîn and Narodny Novînky Press and to publish the first issue of Narodny Novînky Press. From that time, in the Presov Rus, a new history of publishing Rusyn periodical started, which, consequently, has played an important role in the Rusyn national-awareness process. It could be seen from the very beginning of their publication by the number of subscribers, increasing with every published issue. And it was also shown by the new correspondents and colleagues, the number of who, by the present day, has reached over a hundred.
We are especially pleased by the fact that the new periodicals have not only provided space for journalists but also Rusyn poets, novelists and playwrights... With a great deal of help from the editorial team, the absence of special periodicals was solved, even in the unfavourable financial situation, by the foundation of special appendices: the literary Pozdravlinya Rusîniv (1995) and the youth Rusalka (2000), for which the editorial office was given state financial support no earlier than in 2006 (until that time they were mostly financed from sponsorship resources). Thanks to them, completely new writers in various literary genres appeared. We are especially pleased by the fact that, beside more experienced correspondents, there are also pupils of Primary and Secondary schools, students of universities studying the Rusyn language, and their teachers, who motivate them to write their own works. For them, the editorial office has so far organised three years of competition in creative writing Rusalka, which helped to discover several precious young Rusyn poetry talents such as Maria Homolova, Martina Kavcakova, Mirka Lacova and others, who are worth further cooperation.
Just like the newspaper, the magazine has also built a solid quality level. Its journalistic beginning has gradually reached high standards and the magazine has become rather an academic periodical with broad spectrum of interests: history, literature, language, ethnography, religion, fine art, and so on. Many authors from the homeland and abroad have for several years formed its appearance. Thanks to them, in the academic world, it has within 15 years built a position of the second most significant periodical published in Rusyn, after the Svetlosc of Vojvodina. However, Rusîn has surpassed it in a way: as an inter-regional magazine, in every issue, it regularly presents topics connected with Rusyns in every country they live in, and, at the same time, it presents their standard language variations. That is a great contribution of the magazine, which gives the opportunity to find common ethnic-language-cultural points for Rusyns spread throughout the historic Carpathian Rus and outside of it.
  We believe that both periodicals will keep their form and will not step aside from fulfilling the aims of Rusyn revival movement, which were determined at the beginning of the 1990s.

  PhDr. Anna PLISKOVA,
  editor and lecturer at the Department of Rusyn Language and Culture
  of the Institute of National Minority Studies, University of Presov
  August 21st, 2006

We were young and had ambitions...

  15 years in life is an era. At the beginning of this journey, a journey of revival process of Rusyn as a nationality, there were many enthusiasts, there was euphoria and many plans, from which the Rusyn Revival arose. And then the magazine Rusîn and Narodny Novînky Press appeared, the first issues written for Rusyns in Rusyn. It was not a codified language then, as that was only being born at the time. I was granted the honour to be there, at its birth as well as the birth of the aforementioned issues. Not even for a second was I in doubt whether the journey was the right one, although many were, they were not in favour, some even laughed at us, attacked us and called us ugly names. I still have a letter – my unpublished reaction to material, which was published in Nove Zîtje, No. 43/1992 by my university teacher Assistant Professor Juraj Kundrát, CSc., who, beside other invectives of my person, wrote: „A former student, incapable to express her own ideas, dared to present her opinions, accompanied with great hate towards everything which is Ukrainian “. The content of his article gradually reached the point where he described a person without conscience and morals, who writes in some “mumbo-jumbo“ and fools her own nation.
  I wrote a response to Nove Zitje, and explained my position, without any hate or invectives towards the author or Ukrainians. All in vain. They decided not to publish it. Shall I try to send it to Nove Zitje now?! I think it would still be useless. There, time has stopped...
  Well, it is over. My life has been split from the editorial work for some time. Several years have passed and great events have happened, but acceptance of Rusynity among the public has not moved forward. It is true that, at the census of residents in 2001, a lot more inhabitants of Slovakia claimed Rusyn their nationality and over 50 thousand inhabitants claimed Rusyn their mother tongue. Still, it is only a drop in the ocean. In reality, we are still at the national revival stage and it seems to me that we will be for a long time ahead. But we should think positively. Recently, three things surprised me: the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce and Mr Michal Bycko, who has, by means of A. Warhol, taken the phenomenon of Rusynity abroad, and also attracted Europe and the world to Medzilaborce. Another optimistic moment appears to be the newest publication by Stefan Suchy entitled Aspirin. I am convinced that it will touch the young generation too, although it is necessary to open their eyes, as the Rusyn youth (just like youth in Slovakia in general) have put on a “cool“ pair of glasses, earphones and they dance to “cool“ music. Apropos, maybe Rusyn pop music will be born soon, it is high time. The third thing that surprised me concerns the young generation, the young descendants of American Rusyns (the folk group Slavjane from Pittsburgh), who came to Slovakia last year to show us, Rusyns, how the young generation in America maintain the traditions of their ancestors and how proud of them they are. Anyone who did not see them will not believe the vigour, (soldier Svejk [Translator’s comment: Svejk – a protagonist from Jaroslav Hasek’s novel The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk.] would say “until their bodies tear to pieces“), with which these young people danced at the Alexander Dukhnovich Theatre in Presov. And when they sang “Ja Rusîn byl, jesm i budu.. (I have been a Rusyn and I will be)“, my eyes just welled up, and that does not often happen to me. In the same year, the folk group Saris from Presov, the members of which also interpret Rusyn folk songs, went to Pittsburgh. I think that the mutual visit brought the young people closer together and that a deep friendship between Pittsburgh and Presov has arisen.
And these moments in the life of Rusyns are pictured on the pages of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn, although their role does not just lie in informing, but especially in “awakening” our sleeping Rusyns. It is hard and long-term work, but we are moving in the right direction, and that is why I am convinced that success will be reaped by the following generations. I wish it to them from the bottom of my heart.

