Ruthenians, Or Rusniaks (Pol. Rusini, Hung. Oroszok), a branch of the Slavs, inhabiting E. Galicia and Bukowina, adjoining parts of Poland and West Russia, and N. E. Hungary. In Galicia and Bukowina they number about 2,500,000, and in Poland and Hungary about 500,000 each; in Russia they are generally classified with the Little Russians, to whom they are closely related. They are mostly agriculturists or graziers; in the Carpathian regions many are engaged in salt mining. Their language, which occupies a middle ground between Polish and Russian, is softer and more melodious than either. The prevailing religion is the United Greek in the Austrian territories, and Orthodox Greek in the Russian. The nobility is mostly Polonized. As a national element the Ruthenians are important only in Galicia, where they are antagonistic to the Poles, and where considerable efforts have been made to develop a Ruthenian literature, though as yet with insignificant results, and more recently to assimilate it to the Russian. The literary association Halicko-Russka Matica has been particularly active in the anti-Polish agitation. (See Galicia, and Slavic Race and Languages).