There are more than 150,000 ethnic Hungarians here. This makes 12% of the total population of the region. In the village of Palady- Komarovka, out of 1100 residents only 70 are Ukrainians. A few Hungarians speak Russian. Old age pensioners understand Russian. Young people don’t want to learn the official language, because there is no such a necessity. In the border village people read newspapers in Hungarian. In the village council the official form, seal and stamp have long been bilingual. 27-year-old Renata Tovt finished a Hungarian school. Her two sons do not know a single word in Ukrainian.
"The eldest son does not want to learn Ukrainian. We do not use it in everyday life. I don’t speak it and do not want to. I can say a few words in Russian to explain something to Ukrainians if there is need"- says a resident of the village of Palady-Komarovka Renata Tovt.
90% of Hungarian children are studying in Hungarian-speaking schools. There are 100 of them in Transcarpathian region. Course books are provided by the Ukrainian state. Transcarpathian Hungarians say that if the law on languages is adopted, the official use of the native language will facilitate their lives. In the elections they will be able to ask for ballot papers in Hungarian, and when entering educational institutions – the tests. Local officials are frightened at such a prospect. They lack knowledge, translators and money.
Officials assure that the innovation will not bring significant changes. The rights of national minorities in the region have never been oppressed. The leader of Transcarpathian Hungarians Miklosh Kovach has a different opinion. He says the law does not eradicate the discrimination that exists. Ukrainian officials do not know a difficult Hungarian language which is needed, according to the new law, to communicate with the locals. And representatives of national minorities are not accepted to work in the prosecutor’s office, courts and the public service. Hungarians are only appointed to senior elected positions.
Lawyers are convinced: the existing laws allow representatives of national minorities to realize their rights. The new document only specifies and clarifies certain rules. But it does not introduce any revolutionary changes.
The new law will authorize the Transcarpathian Hungarians to use only their own language. They will completely refuse from Ukrainian, and the need to know the language will disappear.