Russophiles (русофіли or москвофіли; rusofily or moskvofily). The adherents of a sociopolitical current that appeared in the 19th century among Ukrainians in Galicia, Transcarpathia, and Bukovyna who considered themselves to be a part of the Russian nation. Russophilism covered a broad range of cultural and political attitudes and incorporated enthusiasts, sympathizers, and those looking for assistance in their national struggle. Underlying the notion of Russophilism was the implicit or explicit assumption of eventual political union with the Russian Empire. Such sympathies were encouraged by the imperial Russian authorities, who provided the Russophiles with substantial subsidies and moral encouragement.
The reasons for the emergence of Russophilism are varied. The linguistic and cultural similarities between Russians and Ukrainians at a time before the crystallization of a modern Ukrainian national consciousness represented one factor. Also important was the marked sense of inferiority many leading Ukrainians felt in the face of Polish culture. The complex was generated in part by the pseudoaristocratic aspirations of the Galician intelligentsia of the period as well as by their disdain for (and desire not to be identified with) the common people. Galician Russophiles sought to fill a cultural void in their lives by identifying with the Russian nation and the achievements of a highly developed Russian culture. Finally, social frustration came into play, as many prominent Ukrainians began looking to Russia as their savior after political changes in Austria-Hungary during the 1860s had diminished their power and prestige.
The first manifestations of Russophilism appeared in Transcarpathia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the use and propagation of the Russian language and the adoption of Russian etymological practices in Ukrainian; in travels by local scholars and students to Russia for study and work (Yurii Venelin, Petro Lodii); in interest in Russian cultural life; and in the use of Russian by local Ukrainian authors. The harbinger of Russophilism in Galicia was the historian Denys Zubrytsky, who was strongly influenced by the ideas of the Russian historian and Pan-Slavist Mikhail Pogodin. A professor at Moscow University, Pogodin sojourned in Lviv in 1835 and 1839–40 and developed a following among members of the Galician Ukrainian intelligentsia. The resident priest of the Russian embassy in Vienna, Mikhail Raevsky, was also a major figure in developing Russophile sympathies among Slavic intellectuals from the 1840s.
The Russophiles did not emerge as an identifiable group until the 1860s. Throughout the 1850s they existed in a nascent form as the secular wing of the so-called Old Ruthenians, with whom they shared a common concern about linguistic and cultural Polonization (playing a key role in the alphabet war) and church Latinization. Centered around the so-called Mikhail Pogodin colony, the emerging movement included figures such as B. Didytsky, Yakiv Holovatsky, Ivan Holovatsky, Ivan Hushalevych, Mykhailo Malynovsky, Antin Petrushevych, Severyn Shekhovych, and Denys Zubrytsky. Russophilism became particularly important in the 1860s, when the Austrian emperor, Francis Joseph I, granted the Polish gentry a free hand in an autonomous Galicia. (In contrast, the Russian tsar Alexander II was punishing the Polish gentry in Right-Bank Ukraine for its participation in the Polish Insurrection of 1863–4.) The Russophiles split with the Old Ruthenians, who now constituted a spent force, and began to define themselves more clearly as a distinct group.
B. Didytsky dealt with linguistic issues in his anonymous pamphlet V odyn chas nauchyt’sia malorusynu po velikorussky (In One Hour a Little Russian Can Learn Great Russian) and articles in the newspaper Slovo (Lviv), and Ivan Naumovych outlined the political platform of the Russophile movement in the Galician parliament and in articles in Slovo. The Russophiles were adherents of the notion of a common origin of the three ‘Rus'’ nations. They used the vernacular only for works of popular education intended for distribution among the peasantry. More commonly they employed the macaronic yazychiie among themselves (only occasionally using Russian). Yazychiie was a creation of the Russophiles, who lacked fluency in Russian and were fascinated by the forms of Old Church Slavonic; the use of yazychiie also fed their aristocratic pretensions by differentiating them from ‘common folk.' In all cases they adhered to an etymological orthography.
