General view of the Talerhof concentration camp in 1917. Album of photographs from the concentration camp for the military-arrested Russian Galicians and Bukovinians in Talerhof, Styria, 1914-1917. Edition of the Talerhof Committee. Lvov, 1923
The Austrian authorities suspected the Galicians, Rusyns-Russians of sympathy for Russia, and with the outbreak of the First World War they attacked "Russian spies and agents of influence", although the Russians simply wanted to remain Russians. The fight against the "Russian threat" led to the genocide of Russians and the creation of the first concentration camp in Europe.
Galicia-Volyn Rus was divided between Poland and Lithuania (The Rise and Fall of the Russian Kingdom). From the lands of the former Russian principality in Poland, the Russian Voivodeship was formed with the center in Lviv, which was part of Lesser Poland. The Russian Voivodeship included: Lvov, Przemysl, Galicia, Kholm and Sanok lands. Also Russian and Belz Voivodeships in historical documents of the XV-XVIII centuries were often united under the conditional name Chervonnaya (Red) Russia. Russian people lived in these lands. The population of Galicia, Bukovina, Transcarpathia called themselves the adjective "Rus" or the noun "Rusyns". No mythical "ukrov-Ukrainians".
During the First Partition of the Commonwealth in 1772, Galicia was ceded to Austria. The capital of the new Austrian province, called the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, was the city of Lvov. According to the third partition of Poland in 1795, Austria got the northern part of Galicia up to the Western Bug River, called Western Galicia. There was religious tolerance in Austria, so the Galician Russians were equalized in rights with the Catholics. During the Napoleonic Wars, Galicia temporarily became part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, a French satellite. When Napoleon was defeated, the Duchy of Warsaw was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria. Western Galicia was transferred to the Kingdom of Poland, which became part of the Russian Empire. The rest of Galician Rus remained part of Austria.
The fight against the Russianness of Galicia
As part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, Russian Galicia was subjected to the processes of Polonization and Ukrainization (through the Uniate Church). The Western Russian nobility in many respects became Polonized and adopted Catholicism. In order to achieve a position in society, it was necessary to accept Catholicism, to become Polish. But in general, the population retained Russianness. So, at the congress of Galician-Russian scientists in 1848, the question was raised of studying the history of Galicia as part of the general history of Russia on the basis of the national unity of the Russian people. The existence of a single literary language for all of Russia (from the Carpathians to Kamchatka) was confirmed. Ruthenian leaders rejected the existence of a separate Ukrainian nation and ranked the Little Russians, like the Galicians, as a single Russian people.
Russophiles or "Muscovites" - public and political figures sympathetic to Russia, and ordinary people, pro-Russian organizations - in the 1860s - 1880s were a noticeable force in the social life of Galicia. Rusyns looked at Russia as a possible liberator, which became especially noticeable after the successes of the Russians in the fight against Turkey. The Galicians called their land "Under the yoke" and secretly hoped that the Russian tsar would unite all of Russia.
It is clear that the Austrian government did not like this. The "patchwork empire" of the Habsburgs was afraid of Russia's success in the Balkan direction, which led to the liberation of the Slavic peoples from Turkish rule, and potentially from Austrian. At first, the Austrian authorities in Galicia supported either the Poles or the Ruthenians in order to maintain a balance of power. Then the Austrians developed Ukrainianism, mainly through Uniatism. In fact, the Austrians continued the project "Ukraine", created in Catholic Poland. Galician governor Count Stadion von Warthausen told the Rusyns in 1848 that they should renounce national unity with the Russians in Russia and develop their own culture as an independent one. The Austrian authorities began to support the "Ukrainians", those who broke with their Russian past. Ukrainians (they are also “true Galicians”) became a counterweight to the remaining Rusyns and Poles.
On the one hand, Russian schools and Galician-Russian organizations were closed, it was forbidden to study Russian. Instead of closed societies, others were opened, in particular, “Ukrainian” ones. The fight against the Russian literary language, Russian books, magazines and newspapers intensified, their distribution was equated with high treason. Many Russian Galicians were arrested and thrown into prison. On the other hand, support for the Ukrainian movement has increased. Under the auspices of the Austrians, the Ukrainian Party was created.
