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Pop, Ivan

Pop, Ivan (b. May 26, 1938, Strabychovo [Czechoslovakia], Ukraine) — historian, professor, scholarly editor, and publicist of Rusyn national orientation in the Soviet Union/Russia and Subcarpathian Rus’. After completing the middle school in Mukachevo (1955) Pop studied at Uzhhorod State University until in 1960 he was expelled for not agreeing to cooperate with the Soviet secret police (KGB) in a political trial against “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists.” After working as a manual laborer (including at an archeological site in central Ukraine) and as an elementary school teacher in the Subcarpathian mountain village of Huklyvyi, he was allowed to complete his university qualifying exams (1963) on condition that he leave *Subcarpathian Rus’.

Pop went to Moscow to do graduate work (1963-1966) at the Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (kandidat nauk, 1966; doctor of historical sciences, 1988), then remained there as researcher (1967), senior research fellow (1975), and distinguished research fellow (1988). He also served as editor-in-chief (1988-1992) of the institute’s scholarly journal of Slavic studies, Sovetskoe slavianovedenie/Slavianovedenie. While in Moscow Pop published widely on the history of medieval Czech art and on Czechoslovak diplomatic relations in the twentieth century (Chekhoslovatsko-vengerskie otnosheniia, 1935-1939, 1972) and (Chekhoslovakiia-SSSR, 1941-1947, 1990), in which Subcarpathian Rus’ figured prominently. He also informed the Russian reading public about his homeland in a survey of Subcarpathian architecture (V gorakh i dolinakh Zakarpat’ia, 1971) and in a substantive guidebook co-authored with Dmitrii Pop on the region’s leading cities (Uzhgorod—Mukachevo, 1987).

With the fall of the Soviet Union, Pop accepted an invitation to become a professor and director (1992-1994) of the newly established Institute of Carpathian Studies/Instytut karpatoznavstva at Uzhhorod State University. He hoped to train a new generation of specialists in the history of Subcarpathian Rus’ according to a Rusyn conception of the region’s past subsequently published in “Homo totalitaricus? Istoriia Zakarpattia: krytychni rozdumy” (1996). He also worked out a plan for a concise encyclopedia of Subcarpathian Rus’ and participated actively in the discussions about the constitutional structure of the newly independent Ukraine, favoring a federal structure on the Austrian model in which one of Ukraine’s states would be Subcarpathian Rus’. His views on Rusyn history and Ukraine’s state structure met with a negative reception from local Ukrainian nationalists and supporters of a centralized unitary state. Under a barrage of criticism within and beyond the university, Pop left Uzhhorod in 1994 and settled permanently in the Czech Republic; he has taught at the gymnasium in Cheb and continues to publish on Rusyn diplomatic, political, and art history.

Paul Robert Magocsi

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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