Skip to Content

Stock photo from Pixabay

Hungary denounces Ukraine’s discriminatory language law

The language law that Ukraine’s parliament approved on Thursday is unacceptable, according to the Hungarian Foreign Minister.

Published: May 1, 2019, 9:59 am

    Read more

    The law which violates the rights of the Hungarian community in the neighbouring country reflects the ideals of outgoing President Petro Poroshenko who pursued an anti-Hungarian policy, Peter Szijjarto told public media on Thursday.

    Voters in Ukraine elected a new president, Vladimir Zelensky, with a large majority, Szijjarto said, adding that it put an end to the Poroshenko era.

    He expressed hope that the situation concerning the rights of the Hungarian community in Ukraine would soon be “clarified in a dialogue with the country’s new president on the basis of mutual respect and in pursuit of finding a solution to the issue”.

    “We will do our utmost to restore ties between Ukraine and Hungary” after Zelensky enters office, Szijjarto said.

    Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto. Photo supplied

    “Our aim is to have friendship return between Hungary and Ukraine and the outcome of this recent presidential election gives some hope for that,” the Foreign Minister said.

    The law which makes the use of Ukrainian compulsory as an official language in several areas was passed with a large majority. Hungarian organisations in the Carpathian Basin protested against the legislation saying that it eliminated all of the minorities’ rights to the use of their own language.

    In 2017, Ukraine passed a similar law that would have banned teaching in languages other than Ukrainian beyond the primary school level, but quickly ammended it after a major outcry. The law had angered the significant Hungarian, Romanian and Polish minorities as well as their governments.

    Findings of a poll conducted jointly by the Levada Centre in Moscow and the Kiev Institute of Sociology earlier, showed more than 57 per cent of Ukrainians have a positive attitude towards Russia – sharply up from 30 per cent in 2015. And an even greater proportion said they were favourably disposed towards Russians.

    Zelensky posted a diatribe over the weekend in response to Russian President Putin’s offer of Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens both inside and outside the areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian speakers.

    Days after Zelenskiy defeated Poroshenko in a runoff election on April 21, the Ukrainian parliament passed a new language bill Poroshenko had backed.

    It decreed the exclusive use of Ukrainian, not just by state officials but by all service personnel such as waiters and shop assistants, and requires that all media use Ukrainian as their primary language.

    This move is a major shift in a country where top news media have always used Russian first. Officials and military personnel will now be fined for not speaking Ukrainian in official contexts.

    Ukraine’s newly-elected leader however, will have to contend with more than one foreign state issuing its passports to Ukrainians as a result of his predecessor’s divisive language and citizenship policy.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long demanded autonomy, dual citizenship and language freedom for the more than 150 000 Hungarians in the Ukrainian Transcarpathia, once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at the time of the 2001 census – Ukraine has not held another census since.

    When it became clear that President Petro Poroshenko was set on making the Ukrainian language dominant throughout the country, Hungary quietly started issuing passports to Hungarian-speaking Ukrainians, but Ukraine expelled a Hungarian consul for the practice.

    Romania, which has issued at least half a million passports in neighbouring Moldova, may face hundreds of thousands of applications from Ukrainian citizens who speak Romanian or practically identical Moldovan. Applications for Romanian citizenship have increased since 2017, when the country scrapped consular fees for applicants.

    Russians are Ukraine’s biggest ethnic minority and Russian remains the biggest obstacle to the dominance of Ukrainian, because most people in Ukraine speak Russian, and many speak it better than the country’s now-only official language.

    The reason for this is that Russia will always be a much bigger market for books, popular music and other cultural products, while Russian social networks such as Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki have remained popular in Ukraine even though they were banned under Poroshenko.

    Ukrainians have used virtual private networks to access Russian social media networks under the current ban.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    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.


    Cold weather warning adds to Europe’s gloom as it battles self-inflicted energy crisis

    The weather in Europe is usually difficult to predict because conditions are dictated by several remote factors, but Europe may experience a colder winter with less wind and rain than usual, according to the European Weather Forecast Agency. This is bound to heighten the challenges facing governments trying to solve the continent’s energy crisis. 

    Unvaccinated are ‘the best of mankind’

    ParisFrench General Christian Blanchon, aged 58, commanded the 1st Parachute Regiment at Toulouse. He served as an officer in operations in Lebanon, Chad, Central Africa and Kosovo. And on September 9, 2022, this highly respected general published a tribute to the unvaccinated, which has gone viral on social media, but is being ignored by the mainstream media.

    The ‘lunatic in the Kremlin’ is surprisingly lucid

    MoscowMuch is being said about Putin's grand speech on the annexation of former Ukrainian territories. But the alleged “madman in the Kremlin”, in contrast to the geriatric US President Joe Biden, offered valuable insights into the neoliberal and neocolonial Anglo-Saxon world view.

    Meloni sticks to Anglo-Saxon course

    RomeFor those who had hoped that cooler heads would prevail, Italy's likely new head of government, Giorgia Meloni, has made an important political announcement: immediately after her election victory, she declared her solidarity with Ukraine and assured Kiev's President Zelensky of Italy's continued full support.

    US helicopters circled over Nordstream for weeks

    Gdansk/RønneMore and more disturbing details are coming to light in connection with the bombing of the Nordstream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

    Nordstream pipeline likely sabotaged

    The politically motivated sabotage behind the apparently serious and wanton damage to the gas pipelines Nordstream 1 and Nordstream 2 were likely ordered by a technically and militarily highly developed state. The aim of this crime, a very large-scale crime, could only have been to destroy any hope of further gas deliveries from Russia to Germany.

    Hungarian FM: Europe’s narrative about war no longer relevant

    New YorkAt the UN General Assembly in New York, Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjártó made an interesting observation: Europe has long since lost the "race of narratives" in connection with the Ukraine war.

    Industrialist: ‘The Americans control everything in the background’

    Burladingen German industrialist Wolfgang Grupp, the CEO of textile giant Trigema, does not understand why Germans suddenly see Vladimir Putin as a mortal enemy. He believes that the US is controlling everything in the background and are the only winners of this war.

    German secret service operates fake accounts to lure ‘right-wing extremists’

    BerlinAnyone who criticizes the German system is quickly labelled as an "extremist". But because the state still has not found enough "right-wing extremists", it has decided to help a little bit.

    EU states are fighting over the repeal of veto right

    BrusselsThe member countries of the European Union have revived the debate on whether to introduce majority voting on some issues of foreign or security policy instead of the current need for unanimous consent of all the bloc's states.

    Go to archive