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Who is writing the “Crimean script” for the Carpathians?

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At the beginning of November 2016, a conference of pilgrimage services of the UOC MP was held in the St. Michael Monastery in the village of Hrushevo in Transcarpathia. In his welcoming speech to the participants of the forum, Metropolitan Mark (Petrovtsiy) noted that the history of Christianity in Transcarpathia “goes back to the times of Saints Cyril and Methodius.”

However, at one time, the historian and local historian Yosyp Kobal noted that such statements contain a false argument. In his opinion, the local structure of the UOC MP promotes the active use and even the creation of local myths on a historical and religious basis: “There was a situation when the bishop himself presented the cave monastery of the 11th century to journalists. near Mukachevo. But there is nothing like it in Transcarpathia. This is an ordinary filled-in ore mine near an iron smelter. However, journalists wrote that in Transcarpathia there are the same old Orthodox cave monasteries as in Kyiv, that they were founded by Yaroslav the Wise’s daughter Anastasia, and so on. Similar fables, but already with a bias towards the times of Cyril and Methodius, are spread without reason about the Hrushiv Monastery. There is no evidence in nature that Cyril and Methodius went to the territory of Transcarpathia. Back in the 11th century. we did not have Christianity, it spread only when the territory became part of the Hungarian state. But for those spreading the false story, it doesn’t matter at all.”

In April 2016, the scientist Mykhailo Tyvodar called this very region, where the mentioned conference was held, the center of “the project of Ruthenism, which is completely implemented by Russia through the church of the Moscow Patriarchate (hereinafter – MP)”: “Already from the end of the 80s – the beginning of the 90s 20th century in Russia, they showed interest in Transcarpathia – primarily, because of the idea of ​​”Russian peace”, which matured in the MP. Agitation took place simply at services in churches, especially in Khustshchyna. Therefore, it is natural that the majority of those who called themselves Ruthenians during the census live there. This is not a movement, but a project, the same as in Donbas. It was born when the decline of communist regimes began. The idea of ​​Ruthenism is to show the separateness of Transcarpathians from the rest of Ukrainians. In any case, it is in the hands of Moscow. Now it is safe to say that any Ruthenian organizations have a single funding center – Russia. There will be no money – there will be no Ruthenian movement. As soon as Moscow stops funding, and the priests in the churches begin to serve God, and not to agitate the congregation for politics, the “Rusyn” problem in Transcarpathia will disappear.”

The fact that some abbots of Transcarpathian churches of the UOC MP are convincing parishioners of the need for a “special status” of the region has not even been mentioned for more than a decade. However, this is not the only anti-state idea preached by them. In March 2016, the Ukrainian Security Service in the Transcarpathian region issued an official warning to a priest who spread anti-Ukrainian sentiments among the faithful and during sermons called to pray for “DPR/LPR militiamen”; to which ecclesiastical jurisdiction the priest belonged was not indicated, but it is easy to guess. And in August of the same year, residents of the village of Uglya, Tyachiv district, opposed the renaming of Gagarin Street in honor of one of the two local soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces who died in Donbas, 27-year-old officer Oleksandr Shimon or 23-year-old company commander Volodymyr Tsyrik (“Wasps”). simply giving a murderous argument: “Although they are from our village, the priest in the church said that they are enemies.”

It is not surprising that one of the leaders of separatism in Transcarpathia was the priest of the UOC MP – “head of the Diet of Subcarpathian Ruthenians” Dmytro Sydor, mitrophorian archpriest, abbot of the cathedral in Uzhgorod, which was built by his efforts over 14 years (the temple almost exactly copies the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior) . In June 2014, against the background of the tense socio-political situation in Ukraine, he called on Russians to enter Transcarpathia: “Russian people must realize: All-Russian civilization begins with us and extends to Alaska! All oil and gas flows pass through us. Master it to guard and use it. Intervene – Russia’s blood interests are here!”.