PhDr. Kvetoslava KOPOROVÁ, editor
August 21st, 2006

On the Platform of Cyrillic and Independence

You know, dear readers, it is the best feeling to know you belong somewhere. To a family or a working team... I have tried to belong to both. They cannot be compared, as they complete each other. The family is a place of joy, peace and security. My work has given me the chance to realise myself and feel useful for the society, the Rusyn Movement and the newspaper, which I have helped to create since its foundation. For our Narodny Novînky. And that also applies to the magazine Rusîn.
How many articles, how many opportunities to meet people. Unfortunately, a bibliography of the articles published in the Rusyn mass media from their foundation after the revolution, has not yet been compiled. It still lies before us. That would be a picture clearly documenting our activity in Rusyn journalism during the creative 15 years. These are not empty words. My heart has spoken, and it is, by its whole existence, passionate for a Rusyn word, journalistic or literary.
I cannot complain about a lack of work. Whether my work or the work of my colleagues has been justly appreciated, is a different matter. Surely though, you devote yourself to journalism to the full extent and you often forget yourself and what is ahead. None of us has become rich working for Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn; recently, it has been a problem to survive. But this is not just the problem of our media, although it touched them greatly too, and “thanks to” the fact that the newspaper was not assigned any grant in the last year, we found ourselves in the group of those for whom life is not easy.
On the other hand, I am glad that I have not betrayed Narodny Novînky, but withstood. And it is not just a phrase. I knew about it, but especially in the times of “misery” I realised that Narodny Novînky is really the only newspaper of its kind and that it is a honour to work in its editorial office. It kept its decorum. It stayed at the platform of Cyrillic and independence. And although there was a short time when it surrendered to the influence of Latin; thank God, it did not last long and at present, it is the only fully Cyrillic newspaper in Slovakia. And Cyrillic is my love. In it I write my books. Cyrillic, nowadays condemned, but loved for its originality. And we are those who want to be original, as in Slovakia there are enough media using Latin. In the sea of Latin, Rusyns would dissolve like salt in water. We are aware of that. I am glad that our Narodny Novînky is the only Rusyn-Cyrillic newspaper, just like Rusîn is the only fully Cyrillic magazine in Slovakia; although I would be very pleased if there were more of them. But that depends on the level of thinking of Rusyns as people, Christians and followers of Alexander Dukhnovich’s message.
What concerns the contents, not everything works out as you would wish. Editors would have to have wings if they wanted to fly around all our villages and put everything on a map. This will never be possible and especially not nowadays when all depends on finances, even common petrol expenses. And where are human forces, human factors? And that is why I ask you, dear readers, please except my apologies for not having visited Sumiac or Berezovka and for not having written about the people who needed it the most. I am just a human being too and my space is limited, but I cannot deny that I love you all. Try to read my articles also between the lines.
Another issue is the one of independence. Our newspaper has been independent of the superiors from the very beginning. What do I mean? With their articles and opinions, they have never belonged to the Rusyn Revival. I liked the fact that Mr Zozulak, the editor-in-chief of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn, has not once launched articles which criticised late Mr Vasil Turok, a long-term Chairman of the Rusyn Revival in Slovakia, and also himself as a long-term Deputy of the Rusyn Revival. And that happened more than once. It was fair, it was journalistic. For that, I respect Mr Zozulak a great deal, he is an expert in his work and he has overcome many a problem in the field of both creativity and finances to maintain publishing of the newspaper.
As I was going through one of the most precious publications issued by the Rusyn Revival “The Rusyn Folk Calendar for 2001”, which was compiled by Michal Hirjak and Alexander Zozulak, I realised what a shame it is that after five years the initiative to issue the calendar was taken away from A. Zozulak. In the calendar, there was our pulse, our Rusyn life as such. And via the calendar we could meet such names as Michal Hirjak, Michal Popovic, Gabriel Beskyd, Anna Halgasova, Emil Capcara, Jozef Kudzej, Jan Hrib, Juraj Charitun, Miron Sisak, Maria Malcovska, Mikulas Skurla, Maria Girova, Stanislav Konecny, Anna Pliskova, Justina Matasovska, Milan Andras, Maria Chomova-Dupkanicova, Jan Olejnik, Ivan Banduric, Stefan Smolej, Michal Bycko, Mikulas Ksenyak, Alexander Zozulak, Anna Kuzmiakova, Milan Jasik, Stefan Suchy, Mikulas Hvozda and others who have shaped Narodny Novînky and Rusîn. Most of them have been forming them until the present day. We thank them for their loyalty.
I believe that the teenage years of Narodny Novînky Press and Rusîn will form a good basis for their further work, as 15 years in a life of a man is not a lot, but in the life of the Rusyn media, it is a nice and memorable period, which will forever remind us of the life, meetings and artistic energy formed among Rusyns in Eastern Slovakia at that time. I am very glad I was there.

  PhDr. Maria MALCOVSKA,
  Editor and writer,
  Laureate of the Alexander Dukhnovich Award for Rusyn Literature
  August 21st, 2006