Slavic Congress in Prague, 1848

Slavic Congress in Prague, 1848. A congress of representatives of the Slavic peoples of the Austrian Empire, called at the initiative of Pavel Šafařík and J. Jelačić and organized by Czech activists, such as F. Palacký, Karel Vladislav Zap, Karl Havlíček-Borovský, and F. Rieger. The assembly was convened to consolidate the forces of the Slavs in response to calls for the unification of all German lands (including Austria with Czech-inhabited Bohemia) by the German parliament in Frankfurt; its formal sessions began on 2 June 1848. A number of Galician Ukrainians participated in the congress, including delegates from the Supreme Ruthenian Council (Ivan Borysykevych, Hryhorii Hynylevych, and Oleksii Zaklynsky); none were present from Transcarpathia. A delegation from the pro-Polish Ruthenian Congress led by J. Lubomirski and including L. Sapieha, K. Cięglewicz, and L. Stecki participated in the assembly. A total of 363 delegates attended the congress, of whom 61 belonged to the Polish-Ukrainian contingent from Galicia. Three working commissions were struck: Czecho-Slovak, Polish-Ukrainian, and Southern Slav. As a result of talks held in the Polish-Ukrainian commission, formed at the initiative of Palacký and M. Bakunin and headed by Sapieha, an agreement was reached concerning the political, cultural, and national equality of Poles and Ukrainians. A majority of the commission accepted a proposal put forward by the Supreme Ruthenian Council to divide Galicia into eastern and western sections, but under Polish pressure the matter was referred to the Galician Diet and the State Council.

The congress dealt with other issues, including a formula for the restructuring of the Habsburg Empire as a federation of autonomous peoples. The congress also sent a special petition to Emperor Ferdinand I demanding equal rights for all Slavic peoples of the Austrian Empire, which included a call for Ukrainian language rights in Galicia. None of the proposals discussed at the congress was ever officially adopted. Because of an uprising that broke out in Prague, the proceedings of the congress were halted on 12 June 1848. The congress produced no concrete results for Galician Ukrainians.

Sozans’kyi, I. ‘Do istoriï uchasty halyts’kykh rusyniv u Slov’ians’komu kongresi v Prazi 1848 r.,’ ZNTSh, 72 (Lviv 1906)
Navalovs’kyi, M. Ukraïntsi i Slov’ians’kyi kongres u Prazi 1848 r. (Kharkiv 1930)
Žaček, V. (ed). Slovanský sjezd v Praze (Prague 1958)
Orton, L. The Prague Slav Congress of 1848 (Boulder, Colo 1978)
Kozik, J. The Ukrainian National Movement in Galicia: 1815–1849 (Edmonton 1986)

Bohdan Kravtsiv

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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