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Hungary is another big problem for Zelensky

25.10.2021
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According to M.Haring

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, president of one of Europe's poorest countries, faces a host of challenges, including separatism in the east, resurgent populism and stunning clientelism in the country's parliament, zero foreign direct investment, corrupt courts, an abundance of oligarchs, and wavering Western attention. Today Zelenskiy is not opposed to bringing Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

But since Budapest is a member of the European Union and NATO, it can block Kiev's entry into each of these organizations. Hungary seeks to unite its people and its nation, and Budapest is allocating funds for this. According to the Trianon Treaty of 1920, Hungary was divided. One third of the Hungarian population ended up outside of present-day Hungary. While the country is home to about ten million people, one million Hungarians live in Romania, 500,000 in Slovakia, 120,000 in Ukraine. In Ukraine, in the so-called historical lands of Hungary, Hungarian children receive education in Hungarian according to Hungarian standards. Over the past thirty years, Budapest has created a network of schools, arguing that if a person is Hungarian, he should be eligible for education in Hungarian from kindergarten to university. Personal relations between Hungarians and Ukrainians are good, but relations between Budapest and Kiev are another matter. They are spoiled by the language problem.

Geopolitical sentiments in the Carpathians are even, and there have been no serious attempts to secede from Ukraine. But the Hungarian community in Ukraine controls influential Hungarian-language newspapers, websites and TV channels in western Ukraine. Many local residents have both Hungarian and Ukrainian passports. The difficulties are compounded by the fact that this region, located hundreds of kilometers from Kiev, largely escapes the attention of bureaucrats, leaving local elites free to act.

There are many reasons for concern about the future of the region. In the city of Beregovo, the Hungarian Transcarpathian Institute offers a Ukrainian language study program for Hungarian speakers - in Ukraine. The Hungarian flag hangs from a large Catholic church in the central square. Incredibly, there are flags of Ukraine and Hungary in the city council building. Given the geopolitical context and the confrontation that has emerged not only in Europe, but also in the EU itself, these facts pose a serious challenge to both the domestic and foreign policy plans of Vladimir Zelensky.

 

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