Hungarian MP demands autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine

Márton Gyöngyösi
Márton Gyöngyösi

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said in the beginning of June that he is willing to give Crimean Tatars political and cultural autonomy in case Crimea comes back to Ukraine. Hungarian MP Márton Gyöngyösi (Jobbik) sees in Poroshenko´s plan a “political statements clearly directed against Russia”. Gyöngyösi: “Mr. Poroshenko doesn´t have any credibility when it comes to ethnic minority rights issues.” The Hungarian politician demands “self-governance and cultural autonomy” for ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine.

Márton Gyöngyösi:

“Mr. Poroshenko doesn´t have any credibility when it comes to ethnic minority rights issues. Ukraine is a multi-ethnic country. Ever since the color revolution of the Maidan the Ukrainian state policy is directed against ethnic minorities and their rights. We shouldn’t forget that the first action of the newly elected parliament after the coup d’etat was the withdrawal of the language law – the guarantee of language rights in Ukraine till that day. Every single statement which is made in support of the Crimean Tatars by Mr. Poroshenko is not in support of ethnic minorities but political statements clearly directed against Russia. The Tatars as a respected minority of Ukraine are only used as a political tool in the rhetorical warfare against Moscow. Nobody should believe Mr. Poroshenko. Not even the Crimean Tatars.
If the Ukrainian government would be credible it would have taken the chance to give autonomy rights to ethnic minorities already long ago. Just as a reminder: already in 1991 there was a referendum “on granting Transcarpathian region the status of an autonomous province within Ukraine”. In Transcarpathian Hungarians live in a closed block. In this referendum there was an overwhelming majority for self-governance and cultural autonomy. But the result has been disregarded and completely neglected by Kiev. It shows: there is a demand of ethnicity in Ukraine – not just by the Crimean Tatars.
Ethnic Hungarians live under enormous pressure in Ukraine. There the situation of Hungarians living outside modern Hungary is definitely the worst. Their situation became even worse due to the civil war situation in Ukraine. This war of Kiev is directed against ethnicities – especially the Russians – in Eastern Ukraine right now with the purpose of creating a homogeneous state. And we shouldn´t forget: while this war is conducted with guns in Donbas, in other parts of Ukraine including Transcarpathia there is a very open economical, political and cultural pressure on ethnicities living there. What we can see today is Ukrainians from other parts of the country settled in Transcarpathia – especially also in the Hungarian areas – to change the ethnic majorities there. War veterans of the Ukrainian army – usually from the most chauvinistic wing – and other extreme groups such as “Aidar” are settled in this area by the thousands. They get land, homes, houses. This is a well known method of ethnic pressure against minorities and Poroshenko is also doing that. There is a constant provocation by Kiev against ethnic Hungarians and constant pressure for example by the SBU. Hungarians who speak out for autonomy and for self-governance are harassed by the Ukrainian authorities on a daily basis.”

Source: “German Center for Eurasian Studies”