Russniaks (Also Russine and Rutheni)

Russniaks (Also Russine And Rutheni), the name of a variety of peoples who form a branch of the great Slavic race, and are sharply distinguished from the Muscovites, or Russians proper, by their language and the entire character of their life. They are divided into the Russniaks of Galicia, North Hungary, Podolia, Volhynia, and Lithuania, and are estimated by Schafarik at 13,000,000. They are almost all agriculturists, and, on the whole, rather uncultivated. Before the 17th century they were a free race, but were then subjugated, partly by the Lithuanians, partly by the Poles, and for a long time belonged to the Polish kingdom. Their language has consequently become closely assimilated to the Polish. In earlier times it was a written speech with quite distinctive characteristics, as may be seen from the translation of the Bible published at Ostrog in 1581, and from various statutes and other literary monuments still extant. Recently, printing in the Russniak tongue has been recommenced. The Russniaks belong, for the most part, to the United Greek Church, but in part also to the Non-united. They here serve many old customs peculiar to themselves, and much folk lore, prose and poetic, very like that current in Poland and Servia. This has been collected by Vaclav in his Piesni Polskie i Ruskie (Lemnberg, 1833). Levicki has published a Grammatik der russinischen Sprache fur Deutsche (Przemysl, 1833).

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