Back in 2008, he announced the creation of the “Republic of Subcarpathian Rus” at the Rusyn Congress held by him at the Mukachevo Theater of Russian Drama, and on December 1 of the same year, he formed the “government of the republic in exile” in Minsk, which included 50 people. In 2010, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, the priest took part in the European Russian Forum, in 2011 he declared the right of Ruthenians “to defend their freedom with weapons in their hands” from Ukraine, he was arrested at the distribution of “passports of citizens of Subcarpathian Rus” in Moscow. in 2012, for encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, he was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment with a probationary term of 2 years, and in 2014, with the blessing of the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine (UPC MP), Onufria received a cross with decorations – an exceptional award for special merits. In November 2014, SBU sources reported on the return of the Russian special services to the idea of ​​the “Republic of Subcarpathian Rus”.

At the beginning of 2016, during a visit to Zhytomyr Oblast, Metropolitan Onufriy himself stated in an interview with a local journalist that it was the Ukrainian government that “brought Crimea to the point where it fell away” and that his church “did not divide Ukraine and keeps Crimea under its power”. At the same time, he spoke about the need to “bend” on certain issues before the leaders of the “L/DNR”. The spokesman of the UOC KP (now OCU) Archbishop Evstratiy (Zorya) reacted to these statements at the time: “Crimea and the occupied parts of Donbas are not separated from the structure of the UOC MP, not because it is Ukrainian, but because it belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate, and does not unite Crimea and collaborating “republics” with Ukraine, and, on the contrary, is trying to unite the rest of Ukraine with Russia. In the Crimea, in the diocese of the UOC KP (now the OCU) they pray in Ukrainian for “God protect our Ukraine, its government and its army”, special services celebrate the Independence Day of Ukraine, the Memorial Day of the victims of the Holodomor, etc. And the diocese of the UOC MP prays for Russia as its own state, celebrates the day of the occupation of Crimea as a holiday, blesses Russian weapons and troops that can be thrown against Ukraine. So who connects with whom?” – asked the bishop, adding: “Now it turns out that Crimea has “melted” and is not occupied by Russia, but Ukraine is united by the leader of Ruthenian separatism promoted by the Kremlin, Fr. Sidor and others”.

The press release of the mentioned conference mentions several times the reverend Oleksiy Karpatorusky (in peace Kabaliuk) and Jov Ugolskyi (in peace Ivan Kundrya), whose relics the participants of the event bowed to. The first is known as an ascetic, through whose efforts the inhabitants of Transcarpathia switched to the Orthodox Church from the Greek-Catholic one, to which he himself once belonged – as well as his Russophile parents, who named their son in honor of Alexander Nevsky. For some time he lived in Russia, had connections with church leaders there. In November 1944, he became one of the signatories of a letter to Stalin with a request to recognize Transcarpathia as a separate republic within the USSR with the following lines: “A distinctly Russian tribe lives here. The people themselves call themselves: “Carpathian”, Ruthenian, i.e. Russian-son, faith, wife, mother – “Russian”.

Archimandrite Jov Ugolskyi left for Russia in 1939 after the capture of Transcarpathia by Hungary. In 1940, as a citizen of Czechoslovakia, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities and sentenced to 25 years in labor camps on trumped-up charges of espionage. In 1942, the sentence was replaced by sending to the front. After the war, he returned to his homeland. At the beginning of August 2014, a message appeared on the Internet about the creation of a “Rusyn battalion named after Jov Ugolsky” in the territory occupied by LPR militants, which supposedly consisted of almost 400 volunteers from “Subcarpathian Rus”, Pryashiv Oblast, Lemkiv Oblast, and Hungary; there is no information about the “feats” of this battalion.

