Рутенія (Ruténiya)
— State Austria-Hungary
Timeline: Twilight of a New Era
Flag Coat of Arms
Civil State Flag
Location of Ruthenia
(and largest city)
Other cities Przemyśl, Stanyslaviv, Ternopil' and Chernivtsi
Ukrainian (Ruthenian)
  others German, Yiddish, Polish, and Romani
Secular state
  others Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Judaism
Ethnic groups
  others Polish, German and Romani
Demonym Ruthenian, (before 1926, also used East Galician)
Government Parliamentary democratic State 1920-1930, social and democratic state (or Peasant State) 1930 to date
  legislature State Rada
Representative King-Emperor Губернатор (Governor)
State government Prime Minister and Executive Committee
Population aprox 4,1 million 
Established 1920
Currency корона
Time zone Central European Time (UTC+01:00)
  summer Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00)

Ruthenia (Ukrainian: Рутенія/Ruténiya; German: Ruthenien; Polish and Latin: Ruthenia; Esperanto: Rutenio, Rutenujo) is a federal state of Austria-Hungary. It is bordered by Ukraine and the states of West Galicia (which later became part of Poland), Transylvania, Hungary and Slovakia.

Formerly know as East Galicia Східна Галичина (Skhidna Halychyn), before the West Galician Crisis of 1926.


Ruthenia (former East Galicia) is a parliamentary representative democratic state.

  • a State Governor (Губернатор) acts as head of state. He is named by the Emperor in previous consultation with the State government.
  • a Prime Minister (прем'єр-міністр / prem'yer-ministr), along the Executive Committee is the state government. The Prime Minister and Executive Committee are elected and answerable to the State Rada. Executive power is exercised by the governments, both local and state level.
  • State legislative power is vested in both the government and the State Rada. The supreme legislative power resides in the State Rada (державна рада / derzhavna rada), a unicameral body elected by universal suffrage integrated by 160 deputies (120 between 1920-1929) for a four year term. The Rada can legislate on issues in the field of state income and expenditure, commercial and economic regulations, land tenancy, education, culture, welfare, labor relations, public health and education, justice, public works, administration, and public order.
  • The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. It is organized in a State Supreme Court and State Constitutional Courts, both named by the Governor on candidates named by the State Rada on candidatures proposed by the Judicial Council.

The electoral law of 1929 established rural and urban electoral districts each with 100 and 60 deputies respectively, that can also recall elected deputies or local government.

The constitutional reform of 1936 formalized the already existing agrarian corporatism, creating the State Economic Council composed of producers (agricultural and rural co-operatives), employers (employers' organizations), employees (trade unions) and representatives of various other interest. Each delegation is to act as a social partner to create economic policy through co-operation, consultation, negotiation, and compromise. Its purpose is to study, promote, propose, vote, and manage economic polices and plans. It also supervises the Ministries of Agriculture, Economic Development, Public Works, Finance and the State Committee of Public Enterprises.


The main and dominant political party is the Ruthenian Agrarian Union (PAC/RAS; the former Ukrainian Radical Party Українська радикальна партія, УPП, Ukrainska Radikalna Partiya URP). It is an agrarian socialist party It advocated socialism, increased rights for Ukrainian peasants, and secularism. The success of the party was that it aimed its activities at peasants and, to a lesser extent, workers; it convened public assemblies (vicha) in small towns and villages, founded reading houses (khaty-chytalni) and co-operatives, campaigned in elections, organized youth and women's groups, and trained activists from among the peasantry. At federal level it aligns with the social democratic group.

