Conflict in Subcarpathian Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine)
During World War I, emigre Ruthenian leaders had reached an
agreement with Masaryk to include an autonomous Ruthenia in a
future Czechoslovak state
The Emergence of Subcarpathian Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine)
, this ch.). The agreement received
international sanction in the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain. The
Paris Peace Conference had also stipulated earlier that year that
Subcarpathian Ruthenia be granted full autonomy and promised the
territory a diet having legislative power in all matters of local
administration. But the constitution of 1920 limited the
provision on autonomy, making reference to the requirements of
the unity of the state. All Ruthenian legislation was made
subject to approval by the president of the republic, and the
governor of Ruthenia was to be nominated by the president. As a
result, even the constitutional provision for Ruthenian autonomy
was never implemented; the Ruthenian diet was never convened. The
issue of autonomy became a major source of discontent. Other
grievances included the placement of the western boundary--which
left 150,000 Ruthenians in Slovakia--and the large numbers of
Czechs brought to Ruthenia as administrators and educators.
Post-World War I Ruthenia was characterized by a
proliferation of political parties and a diversity of cultural
tendencies. All Czechoslovak political parties were represented,
and a number of indigenous parties emerged as well. Of particular
significance were the Ukrainophiles, Russophiles, Hungarians, and
Ukrainophile and Russophile tendencies were strengthened by
the large influx of emigres following the war. The Ukrainophiles
were largely Uniates and espoused autonomy within Czechoslovakia.
Some favored union with Ukraine. The Ukrainophiles were
represented by the Ruthenian National Christian Party led by
(see Second Republic, 1938-39
, this ch.).
Russophile Ruthenians were largely Greek Orthodox and also
espoused Ruthenian autonomy. They were organized politically in
the Agricultural Federation, led by Andrej Brody, and the
fascist-style Fencik Party.
Hungarians populated a compact area in southern Ruthenia.
They were represented by the Unified Magyar Party, which
consistently received 10 percent of the vote in Subcarpathian
Ruthenia and was in permanent opposition to the government.
The communists, strong in backward Ruthenia, attempted to
appeal to the Ukrainian element by espousing union with the
Soviet Ukraine. In 1935 the communists polled 25 percent of the
Ruthenian vote. The elections of 1935 gave only 37 percent of the
Ruthenian vote to political parties supporting the Czechoslovak
government. The communists, Unified Magyars, and autonomist
groups polled 63 percent.
Data as of August 1987