At the conference in Hrushevo, Iryna Demchuk, an employee of the pilgrimage service of the Zaporizhia diocese of the UOC MP “Orthodox Planet”, spoke about the shrines of the Zaporizhia region. It should be noted that in October 2016, with the blessing of Metropolitan Luka of Zaporizhia and Melitopol, the annual trip of the “Apostol” traveler club to the Orthodox shrines of Crimea took place (in general, the UOC MP has organized pilgrimage tours to the occupied territory for the first time). Lyudmila Sultanova, a resident of Sevastopol, who organized pilgrimage trips from the occupied city to mainland Ukraine, shared her impressions of her first trip to Transcarpathia: “I was impressed by the history of the Ruthenians, who fought against Catholic expansion for centuries. As a Crimean, I found a lot in common between the history of Transcarpathia and Tavrida. The Orthodox in the Crimea suffered for centuries from the oppression of the Mohammedans, and the Ruthenians were oppressed by Austria-Hungary. The resilience of Transcarpathians can only be learned.”

In principle, it is somewhat strange to hear about the “hundred-year oppression of the Orthodox in the Crimea by the Mohammedans”. When considering the times of the Ottoman Empire, it should be taken into account that, in addition to supporters of “state” Islam, Orthodox (mostly Greeks), Gregorian Armenians and Armenian Catholics, Roman Catholics (descendants of the Genoese), Jews and Karaites lived on the peninsula. At the beginning of the 18th c. In Bakhchisarai, the Jesuit mission began its activities, the founders of which came from Constantinople. The temple built by its representatives on the order of Khan Selim-Herai was destroyed: the reason was not hostility to Christianity, but the green color of the building, characteristic of Islam. Before that, the Catholic Church operated in Crimea for several centuries, having even episcopal chairs on the peninsula and facing resistance from the Orthodox population and clergy. The Christian population of Crimea experienced a significant reduction in 1778, before the Russian annexation of the peninsula, when, by order of Catherine II, 31 thousand people were deported to the Azov region for their “protection from future hostilities.” These measures were led by commander Oleksandr Suvorov. At the same time, the Orthodox Goth-Cafe diocese, which was subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople, was liquidated, and its parishes were subordinated to the vicar of the Katerynoslav diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. As of 1783, there were 80 Orthodox churches in Crimea: considering the “Mohammedan oppression” and the catastrophically small, by current standards, population of the region, this is quite a lot.

What is surprising is not so much the use of theses about the “hundred-year struggle of Ruthenians against Catholic expansion” in this discourse, but the term “expansion” itself. It was founded at the beginning of the 11th century. The Transylvanian Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in Hungary covered the territory of modern Ukrainian Transcarpathia until the beginning of the 14th century.

Since 1346, Transcarpathia became part of the Eger Diocese of the RCC. In 1646, in Uzhhorod, more than 60 Orthodox priests signed an agreement with the bishop of Jäger on the union. In 1771, the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese (MGCE) achieved canonical independence from the Hungarian church structure. The MGCE gained direct self-government only in 1937 with the final withdrawal from the dependence of the Hungarian Archbishop of Esztergom and direct subordination to the Vatican, however, after the occupation of Carpathian Ukraine by the troops of Hortist Hungary, the diocese was immediately returned to its previous control.

With the legalization of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) in 1989 and Ukraine’s independence, the MGCE was revived. In the 1990s, the Lviv Institute of Church History investigated that at the time when the communist nomenclature and the KGB organized an outbreak of separatism in Transcarpathia, a document was falsified about the desire of the “majority” of Greek Catholic priests for a “special status” for themselves, because the majority of their believers are supposedly “not Ukrainians, but Ruthenians”. “If the Uniates of Transcarpathia are directly subordinate to Rome, why can’t the Ruthenians directly be under the protection of Moscow?” – ask the officials of the Russian Orthodox Church.

By the way, sometimes there may be mentions that until 1945 the “Carpathian Orthodox Church” existed autonomously as part of the Serbian Orthodox Church, after which it became part of the Russian Orthodox Church, although there are no documents about this transition in nature – like, say, documents about the transfer of the Hetmanship to the Muscovite Empire after the Pereyaslav Council in 1654.

