Anti-Hungarian Attacks in Ukraine 2014-2018
• This publication is part of the Minority Monitoring research project, undertaken by the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ) and the Lehoczky Tivadar Social Research Center. The aim of the project is to document the acts of ethnic-based hostility against the Hungarian minority in Sub-Carpathia.
• Between April 2014 and April 2018, 182 cases of Ukrainian anti-Hungarian actions were recorded.
• The context of the anti-Hungarian actions leaves no doubt that Ukrainian official policy aims to forcibly assimilate the Hungarian minority. In many cases, regional authorities and a wide range of political parties, media, and Ukrainian nationalist forces either played a role in the actions or tacitly assisted in carrying them out.
• The applied strategy is simple but very effective: the Ukrainian mass media – mostly owned by entities linked to political parties – is waging a campaign of attack against the Hungarian community, which constitutes 0.2% of the population and forms the most organized national minority of Ukraine. The targets of the propaganda campaign – which has been underway for years – include Hungarian institutions and organizations and leaders of the community, falsely portrayed as separatist, antiUkrainian and anti-state individuals.
In 2014, 7 anti-Hungarian actions took place. Four of these were organized actions, in which the events escalated.
The worst cases in 2014:
Two unknown perpetrators used flammable liquids to set fire to the Verecke memorial.
In Berehovo, unknown individuals desecrated the national flag of Hungaryon Kerek Hill.
The Central Election Commission failed to establish an electoral district with Hungarian majority in Sub-Carpathia, contrary to the legal mandate.
By 2016, the number of anti-Hugarian actions increased to 31. Of these, 8 were serious atrocities.
The worst cases in 2016:
„Knives to the throats of the Hungarians!”– Approximately 300 members of the Karpatska Sich, the Pravy Sector and the Azov civil organization demonstrated on the streets of Uzhgorod.
During the march, activists of these extreme Ukrainian nationalist organizations called for the annihilation of the Hungarian ethnic group. Investigations were subsequently initiated,but no arrests were made.
Koresspondent.net’s blog page and zakarpattya.net, both Ukrainian websites, falsely reported that certain officials of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSz) attempted to illegally falsify the results of the Hungarian referendum held on 2 October 2016.
The statue of Sándor Petőfi in Uzhgorod was vandalized again. The unknown offenders broke the sword of the statue.
In Uzhgorod, the memorial to victims of the Holocaust, constructed with the support o f t h e H u n g a r i a n government,was vandalized.
In 2017, the number of anti-Hungarian attacks increased almost threefold compared to previous years.
89 such cases were reported, of which 26 were serious atrocities.
The worst cases in 2017:
The activists of Black Committee (ЧорнийКомітет) movement demonstrated in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, in front of the building of the Hungarian Embassy, declaring: „We defend the ukrainization of Ukraine. The next step will be the ukrainization of Europe.”
Karpatska Sich organized an anti-Hungarian demonstration in Uzhgorod. Their slogan: Alien, remember! The Ukrainian is the bosshere!
On April 5, unknown perpetrators removed and vandalized the Hungarian flag from the cross on Berehovo Hill.
Belligerent signs attacking local Hungarians appeared in the Berehovo and Vinogradiv districts. The reports published on Ukrainian news websites, and later published on Sub-Carpathian Ukrainian websites, stated that the signs were placed by ethnic Hungarians, and alleged that representatives of Hungarian organizations had made statements on autonomy for Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia.
In Khust, vandals poured green disinfectant on the Ferenc Kölcsey memorial plaque in the castle.
A Ukrainian newspaper published a report about alleged Hungarian separatism. The article claimed that the purpose of Hungarian government support in the region was to bring Sub-Carpathia under the control of Hungary.
The leadership of the Lviv „Svit” Publishing House eliminated the Hungarian textbook editorial office in Uzhgorod.
The commercial news channel, 112.ua, listed instances of alleged Hungarian separatism in Hungary and the purported dangers of dual citizenship.
Confusing and falsified leaflets were distributed in several Hungarian settlements, falsely claiming to come from the President of the KMKSZ.
A group of criminals from the Cherkassy region was captured. They had been planning to blow up the Verecke memorial in SubCarpathia.
Following passage of the new Ukrainian education law, anti-minority demonstrations were held at the Hungarian Consulates in SubCarpathia. „Every Ukrainian is obliged to master the state language” – stated the protesters’ banners.
The Ukrinform page referred to the Ferenc Rákóczi II. SubCarpathian Hungarian Institute as a „training institution for separatists.”
Posters stating „No to Hungarian chauvinism, Yes to Hungarian-Ukrainian national brotherhood” were placed in front of the Consulate of Hungary in Uzhgorod by the activists of the Karpatska Sich.
Ukrainian nationalists held an anti-Hungarian march on the streets of Berehovo. Masked protesters threw smoke grenades and removed the Hungarian national flag from the wall of the mayor’s office.
The statue of Petőfi in Uzhgorod was dishonored with a stained garment
As of March, 2018, 27 anti-Hungarian actions were recorded, including an act of terrorism: an explosion at the central office of the KMKSZ.
The worst cases in 2018:
Bottles of flammable liquids were thrown at the head office of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Sub-Carpathia (KMKSZ)in downtown Uzhgorod.
Unknown perpetrators blew up the KMKSZ’s office in Uzhgorod. As a result of the explosion, the lower floor of the building was completely burnt out. This action amounts to an attack on the Sub Carpathian Hungarian community as a whole, and provides further evidence that the antiHungarian measures of the Ukrainian government have encouraged aggressive nationalists in their acts of violence and hatred.
In the history of Sub-Carpathia, this was the first deliberate act of extreme violence perpetrated against the headquarters of the organization which protects the interests of the Sub-Carpathian Hungarian community
Legal actions against the minorities in 2018
• Legal measures enacted by the Ukrainian government continue to significantly reduce the rights of national minorities.
• Authorities have not sought or reached any consensus with the minorities regarding the Law on Education, whose implementation will dismantle the existing system of native language education for minorities, in violation of Ukraine’s international commitments.
• The Ukrainian Constitutional Court, due to formal reasons, has repealed the 2012 Law on the Use of Languages. This court decision has resulted in a regression of the language rights of national minorities.
• The Ukrainian Supreme Council is considering proposals for language laws that could lead to further restrictions.