Ruthenian, collective name of the so-called "Little Russians," a main branch of the Russian Slavs, who form the bulk of the population in Ukrania (South-West Russia), Galicia, and the Carpathians, numbering altogether about 20,000,000. The Ruthenians are quite distinct both in physique, mental qualities, and speech from the Great Russians, or Russians proper, and are regarded as a much purer division of the Slav family. They are taller, with more slender figures and more regular features, and more animated, but also less resolute expression, and more poetic temperament. In recent years the Russian Government has made strenuous, but hitherto unsuccessful, efforts to efface all the differences between the two groups especially by forcibly substituting the Great Russian for the Little Russian dialect in the educational establishments of Ukrania. Austria contains over 3,000,000 Ruthenians, Hungary nearly 400,000, and there is a "Ruthenian group" in the Austrian Reichsrath.