Church Slavonic is the language of services of the MGKE, contrary to the wishes of those believers who would like to hear the service in the Ukrainian language, which is native to the majority of the region’s population. Meanwhile, one can hear from the priests of the UOC MP that the “Rusyn language” is more closely related to Russian than to Ukrainian. The same Fr. Sydor declared: “We are happy with Moscow chants” – they say that it is with their help that, to the joy of Russian religious figures, “the skills of correct Russian speech are instilled in people.”

At the end of 2015, the publicist Oleksandr Gavrosh called the “Rusyn language” a “separatist fiction” and added that its speakers “have three self-names, four literary norms, live in ten countries, and together they do not count even one hundred thousand people.” Back in April of the same year, Gavrosh was surprised by the “incredible Russophilism” of the Uzhgorod National University (UzhNU), which had two full-fledged departments of Russian philology. At the same time, there was only one “Russian” department at the Mechnikov National University in Odesa, a Russian-speaking population of one million, and two each at the Kyiv and Kharkiv National Universities. In Transcarpathia, the Russian-speaking population is less than 3%. “All kinds of pretexts are invented to show the need to preserve two Russian departments in the region farthest from Russia. It is not for nothing that the leaders of the “Rusyn” movement became the graduates of the Russian Philology UzhNU,” the publicist noted.

In his opinion, political Transcarpathian Ruthenism has remained where it began: “Nowadays, it is several dozen engaged people, often overly exalted, who spread aggressive statements and quarrel among themselves. Each of them has some kind of paper organization, creates the appearance of work and lives in virtual reality, not noticing the Ukrainian majority in the region. No one fights with the Ruthenians, despite their brutal images of the state, xenophobia and constant separatist calls.

Rusynism has become synonymous with Ukrainophobia, because after carefully reading all their statements or posts for 25 years, you can see that from the beginning this movement was based on hatred of everything Ukrainian. The only thing the Transcarpathian Ruthenians achieved was to firmly tie themselves to politics and cause antipathy and concern among the general Ukrainian public both in the region and in the entire state. A universally recognized local leader did not appear either, and those who exist are ready to bite each other’s throats.”

According to the results of the 2001 population census, 10,200 people in Zakarpattia called themselves Ruthenians, which is 0.8% of the total number of residents of the region, while 1,256,850 people called themselves Ukrainians, i.e. more than 80.5% of the region’s population.

However, the “prime minister of the Republic of Subcarpathian Rus” Petro Getsko, who was declared wanted in Ukraine for separatism and treason and sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison, who also calls himself “coordinator of the Network Ruthenian Movement (MRR)” and “head Association of Ruthenians in Russia” and declares from Moscow various statements on behalf of “Rusyns as the leading unit of the Russian people”, at one time cited statistics that have nothing to do not only with reality, but also with common sense: “Total residents of Transcarpathia – 1 million 260 thousand. Of them, 800-850 thousand are Ruthenians, 150 thousand are Hungarians, 30 thousand are Russians, 30 thousand are Romanians, 15-20 thousand are Roma, and about 15 thousand are Jews. But there are only 10,000 Ukrainians, who are commonly called Bandera residents.”

According to Getsk, 70-80% of “almost a million Ruthenians” belong to the UOC MP, the remaining 20-30% belong to the “Rusyn Greek-Catholic Church, which is not subordinate to Kyiv” (a church structure under that name exists on the territory of the United States, and its believers are mostly Ruthenian emigrants). In general, he manages to proclaim various ideologues on behalf of 60-100% of “interviewed Transcarpathians”.

In the 1980s, upon arriving in Moscow, Petro Getsko almost immediately became a patient of one of the psychiatric clinics there, where he was admitted with an exacerbation of schizophrenia. This fact may well explain his frequent change of worldview: if in 2014 he declared the separation of Transcarpathia from the “great Stalinist Ukraine” to be a “practically resolved issue”, then in a few years he hailed the “motherland of all Ruthenians of the world” as “the probable capital region of the future Ukrainian SSR “.

