The further you are from the conflict, the less you care about it. 'Not our war'. This is especially true for the Hungarian minority in the West-Ukrainian region of Zakarpatya. It is 'not our war' for people, when they commonly think that the conflict is a Ukrainian-Russian war between brother nations. What do Hungarians have to do with that?
The title is mirror-translated from Hungarian, but you'll get it in the video.
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The biker I met on a rally for supporting Crimean Tatars was idealistic. He believes the officially 150 thousand strong Hungarian minority is patriotic about Ukraine. Except for Bela Savchuk, I doubt that.
First of all, now only around 90-100 thousand Hungarian nationals live in Zakarpatya. The rest moved to nearby countries to work. That is not very patriotic now, is it? But it is a rational decision more an more Ukrainians make as well.
Secondly, those few Hungarians I met in Uzhgorod, or Ungvar, can be divided into two groups: older people, who are pensioners, can barely get by, and have relatives, children, who are working abroad. The second group is people actively working, but definitely not happy about how things are going in Ukraine, how the Ukrainian state treats the region.
Both groups had something in common: they are at home in Zakarpatya, and are absolutely not in love with the Ukrainian state and government, since it has never offered them anything so that they would feel like they are part of Ukraine. They also acknowledge that Budapest sends more aid than Kyiv.
They are Zakarpatya, that is there home. I almost got a feeling that it is a country in a country.
Now if this reminds you of the Donbass, I believe that you are not far from the truth. I tend to see some similarities: dissatisfied pensioners who can barely get by, people feeling closer to a neighbouring country, there are places where an unofficial language is dominant (aka the official language, Ukrainian is not spoken), and people feel like that the Ukrainian state does not even give a damn.
In the end, it all comes down to money and economy. The more people struggle, the less loyal they become to the state. And then, it is easy to stir up emotions. We've seen it in Crimea, and we see it in East-Ukraine. Actually, in the whole of the country.
I must emphasize, that what I write down here, might actually be far from reality. These are impressions I got, up for discussion.
But I highly recommend listening to Elemer Koszegi, editor-in-chief of Karpati Igaz Szo, or Carpathian True Word.
Now I must emphasize, that I unfortunately had to leave out many interesting moments from the interview, and focused specifically on the "minority issue".
As Elemer put it: We are all in this together, we all struggle together. If 10-15 families of different nationalities live together in an apartment building, when they cut off electricity, when the utility fees rise, it won't matter who has what national background.