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Dr. Viktoriia Serhiienko (The National Academy of Science, Ukraine):
“From Poprad to the Pacific Ocean.” The Image of Subcarpathia / Zakarpattia in Russian Intellectual and Socio-Political Discourse (mid-19th century – early 20th century)
In the second half of the 19th – at the beginning of the 20th century, Subcarpathia / Zakarpattia was the furthest from political storms part of Hungary. The majority of the local Ruthenian / Ukrainian population was consisted of peasants living in mountainous areas. The modernization of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has hardly affected the region.
The relatively small political and economic influence of Subcarpathia / Zakarpattia was the reason that until the 1870s in the Russian Empire very little was known about it. While the pan–Slavist ideas and geopolitical ambitions of Russia were directed at Austrian Galicia, the Russian public was almost unaware of the existence of the Orthodox, East Slavic population of Subcarpathia / Zakarpattia.
However, in the last quarter of the 19th century, Russian public opinion “opened” the Ruthenians as part of “the Self”. How and who made this invention? What image of an “ordinary” Ruthenian was formed in the imagination of the readers? And what is the role of the Great War in the creation of this fictive kinship?
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