Putin ponders border revision between Hungary and Romania

Russian President Vladimir Putin raised eyebrows among Romanians and raised hope among some Hungarian nationalists, by suggesting that reviewing the post World War II border between Hungary and Romania could be on the agenda, if people question Russia’s borders and territories. In June 1920, the Treaty of Trianon confirmed Hungary’s loss of Transylvania and its transfer to Romania. During the interwar period, Hungary’s key foreign policy aim was the recovery of these and other lost territories. In August 1940, Hungary’s wish came true. Through the Second Vienna Award, initiated by Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy, Hungary recovered 43,492 km² in land from Romania. Northern Transylvania, where ethnic Hungarians formed 55% of the population, was transferred to Hungary. On a personal note: my father’s cousin was a child in Kolozsár (Cluj) and he recalls how exuberant his Hungarian Jewish family was, when Hungarian troops moved in to the region and reclaimed the land. The deportation of Transylvania’s Hungarian Jews four years later, at the hands of Hungarian officials, left many Jews in Kolozsvár and elsewhere in the region dumbstruck and devastated.

Hungary's territorial gains in World War II, as an ally of Nazi Germany.

Hungary’s territorial gains in World War II, as an ally of Nazi Germany.

In 1947, the Treaty of Peace with Hungary, signed in Paris, transferred northern Transylvania back to Romania. Hungary also lost all other World War II territorial gains. In fact, in 1947 Hungary even lost a handful of additional villages to Czechoslovakia, which during the Treaty of Trianon were allowed to remain with Hungary.

The Hungarian-language Transylvanian Főtér website discovered Vladimir Putin’s surprising statements. Mr. Putin was giving an interview to Bloomberg when he was asked about borders determined at the end of World War II. Mr. Putin’s position is that if the revision of any post-World War II borders, impacting Russia, are up for discussion, then the decision to return Transylvania to Romania in 1947 must also be considered.

The Bloomberg journalist had asked President Putin about whether Russia would be willing to return to Japan the Kuril Islands–the Soviet Union invaded the region in 1946, and expelled close to 17,000 ethnic Japanese. The question arose following Mr. Putin’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and talk of closer economic ties between the two countries.

Bloomberg also asked Mr. Putin about the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in the Baltic region. The area was historically part of Prussia and then later Germany. The Soviets occupied the area on April 9th, 1945, resulting in the forced removal of the local German population. The journalist’s suggestion regarding Kaliningrad was meant as a joke, but Mr. Putin responded with seriousness.

“Putting aside the joke, If someone wants to review the outcome of the Second World War, then we can talk. However, then we must not only talk about Kaliningrad, but also about the eastern part of Germany, as well as the city of Lvov, once a part of Poland, and so on. And on this list we also have Hungary and Romania,” remarked Mr. Putin. The Russian president referred to any talk of border revision that may negatively impact Russia as opening a Pandora’s box in Europe.

Unlike in 1941, today Transylvania (even northern Transylvania) has a large Romanian majority, due in large part to the organized settlement of Romanians in major Transylvanian cities following the Second World War, as a conscious attempt to change demographic realities in the region. Today, more than 74% of Transylvania’s 6.4 million population identifies as ethnic Romanian. Hungarians comprise 19% of this population, according to Romania’s 2011 census. Ethnic Germans now comprise just 0.5% of the Transylvanian population. The members of the Roma community, who often speaks Hungarian at least as a second language, stand at 4%, according to official statistics.

Hungarians continue to form a majority in two counties of Transylvania. In Hargita County, the Hungarian population stands at 83%. In neighbouring Kovászna County, Hungarians comprise 74% of the population.

19 Comments

  1. Charlie London says:

    Victorlae Orbanescu will just love Putin for this!

    Irredentism is never far from Orban’s – and his cronies’ – thoughts.

    He’d even leave the EU to achieve this even though, as part of the EU, he signed away this option.

    But not until he’s milked the EU for all the moolar he can get.

    Unprincipled thief.

  2. Click-bait title, lame.

  3. Borders of countries are keep on changing in history. And will continue to change. Or is there anybody who can mention any significant world event that has terminated this continuous historical course forever and ensures that no borders of countries will change in the future any more and everything will freeze?

    I certainly consider that Hungary gets back the good half of Romania as a most natural thing if the power elite and Putin has the resource to make it.
    If it happens under Orban’s reign he will be in the history books as one of the greatest Hungarian. If not under Orban but under the next ruler i.e of MSZP than they have to find out a new explanation about nationalism.

    Also, I easily can imagine that there are multiple plans to form a new Europe and one of these plans might be to reverse the results of World War I and reinstate the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian
    monarchies, in which case Orban might become a Hungarian king and I can understand his rush to move to the Castle district.

    I don’t say it will happen I just say I’m sure there are plans for this. Sounds crazy, impossible? Not for everybody.

