Hungary admits stepping up intelligence operations in Transcarpathia

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Janos Lazar

July 17, 2015

Grigory Shugaev
Russian Planet

Translated by Kristina Rus

The Hungarian authorities have officially declared about espionage in Transcarpathia and its territorial claims to Ukraine

Janos Lazar, the head of the office of the Hungarian Prime Minister (in Russia, this position corresponds to the position of the head of the presidential administration), speaking in Parliament, made a sensational statement: Hungarian secret services for a long time have carried out espionage operations on the territory of Ukraine. Apparently, in Kiev and in the Transcarpathian region. Janos Lazar said: “The situation with security in Eastern Europe has changed dramatically over the past year. Hungary is bordered by a country in a state of armed conflict, and Hungarian agents in Kiev are doing everything to defend the interests of Budapest. Intelligence services of other countries in the region are operating in the same fashion”.

The purpose of close attention to Ukraine Janos Lazar explained as follows: “In the coming decades the problem of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia will worsen. Therefore, special services are conducting operations for the first time in 25 years for the protection of ethnic Hungarians openly, and often, their actions are contrary to the interests and wishes of Kiev“. 

By itself, this statement is not just unexpected, but a bomb shell. It’s as if Barack Obama in response to the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel would say, “Listened, listen and will listen, because there’s something wrong there with security situation”. That is, we must understand that security service of Ukraine, apparently, grabbed the hand of the Hungarian spies and warned Budapest. From where, apparently, they heard the words: spied, spy now and intend to continue spying.

“Our head of foreign intelligence service, too, from time to time, speaks before the State Duma,” – says political consultant Anatoly Wasserman. — “In general, it is a common practice. But the fact that the head of the Hungarian administration has publicly talked about the disagreements between Ukraine and Hungary, this case is unusual, it is a serious political move, showing that Hungary is extremely dissatisfied not only by the events in Ukraine, but the European Union’s attitude to these events”.

For greater confidence in the seriousness of his government, Lazar honestly added: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is doing everything possible to stop Hungarian spies and Hungarian diplomats from conducting operations in Ukraine.” But whether the SBU and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has failed to stop the Hungarian spies, or Kiev has backed off, remains unclear. Statements of Janos Lazar are discussed by all the world’s media.

“I don’t see anything unusual. Hungary constantly talks about being concerned about the situation of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine. They will continue to protect the rights of their compatriots,” – says the Soviet spy and writer Mikhail Lyubimov. “You see, there are facts of violations of the rights of Hungarians and Rusyns. And Hungarians are really concerned, worried. The Hungarian government can’t abandon its brothers. Now anything can happen to them in Ukraine. They will protect their own. And Hungarians will try to claim certain territory of Ukraine if possible”.

Talks about the fact that in Ukraine the rights of Hungarians and Rusyns are violated, and that under certain circumstances Hungary may demand what belonged to her once, a territory with a predominantly Hungarian population, are already in full swing.

At the April session of the PACE, the representative of Hungary Tamás Gaudi-Nad presented territorial claims to Kiev. He went straight to the point: “Ukraine is an “artificial state, which, in particular, Transcarpathia is part of, which for many years belonged to Hungary.” In addition, Gaudi-Nad mentioned the issue of the Transcarpathian Rusyns, who “are not recognised in Ukraine.”

It’s worth saying a few words about Rusyns — ethnic Slavic minority, indigenous to Transcarpathia, or the Subcarpathian Rus. Ukrainians believe they are Carpathian Ukrainians, Russians — Carpathian Russians, and Hungarians are actively promoting the concept of the origin of Rusyns as a result of slavonization of Hungarians. In accordance with this version the Hungarians found a new homeland in Transcarpathia. There is even a beautiful legend that when the ancient Hungarians were nomads, the Subcarpathian Rusyns, who controlled the Carpathian passes, had agreed to show the nomads the way to the fertile Pannonian plain of Danube, which now makes up the bulk of present-day Hungary. In return, the founder of the Hungarian state Arpad took an oath to respect the interests and customs of Rusyns.

“For all the generations after Arpad, Hungarians quite strictly complied with the terms,” – notes Anatoly Wasserman, “and Rusyns for centuries used what in modern language is referred to as “national-cultural autonomy”. Against this background, relations with agents of Ukrainization since Soviet times were very tense. And the Hungarians are interested in the welfare of this region because these ties are centuries-old”.

The conflict of Hungarians and Rusyns with Ukrainians smolders for a long time, especially that the first owned this territory for centuries, and Ukraine gained its ownership by historical standards, just yesterday. Politics of Ukrainization provoked new challenges and touched Rusyns even more than the Hungarians. And the Hungarians and Rusyns — are “brothers forever”. This should be considered to understand why the first are concerned about the fate of the latter. Their fate, and the fate of Hungarians actually bothers Budapest more and more.

“First, there is the old conflict,” – continues Mikhail Lyubimov, — “secondly, the events in Mukachevo showed the Hungarians: banned in Russia “Right sector” is ruthless, ethnic cleansing is part of its party platform. Of course, the statement of the head of the Prime Minister’s office is a purely political statement, the purpose of which is a warning to Ukraine.”

Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, said recently: “The Hungarians living in Transcarpathia, should get dual citizenship and no more or less – autonomy. The situation in which 200 thousand ethnic Hungarians are living in Ukraine, makes this issue relevant. The Hungarian community should have dual citizenship, all public rights, and also get the opportunity of self-government. This is what we expect from the new Ukraine“.

But the Hungarian Prime Minister is waiting in vain. Stupid fascist policy of total Ukrainization remains a major state line of Kiev. “Given that Kiev was captured by another group of terrorists in service of America”, — Anatoly Wasserman adds, – “in it’s essence with little difference from al Qaeda, I wonder how can anyone talk politely to these imitations of humans”.

The statement of Orban was heard. It was reported that on June 15th the Coordinating Council of the Rusyn organizations of Transcarpathia adopted an appeal to the Council of Europe, European Commission, OSCE and UN, as well as to the parliaments of Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia with the requirement to put pressure on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and force him to give them autonomy. In the appeal the inhabitants of Transcarpathia refer to the results of the 1991 regional referendum on granting the status of special self-governing territory to Transcarpathia [70% voted for it – KR]. According to the representative of the Coordinating council, Andrey Yurik, Rusyns can not get a response from the authorities to their proclamation, so they decided to ask Europe.

But an answer should not be expected neither from Europe nor from Kiev. Therefore, the Hungarian Parliament has significantly increased its financing of intelligence services of the country  – in four years from $30 million to $46 million annually. “The increase of the budget of Hungarian intelligence indicates the seriousness and importance of this political problem for Hungary”, — says Mikhail Lyubimov. – “In this environment, territorial claims only become a matter of time, especially given the fact that Kiev’s national policy is getting bolder and bolder”.

“I think Hungarians may present territorial claims only in the event of further disintegration of Ukraine,” — says Anatoly Wasserman — “that is, if, say, the Subcarpathian Rus will hold a referendum on independence from Kiev and asks for reunification with Hungary, Budapest will treat this about the same as how Moscow reacted to a similar referendum in Crimea. Moreover, in this case Hungary, probably will even go for worsening relations with the authorities of the European Union. Hungarians most likely will not make any hints for the use of force. But if they can respond to a peaceful expression of the will of citizens, as was the case in Crimea, the Hungarian government may use that opportunity”.

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