The term Ruthenians
( , Rusyns, Rus'
) is a
culturally loaded term and has different meanings according to the
context in which it is used. Initially it was the ethnonym used for
people. With the emergence
of Ukrainian nationalism
the mid 19th century, the term initially went out of use first in
eastern and central Ukraine, just later in western Ukraine.
Ukraine, especially Carpathian Ruthenia, and in Ukrainian ethnic territories outside of
Ukraine it is often still used (see Rusyns).
Originally the term Rusyn was an ethnonym applied to eastern
Slavic-speaking ethnic groups, who inhabit or inhabited the
cultural and ethnic region of Rus'
(Русь) often written through its Latin
terms "Ruthenians" or "Ruthenes" were the Latin terms referring to
Slavic Orthodox people who lived in Grand Duchy of Lithuania
(inhabiting the area that is now Belarus and Ukraine..
They spoke the Ruthenian
). It was also the ethnonym used by the Ukrainian kozaks to
area of White Russia (Belarus) became part
of the Russian
Empire, the people of the area were seen as a sub-group of
Russians, and they were named White
Russians as the name of the region of White
Russia (Belorusians in Ruthenian and Russian means White Russians).
in the area
evolved from the Ruthenian
Later "Ruthenians" or "Ruthenes" were used as a generic term for
territories up until the early 20th century who spoke Western
dialects of the Ukrainian
and called themselves "Русины" (Rusyny).
The language these "Ruthenians" or "Ruthenes" spoke was also called
the "Ruthenian language
name "Ukrajins’ka mova" (Ukrainian
) became accepted by much of the Ukrainian literary
class only in the early twentieth century in Austro-Hungarian
Galicia. After the
dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918 the term "Ukrainian
" was usually applied to all
Ukrainian-speaking inhabitants of Galicia.