World Academy of Carpatho-Rusyn Culture


Rusyn Minority Self-Government/Rusynske men’shynove samoupravlenie

Rusyn Minority Self-Government/Rusynske men’shynove samoupravlenie — self-governing communities for Rusyns living in Hungary. In 1993 the government of post-Communist Hungary passed a law to allow a system of self-government for communities comprised of national minorities, among whom Rusyns were officially recognized. The law provides for the possibility of acquiring minority self-government if a certain percentage (usually 20-25 percent) of a minority in a given community files a request. The criteria for identification as a Rusyn (or other national minority) are quite liberal. Some Rusyn self-governing communities exist where very few Rusyns live, or they are comprised of Hungarians who claim some Rusyn heritage or who are simply interested in Rusyn culture.

In 1994 the first local Rusyn minority self-government was established in the village of Mucsony in the northeastern part of the country. Subsequently, and largely at the initiative of Gabriel *Hattinger-Klebashko, who at the time was chairman of the *Organization of Rusyns in Hungary, eight other self-governing Rusyn communities were organized. Only in three of those communities, which are located in northeastern Hungary, have Rusyns lived for centuries as the “indigenous” population: Mucsony, Komloska, and Sarospatak (in particular its suburb of Vegardo, see Map 11). Other communities include Biatorbagy near Budapest, and five districts of Budapest itself (V. Belvaros-Lipotvaros, VIII. Joszefvaros, XII. Hegyvidek, XIV. Zuglo, and XVIII. Pestlorinc). These communities are comprised of Rusyns from northeastern Hungary living in or near the capital, of Hungarians who claim they are of Rusyn heritage, or of recently arrived immigrants from Subcarpathian Rus’ who live permanently in Hungary.

Each minority community receives an annual budget from the Hungarian government to support Rusyn cultural and educational activity. The five communities in Budapest form a consortium that publishes the illustrated, bilingual Rusyn-Hungarian monthly magazine, Vsederzhavny rusynskyi visnyk/Orszagos ruszin hirlap (1999- ). In 1998 all nine communities formed a State Administration for Rusyn Self-Government/Derzhavnoe samouriadovania menshyny rusynuv, which is elected by local communities and is expected to represent the Rusyn minority as a whole in its negotiations with the Hungarian government. The State Administration is headed by Gabriel Hattinger and has its own building in Budapest.

Paul Robert Magocsi

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.

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