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Russophiles

Russophiles — persons of Rusyn ethnolinguistic background who believe that their people are a branch of the Russian nationality. Russophile theorists—those of Rusyn origin as well as writers from the former Russian Empire—often refer to the existence of a common Russian (obshcherusskii) people divided into three main ethnolinguistic groups: Great Russians/Velikorossy, Belorussians/Belorossy, and Little Russians/Malorossy, who all use a common Russian literary language (obshcherusskii iazyk).One sub-group or branch of the Little Russians are the Carpatho-Russians/Karpatorossy, which for some writers comprise all East Slavs living in the former Habsburg Monarchy (eastern Galicia, northern Bukovina, *Subcarpathian Rus’; and the *Presov Region) and for others only the East Slavs in *Carpathian Rus’ (Subcarpathian Rus’, the Presov Region, and the Lemko Region).

Not only do Russophile ideologists believe that Rusyns fall within the Little Russian branch of the common Russian people, they also reject the notion that Little Russians should be designated by the contemporary term Ukrainian. Russophile writers, in fact, deny the existence of a distinct Ukrainian nationality just as they do that of a distinct Rusyn nationality. Consequently, they reject attempts to create a literary language based on Rusyn dialects, believing that Rusyns should use literary Russian as “their” language of culture and “higher” communication. Russophiles also argue that the ethnonyms Rusyn and Rusnak are simply regional variants of the “national” name, Russian (russkii).

Paul Robert Magocsi

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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