  4. Transylvania is Romanian land. Always has, always will.
    Putin & Ungaria sug pula.

  5. Putin will never give back any land Russia took and Romania will never give any land just bcaz someone said so…
    This will never happen, but you can dream more.

  6. 1. “On a personal note: my father’s cousin was a child in Kolozsár (Cluj) and he recalls how exuberant his Hungarian Jewish family was, when Hungarian troops moved in to the region and reclaimed the land.”

    Hmm… And do you think that such attitudes motivated the Romanian anti-Semites? After all Jews were supposed to be faithful to their new country and at most to the fellow Jews worldwide (a natural blood connection). Just speaking Hungarian doesn’t make somebody a “Hungarian”.

    It is interesting that Jews, a people with a cult for remembrance, forgot so easily what they suffered at the hands of Hungarians after the fall of the Bela Kun regime.

    2. “The deportation of Transylvania’s Hungarian Jews four years later, at the hands of Hungarian officials, left many Jews in Kolozsvár and elsewhere in the region dumbstruck and devastated.”

    I suppose for a very short before, as we are told, the unlucky ones (fortunate exceptions – Elie Wiesel, etc., etc.) found their demise at the final destination – Auschwitz…

    3. “Mr. Putin’s position is that if the revision of any post-World War II borders, impacting Russia, are up for discussion, then the decision to return Transylvania to Romania in 1947 must also be considered.”

    The Bloomberg “journalist” should have replied to Putin that actually Russia is the first European state which after WWII made a border change by the use of force. Putin is the very guy who has opened the Pandora’s box!

    3. “due in large part to the organized settlement of Romanians in major Transylvanian cities following the Second World War, as a conscious attempt to change demographic realities in the region.”

    ?!

    4. The “Hungarians” of Harghita and Covasna insist in calling themselves “Szeklers”. I wonder why?… Remember what I said about speaking Hungarian…

    • my friend, people of harghita and covasna call themselves “szeklers” because they are so. according with the previous population census, at their free declaration, as you know, there were under 700 persons. despite of this, they claim for a region of at least 2 counties for their autonomous land. over 10 000 square kilometers for under 700 people! as the matter of fact, hungarians endorse this movement, pretending they are szeklers’ brothers, but they “forgot” “UNIO TRIUM NATIONUM”, a status that they themselves proclaimed in subdued transylvania, which meant: hungarians, swabians(germans) and szekles. so, szeklers were not considered hungarians then! why? probably because they were not and are not hungarians! why would hungary enforce an autonomous territory on a foreign country? do great britain enforce such territories in all the world for the sake of people who are english speakers?! it would be hundreds! the answer is: hungary is a past consumer with a past related self esteem. look at the austrians: they managed a great empire (subduing hungary too), they are at the size of hungary now and reclaim…nothing. that’s the attitude of a real master who knows times are changing.

  7. Second generation Transylvania. says:

    So, America give back Louisiana to the French,
    New Mexico and California to Mexico, and Nova Scotia to.. will not happen.
    Transylvania is Romanian…. Yes, thanks to the Hungarians in 1944, some tiny number of Germans ( Szaz) remain, and no Jews… So no economy, universities and education in general in the decline, and so is the way Koloszvar looks: dismal, peeling, poor, wretched..

  8. 1. Putin clearly referred to Kaliningrad and Lvov, but he didn’t mention Transylvania, he only said “Romania and Hungary are on the list”. Further, we see that Putin mentioned: “… the outcome of the Second World War”, or Transylvania could be a second world war issue ONLY in the light of Vienna Diktat, when Hitler abusively agreed for the rape of A PART of Transylvania,to be given to Hungary, after that entire territory democratically chose, in 1918, to be part of Romania, election confirmed by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. Logically, if a reparation can’t be a problem, we might think that Putin was speaking about Basarabia and Bucovina (thinking of Romania), also ripped off from Romania (Molotov/Ribbentrop pact), parts of which are component of Ukraine now (as a matter of fact, THIS was particularly mentioned by Russian politician Jirinovsky, couple of years ago, in the context of crimean issue, when he also stated that Hungary has some territories to be claimed from Ukraine). So, the reference to Transylvania is a pure speculation, but, as Romanians use to say, “sparrow always dreams of cornflour”.
    2. For the connoisseurs, Putin didn’t say that to OPEN the “case” of illegitimacy of some territories in the WW2 context (troubles made with Russian co-participation, I would say, mister Putin), but to emphasize the CASE CLOSED status quo! Anyway, Hungarian day dreamers and heavy grumblers can go on with their fights of fancy …

  9. Mr. Richard”plans to form a new Europe and one of these plans might be to reverse the results of World War I and reinstate the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian
    monarchies, in which case Orban might become a Hungarian king and I can understand his rush to move to the Castle district.”