Goetz’s “theses” were picked up by pro-Russian media resources of the peninsula long before the Russian occupation of Crimea. For example, in November 2010, the reactionary online publication “Crimean Echo”, which received the “Medal “For the Defense of Crimea”” from the occupiers in 2014, published an interview with the “Prime Minister of the Republic of Ruthenians” with statements about that “Rusyns in the whole world have their own ethno-cultural self-identification, which differs from Ukrainianness, and do not identify themselves with the Ukrainian people.”

In April 2014, the SBU placed Getsk on the international wanted list due to his public appeal on behalf of the “Rusyns of Transcarpathia” to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin with a request to “carry out a peacekeeping operation, restore and recognize the statehood of the Republic of Subcarpathian Rus”, as well as due to public appeals on the air of Russian TV channels to changes in the administrative-territorial system of Ukraine and non-recognition of its unitary nature.

On December 21, 2016, a conference was held in Moscow (not surprisingly) of the “Mother of the Rusyns” international center founded by Peter Getsk a few months before that, entitled “DNR and LNR – the Ruthenian state in the fight against fascism” (I wonder if you are aware of ” L/DPR” about their inclusion in the “Rusyn state”?) with the participation of “people’s Ruthenian representatives of various regions of Ukraine”, “leaders of the Ruthenian (Rus) communities of Russia”, etc. During the meeting, it was stated that the solution to the issue of the future of the “L/DPR” can only be in the area connected with the mandatory end of hostilities in the “stormy territory of the Ukrainian SSR”, which can only happen as a result of the “dismantling of illegal power in Kyiv”. At the same time, the participants of the event stated that the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Second Polish Republic, from which modern Ukraine and Poland derive their succession, “were condemned by the Nuremberg Tribunal as sycophants of fascism (!!!) and because of this they lost all rights to preserve statehood”, so the territory of Ukraine “continues to be the successor of the Ukrainian SSR and its citizens”, and the only legal successor of the Ukrainian SSR, which includes the “LPR, DPR and other regions of Ukraine” (!), is allegedly some “Rusyn government of the Ukrainian SSR”. At the same time, the current government of Ukraine was accused of almost merging with Poland on the basis of some agreements concluded back in the 1920s. It was also stated that the place in the UN is occupied by “not the current Ukraine, but the Ukrainian SSR”, and it is this status that will be sought ” the Ruthenian government,” which “has all the necessary titles and rights to reproduce the Ukrainian SSR.”

At the same time, the opinion of 87.5% and 66.7% of the “surveyed Transcarpathians”, respectively, was made public, who allegedly believe that Transcarpathia should “unite with the L/DPR on the basis of the legal succession of Subcarpathian Rus and the Ukrainian SSR” and “restore the USSR.” In January 2017, the “Rusyn Government of the Ukrainian SSR” issued a “manifesto” in which it declared its intention to “establish all necessary governing bodies throughout the entire territory of the Ukrainian SSR, which historically includes Crimea and Donbas.” At the same time, it was stated that the term “Rusyns” is “the old ethnic name of all Ukrainians”, so “Rusyns (Russians), as well as those who consider themselves Ukrainians, are a single people.” At the same time, Petro Getsko declared the Ruthenians “the legal successors of the Ukrainian SSR”, “L/DNR” – “liberated territories of the Ukrainian SSR”, and the territory under the control of the Ukrainian government – “temporarily occupied” and promised that he would seek “just punishment for the radical Bander structures and all, who is in favor of de-Sovietization”, and that “Russian will become the main language in the Ukrainian SSR”. “We have all the documents on legal succession in our hands, so our ideal is the whole of Ukraine, restored by the Ukrainian SSR, and we will implement it,” the “leader of the Ruthenians” assures.

