Skip to main content


Ruthenia (rōōthē´nēə), Latinized form of the word Russia. The term was applied to Ukraine in the Middle Ages when the princes of Halych briefly assumed the title kings of Ruthenia. Later, in Austria-Hungary, the term Ruthenians was used to designate the Ukrainian population of W Ukraine, which included Galicia, Bukovina, and Carpathian Ukraine. After 1918 the term Ruthenia was applied only to the easternmost province of Czechoslovakia, which was also known as Carpathian Ukraine, or by its Czech name, Podkarpatská Rus [Sub-Carpathian Russia]; for the history of this area from 1918, see Transcarpathian Region. The inhabitants of Carparthian Ukraine, known as Rusyns or Ruthenians, speak a language (Rusyn or Ruthenian) is closely related to Ukrainian, but culturally, however, the Rusyns were distinct from the Ukrainians, especially after 1596, when the Orthodox Church of the Western Ukraine entered into union with the Roman Catholic Church, and after 1649, when a similar union was effected in Hungary. The Ruthenian Uniate Church of the Byzantine (see Roman Catholic Church) thus included the majority of the Rusyns in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, while the Orthodox Church was fully restored (17th cent.) in the Russian part of the Ukraine. When most Rusyns were united (1945) in Soviet Ukraine, government pressure resulted in the secession of the Ruthenian Uniate Church from Rome and its reunion with the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time, the Soviets classified the Rusyns, who had been divided as to whether to regard themselves as ethnically Rusyn, Russian, or Ukrainian, as Ukrainian. This position also was adopted by Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia and Poland with respect to their Rusyn minorities. In 1989 the Uniate Church broke with the Russian Orthodox Church and reestablished its ties with Rome. The end of Communist rule in E Europe also brought a resurgence of a distinct Rusyn identity, although Ukraine has not recognized Transcarpathian Rusyns as an ethnic minority, as well as a interest among some in establishing a Rusyn nation.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ruthenia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 23 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Ruthenia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (January 23, 2019).

"Ruthenia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved January 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.