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Sceptical views on the changes in Ukraine

March 11th, 2014

A pro-government daily accuses left-liberals of overlooking ultranationalist threats to ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine and blindly supporting the power games of oligarchs. A liberal commentator who lives in Ukraine says Hungarians there want to stay out of the conflict because they have nothing to gain from it.

Magyar Hírlap’s Gyula T. Máté says Western and liberal perceptions are wilfully blind to the less palatable features of the Ukrainian revolt, such as the strong presence of the extreme right-wing Svoboda party (Svoboda demanded that one of the Hungarian parties in Ukraine should dissolve itself and that its leader be prosecuted for formerly supporting Janukovich). There is no evidence, he states that snipers killing protesters and police were not hired by oligarchs who have ended up as district governors. The USA is tough on the issue because it is bothered by the recent humiliations it has been subjected to by Putin, and the administration “perhaps simply has in mind getting passed through Congress guaranteeing cheaper dental service”. Russia is entitled to protect 10 million Russians, he argues, and did so without a single victim so far, while when the USA sent troops to Grenada “for a couple of students” in 1983, several hundred people died. The Crimea will join Russia, “if not today, then tomorrow”, Máté thinks and argues that “democracy means self-determination” and that is what the population of Crimea wants, “once it has been pushed into it”.

On Magyar Narancs’s blogsite, Károly D. Balla, a writer and blogger living in Ukraine says he rejects interview requests because he realized that “this war is not my war”. Although he is all for a more democratic and prosperous Ukraine, as the situation becomes more and more chaotic, he is less certain “whose interests are being served”. Although he sees clearly that the Maidan revolution has not produced a more democratic Ukraine only a redistribution of power and positions, there is little more he can be sure of, he says. He explains that he refused to sign a declaration against Putin’s aggression and in favour of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, because Ukraine for its 25 years’ existence has consistently denied minority rights, not only those of the Hungarians but also those of the Ruthenes. Ukraine, he concludes, is a nasty and unjust country which he is unwilling to support– while he waites for another Ukraine to emerge and prove him wrong.

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