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The Ruthenians were separated from the bulk of Russians by the accident of the two feudal principalities of the old Red Russia, Halic and Volhynia, having fallen to Lithuania, which in turn was united with Poland.
Throughout Galicia the Poles form the aristocracy, though in two-thirds of it Ruthenians form the bulk of the population, while the middle class is Jewish or German.
The Ruthenians are therefore under an alien yoke both politically and economically: in religion they mostly belong to the Uniate Church, acknowledging the Pope but retaining their Slavonic liturgy and most of the outward forms of the Greek Church.
Ruthenians along the borderland of the ancient Kingdom of Poland and the present boundary separating Austria from Russia proper are also called Ukrainians (u, at or near, and krai, the border or land composing the border), from the Ukraine, comprising the vast steppes or plains of Southern Russia extending into Galicia.
Ruthenian (Rutheni) is found for the first time in the old Polish annalist, Martinus Gallus, who wrote towards the end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth century; he uses this name as one already well known.
Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church in Austria-Hungary is represented by one province in Galicia, Austria, and three dioceses in Hungary.
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