In addition, he again cited the data of his own “survey”, according to which “72.7% of Transcarpathians” support the idea of ​​creating the “Ukrainian SSR – Ruthenian Republic (Republic of Rus)”, and talked about “agreed with Russia, the international community and the current Kyiv authorities” the main scenario of “solving the Ukrainian crisis” with the help of the federalization of Ukraine.

In February 2017, the “Mother of Ruthenians” adopted a joint statement with the “State Liberation Committee (DKZ) of the Ukrainian SSR” regarding “the impossibility of solving Ukrainian problems on the basis of the Minsk agreements and the Normandy format”: in it, the Ruthenians were declared “a third party capable of solving the problems of the DPR , LPR and the entire territory of modern Ukraine, primarily in the person of the Ruthenian Government of the Ukrainian SSR with the support and participation of the DKZ of the Ukrainian SSR”.

It should be noted that the last-mentioned organization conducts its meetings in Crimea occupied by Russia with the assistance of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation: on June 12, 2019, during one of these meetings in Simferopol, Serhiy Zdrylyuk – the notorious the terrorist nicknamed “Abwer”, the former “deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the DPR” Igor Strelkov (Ghirkin), who in 2014 actively contributed to the occupation of Crimea by Russia, and in Slovyansk, Donetsk region, participated in sabotage, terror of the civilian population, attacks and murders of SBU employees, kidnapping of OSCE representatives. The former “deputy of the 1st convocation of the Verkhovna Rada of the DPR” and “member of the Central Election Committee of the Ukrainian SSR” – militant Oleksandr Kasyanov, who was deported from Crimea by the occupiers in October 2017 for “violating the terms of his stay in the Russian Federation” also took part in the work of the “DKZ of the Ukrainian SSR”.

Sometimes there is an opinion in the media space that if Kyiv grants the occupied Crimea the status of the Crimean Tatar Republic, the Ruthenians may demand the same for Transcarpathia. There is a precedent – in 2007, the local authorities recognized them as a separate people, and at the same time, after two years of violating the regulations, they tried to declare a poem attributed to Oleksandr Dukhnovych as the anthem of the republic with the words: “Let justice visit / Uzh и русское племя! The desire of Russian leaders: / Long live the Russian people! / We ask God the Most High / to support the Russians / and give the best ever”.

In August 2018, just before the 10-year “anniversary” of the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Georgia, Russian propaganda accused the Ukrainian authorities and security forces of “ethnocide and forced assimilation of the Ruthenians – the indigenous population of Transcarpathia, which has been seeking autonomy since 1991,” and unspecified “nationalists” – in the “beating and intimidation of public activists, who are called separatists.” The administration of the then President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was reproached for “trying to prevent the federalization of the country” (although it is not clear by what miracle Ukraine should become a federal state) and “considers the demands of the Ruthenians as a betrayal of the motherland.”

“Karpatoros”, “a small branch of a large Russian oak tree”, “an outpost of Russianness on the outskirts of the Slavic world”, “the fourth branch of the Russian people, which dreams of a single Russian homeland”. Russian propaganda rewards the Transcarpathian Ruthenians with such epithets, convincing that for Ukraine the Silver Land is “Stalin’s gift”, which our state supposedly “risks suffocating without digesting”.

At the same time, the “independence” of Transcarpathia is argued by the results of the referendum held by the regional council on December 1, 1991, in which 78.8% of the region’s population voted for its self-government as part of Ukraine. This referendum was held simultaneously with the All-Ukrainian referendum on the confirmation of the Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine. Three months earlier, the Society of Carpathian Ruthenians, registered with the collapse of the Soviet Union in early 1990 in Uzhhorod with the support of the communist nomenclature, held a rally in Mukachevo under anti-Ukrainian slogans, accusing the central government of the forcible Ukrainization of Ruthenians, and demanded political and territorial autonomy.

