Skip to Content

Hungarian MP Marton Gyöngyösi
INTERVIEW

Kiev’s policy towards Hungarian minority: ‘Arrogant, cynical and childish’

Signs in Hungarian language removed, arrests of activists – repressions in Transcarpathia: Hungarian MP Marton Gyöngyösi in an exclusive Free West Media-interview about Kiev's politics towards ethnic and national minorities

Published: May 25, 2017, 2:58 pm

    Mr. Gyöngyösi, European politicians have spoken out in support especially of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia region but also in support of the rights of all national minorities in Ukraine. What is your reaction?

    Gyöngyösi: I am very happy and thankful that this important topic is getting more and more awareness in Europe. But the official EU institutions and Brussels are still turning a blind eye to it.

    How is the situation in Transcarpathia region today?

    Gyöngyösi: We have experienced within the last year the depreciation of basic human rights of national and ethnic minorities in Ukraine since the so-called Maidan. Before the Maidan there was a language law in Ukraine which was fitting to European standards, although it was even then not 100 percent implemented. But it could have been a good base for a dialogue. But the recent language laws submitted to the Rada in Kiev simply show that Ukraine doesn’t even want to comply with international obligations.

    Kiev and Brussels both want to get Ukraine closer with the EU. Shouldn´t the topic of national minorities and autonomy rights be discussed?

    Gyöngyösi: Western countries are trying to reach out to Ukraine and trying to integrate Kiev into the Western sphere of influence. But what we can see is that Ukraine is ignoring all international laws and any international charter which secure the rights of national and ethnic minorities. This is outrageous. And it is also outrageous that the European community has absolutely nothing to say about this! It is a non-topic in Brussels.

    Marton Gyöngyösi.

    You just came back from a PACE meeting in Paris where minority rights in Ukraine were also discussed…

    Gyöngyösi: I have to make clear it was an afternoon meeting of the cultural committee. There was a report discussed with the title “The protection and promotion of regional and minority languages in Europe” which has been drafted by the Hungarian MP Rosza Hoffmann from the Fidesz party. This draft is asking the members of the Council of Europe for nothing else other than to consider the European Charta for regional and minority languages. This Charta has been adopted decades ago as a recommendation for implementation. What was very strange for me, was that two Ukrainian members of the committee were absolutely outraged and in opposition to even negotiate the subject. The irony of all that is that the Ukrainian members of course used the topic for an anti-Russian statement, as if it has only to do with the Russian speaking population in Ukraine. But one MP who objected to the report fiercely was speaking Russian himself – and not Ukrainian. That was really strange…

    When it comes to the Crimean Tatars, Kiev is very vocal about their rights and even proposed an autonomous state for them – of course because of geopolitical reasons: Crimea has been part of the Russian Federation since 2014. But why doesn’t Kiev propose the same rights for other national minorities such as the Hungarians? Are the Hungarians a “second class minority”?

    Gyöngyösi: Absolutely! We should consider the fact that Hungarians have been living in Transcarpathia for more than a 1000 years. They can be considered as an historical, indigenous population there, who haven’t moved an inch. These Hungarians were always respected as having a Hungarian identity in the past. They were speaking their language and they had their own schools. They were always allowed to use their mother tongue. So what is happening to us now, done by Kiev, is something which didn’t happen throughout our whole troubled history. This is something terribly new for us.

    How do you see the calls for autonomy and the reaction of the Kiev government?

    Gyöngyösi: If Ukraine doesn’t recognize that it is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multinational entity, and if Ukraine continues with this extremely arrogant, cynical and childish attitude, which is in the 21st century completely unacceptable, then the Ukrainian politicians themselves are going to dig the grave of Ukraine as a nation state. If Kiev doesn´t accept the realities and gives its minorities the right of their cultural autonomy then in the long term the Ukrainian state will disintegrate and fall apart.

    Then why is the Ukrainian leadership not doing those necessary steps?

    Gyöngyösi: I do see the logic of Kiev. The political elite in Ukraine is busy with inventing their own nationhood right now. And the shortest possible way doing that is simply by depriving every other ethnicity of its rights and pretending that Ukrainian is the only language spoken in Ukraine and that the Ukrainian people are the only legitimate ethnicity. But history has shown that this type of strategy can never work. It will be extremely harmful for Kiev itself. If the Hungarians have managed to stay there for more than 1000 years regardless of the Tatars, the Turks or the Habsburgs invading the region, then we can already say now: It won´t be the Hungarians who are going to suffer in long term from that type of Kiev politics. It will be the Ukrainian nation in the first place.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Ukraine, a terror state?

    New leader of Donetsk People’s Republic: The former leader of Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko was assasinated by Ukrainian Security Service.

    Luxemburg minister swears at Salvini as immigration summit turns ugly

    This past week the interior ministers of the member states of the European Union met in Vienna where Jean Asselborn, a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, and Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg, inadvertently boosted conservatives.

    Dalai Lama in Sweden: ‘Europe belongs to Europeans’

    The Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lamas message is that Europe belongs to Europeans and refugees should return to their home countries as soon as the danger is over. Swedish journalists quickly changed from celebrating the peace laureate to suggesting the old monk is ignorant.

    French conservatives question proposed Arabic teaching at schools

    French conservatives on Tuesday criticised the "revival of teaching of Arabic" in schools welcomed by Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. 

    Dutch government faces legal trouble after aiding terrorists

    The "moderate" rebels in Syria were not moderate at all, the recent scandal in the Netherlands has demonstrated yet again. Faced with mounting legal problems, the Dutch government has been forced to cut loose the jihadists. At least one prosecutor seems to believe that the government committed a crime.

    Dutch government supported armed groups designated as terrorists

    The HagueThe Dutch government supported an armed group in Syria that has been labeled as a terrorist organisation by the country's own Public Prosecution Service.

    Anti-establishment sentiment grows in Sweden

    The establishment parties dropped in yesterday’s election in Sweden, but far from what would be expected from early polls. The Social Democrats and Conservatives remain the biggest parties, with anti establishment Sweden Democrats at third place, growing from 12.9 to 17.6 percent. However, the party could still play an decisive role, since the difference between the socialist and conservative block is one single seat.

    Marine Le Pen welcomes rise of Sweden Democrats

    Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Rally - formerly known as the National Front - welcomed the rise of the Sweden Democrats.

    Swedish elections: Anti-immigration party set to be largest

    Today the Swedes are going to vote for a new parliament, as well as regional and local representatives. The anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats are expected to rise to the position of biggest party, while a completely new Alternative for Sweden has a chance to enter the parliament.

    Spain’s new Matteo Salvini?

    The new Italian government, under the leadership of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, has managed to stop the flood of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. But now Spain is struggling. Who will lead Spain out of the quagmire?

    Go to archive