ETHNIC Rusyns (or Ruthenians) and Ukrainians living in Slovakia account for just over one-half percent of the 5.4 million residents of Slovakia. The Rusyn (Ruthenian) national minority received the status of an autonomous ethnic minority only after the fall of the communist regime in 1989. Until that time Rusyns (Ruthenians) were regarded as Ukrainians.
According to a census conducted in Slovakia in 2001, about 10,800 citizens of Slovakia regard themselves as Ukrainians and 24,000 people identify themselves as Rusyns (Ruthenians).
The majority of them live in northeast regions of Slovakia states the website of the Embassy of Ukraine to Slovakia.
The largest and most representative organisation of the Ukrainian and Rusyn (Ruthenian) minorities living in Slovakia is the Association of Ruthenians and Ukrainians in the Slovak Republic which unites more than 4,000 members.
In 2006-2007 approximately 600 pupils were learning the Ukrainian language in 12 schools in Slovakia. For example, Ukrainian is taught at the Medical School in Humenné, the Trade Academy in Svidník, and at secondary grammar schools in Prešov, Svidník and Medzilaborce. Prešov University and Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica have departments of the Ukrainian language and Ukrainian studies, according to the Ukrainian Embassy.
The Association of Ruthenians and Ukrainians in the Slovak Republic supports more than 38 folk groups active in various genres, uniting more than 1,000 members and holding about 15 festivals and traditional events each year.
The 55th year of the Festivities of Culture of Rusyns and Ukrainians of Slovakia in Svidník was held in June. The 48th year of the Festival of Drama and Artistic Word in honour of A. Duchnovič was held in Medzilaborce in June also.
Other traditional events include the festival of Rusyn-Ukrainian folklore in Kamienok, the festival of Ukrainian folk songs in Bardejov and the festival of spiritual songs in Snina.
Snina also houses the Museum of Ukrainian Culture which includes an open-air museum with the most typical types of Ukrainian folk architecture.
20. Jul 2009 at 0:00 | Jana Liptáková