While maintaining a façade of loyalty to the Habsburg monarchy the Russophiles continued developing their pro-Russian orientation. Increasingly their Russophile sympathies brought them remuneration. The Greek Catholic clerics and teachers who emigrated to the Kholm region (within the Russian Empire) in the 1860s, ostensibly to preserve the purity of the church rite in the face of Polish-inspired attempts at Latinization, secured rewarding positions. Scholarships granted by Russian institutions to students in Galicia further entrenched Russophile tendencies in the area, as did the loss of Austro-Hungarian prestige after the empire's defeat in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. In 1867 Yakiv Holovatsky and Ivan Naumovych received a stipend. In the following year Venedykt Ploshchansky and Ksenofont Klymkovych received financial assistance. By the end of the decade a significant part of the Ukrainian intelligentsia of Galicia, secular and clerical, consisted of Russophiles. They came to control the Stauropegion Institute, the People's Home in Lviv, and the Halytsko-Ruska Matytsia society. In 1870 they gained control of the Ruthenian Council, which was to have continued the traditions of the Supreme Ruthenian Council of 1848.
In addition to assuming leading positions in existing structures the Russophiles established their own bodies. In 1868 a Russophile cultural organization, Russkaia Osnova, was established in Vienna. More significantly, the Kachkovsky Society was formed in Kolomyia in 1874 (its headquarters moved to Lviv in 1876). Russophile publications included Slovo (Lviv) (1861–87), Russkaia rada (1871–1912), the journal Nauka (1871–1939, with interruptions), Prolom (1881–82), Novyi prolom (1883–7), Chervonaia Rus’ (1888–91), Halytskaia Rus’ (1891–2), Halychanyn (1893–1913), and Russkoe slovo (Lviv) (1890–1914). Nauka and the reading rooms of the Kachkovsky Society were the main centers of Russophile cultural and educational work in the villages.
The principal counterbalance to the Russophiles in Galicia was the Ukrainophile populist group, which had established itself initially around the Prosvita society in 1867. Throughout the remainder of the 1860s and through the 1870s the populists and Russophiles maintained a hostile rivalry and an ongoing struggle for control of national institutions. In 1877 a radical group of Ukrainophiles led by Ivan Franko and Mykhailo Pavlyk managed to wrest the students' Academic Circle from Russophile control.
The Russophiles lost their pre-eminent position in Galician Ukrainian society during the 1880s, in large measure owing to the upsurge in support for the Ukrainophile populists. The Russophiles also suffered a major setback in 1881 when a group of their prominent leaders (including Olha Hrabar, Adolf Dobriansky, Ivan Naumovych, Venedykt Ploshchansky, and Osyp Markov) was tried for treason in Lviv. Although the accused were acquitted (after which a number moved to the Russian Empire), the trial tainted the movement and weakened its support. Although the Russophiles remained entrenched in the institutions they had come to dominate, and continued as a significant presence among the Galician clergy, they clearly constituted a minority party.
In the early 20th century the Russophile movement underwent some major changes. In 1900 the largely Russophile Ruthenian Council initiated a political body, the Ruthenian People's party. The Russophiles had some limited political success. In the 1906 elections to the Viennese parliament the Russophiles elected 5 deputies (compared to 27 for the populists). They managed, however, to garner support from Galician Poles, and in 1908 they elected 8 representatives to the Galician provincial diet (compared to 12 representatives of pro-Ukrainian parties).
At the same time a more radical faction of Russophiles emerged. Faced with a vigorous and politically and economically organized Ukrainian national populist movement, the younger faction called for the complete national and cultural integration of Galician Ruthenians with Russians and the adoption of the Russian language as a literary standard. The group became particularly active after the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War and an escalation of tensions between the Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary. It allied itself with a resurgent current of Pan-Slavism in the Russian Empire that sought to annex Galicia, Bukovyna, and Transcarpathia and thus ‘reunite’ all the lands of ancient Rus’.