"Ukrainian Piedmont" - "AntiRussia"
After the Russian Empire realized the danger of the Ukrainian ideology and began to limit the Ukrainian language in print (1860-1870s), the publication of Ukrainian literature began to move from Russia to Austria-Hungary, which turned into a kind of refuge for the Ukrainian intelligentsia. It is worth remembering that “Ukrainianism” was then widespread only among an extremely small, marginal, Ukrainian intelligentsia that had practically no influence on the people. This situation continued until 1917 ("Russians and Ukrainians are one people"). Among the people, in Galicia, Poles and Rusyns-Russians prevailed, in Little Russia-Ukraine - Russians-Little Russians. In Galicia itself, in the western regions, the majority were Poles and Jews, in the eastern regions, Rusyns.
Therefore, by the end of the XNUMXth century, Galicia began to be called "Ukrainian Piedmont", comparing it with the Sardinian kingdom (Piedmont), which played a leading role in the unification of Italy. Thus, the historian and one of the leaders of the Ukrainian movement M. S. Grushevsky, who moved from Kyiv to Lvov in 1894, noted that Galicia was “advanced part of the Ukrainian people, which has long overtaken the poor Russian Ukraine».
The ideology of the "Ukrainian Piedmont" was Russophobia.
“If we are talking about Ukraine,” Galician Ukrainians wrote, “then we must operate with one word – hatred for its enemies... The revival of Ukraine is a synonym for hatred for one’s Muscovite wife, sisters Katsaps, to their father and mother Katsaps. Loving Ukraine means sacrificing Katsap relatives.”
Ulyanov N. I. The origin of Ukrainian separatism.
Ulyanov N. I. The origin of Ukrainian separatism.
The Ukrainizers denied the unity of the Little Russians (Ukrainians) with the Great Russians and propagated hatred for Russia. This suited the Vienna court. To spread this anti-Russian, misanthropic ideology, the authorities tried to appoint "Ukrainians" as teachers in schools and priests in Galician parishes. Also, the Austrian authorities contributed to the formation of an artificial language from local Russian dialects, later called "Ukrainian". In addition, the "Ukrainians" began to play the role of Austrian scammers, policemen, who fought against the Russophilia of the Galicians. This is how the project "Ukraine - AntiRussia" began to take shape.
However, in general, pro-Russian sentiments prevailed among the common people. Only the intelligentsia was infected with Ukrainianism. Even about half of the Greek Catholic clergy and parishioners also identified themselves as Russophiles, despite aggressive pressure from the Catholic Church. On the eve of World War II, the Austrian authorities increased pressure on the Russian population of Galicia, fearing that they would support the Russian army. In 1910, the Austrian authorities closed all pro-Russian organizations in Bukovina: the Society of Russian Women, Karpat, Russian Orthodox People's House, Russian Orthodox Orphanage, Russian Orthodox Reading Room, Russian Squad. The fight against the "Russian threat" and spy mania began.
In addition, during this period, the German Empire also showed interest in the “Ukrainian issue”. The Second Reich planned to actively support the processes of separatism in Russia. In particular, a plan arose to create a "Ukrainian kingdom" under the Austro-German protectorate. Thus, the Germans wanted to dismember Russia and the Russian people, to pit Russians against Russians. Austrian and German intelligence services began to finance and direct the activities of Ukrainian organizations. During the First World War, this activity was greatly intensified.
In the modern world, instead of Austria and Germany, the Ukraine project is supported by London, Washington and Brussels (with the participation of Paris and Berlin). But the ideology, plans and goals are the same. The split of the Russian civilization (Rus-Russia), the Russian super-ethnos, the pitting of the Russians, their maximum bleeding, and as a result - the complete solution of the "Russian question".
Extermination of Russians in Galicia
The First World War went badly for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Russian army crushed the Austro-Hungarians and occupied Eastern Galicia and part of Bukovina. In the future, the Austro-Hungarian army was able to hold the front only with the help of German divisions. In Vienna, they panicked, spy mania began, they were looking for Russian agents of influence. They blamed the defeat at the front. The Austrian secret services and courts-martial began a “hunt” for Russians in the remaining part of Galicia under their control. The authorities promised from 50 to 500 kroons to anyone who denounced a suspicious Rusyn-Russophile.
