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Maramorosh Sighet trial

Maramorosh Sighet trial — political trial orchestrated by the government of the Hungarian Kingdom that took place in Sighet between December 29, 1913, and March 3, 1914. The trial was directed against 94 Rusyn peasants (men and women), ranging in age from 17 to 64, who were accused of treason against the state for having left en masse the Greek Catholic Church and for converting to Orthodoxy. The defendants were also incriminated on political grounds: having placed Orthodox Rusyns under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, they were allegedly working to unite a part of Hungary (*Maramorosh, *Ugocha, *Bereg counties) with the Russian Empire. In conjunction with this goal they maintained contacts with tsarist political circles through the Russian parliamentary (Duma) deputy, Count Vladimir A. Bobrinskii, whether through the *Gerovskii brothers (Aleksei and Georgii) or directly through their own Orthodox leader Aleksei *Kabaliuk. The state’s prosecutor was Andor Illes (son of a Rusyn Greek Catholic priest); the defense included sixteen lawyers sent by the Hungarian publicist, Victor Aradi, among whom were Serbs, Slovaks, Jews, and even two Magyars. The prosecutor’s case was built around evidence supplied by the police investigator of Rusyn background Arnold Dulishkovych.

The Maramorosh Sighet trial provoked extensive negative reaction in democratic circles throughout Europe. In Austria’s parliament, the Czech deputy Vaclav Klofac submitted a formal intervention against the trial, and another Czech deputy, Tomas G. *Masaryk (the future president of Czechoslovakia), wanted to speak out at the trial itself but was forbidden to do so by the Hungarian authorities. The Rusyn deputy Antonii *Beskyd spoke out against the “shameful” trial in the Hungarian parliament. Expressions of solidarity on behalf of the accused also came from intellectual circles throughout Slovakia, and among the observers was the Russian parliamentarian, Count Bobrinskii. The trial ended after two full months with the following verdict: 33 of the accused were given a total of 37 years in prison and fines in the amount of 6,800 crowns. Aleksei Kabaliuk received the harshest sentence—four years in prison and a 1,000 crown fine. The Maramorosh trial was the first political trial in the Hungarian Kingdom directed specifically against Rusyns who, through a pacifistic and religious act, were protesting against the government’s policy of national assimilation (magyarization) and against the cooperation in those efforts by the hierarchs of their own Greek Catholic Church.

Bibliography: A. Stefanek, “Marmarossky proces a zahranicna politika nasej monarchie,” Prudy, V, 6 (Ruzomberok, 1919), pp. 241-258; Konstantin M. Beskid, Marmarossky proces u Marmosske Sihoti: obrazky z byvaleho mad’arskeho raje (Khust, 1926); Miroslav K. Grabets, K istorii Maramoroshskago protsessa: dielo 94 (Uzhhorod, 1934); Rene Martel, “La politique slave de la Russie d’avant guerre,” Affaires etrangeres, VI, 10 (Paris, 1936), pp. 623-634 and VII, 1 (1937), pp. 58-64; Roman Holec, “Postoj Cechov a Slovakov k Rusinom v predvecer prvej svetovej vojny,” in Cesko-slovenska historicka rocenka 1997 (Brno, 1997), pp. 29-37.

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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