Reader feedback: It's a hard life in the Ulič region

Re: Eastern region suffers depopulation, By Zuzana Habšudová, Sept. 15-24, Vol 9, No 35

Ms. Habšudová has written an important article on a relatively unpublicised phenomena. She writes about... villages in the Ulič region, which I had the privilege of visiting in 2001. Everything she writes rings with the same truth as I saw it two years ago. The locals call these the 'dying villages'. The wood products factory, which employed the young, breathed its final breath in 2002. Not only are the villages now filled with the elderly, but now also with the middle-aged unemployed.

In the march to a free-market economy, some of the worst suffering is occurring among the poor and remote villages of Slovakia. The national economy is fragile, and there are no funds for development.

To make matters worse, its Ruthenian/Rusyn-speaking villagers often cannot even converse with their Slovak-speaking counterparts. Along with geographic isolation, the economic and communication isolation only adds to the problem.

As I walked through each village, I saw abandoned homes everywhere. When the old die off, there is no one left to inhabit the homes. As they die, so does a piece of our heritage. At night, there was only the sound of nature - no automobiles, no planes, and air as clear as could be hoped for.

Bill Tarkulich,
Lexington, Mass, USA

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