At their European Congress in Mukachevo on 25 October, Carpatho-Russians proclaimed the independence of Subcarpathian Russia (Podkarpatska Rus). The Congress was attended by 109 deputies and a guest from the Czech Republic gave it international status.

The Carpatho-Russian delegates signed an act proclaiming Carpatho-Russian statehood and announced the refoundation of the Republic on the basis of the act of 22 November 1938, the date of the original declaration of independence. Congress participants said that they will appeal to the Ukrainian Transcarpathian Regional Council to grant the Republic autonomy and declare the region an autonomous Republic.

‘We are a different people. We hope that the Ukrainians will agree to a peaceful divorce, like the Czechs and Slovaks’, said Fr Dmitri Sidor, the head of Carpathian-Russian Parliament, on 28 October. He rightly considers the American-backed Ukraine to be a totalitarian state outside the rule of law, because its government refuses to engage in talks with the Carpatho-Russian leadership and rejects their demands of its people which it subjugated in 1945.

Carpatho-Russian activists want the Transcarpathian Regional Council on 1 December to endorse the results of the referendum of 1 December 1991 in which Transcarpathians supported an autonomous status for the region. ‘The régime has ignored our calls for autonomy for 17 years’, commented Yevgeni Zhupan, a council member and an activist of the Carpatho-Russian movement. Fr Dmitri warned that if the Regional Council does not support the Carpatho-Russian initiative on 1 December, they will wait for a time and then start to fight for their rights. ‘We shall demand our autonomy peacefully. But, how we will fight for it is our national secret. If Lvov residents do not support us, we will have supporters from Rovno, Kiev, and Odessa’.

Perhaps Fr Dmitrri is waiting for the fall of the Ukrainian nationalist government of the fanatical nationalist President Victor Yushchenko, a sympathiser of the Ukrainian Waffen SS of World War II. In much delayed elections, due in the Ukraine in December, Yushchenko will be opposed by Yulia Timoshenko. She is the pragmatic Prime Minister of the bankrupt Ukraine, which is surviving on handouts of the IMF and American neocon backers. Timoshenko at least recognises that 75% of ‘Ukrainians’ are in fact Russians. She also does not heed the nationalist Ukrainians from the Polonised Galician far west of the Ukraine like Yushchenko and opposes the arms shipments authorised by Yushchenko personally to Georgia and Somalia, where he has deliberately stirred up conflict.

Let us hope that the Carpatho-Russian people, ignored by the West (they have no oil) will at last receive their long-awaited nationhood and human rights after centuries of persecution by Hungarians, Fascists and Communists alike.

Fr Andrew

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