Hungarians in Ukraine: what Prime Minister Orban said

Olexandr Popovuch for ВВС Ukraine  14 May 2014 18:30  131569506 370343
Hungarians in Ukraine: what Prime Minister Orban said

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, speaking last week in the parliament for the first time after his third election to the position of leadership, was talking about the dignity and importance of the Hungarians in the European Community.

However, his speech caused a wave of emotions and debates in Ukraine, particularly in Transcarpathia.

Hungarians in Ukraine: what Prime Minister Orban said (140514120330_hungarians_624x351_bbc)

Some believe that the Hungarians in Ukraine de-facto already have their cultural autonomy

It is here where the most numerous Hungarian community in Ukraine - about 150,000 people - lives.

Mr. Orban mentioned in his speech about foreign Hungarians living in the Carpathian Basin area. Ukrainian mass media spread the information that the Prime Minnister allegedly demanded the autonomy and dual citizenship for Hungarians living in neighboring countries such as Ukraine.

However, it seems that giving the news, Ukrainian journalists mixed different parts of Orban's speech in a single message.

According to Reuters, the Prime Minister did talk about the autonomy for ethnic Hungarians living abroad. However, with regard to Ukraine, his words were as follows: "The Hungarians of the Carpathian Basin are eligible for dual citizenship, rights of the community and self-government. This is our position in international politics."

That is he was talking not about the autonomy, but about the self-government.

Do they already have cultural autonomy?

"The philosophy of the Hungarian prime minister, who received the mandate for another term, is not clearly understandable from the said above. The fact of not only mentioning, but outlining the content of rights of the Hungarians abroad is very telling," - the historian, professor of Uzhgorod National University Vasyl Lemak says.

The issue of dual citizenship or autonomy - territorial or national and cultural - is beyond the sovereignty of Hungary and is regulated by the legislation of neighboring countries, he said.

In particular, Ukraine, as well as Slovakia, does not recognize dual citizenship, the historian reminds.

Hungarians in Ukraine: what Prime Minister Orban said (140514120639_hungary_512x288_bbc)

Hungarians are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Ukraine




"Double Life"

What do Transcarpathian Hungarians themselves think about the self-government?

I met with several representatives of the Hungarian cultural associations, of which there are more than a dozen in Transcarpathia. They do not want to get involved in a potential scandal, so they asked not to be named.

Almost all of them recognize that the right to self-government, which Viktor Orban talked about, is natural and necessary. The Ukrainian government is becoming gradually decentralized itself, delegating more powers to local communities.

So, this practice is applied not just to national minorities in Ukraine, but also to the communities that make up the titular nation. 

In Hungary alone, there are 12 national minorities, and most of them - Poles, Greeks, Bulgarians - are non-indigenous. But they also provide for their national and cultural needs through a variety of centers and communities.

Similarly, the Ukrainian community in Hungary not only has a large cultural center, but also affects the Hungarian policy.

This is confirmed by Yaroslava Khortyani, the leader of the Society of Ukrainian Culture in Hungary, who also heads the European Congress of Ukrainians.

"We are living a double life, because Ukrainians in Hungary root both for Ukraine, and for the state they live in," - she said during a meeting with reporters.

Hungarians in Ukraine: what Prime Minister Orban said (140514120821_yaroslava_hortyani_512x288_bbc)

Yaroslava Khortyani of the Society of Ukrainian Culture in Hungary has been living in Budapest for more than 30 years



This topic became so hot in multicultural Transcarpathia because of several factors, such as unstable situation in the country, the proximity of Transcarpathia to the borders of four European countries and incorrect translation of the words of the Hungarian Prime Minister, representatives of the Hungarian community said.

The "sore spot" of the Hungarians

Transcarpathia, from the XI century until 1918 and then again in 1938-1945, was a part of Hungary. It is therefore not surprising that the indigenous population of the region does not consider Hungary a foreign land, however, realizing that they are Ukrainians.

So this topic is actively discussed in the streets and in social networks.

The discussions were successfully summed up on Facebook by a local columnist Yuriy Livak: "We found a video of Viktor Orban's speech and listened. Speaking of Hungarian minorities abroad, he said that these people have the right to the autonomy and dual citizenship. When referring to Ukraine, he was not even talking about autonomy, only about the right to self-government. Then he once again expressed support for Ukraine in its struggle."

"It's not exactly the same as "Hungary demands the autonomy for Transcarpathia", is it?" - the blogger asks.

Hungarians in Ukraine: what Prime Minister Orban said (140514120937_hungary_512x288_bbc)

Imperial past fuels Hungarian nationalism

Similarly, in social networks they are lively discussing the topic of inaccurate translation of the Hungarian prime minister's quote. There were speculation that it was spread by Russian media to destabilize the situation.

Probably, Orban could not but to raise the issue of "old Hungary", which still remains thorny for many Hungarians. Indeed, after the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 between the Entente and Hungary, the latter lost two-thirds of its territories, which it still grieves at. 

So the topic of "return of the old territories" is a popular and relevant among the Hungarian electorate.

The popular prime minister "massaged the sore spot," however, being most careful while choosing words in the part which concerned Ukraine, Transcarpathian media wrote.

Source - BBC Ukraine

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Comments (3)

Михаил  15/05/2014 7:25 pm

Для Петро - полностью согласен !!!!

vadim  15/05/2014 1:10 am

Повідомити про всіх хабарників можна тут
Шановні громадяни України!
Скажемо «Стоп Корупції та Несправедливості»
Напишіть та надайте дані про чиновника-корупціонера чи будь - який інший факт порушення прав людини у Вашому рідному селі чи місті, об'єднуйтесь заради досягнення спільної мети-справедливої, прозорої, демократичної країни.
Ти - громадянин України, Ти гідний чесного та демократичного суспільства, яке на даний час знаходиться в жахливому корумпованому стані, лише об'єднавшись суспільство зможе гідно протистояти корумпованим органам влади, які зі своєї сторони повинні сприяти розвитку суспільства, а чиновники - корупціонери діють виключно в своїх власних інтересах.
Якщо, ТИ не байдужий до майбутнього своєї країни і бажаєш захищати свої інтереси та інтереси своїх близьких:
Винеси на загальне обговорення корупційну діяльність свого населеного пункту!

Петро  15/05/2014 12:38 am

И зачем вообще нужна Украина? Для олигархов типа Балоги и Ахметова? Зачем издеваться над людьми? Отпустите венгров в венгрию и они тут же станут гражданами ЕС. Отпустите западенцев вместе с их территориями в польшу и они тут же станут гражданами ЕС. И не нужно будет ждать еще лет 20, вдруг примут украину в ЕС или нет. Отпустили же Крым в Россию и люди там счастливы, они теперь гордые россияне, мечта сбылась. Зачем нужно государство где пенсия за 22 года незалежности так и не поднялась выше 80 евро. Зачем нужно государство, где правители всех времен захватили все побережье Днепра от Киева до Обухова и живут во дворцах? Зачем нужно государство, где за 22 года правители смогли построить только одну единственную более-менее нормальную дорогу от Киева до Борисполя? 22 года ожиданий.....сколько еще ждать? И чего?

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