    Kingdoms? what? yah lets all go back to 1900s… If Russia was in control I’m sure this will happen but not on U.S.A’s watch 😉

    • “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Friedrich Nietzsche

  10. Romania is a joke. 100 years ago it’s territory was 1/10 of the today’s one. Enough said.

    • 1. yeap. a good joke for some, a neutral one for mostly, a huge grudge for hungarian haters.
      2. a state isn’t about a more/less territory at one moment in time, buddy. where’s roman empire now? where was state of eritrea 100 years ago? yet, the components of roman empire, as well as the people, didn’t just vanish away, they have been transformed, that’s why a new entitling is a nonsense only for fools. all is all, people weren’t created for a name, but names for the people. so, it would be enough said if you could say more than that or keep silent.

  11. It’s a shame to see what happened to Transylvania since it got signed over to Romania that’s for sure. I think it was a unjust to begin with but it’s another thing to see that the beautiful historical buildings are decaying and with more romanians there the culture and economy is declining too. Romanians don’t know how to lead a country successfully, they’ve never been good at it even with just Vallachia they always needed help from other countries to even exist. I hope Transylvania will reunite with Hungary or become independent otherwise I fear it will be a complete dump in less then 100 years.

    • 1. a country don’t need a technology or civilisation standard to be formed or exist. do you think nigeria should be given to hungary because nigerians can’t handle it? i’d say this is a perilous concept, but pretending hungary would be a standard for something is pretty laughable.
      1. do you know how transylvania really looked 150 years ago, for example? do you refer of it’s rural part, too? have you visited recently transylvania? i think you’re just bluffing, madam. cluj is looking better than anytime and i’d say it looks better than most of the hungarian cities, despite the fact that romanians are neglecting some old buildings (all along the country).
      2. the economy of transylvania is better than anytime. well, it could be like american economy, alright, but…is hungarian economy likewise?
      3. the romanians didn’t lead successfully the country mostly in the last period of communist era, when everything gone down. the main reason is that romania paid ALL ITS DEBTS, being the unique country in modern history who does it! this is not visible, but i’d say it counts in any respect. of course, hungarians didn’t pay the debts and the outcome was, after 90’s, that a large part of them was erased by the international banks (which was cool, i admit, i had to endure lot of lacks for ten years because of the correctness of communist politicians). all in all, romanians are not germans and romania is not germany, that’s for sure, but….hungary? is hungary a top example for anything? their country looks alright, i like it, but…far from germany or any western country madam! i just think you and a lot of people like you took credits from past austrians deeds and transfer them to hungarians, which is ridiculous.
      3a) if you would have said : “romanians can’t brightly lead a country”, i would agree.
      4. transylvania isn’t toy to be transfered (or “reunited”! what kind of reunion, madam, on which bases? reunions are not made by the monopoly game players, madam, nor after some moron patricians’ humors, not anymore, it’s over, we live in 21st century!), it’s a territory ruled by the romanian citizens and they are doing it according with their power and desire, it’s not anyone else’s business. if it’ll be a dump after 100 years, it will be their dump, not yours. spain was a dump some decades ago, without a communist era to ruin it, and now it’s alright, so much more than hungary in all aspects. but that’s a sick presumption from a hating heart.

  12. Everyone seems to forget that Hungary is a Mongol descended nation and also an invader of Europe just like the migrants they trying to keep away! If someone does a bit of research ( United States library of Congress might help) you will find out that Romanians were always a majority in Transylvania and almost always oppressed (not allowed to practice orthodoxy and had to change names to Hungarian version)as were all the other nationalities throughout the lands they controled ….perfect example is how they treated the Jews. Look up the massacre of IP and Moisei…and many others! Hungary should thank the Romanian nation for 1919 when we fed you and drove away comunists and took over Budapest pls have some decency and do proper research before making retarded claims ….remember who the invader is BTW Hungarian language is non European in root and you only have to thank your Austrian masters for enlightening you and other neighbors for helping you look European by passing genes….need I say more

  13. Putin’s smart remark was just to forestall further discussions about territories and borders.

    Telling are the reactions here – they see exactly the opposite intention and start the delusional dances. Looks crazy, impossible, but not for this bunch, who know nothing and learn nothing.

  14. If that’s the case, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovino need to be returned to Romania.

  15. Wallachian Shepherd says:

    Sounds more like Putin said if you want to discuss our borders we’ll make it a crapfest, that’s all, nothing more, it just used random examples of NATO countries to stir things up.

    That lady with that post about Transylvania decay is the most laughable. Most of decayed houses were given back to their private owners (many Hungarians) who don’t have the means to renovate and repair them.

    What is property of Romanian state is well taken care of, just google Alba Iulia’s fortress, Hunedoara castle etc. Historical objective of German, Romanian, Magyar origin are well taken care of.

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