General view of the concentration camp Talerhof 1917. photo album from the concentration camp for the military arrested Russian Galicians and Bukovins in Talerhof, Styria, 1914-1917. edition of the Talerhof Committee. Lviv, 1923
The Austrian authorities suspected the Galicians, Rusyn-Russians, of sympathizing with Russia and attacked “Russian spies and agents of influence” with the outbreak of World War I, although the Russians simply wanted to remain Russians. The fight against the “Russian threat” led to the genocide of Russians and the establishment of the first concentration camp in Europe.
Galicia-Volyn Rus was divided between Poland and Lithuania (Rise and Fall of the Russian Kingdom). The lands of the former Russian principality in Poland were formed into the Russian Voivodeship with a center in Lviv, which was part of Lesser Poland. The Russian voivodeship included: Lviv, Przemysl, Galicia, Cholm and Sanok lands. Also the voivodeships of Russia and Belz in historical documents of the XV-XVIII centuries. Century were often summarized under the conditional name Chervonnaya (Red) Russia. Russians 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 Lviv. In the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, Austria received the northern part of Galicia up to the western Bug River, called Western Galicia. Religious tolerance prevailed in Austria, so Galician Russians were treated as equals to 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 struggle against the Russianness of Galicia
As part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, Russian Galicia was subjected to the processes of Polonization and Ukrainization (by the Uniate Church). The West Russian nobility was in many ways polonized and adopted Catholicism. To achieve a position in society, it was necessary to adopt Catholicism, to become Polish. But in general the population retained Russianness. Thus, at the Congress of Galician-Russian Scientists in 1848, the question was raised to study 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 the whole of Russia (from the Carpathians to Kamchatka) was confirmed. Ruthenian leaders rejected the existence of a separate Ukrainian nation and, like the Galicians, classified the Little Russians as a single Russian people.
Russophiles or “Muscovites” – public and political figures sympathetic to Russia and ordinary people, pro-Russian organizations – were a notable force in Galician social life in the 1860s to 1880s. Rusyns viewed Russia as a possible liberator, which was especially noticeable after the Russians’ success in the fight against Turkey. The Galicians called their country “Under the Yoke” and secretly hoped that the Russian tsar would unite all of Russia.
It is clear that this did not please the Austrian government. The Habsburg “patchwork empire” feared Russia’s successes toward the Balkans, which would lead to the liberation of the Slavic peoples from Turkish and possibly Austrian rule. At first, Austrian authorities in Galicia supported either the Poles or the Ruthenians to maintain a balance of power. Then the Austrians developed Ukrainism, mainly through Uniatism. In fact, the Austrians continued the “Ukraine” project created in Catholic Poland. In 1848, the Galician governor, Count Stadion von Warthausen, urged the Russinians to renounce national unity with the Russians in Russia and develop their own culture as a distinct culture. The Austrian authorities began to support the “Ukrainians” who broke with their Russian past. Ukrainians (they are also “real Galicians”) became a counterweight to the remaining Russians and Poles.
On the one hand, Russian schools and Galician-Russian organizations were closed, it was forbidden to learn Russian. Instead of closed societies, others were opened, especially “Ukrainian” ones. The fight against Russian literary language, Russian books, magazines and newspapers was 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 increased. Under the auspices of the Austrians, the Ukrainian Party was founded.
“Ukrainian Piedmont” – “AntiRussia”.
After the Russian Empire realized the danger of Ukrainian ideology and began to restrict the Ukrainian language in print (1860-1870), the publication of Ukrainian literature began to shift from Russia to Austria-Hungary, which became a kind of haven for the Ukrainian intelligentsia. It should be remembered that at that time “Ukrainianism” was widespread only among an extremely small, marginal Ukrainian intelligentsia, which had practically no influence on the people. This situation lasted until 1917 (“Russians and Ukrainians are one people”). Among the people, Poles and Russians-Russians predominated in Galicia, and in Little Russia-Ukraine – Russians-Little Russians. In Galicia itself, in the western regions, most were Poles and Jews, in the eastern regions Russians.
Therefore, at the end of XNUMX Galicia became. Century “Ukrainian Piedmont”, comparing it to 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 Kiev to Lviv in 1894, noted that Galicia “advanced part of the Ukrainian people, which has long overtaken the poor Russian Ukraine.”
The ideology of the “Ukrainian Piedmont” was Russophobia.
“When we talk about Ukraine,” wrote Galician Ukrainians, “we have to operate with one word – hatred of her enemies … The revival of Ukraine is synonymous with hatred of their own Muscovite wife, the sisters of Katsap, their father and mother Katsap. To love Ukraine is to sacrifice Katsap relatives.” Ulyanov N. I. The origin of Ukrainian separatism.
The Ukrainizers denied the unity of the Lesser Russians (Ukrainians) with the Greater Russians and fomented hatred of Russia. This suited the Viennese court. To spread this anti-Russian, anti-people ideology, the authorities tried to appoint “Ukrainians” as teachers in schools and priests in Galician parishes. Austrian authorities also contributed to the formation of an artificial language from local Russian dialects, later called “Ukrainian.” Moreover, the “Ukrainians” began to play the role of Austrian impostors, policemen who fought against the Russophilia of Galicians. Thus, the project “Ukraine – AntiRussia” took shape.