In 1909 the Russophiles split into two factions, the starokursnyky (Old Liners) and the novokursnyky (New Liners). The leading activists of the former faction included V. Davydiak and Mykhailo Korol as well as M. Hlibovytsky, I. Kostetsky, V. Kurylovych, O. Monchalovsky, and Yu. Paventsky. The starokursnyky opposed full union with Russia, continued to use vernacular Ukrainian, and maintained their allegiance to Austria-Hungary. Their official press included the newspaper Halychanyn (1893–1913) and the popular weekly Russkoe slovo (Lviv). The novokursnyky were led by Volodymyr Dudykevych and Dimitrii Markov. Other activists included K. and I. Cherliunchakevych, Mariian Hlushkevych, S. Labensky, M. Rastavetsky, K. Senyk, and O. Valnytsky. Their official organs were the daily Prikarpatskaia Rus’ (1909–15) and the popular weekly Golos naroda (1909–14). The novokursnyky were the more active of the two groups, and they came to control most Russophile organizations, such as the Kachkovsky Society, the Union of Russian Teams (sports organizations), and co-operatives. They also gained majorities in student organizations (Drug in Lviv and Bukovina in Vienna).
Russophile agitation in Galicia intensified during the years leading up to the First World War. A major reason was the material support of the Galician-Russian society. Based in Saint Petersburg, the group was founded in 1909 by the Russian ultranationalist V. Bobrinsky, and cultivated supporters in Galicia, which its members hoped would soon become part of the empire. Other leaders of the society were D. Verhun, Evlogii Georgievsky (archbishop of Kholm), Antonii Khrapovitsky (archbishop of Volhynia), and Yu. Yavorsky (a Galician Russophile who had lived in Kyiv from 1904). Galician youth were given scholarships to study in Russia, and some entered Russian Orthodox theological seminaries. Members of the Russian State Duma participated in Russophile political demonstrations. V. Bobrinsky conducted his pro-Russian agitation with impunity in the villages of Galicia and Bukovyna. Campaigns of conversion to Russian Orthodoxy were conducted in the Lemko region and in counties bordering the Russian empire. The religious agitation was conducted by Austrian citizens who had studied in Russia and then were sent back to Galicia as missionaries. The Austrian and Galician authorities arrested Russian Orthodox missionaries who had been sent to Galicia, or threatened to draft them into the army. In the spring of 1914 S. Bendasiuk and other missionaries were tried on changes of high treason, but were acquitted. A similar trial was held in Sighetul Marmaţiei in 1913–14, with O. Kabaliuk and 180 peasants as defendants. Most of them were found guilty.
The shift among the novokursnyky to total support of Russian policies prompted the defection of such Russophiles as Sylvester Drymalyk, Mykhailo Korol, and Ilarion Svientsitsky to the Ukrainian populists. The relative strength of the two movements was reflected in the size of their organizations. In 1914 the Kachkovsky Society had 300 reading rooms, and the Ukrainophile Prosvita society had 2,944; the Russophile Ruthenian Audit Union oversaw 106 co-operatives, and the Audit Union of Ukrainian Co-operatives, 909. In the elections to the Galician provincial diet of 1913, 1 Russophile and 30 Ukrainophiles were elected.
Russophile activists living in the Russian Empire founded the Committee for the Liberation of Carpathian Ruthenia on 11 August 1914 in Kyiv. They also issued a proclamation addressed to the ‘long-suffering Russian people in Galicia,’ which urged the people in that region to greet the Russian army and suggested that Ukrainian soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian army should defect to Russian forces. That and the committee's close collaboration with the Russian military authorities brought about repercussions in Austria-Hungary, with the massive arrest of Russophiles and Ukrainian populists alike. Thousands of Ukrainians were sent to concentration camps in Thalerhof and other locations, of whom most were freed in 1915. Thousands were also executed as the Russian army advanced, some by Austrian but most by Hungarian forces. After the capture of Lviv the committee dissolved itself in favor of the Russian People's Council, headed by Volodymyr Dudykevych. Russophiles sought an active role in the Russian imperial administration and attempted to liquidate all Ukrainian populist elements.
After the retreat of the Russian armies from Galicia many Russophiles followed them eastward and established several settlements near Rostov-na-Donu. A substantial number of the Russophiles, now faced with the real difference between Ukrainians and Russians, became conscious Ukrainians. Some participated in the Ukrainian struggle for independence (1917–20) in central Ukraine, and others returned to Galicia and supported the Western Ukrainian National Republic.
