Kyiv: After the events of September 19, when the Ukrainian media published a video in which in the Transcarpathian region, in the Hungarian embassy, Hungarian passports were illegally issued to citizens of Ukraine, relations between Hungary and Ukraine deteriorated.
Subsequently, after the incident, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin commented on the event on his official page, noting that “it seems that some people in Ukraine and abroad have misheard. The problem on the scandalous video of the Consulate General in Beregove is not only the distribution of citizenship but the call to hide it from Ukraine. There is something to talk about and we will act!”
At the end of September, Klimkin noted that if Budapest does not withdraw his diplomat, Ukraine will send him off. The response from Hungary did not linger: if Kyiv sends the Hungarian ambassador to Beregove, Hungary will do the same, accusing the Ukrainian president of harassment. This was stated by Foreign Minister of Hungary Peter Szijjarto.
Taking into account the recent accusations of Poroshenko by the head of the Foreign Ministry, Peter Szijjarto after some time was brought into the Peacemaker base, this resource makes up and publishes in open access a database that shows the personal data of people considered, according to the Peacemaker’s authors, to be separatists or "Agents of the Kremlin"
FRONT NEWS INTERNATIONAL journalist and Dmitry Tuzhansky, a political analyst and analyst on Hungarian issues in Transcarpathia, talked about recent events in relations between Ukraine and Hungary, the possible causes and results of the conflict.
FRONT NEWS INTERNATIONAL: Why has Kiev turned a blind eye to the issuance of passports in Hungary in recent years?
Dmitry Tuzhansky: At first glance, it may indeed seem that Kyiv for 7 years turned a blind eye to the issue of Hungarian citizenship in Transcarpathia. But it is not. Various bodies signaled about this a long time ago and in Kyiv, they knew about the certification of Transcarpathian Hungarians, and reacted, but not publicly, simply by making comments to the Hungarian side by the so-called diplomatic channel. Recall the situation when in May 2010, the Hungarian parliament changed the law on citizenship and introduced a simplified procedure for obtaining it, Slovakia quickly responded to the procedure, adopting its law prohibiting dual citizenship. As a result, half a million Hungarian national minorities in Slovakia did not receive Hungarian citizenship. But such a scenario does not suit Kyiv. In the end, we just lost time on it.
FNI: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary has previously stated that the citizens of Ukraine do not commit crimes if they hide the citizenship of another country. How should Ukraine interpret this statement?
D.T.: This is all legal political debate. In Ukraine, dual citizenship is punishable, but only at the border in the form of an administrative fine for illegal crossing of the border. We have no other mechanisms, more precisely, this is unrealistic according to the procedure. Moreover, from a legal point of view, only a country that granted this citizenship can confirm that a person has, say, the citizenship of Hungary or Romania.
FNI: Is it possible to consider the situation with the issuance of Hungarian passports as the buildup of the ethnic factor in the region? Does Transcarpathia threaten the fate of the Crimea, namely its occupation?
D.T.: Any militaristic scenarios such as annexation or occupation today and in the near future will not threaten Transcarpathia. The topic of Hungarian and Romanian passports and the issues of the rights of national minorities is part of a very serious challenge for modern Ukraine, namely, new regional, ethnonational, information security. In the border region such as Transcarpathia is a matter of stability and national security. This is well understood in Russia, and therefore they have been actively working on this over the last 4-5 years in order to push Ukrainians and Hungarians with their heads under the border with the EU and create a picture of the “new Donbass” there.
FNI: Is it possible to consider that the relationship between Kyiv and Budapest deteriorated after the adoption in Ukraine of a new law on education in 2017?
D.T.: Ukrainian-Hungarian relations were problematic and asymmetrical before the adoption of the law on education, but after that, all these problematic moments began to crawl out. Consequently, for over a year now we have very tense relations between countries.
FNI: After the situation with the "passports" on September 19, Pavlo Klimkin promised to send the Hungarian consul back to Budapest, and his colleague Peter Szijjarto threatened Ukraine with obstacles on the way to the European Union. Can this be perceived as a direct threat, or was it just an emotional outburst of Szijjarto?
D.T.: Kyiv should take this step - at the cost of losing the Ukrainian consul in Hungary, sending the Hungarian consul. This is necessary, firstly, to fix its diplomatic position, namely, the protest against the unilateral policy of Hungary on the certification of Hungarians from Transcarpathia, despite the prohibition of dual citizenship in Ukraine. Secondly, finally finish this passport scandal and try to steer the negotiations with Budapest in a more constructive way. I hope it will be so.
Back in April 2018, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vasil Bodnar said that according to various sources, Hungary had issued more than 100,000 of their passports to Transcarpathia. Most of the Hungarian passports were issued to Ukrainians before the establishment of a visa-free regime for Ukraine.
Recently, on October 3, two big “friends” of Ukraine met in Moscow: the Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto and Russian Lavrov. At a joint press conference, Peter Szijjarto did not miss the opportunity to please Lavrov with a threat to Ukraine, saying that he would immediately send the consul of our country from Hungary if Kyiv decided to expel the consul from Beregove.
Earlier it was reported that Eugene Magda - a well-known Ukrainian political scientist, gave an exclusive commentary on Front News International about the recent situation of issuing Ukrainian Hungarian passports by an illegal method.
Nadiya Yunatska, FNI