Why Kremlin concerns about Carpathian Hungarians
Kremlin moves forward in its hybrid war with Ukraine by expanding its sabotage capabilities. They decided to open Second Front at the western borders of Ukraine, since DPR/LPR project is now experiencing major difficulties. Since Hungary is the most reliable Russian supporter in Eastern Europe, it becomes a new tool in this war.
The Russian Federation and Hungary have always had “friendly” relations. “Friendly” should be put in quotation marks as Russia has never had true friendly relations due to its imperial ambitions.
Russia can only have situational friends, chosen by its own geopolitical interests and manipulated through political or economical weakness. That’s why we have to look through Hungarian history to understand why and how Russia managed to do it. Hungary lost its independence to the Ottoman Empire for over 100 years after their defeat at the Battle of Mohacs in 1525. Austria moved the Ottoman Empire out of Hungary in a late XVII century. A new phase in Hungarian history began under the Habsburg, followed by the Austria-Hungary Empire. Under the Treaty of Trianon, as a result of the WWI, Hungary lost 2/3 of its own territory and population, including 3 million ethnic Hungarians along with great losses in industry. Revision of the Treaty allowed Hungary to retrieve some of its territories however after the WWII they lost all that territories again.
Such events provoked revanchist beliefs in Hungary. That’s why Hungarian aristocrat Miklos Horthy, guided by historical injustice and humiliation of his people, joined plebeian Hitler to retrieve native lands back to independent Hungary. According to Hungarian historians Hungary should cover the territories of “Holy Crown of Hungary”, from Adriatic to Bukovina, and from Vienna to Transylvania.
Such national disturbance explains friendship between Russia and Hungary as a way to destabilize wealth of the EU through religious and ethnic contradictions. Recently Hungarian ultranationalists enhanced their activity with Moscow’s help. While prime-minister and leader of “Fidesz” Viktor Orban confines himself to some statements about exceptional position of Hungarians in Carpathians, the leaders of ultra-right party “Jobbik” (known as neo-nazi party) openly express their territorial claims to Ukraine.
Furthermore being the only European representative at referendum held by Russian occupational government in Crimea, members of “Jobbik” party stated that Crimea is Russia and Zakarpattia is Hungary.
The disturbance of Hungarian establishment, including controversial call of deputy prime minister of Hungary Z. Semjén to grant Hungarians in Zakarpattia national and territorial autonomy and quota in Ukrainian parliament seems to be at least odd.
Hungary has territorial claims to several states (Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, and Croatia) but only in Ukraine regional government highly tolerated to Hungarian commune. Hungarian nursery schools, dozens of Hungarian newspapers, magazines and schools, Hungarian institute in Beregovo — “Bergovshase”, everything is totally allowed by Ukrainian government. Hungarian faculty in Zakarpattian University in Uzhhorod, commonly called Ungvar by Hungarians also deals with no confrontation from government and citizens. Even Hungarian nationalists from “Jobbik” can’t make an example of any serious racial confrontation in Zakarpattia.
However, Hungarian nationalists just can’t give it up. Feeling their hour of triumph and instigated by Kremlin, like vultures they tries to grab some territory from war-torn Ukraine. Will that make Hungarians happy is highly questionable. Ukraine and Hungary have established informal contacts long ago. Every morning people go to work abroad and come back at the evening. Hungarian youth in Zakarpattia studies in Hungarian universities coming back home on holidays. The way things are satisfies almost everyone except politicians and Russian puppets who try to make political hay out of this situation. To be fair, they don’t even care about Hungarians they “fight for”.