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13 April 2024

Subcarpathian Rusins in the League of Nations documents (1920-1933)

Subcarpathian Rusins in the League of Nations documents (1920-1933)

The article focuses on the interdisciplinary (historical and legal) analysis of the situation with the Subcarpathian Rusins in Czechoslovakia regarding the facts outlined in the League of Nations documents. The study is based on two types of sources: 1) memoranda submitted by the Czechoslovak Government to the League of Nations and collected by the Secretary-General on behalf of the Council; 2) cases on Rusins' rights violation examined by the League's authorities according to the complaints filed and the comments of the Czechoslovak government. The authors conclude that Czechoslovakia did not seek to grant special status to the Rusin minority. Autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus, proclaimed and legally bounded in the course of the so-called “the First Czechoslovak Republic” formation, was not implemented until October 1938. However, this episode from the Rusinian history was not adequately documented in archival materials of the League of Nations Secretariat. The discriminatory domestic policy of Czechoslovakia regarding the Rusin ethnos largely explains numerous appeals from various individuals and organizations to the League of Nations in order to defend the rights of this national minority. The sameliness of the problems experienced by the Subcarpathian Rusins in Czechosiovakia produced the same type of complaints to the League of Nations on behalf of the minority's representatives or advocates. In fact, the three petitions examined by the Committee reveal the opposite side of the situation the ethnic group found itself. Unlike the memoranda of Czechosiovaian government and its response to the complaints, the petitions suggest an alternative view on the Rusin fate within the Czechoslovakian state.

Source: Degtyarev Sergey I., Samoilenko Yevhen A. (2020) Subcarpathian Rusins in the League of Nations documents (1920-1933). Rusin. №59: 154–175

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