American National Council of Uhro-Rusins

Image - Hryhorii Zhatkovych signs a declaration on behalf of the American National Council of Uhro-Rusins (1918).

American National Council of Uhro-Rusins (Американская народная рада Угро-Русинов; Amerykanskaia narodnaia rada uhro-rusinov). A representative body of Carpatho-Ruthenian (Transcarpathian) immigrants (see Ruthenians) in the United States of America, founded on 23 July 1918 in Homestead, Pennsylvania with the purpose of influencing the political future of their native land. Its president was attorney Hryhorii Zhatkovych. At its first convention in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on 26 July 1918, the following possible options for Transcarpathia were considered: independence, union with Galicia and Bukovyna, or incorporation into another state with guaranteed autonomy. Eventually the leaders of the council opted for voluntary union with Czechoslovakia. On 26 October 1918 they entered into an informal agreement (the ‘Philadelphia agreement’) with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk concerning Carpatho-Ruthenian autonomy in the future federal republic of Czechoslovakia. The agreement was approved by the council convention in Scranton on 12 November 1918, and was followed by a plebiscite in all Carpatho-Ruthenian parishes and organizations in the United States, with the following results: 67 percent for union with Czechoslovakia, 28 percent for union with Ukraine, 5 percent for union with other countries (Hungary, Galicia, Russia) or for independence. The decision of the council was approved by the Central Ruthenian People's Council in Uzhhorod on 8 May 1919 and accepted by Prague. The council continued to exist for a few more years, with declining activity and influence. In 1920 and 1922 it launched protests against the Czechoslovak government for failure to grant autonomy to Subcarpathian Ruthenia.

Vasyl Markus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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