Ukraine declares eight Hungarian activists “persona non grata”

Eight Orbán-paid activists have been abruptly recalled from Ukraine. They are part of the so called Petőfi Sándor Program. The Hungarian Government did not release their names.

As part of an über-nationalist lobbying program, Hungary sends paid activists to western Ukraine to improve the national identity of the Hungarian minority by teaching Hungarian language, folk music and leading dance groups. In reality, these activists collect data and scout „politically reliable” contacts for the Orbán government. They also spread Budapest’s nationalistic propaganda often peppered with anti-immigrant, racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. The enthusiastic activists are trained and regularly debriefed(!) by the Hungarian authorities.

There is a well-founded suspicion that these young men and women perform a political mission. The Ukrainian authorities have started to take a closer look at their agenda and raise questions. Their permission to stay in Ukraine was delayed and Budapest decided to scrap the program. The missionaries have been recalled and „reassigned to other areas.”

Relations between Hungary and Ukraine are tense. Orbán is Russian President’s Putin’s ally and shares his view that Ukraine is a „made-up country.” Hungary’s media uses the old Hungarian name, Kárpátalja, for the region of Zacarpathia. In 1939 after Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia from the west, Hungary’s pro-Hitler ruler, Miklós Horthy, illegally occupied the eastern edge of the country claiming „to protect” the ethnic Hungarian population. Only 10% of Zacarpathia’s population has Hungarian roots. After WWII the Allies agreed that the area would be part of the Soviet Union and with the collapse of the Communist state in 1991 the region became part of the newly established independent Ukraine.

Far-right State Secretary Árpád János Potápi manages the Petőfi Sándor Program. He admires pro-Hitler Miklós Horthy and keeps his painting in his government office.

Budapest claims that there are 150,000 ethnic Hungarians in Kárpátalja; Ukraine puts the number closer to 100,000. Orbán gives EU passports to ethnic Hungarians and considers them as part of the „indivisible Hungarian nation body.”

Now Hungary is upset about Ukraine’s new language law whereby citizens must learn and use the official language. This is clearly a problem for many ethnic Hungarians who do not speak Ukrainian.

My own family hails from the city of Chust (Huszt) and I was surprised to learn that nobody speaks Hungarian there anymore. Some other relatives lived closer to the border in Csornotisziv (Feketeardó) and spoke „kitchen Hungarian.” Many ethnic Hungarians struggle with a different kind of language problem. In Soviet times they learned and used Russian, now they have to switch to the official Ukrainian which is a slightly different Slavic language.

The Trump administration is fully supporting Ukraine’s new Language Law and congratulated the Ukrainian Parliament in April 2019 when they approved the new Language Law and made Ukrainian the official state language.

György Lázár


  1. This article is outright disgusting! Sounds like the people ousted by the Ukrainian government were really there in support of preserving the language and heritage of those ethnic Hungarians living there, who already suffered under many decades of assimilation and homogenization policies. I really don’t see what their political views and affiliations have to do with them being able to work with an oppressed minority group in order to help them preserve their heritage. Never heard of such a test being needed, unless we are talking China or Burma. Author presents the false accusations of the Ukrainians as being credible, not minding the fact that the accusations are irrelevant. In truth this is once more an example of Ukraine’s bigotry and harsh, heavy-handed attempts to erase the identities of historical minority groups, and their lack of respect for their basic rights. Based on this latest action, they are no longer entitled to having cultural exchanges with fellow Hungarians. What is next? “Re-education camps”, like China does with the Uigur minority?

    And what is next for this site? At this point it is becoming a platform for hate against ethnic Hungarians! Not surprised to get this from author. After his “A Szekelyek nem Magyarok”, where he adopted the concept spread by a Romanian neo-Nazi group as being a credible position, as well as other hateful outbursts, it should come as no surprise. But editor of site is still Christopher Adam, is he not? Ultimately this content is on him! Shameful!

  2. He admires “pro Hitler” Horthy?
    Read Horthy’s bio. And discover what his relationship with Hitler actually was.
    Stop posting false info and nonsense.

  3. Avatar György Lázár says:

    To the attendees of the 9th Budapest Diaspora Council meeting on November 14, 2019

    We were shocked to learn that your organization collaborate with Árpád János Potápi Hungary’s Secretary of State for National Policy. Mr. Potápi is an admirer of pro-Hitler Hungarian ruler Miklós Horthy whose regime declared war on the United States in 1941 just days after Pearl Harbor. I hope you agree with me that his far-right and anti-American views are unacceptable.

    Please join me for calling his resignation.


    György Lázár

    U.S. Participants on the 9th annual Diaspora Council meeting in Budapest
    on November 14, 2019

    Andrea Lauer Rice, President, Hungarian American Coalition
    Ákos L. Nagy, President, American Hungarian Federation
    András Demeter, President, Chicago Hungarian Cultural Circle
    Kati Maharry, Hungarian Club of Colorado
    Judit Györky, Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society
    Sarolta Tulipán, Hungarian Community Church of Georgia
    Zsolt Jakabffy, Los Angeles Hungarian Organizations
    József Megyeri, Hungarian Communion of Friends
    Zsolt Szekeres, President, Hungarian Human Rights Foundation
    Ildikó Nagy, Director, Hungarian House of New York
    Tamás Badics, Hungarian Society of Massachusetts
    Éva Beluska, President, Metroplex Magyar Cultural Circle
    Csilla Grauzer, President, Minnesota Hungarians
    Imre Juhász, President, Committee of Hungarian Churches and Associations in New Brunswick
    Ildikó Pataki, San Francisco Hungarian Organizations
    György Krajcsik, President, Kossuth Club
    Gábor Kemény, Triangle Hungarian Club
    Stefan Fedor, President, American Hungarian Heritage House Washington D.C.

    Piros Pazaurek, Hungarian Hub and Mózes Kovács, Hungarian American Athletic Club both attended as observers.

    • Kelemen Hunor, the president of Romania’s main ethnic Hungarian party was also barred from entering Ukraine about a year ago, thus prevented from celebrating an event with fellow ethnic Hungarians, for the simple fact that he voiced concern with the fact that Ukraine is not observing a bare minimum of consideration for historical minority rights. How do you explain it? Is he part of some “far-right”
      movement as well? Most people consider RMDSZ to be left of center!

      I call for this site to end this campaign of anti ethnic Hungarian bigotry!

      You mentioned how the town your family comes from has been mostly homogenized, with few people still speaking their mother tongue? That is because of 100 years of systematic efforts to make it so, there and everywhere else where 3.5 million ethnic Hungarians were condemned to live as a minority group 100 years ago, and it is a crime against humanity. You siding with those who want to continue with such policies makes you????? Evidently, a decent human being by your own reckoning!

  4. As seen above the paid Fidesz trolls swung into action quickly.
    Horthy was criminal and responsible for the death of thousands. He was saved from hanging by Stalin .

  5. Idiots posting that are clueless…truly remarkable. Horthy was in American custody after the war and was found innocent of any war crimes.
    Hungary under Horthy was the last country to succumb to Hitlers “final solution”.
    Only after Horthy was removed from power by the Nazis did the murder of Hungarian Jews begin.
    Research before commenting, you’ll look less foolish.

  6. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Dez Szatmari … Show me one document where Horthy “was found innocent of any war crimes”… Horthy was a useful witness after WWII since he was willing to testify against his fascist allies.. .and in 1949 he was 80 and Stalin did not want a trial.. He got away due to his age with the help of Joseph Stalin who let him hide in Portugal for the rest of his life.

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