Intro by the Saker: following my article on the situation in the Ukraine, I got the following email from a reader from Budapest:
“You mention about how the Ukrainian government persecutes Russian speakers. In addition, they are also persecuting Hungarian speakers. They have been banning the Hungarian language, Hungarian flag, etc., and the Hungarian community has been threatened with graffiti about their extermination, typically sprayed on the Hungarian community centers, and the authorities having turned a blind eye towards these threats. BTW, the Hungarian community in the Ukraine is really tiny. Probably only a few 10,000s.”
I replied that I was aware of the situation, but that I did not have any details. And then I invited this reader to send us a short “Ukraine SITREP” as seen from Hungary and he very kindly accepted. I am posting his full SITREP below:
Ukraine SITREP as seen from Hungary
by A Reader from Budapest
1. In early December, Hungarian Foreign Minsiter, Péter Szijjártó has reported to the OECD of certain events which happened to the Hungarian community in the Ukraine. On the 30th of November members of the Ukrainian secret services raided several offices which belong to various institutions of the Hungarian community. The offices were those of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Alliance, as well as the residence of the head of this organization, of the Transcarpathian Hungarian College, and of an organization responsible for economic policy. The raiders were fully armed, and came unannounced, behaved aggressively, and executed searches. Szijjártó called their actions unacceptable, and complained to the OECD that the Hungarian community lives in fear nowadays in the Ukraine. Szijjártó also called it unacceptable that the Ukrainian authorities forbade OECD observers from meeting with representatives of the Hungarian community, and only allowed them to meet with their own secret service members. This reference a facebook link to a video where Szijjártó is speaking:
2. There were several reports of threatening letters sent to various institutions of the Hungarian community. One in early December, where a letter was sent to the offices of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultura Alliance, and the Ukranian-Hungarian Democratic Alliance, in which Hungarians were threatened that they will all be poisoned. In January, before a visit of Hungarian FM Péter Szijjártó, a Ukranian extremist organization, Myrotvorets, placed Hungarian MEP Andrea Bocskor on a “death list”, and have threatened bloodshed if the visit of Szijjártó happens.
3. Most recently Ukraine banned the singing of the Hungarian anthem and the use of the Hungarian flag. Before this, during official events, it was customary to sing both the Hungarian and the Ukranian anthem. This is a continuation of laws passed earlier, in 2017, which severely curb the use of the Hungarian language.
Let me add, that before 2014, the Hungarians did not have any problems of this sort in the Ukraine. Hungarian minorities exist in all the countries neighboring Hungary, and nationality issues often come up in Romania or Slovakia, but Ukrainian-Hungarian relations were peaceful before the Maidan coup.