Rostovtsev writes about the Hungarian ethnic minority living in the area called Transcarpathia. Packed compactly into 114 towns, the local Hungarians, according to Rostovtsev, have stirred and begun to speak of creating an autonomy. There has been talk of this for some time, but more impetus was given by American Vice President Joseph Biden’s speech recently, in the Ukrainian Rada. Biden let drop the magic word “federalization”, which in essence gave the green light to those ethnic minorities, such as Hungarians, who seek more local rights and autonomy within the borders of the Ukraine.
The core of the autonomy movement formed in the town of Yanoshi, in the Berehove region. In Hungarian the town is called Makkosjánosi. According to the latest census, the Berehove region is 49% ethnic Hungarian.
Delegates of the autonomy movement gathered in Yanoshi and signed some resolutions; after which the expected howlings began from the court of the Ukrainian nationalists, such as Mosiychuk and L’oshik Goncharenko.
Politically, the opposing side can quite accurately and without prejudice be qualified as “Unitarist” and “neo-Banderite”. These types have a rather simplistic solution to the problems — existing for many decades — of ethnic minorities and language issues. Their solution is to crush by force anybody who opposes a “unitary” (i.e., non-federalist) Ukrainian state, and to establish the Ukrainian language and ethnos as the only acceptable ones, within the official state borders of the Ukraine.
The Soviet Union left behind in the Ukraine a legacy of autonomous republics, regions, areas, etc. Anybody who has studied Soviet history knows well the Soviet obsession with national minorities and minority rights. There is a lot of history behind this, enough to fill several books. Suffice it to say that the Soviets were influenced by many factors, including (1) socialist ideology both before and during World War I, where the “right of self-determination” became so important, that even American President Woodrow Wilson professed to adopt it; (2) the unique aspects of Russian history and Russian revolutionary politics; and (3) Lenin’s personal antipathy towards “Great Russian chauvinism”, of which he saw the solution in granting maximum rights to non-Russian ethnic groups within the former Russian Empire. Including Ukrainians. But sauce for the gander: Ukrainians were expected to bend over backwards to accommodate THEIR ethnic minorities too.
In short, we have the Hegelian dialectic at work: In order to establish a cosmopolitan, internationalist order based on the idea that nationality doesn’t matter (the only thing that matters is the global dictatorship of the proletariat), then, ironically, it is necessary to grant maximum freedom, rights and autonomy to groups of people, based on their nationality/ethnicity and native language. Hence, the Bolshevik obsession with carving out autonomies and fostering/preserving local languages which otherwise, if left to their own devices, would die out and be fully integrated into the main group.
And today’s Russian Federation, along with the Ukraine, are inheritors of that philosophy and that system. However, in the case of the Ukraine, the rulers for the last 25 years have been attempting to replace it with the “Unitarist” political system proposed by Stepan Bandera and other Ukrainian nationalists.
Results of Referendum
On the first of December, 1991, a referendum was held on Ukrainian independence. Concurrently, in Transcarpathia, people voted 78% in favor of Autonomy of the region.
It was like people were hedging their bets. If the Ukrainian project didn’t work out so good, then maybe they had other options, like maybe slipping away to join Hungary.
And the end result, 25 years later, did turn out to be pretty awful. The Crimeans were able to escape this horrible mess that is the Ukraine. But the Transcarpathians ended up with nothing. No autonomy, no ethnic or language rights. Ethnic Ruthenians were forced to assimilate, ethnic Romanians have been terrorized by roaming gangs of Maidanites, and ethnic Hungarians find themselves the dis-respected victims of neo-Banderite vandalism.
As a result of all of this, Hungarian opinion is hardening, both among Ukrainian Hungarians; and also in the mother country, where Magyar nationalism is a growing force, and offers support to their restive diaspora.
All of this leads to the increase of Separatist sentiment among the various ethnic minorities dwelling within the geographical borders of the Ukraine.
Fortunately, for such as the Magyars and Romanians, there will be no Ukrainian tanks and helicopters pummeling their homes and blasting them into dust. There will be no “Anti-Terror Operation” engaged in their ethnic cleansing. These are not the ethnic Russian “subhuman vatniki” of Eastern Ukraine. These are Europeans, who carry dual passports. It is estimated that around 200,000 inhabitants of Transcarpathia carry Hungarian passports. The EU will not allow these people to be terrorized.
On the Other Hand….
One should not carelessly dismiss the possibility of violence, on the part of the Ukrainian government. Indeed, their very Banderite ideology is one that leads inexorably to violence. Indeed, none other than Yury Shukhevych has sounded the alarm about “Hungarian Separatism”. Shukhevych is a Deputy of the Ukrainian Rada, and is, of course, the son of the notorious Roman Shukhevych. Roman had distinguished himself, before the War, by assassinating Polish politicians. During the war, Roman’s Nachtigall Battalion massacred thousands of innocent civilians, including the entire Jewish population of Lviv. But it wasn’t just Jews: anybody who was non-Ukrainian (and non-German, it goes without saying, since they worked together with the Nazis) ethnos was fair game for these butchers.
Yury is maybe not as bad a person as his dad was, but this bad apple did not fall that far from the tree. Yury Shukhevych was quoted thusly:
“The creation of a separate Hungarian region in Transcarpathia, without a doubt represents a threat to the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, and to its security. This is separatism. Even if mini-separatism, in one region. I am decisively opposed to this.
“This type of sentiment has existed for a long time in Berehove. At first this will be just a territorial “community”, then it will be a national “area”, like it was under the Soviets, etc. I guarantee 100% that it will go down like this, because they have support, from the Russians on the one hand, and the Hungarian government, on the other. Which, by the way, is very pro-Russian.
“It is difficult to say, how the [Ukrainian] government will react to all of this, but I think that it must act decisively. We cannot allow even a hint at the creation of such entities,” Shukhevych concluded.