Those who did not hide their positions and sympathies for Russia were the first to be hit. Orthodox priests, activists of already banned pro-Russian organizations. People were caught simply because they used to read Russian newspapers and go to Orthodox services. The courts did not even examine the cases of the defendants. It was military time: they simply read out the accusation of espionage, treason, and passed the verdict. Extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture became commonplace. The Poles and "ukry" denounced the Rusyns, who were arrested on suspicion of sympathy for Russia. There is nothing new under the sun. We see the same thing now in post-Soviet, pro-Western and Nazi Ukraine.
In September 1914, Orthodox priest Maxim Sandovich (Gorlitsky) was executed in Gorlitsa. The priest was arrested back in 1912, allegedly he was passing intelligence to the Russians. Sandovich and his comrades-in-arms were accused of Russophilia, of teaching everyone the Russian language and propagating Orthodoxy. Court - Lvov process, lasted two years. No evidence was found, the defendants were acquitted. But soon the war began and a new wave of repressions began. Someone was able to escape to Russia, others ended up in prisons and concentration camps, Maxim Sandovich was executed. An Austrian soldier tore off the cross and drew a target for archers with chalk on the priest's chest. As the members of the priest's family present at the execution recalled, in his last speech he said:
“Long live the Russian people! Long live the holy, Orthodox faith!”
There were so many arrested that it was impossible to execute all suspicious ones, so the Austrian Germans organized the first concentration camp in Europe. The technology of concentration camps was already tested by the "enlightened" British when they fought the Boers in South Africa. Thalerhof was located near Graz. 30 thousand people passed through it. Another concentration camp for Russians was created in the Czech fortress Terezin. Every fourth prisoner was killed by the guards, died of starvation, disease and torture.
The first prisoners were brought to Talerhof in September 1914, and the barracks were set up only in the winter of 1915. At first it was just a field in the foothills of the Alps, fenced with barbed wire. People survived for half a year in the open air, in rain and snow. Prisoners died en masse from disease and starvation. Torture was also practiced. The guards had fun killing people. The prisoners were crucified on poles.
Vasily Vavrik, a former prisoner of Talerhof, recalled:
“It was the most cruel dungeon of all the Austrian prisons in the Habsburg Empire… Death in Talerhof was rarely natural: there it was inoculated with the poison of contagious diseases. Violent death triumphantly walked along Talerhof. There was no talk of any treatment for the dead. Even the doctors were hostile towards the internees. There was no need to think about healthy food: tart bread, often raw and sticky, made from a mixture of the meanest flour, horse chestnuts and grated straw, red, hard, stale horse meat twice a week in a small piece, blackly colored water, the meanest slop rotten potatoes and beets, dirt, insect nests were the cause of an unquenchable infection, the victims of which fell thousands of young, still quite healthy people from among the peasantry and intelligentsia.
Thus, the Austrian authorities organized the genocide on a national, religious basis. They killed, maimed, tortured and expelled Russians, Orthodox in Galicia. The first to be hit were representatives of the Russian intelligentsia, more or less educated people - priests, teachers, doctors, social activists, people who had influence in society. Galician Rus lost tens of thousands of people only dead. Tens, hundreds of thousands became refugees. The Russian movement in Galicia was almost completely crushed. Its remnants were finished off after the catastrophe of 1917, after the large-scale Austro-German occupation of Little Russia-Ukraine, when the bacchanalia of Ukrainians began, and then the Polish occupation. The terror was so devastating that today the "Rusyns" in Ukraine remained only in Transcarpathia.
Since then, Galicia began to turn into a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism. The first poisonous fruits sprouted during the Second World War - the Galician SS, the Ukrainian punishers-policemen, the occupation administration of the "eternal Reich". The Red Army crushed the "black-brown plague", but the roots remained. The project "Ukraine - AntiRus" was not liquidated. He went underground, "repainted". Ukrainian Nazism fully revived and flourished during the years of independence. And now the Ukrainian "ram" was pushed against Russia in order to destroy it, to completely destroy the Russians.
Warped, sick, Russophobic and Nazi Galicia, and now most of Little Russia, is a great example of the future that the West has in store for us.