Hungarians in Ukraine
The Hungarians in Ukraine number 156,600 people according to the Ukrainian census of 2001. Hungarians are largely concentrated in the Zakarpattia Oblast, where they form the largest minority at 12.1% of the population (12.7% when native language is concerned). In the area along the border to Hungary, Hungarians form the majority.
Today's Zakarpattia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary since its foundation in the year 1000. From 1867, Hungary was a constituent part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until the latter's demise at the end of World War I. The Zakarpattia region was briefly part of the short-lived West Ukrainian National Republic in 1918 and occupied by Romania at end of that year. It was later recaptured by Hungary in the summer of 1919. After the defeat of the remaining Hungarian armies in 1919, the Paris Peace Conference concluded the Treaty of Trianon that awarded Zakarpattia to the newly formed Czechoslovakia as the Subcarpathian Rus, one of the four main regions of that new state, the others being Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.
During the World War II German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the southern, Hungarian majority part of the region was awarded to Hungary under the First Vienna Award in 1938. The remaining portion was constituted as an autonomous region of the short-lived Second Czechoslovak Republic. After the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15, 1939 and the Slovak declaration of an independent state, Ruthenia declared its independence (Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine) but it was immediately occupied and later annexed by Hungary.
When the Soviet Army crossed the pre-1938 borders of Czechoslovakia in 1944, Soviet authorities refused to allow Czechoslovak governmental officials to resume control over the region, and in June 1945, President Edvard Beneš formally signed a treaty ceding the area to the Soviet Union. It was then incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, it became part of independent Ukraine as the Zakarpattia Oblast.
Situation of Hungarians in the independent Ukraine
Probably due to its interest in the ethnic Hungarian population in Zakarpattia, Hungary was the first country to recognize Ukraine's independence. Árpád Göncz, who was president of Hungary at the time, was invited to visit the region, and a join declaration, followed in December 1991 by a state treaty, acknowledged that the ethnic Hungarian minority had collective as well as individual rights. The treaty provided for the preservation of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious identities; education at all levels in the mother tongue; and the ethnic Hungarians' participation in local authorities charged with minority affairs.
Residents in seven of Mukachivskyi Raion's villages have the option to learn the Hungarian language in a school or home school environment. The first Hungarian College in Ukraine is in Berehovo, the II. Rákoczi Ferenc College.
The Hungarian Democratic Federation in Ukraine (UMDSz) is the only nationally registered Hungarian organization. It was established in October 1991 by the Hungarian Cultural Federation in Transcarpathia (KMKSz, which has suspended its membership since 1995), the Cultural Federation of Hungarians in Lviv, and the Association of Hungarians in Kiev. The Hungarian Cultural Federation in Transcarpathia is associated with the political party KMKSz – Hungarian Party in Ukraine, which was established in February 2005. In March 2005, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice also registered the Hungarian Democratic Party in Ukraine upon the initiative of the UMDSz. Also Zoltán Lengyel was elected as mayor of Mukachevo after the election on 1 December 2008. UMDSz also won city municipalities of Berehove, Vynohradiv and Tiachiv in this election.
The following data is according to the Ukrainian census of 2001.
|City name||Population||Number of ethnic Hungarians||Percentage|
|Raion name||Population||Number of ethnic Hungarians||Percentage|
|Berehivskyi Raion (Beregszászi járás)||54,000||41,200||76.1%|
|Velykyy Bereznyi Raion (Nagybereznai járás)||28,200||—||—|
|Vynohradiv Raion (Nagyszőlősi járás)||118,000||30,900||26.2%|
|Volovets Raion (Volóci járás)||25,500||—||—|
|Irshavskyi Raion (Ilosvai járás)||100,900||100||0.1%|
|Mizhhiria Raion (Ökörmezői járás)||49,900||—||—|
|Mukachivskyi Raion (Munkácsi járás)||101,400||12,900||12.7%|
|Perechyn Raion (Perecsenyi járás)||32,000||—||—|
|Rakhiv Raion (Rahói járás)||90,900||2,900||3.2%|
|Svaliava Raion (Szolyvai járás)||54,900||400||0.7%|
|Tiachiv Raion (Técsői járás)||171,900||5,000||2.9%|
|Uzhhorodskyi Raion (Ungvári járás)||74,400||24,800||33.4%|
|Khust Raion (Huszti járás)||96,900||3,800||3.9%|
- Subtelny, Orest (2000). Ukraine: A History. University of Toronto Press. p. 448. ISBN 0-8020-8390-0.
- Kovrig, Bennett (2000) ‘Partitioned nation: Hungarian minorities in Central Europe’, in: Michael Mandelbaum (ed.), The new European Diasporas: national minorities and conflict in Eastern Europe, New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, pp. 19-80.
- Hungarian Government Office for Minorities Abroad
- Source: State Statistics Committee of Ukraine
- Website of the Cultural Federation of Hungarians in Subcarpathia
- Website of the Hungarian Democratic Federation in Ukraine