Other important parties are

  • the Ukrainian-Ruthenian National Democratic Party (URNDP, right wing split of the URP),
  • Ukrainian Social Democratic Party (USDP, refounded as the Ruthenian Party of Labor in 1935),
  • Democratic Radical Party (DRP, liberalism),
  • Ruthenian Catholic People's Party (RKNP, conservative, Christian social).
  • Jewish Social Democratic Party (Żydowska Partia Socjalno-Demokratyczna, ŻPS)
  • Poale Tsiyon (Workers of Zion)
  • Jewish Electoral Community (Jüdische Wahlgemeinschaft)

After its creation in 1930, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Союз промисловців і підприємців СПП, Soyuz Promyslovtsiv i Pidpryyemtsiv, SPP) established itself as an important force in urban electoral districts. The SPP is allied with the RAS in general state policies and functions as a representative of industrial and commercial interests.

Administrative division

Until 1922, Ruthenia (former East Galicia) was subdivided administratively into districts (Bezirke), rural and urban districts and communes. The capital city, Lviv is an urban county by itself.

After 1922 it was reorganized in six oblasts (provinces), each subdivided in districts (urban and rural), and these subdivided in communities. Each oblast and community as an elected council and executive board in charge of self government and other tasks assigned by law.

  • Bukovina or Chernivts (Chernivts)
  • Lviv (Lviv)
  • Sianik (Sianik)
  • Stanislavshchyna (Stanislavshchyna)
  • Ternopil (Ternopil)
  • Zakarpattia (Mukacheve)


Social conditions before the years of basic reforms

Poverty in Galicia was extreme, particularly in the late 19th century. Galicia in that period has been described as not only the poorest province of the Austria-Hungary, but the poorest province of Europe. Reasons for this poverty included little interest in reform from the major landholders and the Austrian government, population growth resulting in small peasant plots, lack of education and primitive agricultural techniques, and a vicious circle of chronic malnutrition, famine, and disease, reducing productivity. Poverty in the province was so widespread that the term "Galician misery" or "Galician poverty" (bieda galicyjska) has become proverbial.

This led to a massive emigration in the western territories of the united Galicia (Polish populated part of Galicia) shifted to east Ukrainian inhabited parts. Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, and Germans all participated in this mass movement of country folk and villagers.

The years of the basic reforms

The first democratic elections of 1921 to the State Rada gave a majority to the Ukrainian Radicals. As pledged in their program a land reform was initiated, along measures to ease access to credit and loans, technical assistance and an ambitious public roads construction plan.

The new government had also to cope with the migration of the intelligentsia, bourgeois, merchants, capitalists and professionals running away from socialist Ukraine. Using its previous experience in creating an economic, social and political networks and sponsorships along the peasantry, the URP co-opted most of this emigrates into a solid voting block. This after it successfully lobbied at federal level for an exception of citizenship law for Ukrainian refuges to obtain citizenship with one year of residence.

Although the UPR as its goal in socialist agrarianism, most of the new voters accepted it as a compromised and a less radical way then the one of Bolshevik Ukraine. So the UPR became the intermediary of the peasants and urban groups in their interests: social and economic improvement of peasants and rural zones and support of complementary activities carried out in the cities and villages.

Economic development

From an underdeveloped agriculture and husbandry barely capable of sustaining a large population or incapable of regional exchange, during the years of the basic reform it became a commercial producer of grains, potatoes and livestock. Public works of irrigation, roads, grain and animal storage, rural electrification and promotion of co-operative improved production, along the installation of small machinery works in the cities.


The Lviv University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in Ruthenia. Under founding by the state government it expanded and opened new departments and faculties. Ukrainian is the official language for exams, and Polish and German auxiliary languages as determined by Federal Law in 1921. The majority of Polish professors and students moved to the neighboring Jagiellonian University in West Galicia. Vacant professorships were filled with intelligentsia fleeing from Socialist Ukraine.

All other higher education institutions follow, by legislation, in having Ukrainian as the main language. Of importance are the Lviv Pyrotechnical School, Agricultural College and Lviv Academy of Commerce. Scientific societies Shevchenko Scientific Society,

Ruthenia is one of the few states that openly promotes Yiddish culture. The State Ministry of Education and Culture finances Yiddish cultural institutions.

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