I have a delicious geo-political catfight, which I will present in two parts. For the purposes of “Fair and Balanced”, today I will present the Hungarian side; and then tomorrow, the Ukrainian rebuttal.
So, without further ado, and myself taking a principled position of strict neutrality, let’s jump right down into the mud. For extra juiciness, this catfight involves Two Peters.
So, we start with the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó. Despite the amount of diacritics over his name and a suspiciously pro-Ukrainian hair-do, Péter seems like a fairly reasonable type of guy. He was born in 1978 and belongs to the Fidesz Party, which is described as “national-conservative”, whatever that means in the modern world.
So, he apparently started the fight, by declaring that Hungary will NEVER support Ukraine joining NATO until they (the Ukrainians) learn how to be nicer to their national minorities. Such as Hungarians. The backstory being, of course, that Ukraine, like all post-Soviet nations is a patchwork of ethnic minorities. But the current government in Kiev being firmly in the hands of a Ukrainian nationalist junta, which considers themselves (ethnic Ukrainians) to be the only true Aryans and the masters of their titular state.
Well, in truth, Hungarians are not really Aryans, anyhow, being descendants of Attila the Hun and all that, but we don’t have time to go into all that history right now. Suffice it to say that the Hungarians look out for their own. As well they should. So, this is what Szijjártó had to say about the way the Ukrainians treat ethnic Hungarians living within the borders of the Ukrainian titular state [part of my job here being to see how many times I can repeat the word “titular” because it sounds funny]: “Hungary has let it be known very clearly, that it will not support Ukraine’s joining NATO, until this situation has been improved.” Hungary, says Péter, will continue to back the rights of the Hungarian minority until such a time as Kiev has granted them (the ethnic Hungarians) legal guarantees within the Ukrainian titular state.
While the rest of the civilized world is starting to think that Ukraine needs to be divided, as Caesar once said, in partes tres, namely three parts (or possibly even more), a federation, in other words — Ukraine is doubling down in its nationalist repressivity. Why? Because that’s all they know how to do. They are a hammer, and everybody else is just a nail.
The backstory here being that Kiev passed an “educational” bill which sees the Ukrainian language as the only official language, even though the Ukrainian dialect is spoken by a minority within the titular nation. This law prevents other languages from being spoken and taught in the schools. This mostly affects Russian, but also affects other local languages that are in use, such as Hungarian in certain Carpathian enclaves.
In fact, Szijjártó is so ticked off about this language situation, that he even wants to exclude Ukraine from the European Union, let alone NATO!
Now, the Ukrainians claim that their language law does not impede anyone. This is a blatant lie. As ethnic Hungarians have discovered, in practical terms, that it actually does impede them. The right to use one’s own native language and have one’s kids learn it in school, is a fundamental human right. And furthermore, the Hungarian minority would like more autonomy in general, in their own communities; but the Ukrainian nationalists have refused to budge on the issue of federalization. Hence, Hungary is ticked off, and will continue to block Ukraine’s entry into NATO.
Next: the Ukrainian side of the story: “We will never give in to Fifth Columnists…”
[to be continued]