Today, Zakarpattia is facing the possibility of a big ethnic conflict, the Coordination Council of Rusyn (Carpatho-Russian) Organizations of Zakarpattia says in its address to the Ukrainian authorities as well as Rusyns and political and public circles worldwide.
According to the Council, recently, the Ukrainian authorities have become increasingly active in discrediting and persecuting Rusyns. They keep summoning some Rusyns for interrogation, searching their houses and threatening to kill them.
This crisis has become even deeper now that the pro-Fascist Right Sector is trying to take illegal control of the region. The local authorities have attempted to take from Rusyns their community center in Mukachevo and to give it to some commercial organizations.
“We believe that this decision will make things even worse and this all may result in a serious ethnic conflict. Such an outcome will be bad for the regional authorities as it may cause them serious problems before the next local elections,” says the Council.
The Zakarpattian Rusyns are astonished to hear charges of extremism and separatism from the Kiev authorities. “We have always said that we want Ukraine to be independent and united but we also support the idea of decentralization. We believe that by giving a special status to some regions, the Kiev authorities will be able to solve some of their key national problems. For Zakarpattia this is a special priority as in 1991 80% of the local population voted for autonomy,” says the Council.
It also calls on Rusyns in Zakarpattia and worldwide to prevent the policy of genocide against ethnic minorities in Zakarpattia. “We hope that our authorities will be wise and will not repeat the mistakes that may have tragic consequences for Zakarpattia and Ukraine, as a whole,” says the Council.