Even before these events, the Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR declared the Ruthenians of Transcarpathia “the fourth East Slavic people”, after which the Russian press immediately began to spread the topic of their “oppression” by Ukraine. At the same time, former professional fighters against “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism” began to vigorously defend “Rusynism”, so local separatism took on a communist color. According to Yosyp Kobal, the appearance of “political Ruthenism” in the early 1990s was determined by artificial factors. “It is symptomatic that members of the Communist Party tried their hardest around his birth: first, these people promoted the idea of ​​a single great Soviet people for decades, and then abruptly became supporters of the very small Ruthenian people,” says the scientist.

During the time of Ukraine’s independence, “political Ruthenism”, which was always treated with indifference by the state authorities, was supported by the now-banned Communist Party of Ukraine and the “Russian Bloc”. In general, the ideas of various “Rusyn governments” almost exactly copy the program provisions of the “Ukrainian Choice” movement, led by the current People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Viktor Medvedchuk. It is worth noting that the already mentioned Fr. Dmytro Sydor: in particular, in October 2013, he was a speaker at the international conference on the topic “Federal system as a guarantee of national unity and sovereignty”, which was held in Uzhhorod on the initiative of “Ukrainian Choice”. Another participant of this event, the head of the Union of Subcarpathian Ruthenians of Romania (SPRR) under the “patronage” of the Russian Embassy in Romania and the coordinator of “Ukrainian Choice” in this country Mykhailo (Mihai) Lauruk announced the “threat of destruction of Christian values” and declared his support for the “Ukrainian of choice” for “the true path to the preservation of Orthodox traditions.” “All Ruthenians from Romania support “Ukrainian Choice”. I had the great honor of meeting Viktor Medvedchuk and I can say: it is very good that Ukraine has such a person with a state spirit,” he said.

Rona de Sous commune (Ukrainian name – Vyshnya Rivna) in Maramures county (Ukrainian name – Marmaroshchyna) is the small homeland of Mykhailo Lauruk: despite the fact that more than 83% of the population of this area are Ukrainians, he considers this settlement ” Ruthenian”. He lives in Sziget (Sziget-Marmatsia) – the second largest city of Maramures, almost near the border with Transcarpathia: there he headed the branch of the Union of Ukrainians of Romania. Lauruk also calls himself “the head of the economic department of the World Council of Ruthenians.”

After finishing primary school in his native village, he entered a mining school in Baia Mare (administrative center of Maramures) and a boxing school – “with the intention of learning to defend himself against bad people”, becoming “one of the most spectacular boxers in the country” in two months. As part of the Dynamo Bucharest club, which was under the patronage of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Romania, he became the national champion among juniors, was selected for the Romanian national team, and was also one of the bodyguards of the infamous Romanian helmsman Nicolae Ceausescu. Received higher education in “Jurisprudence” and “Management” specialties. Over time, he became “one of the first entrepreneurs in Romania”, who managed companies in the country and abroad, engaged in charity, because he “personally experienced suffering and life in hardship”. In general, a typical biography of a “brigade pansy” from a high caste.

In 2002-2003, Lauruk was arrested several times for smuggling fuel and cigarettes from Ukraine using fictitious enterprises and causing millions of dollars in losses to the state budget. His accomplice was called a friend and countryman, the head of Rona de Sus, Ivan Romaniuk, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party of Romania, which is currently experiencing not the best times in the political crisis (as we can see, in Ukraine, in Romania, the roots of “political Ruthenism” are the same) . The scandal with Lauruc led to the resignation of the Minister of Justice of Romania, Dora Trifoi, who pressured the court in this case. Lauruk’s close contacts with Russian businessmen, military and politicians are also noted – in particular, with the Russian Ambassador to Romania Valery Kuzmin, who visited Maramures at the invitation of Lauruk, including for the joint escort of the Russian Patriarch Kirill through the region in October 2017.

It is not known whether the head of the Russian Orthodox Church intended to convert Romania to the “Russian peace” on the grounds that Romanian liturgical books are traditionally written in Cyrillic. But at the end of 2016, Lauruk became the deputy of Petro Getsk in Moscow’s Matytsia Rusyniv. He is accused of using the SPRD to convert the Ukrainians of the Marmara Region into Russians, as well as advocating the separation of Transcarpathia from Ukraine.

