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Revai, Iuliian/Revay, Julian

Revai, Iuliian/Revay, Julian (b. July 26, 1899, Myrcha [Hungarian Kingdom], Ukraine; d. April 30, 1979, New York, New York, USA) — teacher, school administrator, editor, publicist, and cultural and political activist of Ukrainian national orientation in Subcarpathian Rus’ and the United States. Revai completed his studies at the *Uzhhorod Greek Catholic Teachers’ College (1913-1917) and taught briefly after World War I in elementary schools in the eastern part of *Subcarpathian Rus’ until he was named department head/referent (1923-1935) of the economic and administrative section in the Czechoslovak Ministry of Education in Uzhhorod. He also served as a school inspector; the secretary (1924-1935) of the Ukrainian-oriented Pedagogical Society and co-editor (1924-1935) of its journal, *Uchytel’; and an executive member of the Ukrainophile *Prosvita Society, the Teachers’ Society/Uchytel’s’ka hromada, and the Plast Scouts. As part of his pedagogical work he co-authored several textbooks and a Rusyn-Hungarian dictionary (Magyar-ruszin szotar/Madiars’ko-rus’kyi slovar’, 1928). Revai’s views on language—he favored a gradual introduction of literary Ukrainian using at first local Rusyn vernacular—were outlined in an extensive historical study of Rusyn grammars and dictionaries (“Rus’ki hramatyky i slovari na Podkarpatiu,” 1929-30).

While still a student, Revai was politically active as a member of the *Social-Democratic party in Subcarpathian Rus’. It was not until the 1930s, however, that he became fully engaged in local political life. He served the Social-Democratic party as its deputy (1935-1938) to the Czechoslovak parliament and as was the publisher and founding executive editor (1935-1936) of Do peremohy, a monthly journal that promoted a non-Marxist variety of socialism and called for the implementation of *autonomy in Subcarpathian Rus’. During the country’s political crisis in 1938, he was vice-chairman of the Ukrainian faction of the *Central Rusyn National Council and among the group of parliamentary deputies who negotiated with the central government on behalf of autonomy for Subcarpathian Rus’. When Subcarpathian autonomy was implemented (October 11, 1938), Revai was named minister of transportation and labor in the cabinet headed by Andrii *Brodii. He retained that post under the second government (November 22) headed by Avhustyn *Voloshyn, taking on the portfolios for health and social services as well. Revai was author of the law on autonomy for Subcarpathian Rus’ ratified by the Czechoslovak parliament (November 22, 1938), and he represented the region in negotiations (December 1938) for economic cooperation with Germany. He was also an active participant in the creation of a single pro-government party for *Carpatho-Ukraine/Subcarpathian Rus’ (January 1939), the Ukrainian National Union/Ukrains’ke natsional’ne ob”iednannia (UNO), which in many ways modeled itself on the methods employed by Germany’s Nazi party. In the first elections to the Subcarpathian diet (February 1939), Revai was chosen one of the party’s deputies.

By the outset of 1939 Revai had become a strong supporter of closer ties between Carpatho-Ukraine and Nazi Germany, which he believed was the only guarantee for help against the aggressive territorial pretentions of neighboring Hungary and Poland. His adamant pro-German stance provoked federal Czechoslovakia’s President Hacha to remove him as minister from the Subcarpathian government (March 6, 1939). During the last few days of Czechoslovakia’s existence Revai was in Berlin, vainly attempting to convince Hitler’s government to make Carpatho-Ukraine into a German protectorate. At the same time the first and last session of the diet of Carpatho-Ukraine meeting in Khust (March 15, 1939) elected Revai in absentia as its prime minister and minister for foreign affairs.

Revai never returned home. During World War II he lived in Bratislava, then Prague. Arrested in 1945 by the advancing Soviet Army, he managed to escape to the American zone of Germany and then emigrated to the United States (1948). There he played an active role in the Ukrainian-American immigrant community and was for many years executive director (1949-1957) of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and director (1958-1979) of the Ukrainian Institute in the heart of New York City. After an unsuccessful attempt to work with the older Rusyn-American immigrant community he founded in New York City the Carpathian Research Center/Karpats’kyi doslidnyi tsentr (1964), whose goal was to promote a Ukrainian understanding of Rusyn history and culture through the publication of books and sponsorship of public lectures primarily for Ukrainian Americans.

Bibliography: Pavlo Fedaka, “Vyznachnyi hromads’ko-politychnyi i derzhavnyi diiach,” in Kalendar “Prosvity” na 1999 rik (Uzhhorod, 1999), pp. 168-171.

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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