Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ukrainian language law

The Ukrainian parliament approved a new language law which is significant for Hungarians living in the Ukraine. There is a large Hungarian minority living in the western Ukraine near the Hungarian border. Hungarian government officials will monitor the implementation of the new law closely to make sure that it applies to the ethnic Hungarian living there. Already some Ukrainian politicians have said that the law won't apply to the Hungarian minority but only to the Russian minority in their country.

There is no significant discrimination towards ethnic Hungarians living in the Ukraine. However, Hungarian memorial monuments in the west of the country have been vandalized frequently by Ukrainian nationalists in recent years. These nationalists also oppose erecting any more Hungarian monuments as they see them as attempts to reclaim lost territory.

According to Ukrainian nationalists, the territory lost by Hungary to the Ukraine is ancient territory which was "justly" returned to them after a 1,000-year occupation by the Hungarians. According to historical records, a number of different ethnic groups passed through or lived in the area the nationalists claim as their "ancient territory" from the 4th to 10th centuries.

Compared to the situation of Hungarian minorities communities in other neighbouring countries, the situation of the Ukrainian Hungarian minority is pretty good. The new language law still gives Hungarians in the Ukraine hope that their language will be given full regional status in administrative units.

For more on the Hungarians in the Ukraine: click here