Notable are Lauruk’s connections with Baia Mare Mayor Ketelin Chereces and their joint activities to “bring Romania closer to Russia” – attracting Russian investments to the region (Russian capital practically owns the local mining industry) and promoting Russian culture with the help of appropriate measures that cause the local population was surprised and quite rightly asked questions like: “Who is closer to us – Russia or Ukraine?”.

In June 2018, the opening of a Russian-language kindergarten was announced in Baia Mare – although in the city and its surroundings, according to the results of the last population census, only 9 people called themselves Lipovans (Russian Old Believers, which are considered a separate ethnic group in Romania). Obviously, interested persons are trying to initiate the principle: if there is no “Russian-speaking population” in the region, which must be “protected” from local “fascists”, then it must be created one way or another. Such tactics are not new: even before the First World War, the Russian Empire used all possible forces and means to support the “Moscophile” movement in Galicia, controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, “populating” this territory with “Russian people”, which had not been there for centuries . Having only laid its claws on these lands in 1914, the double-headed eagle for several years assimilated the local population with measures bordering on genocide.

In the summer of 2019, activists of Marmar region noted attempts to promote the “Russian peace” among the local Ukrainian community and divide it into new ethnic groups with the assistance of the Russian diplomatic mission in Romania: such activity, which has intensified recently, is associated with the census planned for 2021 population. Often, in the north of Romania, Ukrainians are called Hutsuls – that is, they count themselves among one of the Ukrainian sub-ethnic groups, which some would not mind bringing to “Rusynism”. In the Marmara region, where more than half of all Ukrainians in Romania live, according to statistics, the nationality of 3 to 10% of the residents of various settlements is indicated as “undetermined” – so some people want to use these indicators to their advantage, helping citizens to “decide” in the right direction.

The reasons may also be purely mercantile: Romania finances the activities of associations of any national minority, giving their representatives seats in the parliament – so it is not excluded that someone has plans for representation in the authorities from the “Subcarpathian Ruthenians”, about whom in the Marmara Region until recently no one heard “There are dreams of uniting parts of Romania, Ukraine and Hungary into “Ruthenia”, but this will not happen,” local activists assure. At the same time, in Romania, the authorities and society indifferently observe the one and a half million Hungarian community, which periodically puts forward demands for the creation of autonomy: against this background, the threat of “Rusynism” in the north of the country looks less serious, but it should not be written off either.

Mihai Lauruk, who since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war “writes a lot of meanness about Ukraine” and spreads pro-Russian content on his Facebook page, has repeatedly voiced his own position in interviews with Russian media platforms: for him, the Russian people are “four and one”. that is, it consists of actual Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Ruthenians. In principle, there is nothing new in this concept – it was tried to be cultivated even in Stalin’s time. Lauruk also regrets the USSR and considers the Russian Federation a “blessed superpower” ruled by the “great patriot” Putin, and “a living example of patriotism, prosperity and revival.” “We must all realize, say, shout: we are part of the “Russian world”! All of us, its fractions in other countries, absolutely need to think about the ideology and build a new upbringing and education of the future builders of the new happy “Russian world” of justice on its basis. It is Russia in defending its freedom and Christian values ​​that is an example worth following for Ruthenians,” Lauruk claims.

Such “people’s diplomats of Russia” are clear evidence that the Russian Federation, with the aim of destabilizing the situation in the region, is trying to play the “Rusyn card” not only in Ukrainian Transcarpathia, but also in the neighboring territories of Romania, where a significant part of the population is made up of ethnic Ukrainians. It is hardly worth expecting a “Crimean scenario” in the Carpathians – however, it is not known how far the aggressor state can go in the possible creation of a turbulent enclave like Transnistria or “L/DPR” in an EU and NATO member country under the Ukrainian border.

Radu ILIESKA

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Source uses:

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