Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS

Including Magyar wheels

Till this last few weeks few outside Central/Eastern Europe (precisely which term applies here is the $64,000 question) will have granted much attention to the Ukraine, and fewer still to questions of who live in the East of that country. But what about Western Ukraine?

Nothing in that part of the world is simple, and Western Ukraine is as complex as anywhere in those parts. At its simplest, left over from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the 1919 Treaty of Trianon, a sizeable Hungarian minority lives within the territory of Ukraine, in Zakarpatia (Transcarpathia, 'the land beyond the Carpathians', and various other names according to language and politics). The Second Word War stirred things up but the basic situation prevailed and following the War the Soviet Bloc kept the lid on any problems arising. The Ukrainian Hungarians achieved certain rights for education, culture and language – and after the break-up of the Soviet Union surely things could only get better in the new independent, democratic Ukraine...

They haven't. The Ukraine does not permit its citizens dual nationality, while the present Hungarian Government actively encourages Hungarians living beyond its borders to take Hungarian citizenship. And the new Ukrainian regime in Kiev has decreed that all education in the Ukraine now has to be in Ukrainian. And that's the simple story. Alongside the Hungarians Zakarpatia has another minority, the Rusins (Ruthenes or Carpatho-Russians) who, according to your preferred anthropology, can be counted as kind of Ukrainian, or kind of Russian. Hungary and some other Central European countries recognise Rusins as an official minority group, Ukraine does not. Then there are the Lemkos... who they?

All very charming, folkloric and Ruritanian, as long as everybody continues to behave in the best possible taste – not dressing up in uniforms and occupying public buildings.

Meanwhile, as they say, 'tensions mount'. 

Read more

 (2014) Hungarians, Rusyns in Zakarpatie afraid of forced Ukrainization, Voice of Russia, 23 April

2 comments:

  1. Throughout the hole history Ukraine had never had a status of a sovereign state before USSR broke up.

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  2. Coincidentally, news from England today: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10783741/Cornish-to-be-given-national-minority-status.html

    ReplyDelete