Before the region became the center of Ukrainian nationalism, local Russophiles were annihilated in some of Europe’s first concentration camps.
Galicia, a historical region in the West of Ukraine, is currently the center of the country’s nationalist movement. However, things were once very different. A little over a hundred years ago, representatives of opposing Russophile and pro-Ukrainian political movements competed for the loyalty of the local Ruthenian population, also known as Rusyns. Galicia’s Russophiles welcomed the beginning of the First World War as a step toward an anticipated reunion with Russia. However the Ukrainian movement remained loyal to Austria-Hungary. With the help of the latter, Vienna killed off the Rusyn intelligentsia, which it considered a “fifth column”. To accomplish this, the Hapsburgs set up concentration camps.
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