In 1918 the remaining adherents of Russophilism in Galicia established the Russian Executive Committee in Lviv and revived the periodical Prikarpatskaia Rus’ (1918–20). The Executive Committee worked with the Ukrainian Interparty Council, opposed the Polish authorities, and boycotted the elections to the Polish Sejm in 1922. Soon the Russophiles split into two groups. A left-wing faction, led by Kyrylo Valnytsky and Kuzma Pelekhaty, established the People's Will party, whose official press organ was Volia naroda (1921–8). In 1926 they joined the Sel-Soiuz group of Kholm and Volhynia to form Sel-Rob; in the process they were compelled to drop their Russophile line and declare themselves Ukrainian-oriented. The more conservative wing of the Russophiles was based around the Russian People's Organization. Their petitions to the Polish governmental officials bore fruit when they were given control of key institutions, such as the People's Home in Lviv and the Stauropegion Institute. The Russophiles also worked closely with the Russian minority in Poland. The conservatives later split into two factions, the right-wing Russian Agrarian party and the moderate Russian Peasant Organization, but they reunited in 1931.
In the 1920s, Galician Russophiles revived the Kachkovsky Society, the Ruthenian Audit Union (which in 1939 oversaw 250 co-operatives, while its Ukrainian counterpart oversaw 3,455), and other institutions. Through the 1920s and 1930s the Russophiles failed to elect a single representative to the Polish parliament, but in 1932 two of their delegates were made members of the Nonparty Bloc of Co-operation with the Government. Despite their collaboration with the Poles the Russophiles' movement went into decline, and virtually all of its members joined the Ukrainian camp.
Russophilism existed in Transcarpathia from the second half of the 19th century, but it did not result in the establishment of a separate, distinctive group. That state of affairs reflected the uniqueness of the regional patriotism that existed there. In that period Transcarpathian Ukrainians generally considered themselves Carpatho-Ruthenians (or Rusyns). Their understanding of their national identity, however, tended to fluctuate between an uncrystallized Russophilism and a local particularism. Consequently the major patriotic Ukrainian associations or groups (specifically those that were not Magyarophile) tended to have a strong Russophile influence. That influence was reinforced by the migration of notable members of the local intelligentsia to the Russian Empire. The development of Russophilism was also influenced by the presence of imperial Russian troops in the region during the suppression of the Revolution of 1848–9 in the Habsburg monarchy. Prior to the First World War members of the Transcarpathian intelligentsia who found themselves threatened by the Hungarian authorities turned to Russia and the Pan-Slavic movement for assistance. After the war there was a movement to develop Russian Orthodoxy in the region. At the same time an openly Ukrainophile movement began to develop there, which had become a major force regionally by the 1930s. A Russophile presence remained in Transcarpathia, centered largely around the Dukhnovych Society (1923–45).
Russophilism in Bukovyna developed in reaction to the Romanianizing policies of the local authorities. Other factors included a religious affinity to Orthodox Russia and the influence of the Russian consulate in Chernivtsi. Russophilism prompted many Bukovynian youths to leave Austria and settle in Russia. Its leading activists were Ivan Hlibovytsky, Hryhorii Kupchanko, and Vasyl Prodan. Like their Galician counterparts the Bukovynian Russophiles initially dominated the nascent national cultural (Ruska Besida in Bukovyna) and political (Ruska Rada society) organizations in the region, but they were eclipsed by the Ukrainophile populists by the end of the 19th century.
In the Lemko region Russophile activists, such as M. Hromosiak, Ya. Kachmaryk, and D. Khyliak, established, in December 1918, the Lemko Russian People's Republic. The Russophile groups did not recognize Poland's annexation of the region in 1921. They did not remain a lasting force in the region.
A Russophile current developed among Ukrainian emigrants in North America in the early part of the 20th century, largely as a result of missionary work by the Russian Orthodox church (most notably by Aleksei Tovt in the United States). Its activity was subsidized heavily by the Holy Synod in Moscow, which was following a policy developed by Konstantin Pobedonostsev. The Synod's intent, in part, was to influence indirectly the development of Russophile sentiment in Western Ukraine, the home of most of the emigrants. Russophile activity in North America waned with the fall of the Russian Empire (and the end of subsidies) in 1917.
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[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]