In general, however, pro-Russian sentiments prevailed among ordinary people. Only the intelligentsia was infected by Ukrainism. Even about half of the Greek Catholic clergy and parishioners described themselves as Russophiles, despite aggressive pressure from the Catholic Church. On the eve of World War II, Austrian authorities increased pressure on the Russian population of Galicia, fearing that they would support the Russian army. In 1910, Austrian authorities closed all pro-Russian organizations in Bukovina: the Society of Russian Women, Karpat, the Russian Orthodox People’s House, the Russian Orthodox Orphanage, the Russian Orthodox Reading Room, and the Russian Troop. The fight against the “Russian threat” and the spy craze began.
Moreover, during this period the German Reich also showed interest in the “Ukrainian question”. The Second Reich planned to actively support the separatist processes in Russia. In particular, the plan to create a “Ukrainian kingdom” under the Austro-German protectorate emerged. 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, the Ukraine project is supported by London, Washington and Brussels (with the participation of Paris and Berlin) instead of Austria and Germany. But the ideology, plans and goals are the same. The division of the Russian civilization (RussiaRussia), the Russian super-ethnos, the hollowing out of the Russians, their maximum bleeding and as a result the complete solution of the “Russian question”.
Destruction of the Russians in Galicia
The First World War went badly for Austria-Hungary. The Russian army defeated the Austro-Hungarians and occupied Eastern Galicia and part of Bukovina. In the future, the Austro-Hungarian army could hold the front only with the help of German divisions. In Vienna they panicked, the espionage mania began, they were looking for Russian influence agents. 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 50 to 500 crowns to anyone who denounced a suspected Russophile.
Those who did not hide their positions and sympathies for Russia were hit first. Orthodox priests, activists of already banned pro-Russian organizations. People were caught simply because they used to read Russian newspapers and attend Orthodox services. The courts did not even examine the cases of the accused. It was military time: they simply read the accusation of espionage, treason and passed the sentence. Extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture became commonplace. The Poles and “ukry” denounced the Russians who were arrested on suspicion of sympathy for Russia. There is nothing new under the sun. We see the same 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 as early as 1912, allegedly passing information to the Russians. Sandovich and his comrades-in-arms were accused of Russophilism, teaching everyone the Russian language and propagating Orthodoxy. Court – Lvov trial, lasted two years. No evidence was found, the defendants were acquitted. But soon the war began and a new wave of repression started. Someone managed 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 on the priest’s chest with chalk. As the priest’s family members present at the execution recalled, in his last speech he said:
So many were arrested that it was impossible to execute all the suspects, so the Austrian Germans organized the first concentration camp in Europe. The technique of concentration camps had already been tried by the “enlightened” British when they fought the Boers in South Africa. The Thalerhof was located near Graz. 30 people passed through it. Another concentration camp for Russians was established in the Czech fortress of Theresienstadt. Every fourth prisoner was killed by the guards, died of hunger, diseases and torture.
The first prisoners were brought to Talerhof in September 1914, the barracks were built only in winter 1915. At first it was just a field in the foothills of the Alps, fenced in with barbed wire. People survived 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 enjoyed killing people. Prisoners were crucified on stakes.
Vasily Vavrik, a former prisoner of Talerhof, recalled:
“It was the cruelest dungeon of all Austrian prisons in the Habsburg Empire … Death at Talerhof was rarely natural: there it was inoculated with the poison of contagious diseases. Violent death passed triumphantly over the Talerhof. There was no question of treating the dead. Even the doctors were hostile to the internees. There was no need to think of healthy food: sour bread, often raw and sticky, made of a mixture of the worst flour, horse chestnuts and grated straw, twice a week red, hard, stale horse meat in small pieces, black colored water, the vilest mud, rotten potatoes and turnips, dirt, insect nests were the cause of an insatiable infection to which thousands of young, still quite healthy people from the peasantry and intelligentsia fell victim.
Thus, the Austrian authorities organized genocide on a national, religious basis. They killed, mutilated, 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 on society. Galician Rus lost tens of thousands of people, just dead. Tens, hundreds of thousands became refugees. The Russian movement in Galicia was almost completely crushed. Its remnants were destroyed after the catastrophe of 1917, after the large-scale Austro-German occupation of Little Russia-Ukraine, when the bacchanal of Ukrainians began, and then after the Polish occupation. The terror was so devastating that today the “Rusyns” in Ukraine are left only in Transcarpathia.
Since then, Galicia began to turn into a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism. The first poisonous fruits germinated during the Second World War – the Galician SS, the Ukrainian penal police, the occupation administration of the “eternal empire”. The Red Army crushed the “black-brown plague”, but the roots remained. The project “Ukraine – AntiRus” was not liquidated. It went underground, “repainted”. Ukrainian National Socialism fully revived and flourished in the years of independence. And now the Ukrainian “ram” was pushed against Russia to destroy it, to completely destroy the Russians.
The distorted, sick, Russophobic and national socialist Galicia and now most of Little Russia is a great example of the future that the West has in store for us.