Galician Universities as Battlegrounds for Polish-Ruthenian Rivalry - Part II

This was despite of a strong dominance of Ruthenian students within the Faculty of Divinity, the only facility for theological studies of the Ruthenian-Greek-Catholic denomination. The faculty originates in the seminary that Emperor Joseph II had founded for Ruthenian-Greek-Catholic clergy in 1784 and was the only of its kind in the Habsburg Empire. It had been formalised as part of the university in 1850; one year earlier, the first chair (Lehrkanzel) for Ruthenian language and literature had been endowed at Lviv (note that the Polish equivalent dates back to 1827, see above). In 1862, the two Ruthenian chairs in law mentioned above were endowed.

The "Allerhöchste Entschließung" of 1879 finally ended most of the pro-Ruthenian policies of the Habsburgs, as responsibilities were transferred to local (Polish dominated) authorities. Galicia entered an era of Polonisation, Polish schools were founded at a much faster rate than Ruthenian ones. At the level of universities, Ruthenian students protested against the matriculation ore, which was to be done in Polish. A lawsuit in 1904 dealing with this matter was rejected by the Reichsgericht, resulting in riots: The congregation hall (Aula) of the University of Lviv was burnt down and the chair of the university was beaten up. Ruthenian students accused Polish professors of discrimination and vice versa - documented not only in university records, but also daily papers and nationalist journals.

On the level of faculty, the situation in the academic year 1906/07 was bleak for the Ruthenian cause: 69 professors and 40 lecturers (Privatdozenten) were Polish; 6 professors and 1 lecturer Ruthenian; 6 professors read in Latin (two of them were ethnic Ruthenians); two Professors were German / Austrian. Elsewhere, nationalist rivalries and the mess that the Allerhöchste Entschließung acts had resulted in led to a division of universities (Prague, technical university Brno) into two, accommodating a student body of one specific nationality.

Especially after 1900, many intellectuals demanded the foundation of a Ruthenian university or a division of the University of Lviv into a Polish and a Ruthenian one. This would have been unacceptable for Russia, which critically observed the rise of Ruthenian nationalism beyond her influence in Habsburg-Austrian Galicia. Since 1876, Ruthenian culture in Russia was tightly suppressed, with a short liberal intermission through revolutionary means in 1905/06.

On a side-note: The proposed Ruthenian University was finally founded in Vienna in 1921 by exiled professors from the universities of Lviv, Chernivtsi, Kiev and Kharkiv. It was transferred to Prague in the same year and recognised as a non-public university, but funded by Czechoslovakia. After the Second World War, this "Ukrainische Freie Universität" moved to Munich, where it was recognised as a university by Bavaria in 1950.

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Further Reading

Studentenverbindung: Fraternities and Burschenschaft

Wikipedia on the Habsburg Empire (Habsburg Monarchy)

Wikipedia on Nationalism

Sources for 19th century History (key to nationalism)