January 18, 2019
After signing of Helsinki Accords that stated the inviolability of borders, it seemed Europe had reached peace, security and stability. However, after spring 2014, when Russian Federation using separatist sentiments annexed the Crimean Peninsula and unleashed bloody conflict in the East of Ukraine, the confidence in inviolacy and stability of the Old Continent disappeared. Historically, in the process of constant borders redrawing some nationalities became a part of another country nation. Along with that majority of ethnic groups, living on the territory of other states never lost connections with their historic motherland and never mentally became the part of resident country nation. That can be explained by numerous reasons, such as language, cultural and religious differences. Those groups were committed to preserve their national identity, often through demands to protect cultural distinctness and widen ethnic minority rights that led to provision of autonomous status or complete independence. It is true to say that separatism always existed in Europe, it just had different faces. If Corsicans mainly declared their unlikeness with the French after several glasses of wine, Basques from ETA organization or Irish from IRA did not hesitate to use the tactics of terror, sometimes passing into banal gangsterism. Luckily, modern separatists refused from those radical methods, preferring political discussions and peaceful demonstrations. It may sound like paradox, but after the final breakup of Yugoslavia Hungary appeared to be one of the countries, where authorities favour secessionist ideas. Situated in the center of Europe, this country has common borders with many states that include territories mainly populated by ethnic Hungarians. Of course, official Budapest denies its involvement in support of separatist moods in neighbouring states and condemn them in all ways. However, ideas of Greater Hungary are in the air in Budapest government quarters. Notice that ideas of Hungary “from sea to sea” are advocated on the highest level, including Hungarian prime-minister Viktor Orban, who in 2014 called to grant autonomy to Hungarians of Ukrainian Transcarpathia. Moreover, that was right at the time, when Russia, using the idea of protection of Russian-speaking population, annexed Crimea and triggered a war in Donbas. In this matter, one can recall Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, the Autonomous Province of Serbia, which stands for republican status for Vojvodina with further secession referendum and confederation with Hungary. Similar situation can be observed in Romanian Transylvania, where local Hungarians demands maximum autonomy and independent relations with historic motherland. Let alone Hungarians from radical nationalist party Jobbik who declare their readiness to take “ethnic lands” by force. But let’s turn our heads back to Hungarian government. It is highly unlikely that it has such a desire to see all ethnic Hungarians within one big country or sustains the idea of annexation of foreign lands. Today Hungary goes through tough period of its recent history: cutback of economic activity, corruption scandals, uprise of protest moods in society. Pan-European problems of Hungary are also worth mentioning: difference of economic potential with EU countries, migration crisis and much, much more. Competent use of all these inner and outer problems adds popularity to marginal and nationalistic movements of all sorts that criticize state authorities and doubt viability of EU membership. To gain points in political struggle and attract nationalists on their side, current Hungarian government declares adherence to the idea of Greater Hungary. However, Hungarians were not the first to invent such methods of gaining popularity and distraction of voters from inner problems. It is obvious that Mr. Orban learned the lessons of his Russian friend – Vladimir Putin – quite well. It is worth saying that Russian president likes to try on the wreath of the “Collector of Russian lands” and utilize the idea of protection of fellow nationals abroad to justify aggressive foreign policy, distract nation from economic woes and corruption chaos in its own country. For that he gathered support of Russian nationalists of different kinds, who are committed to reborn of “empire” within boundaries of Tsarist Russia, USSR or something even bigger. Using secessionist moods in neighbouring countries Putin many times recoursed to military intervention and annexation. First in 2008 in Georgia, then in 2014 in Ukraine, which, like Georgia, lost part of its territory and where violent conflict is still underway. Of course, it is vain to wait for mass protests of Hungarians somewhere in Serbia or Romania and for Hungarian flags above government buildings like it happened with Russian flags in Ukrainian Simferopol and Donetsk. Further the loud statements of Hungarian authorities the matter does not come yet. However, one fool makes many and Europe in its modern history already underwent periods, when aggression against other countries was justified be desire to “put the historical record straight” and to “reunite the nation”, which led to catastrophic consequences for the continent and for the whole world. And the ground for nationalistic views, especially in Central Europe, today is fruitful like never before.
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