Ukraine

Slovaks living in Carpathian Ruthenia live near the towns of Uzhhorod and Mukachevo. The first records on local Slovaks come from the year 1241. Slovaks who came to the Carpathian Ruthenia in the 17th-19th century were predominantly lumberjacks, craftsmen, carriers, coalmen and smelters. This area was from the ethnic point of view a natural Slovak area (Andruska, P., 2003, p. 104). After the First World War the province of Zakarpattia was affiliated to the Czechoslovak Republic (then called Subcarpathian Rus). In this period Slovak schools were established and holy masses were performed in the Slovak language. After the Second World War the province of Zakarpattia became part of the Soviet Union. In 1947 a large operation took place – moving Slovaks from Ukraine to Slovakia. Slovaks almost completely left some villages (Onokovce, Huta and Klenovec). Slovak schools were closed down and there were no forms of social and cultural life of Slovaks in Ukraine.
In 1990 the Slovak minority in Ukraine began to let people know that they exist and their position slowly improved. The slovak minority educational system is now developing in the right way, culture is gaining a firm position in the society and Slovak national awareness and sympathy is rising among all generations of Slovaks. A local social and cultural organization affiliated to the Slovak Foundation Matica Slovenská in Zakarpattia plays an important role in this process of revival of the Slovak minority. This organization is also the official representative of the Slovak minority in Ukraine.
The first compatriotic works of Slovaks in Ukraine are represented by works of A. Turakova published in Podkarpatský Slovák (The Subcarpathian Slovak) and by the simple verses of schoolchildren published in the same newspaper and in the magazine of Slovak classes of the school in Uzhhorod Lampášik (Little Lantern) called Rozprávky podkarpatských Slovákov (Fairy Tales of Subcarpathian Slovaks) (2001) published by A. Turakova a M. Bukovinska. Huge hope is put into Rozprávky podkarpatských Slovákov that after issuing of this book Slovak literature in Zakarpattia will start to develop in a more intensive way.