Will Carpathian Sich Kill Hungarian Activists?

Will Carpathian Sich Kill Hungarian Activists?

It happened some time ago in the villages of Essen, Mala Dobron and Veluka Dobron. Ukrainian nationalists covered with paint the inscriptions in Hungarian language on bilingual signs leaving Ukrainian text versions intact. In Tisaashvan they damaged a Hungarian flag hoisted on the building of local club. 

The Transcarpathian Hungarian culture organization said it was a provocation staged against the Hungarian community. Transcarpathia (the Zakarpattia Oblast - sub-Carpathian Ukraine, an area which was part of Hungary) is an administrative oblast (province) located in southwestern Ukraine. The population includes people of many nationalities. It is very much different from Galicia which has become a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism. Carpathian Hungarians speak fairly good Russian but quite often cannot put two words together in Ukrainian. 

The relationship between nationalities in Transcarpathia is delicate enough - reckless steps can break the peace. Taras Deyak, the commander of Carpathian Sich, a battalion of punishers, threatened to eliminate the activists of Hungarian minority, «To oppose anti-Ukrainian activities and the spread of ideas inimical to our country the Carpathian Sich fighters will have to use force to detain and neutralize activists of hostile Hungarian organizations (like Yobbik, and HMIV) operating in Ukraine to the detriment of the country». MP Yury Sirotyuk, deputy head of the All-Union Ukrainian Svoboda party, responsible for military issues, also belongs to the punishers’ battalion. He gives an idea of what kind of ideology leads the warriors of Carpathian Sich. Meeting the vets of the «Second World and Russo-Ukrainian wars» (!) gathered on May 7 in Kiev, he said that the historic mission of Ukrainian members of parliament was «to destroy Moscow». 

The tensions between Carpathian Hungarians and local Ukrainian nationalists are on the rise. A group of Hungarian tourists, including children, was beaten up in Uzhgorod in March 2013. In the August of the same year Ukrainian nationalists wanted to dismantle the memorial at Verecke Pass devoted to Hungarian tribes that crossed the Carpathian Mountains to Danube 1100 years ago (In 2008, the Hungarian government received permission from the Ukrainian government to install a monument to the passing of the Hungarian peoples into the future Hungary in 895). Before that there had been attempts to destroy the memorial. Vandals left the inscriptions saying «Death to Hungarians! » Hungarian political party Jobbik defends the rights of Hungarians living abroad, including in Transcarpathia. This February «Sixty-four Counties" Youth Movement (HVIM), Jobbik and Jobbik's Youth Platform held a joint protest march with torches against the military drafting of Hungarians living in the Lower Carpathian region of Ukraine. Setting out from the Parliament building, the demonstrators carried a sign with the message "This is not our war", a black flag and a coffin. Since April HVIM has been boycotting the production of Roshen confectionary corporation which belongs to Petro Poroshenko. The HVIM protesters went around Budapest shops fixing stickers to Roshen boxes with a picture of Roland Popovic, a 19 year old Ukrainian soldier called for service to die near Luhansk. He was a Carpathian Hungarian by origin. The stickers read «Buying this product you help to persecute the Hungarians of Transcarpathia. Petro Poroshenko will thank you!»

Yobbik opposed the heroization of OUN-UPA (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists - Ukrainian Insurgent Army) responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Polish people. It emphasized that such actions threaten the neighboring countries. The party wants the Ukrainian government to stop encroachment on the rights of Ruthenians (or Rusyns), Romanians, Poles and Hungarians. It makes Yobbik and the associated HVIM the main targets for Ukrainian nationalists. 

The Carpathian Sich, which threatens eliminate Hungarian nationalists, is an illegal armed formation sprang from the militarized Carpathian Sich of 1938-1939. During WWII some members of the disbanded organization served in the ranks of Wehrmacht and German military administration. Prominent Ukrainian nationalists like Roman Shukhevych, the would-be commander of Nachtigall battalion operating under German command, and Michael Kolodzinski, the author of OUN’s military doctrine, came from its ranks. Some of the Carpathian Sich vets were involved in mass terror of Rusyns (the concentration camp Dumen). The contemporary Carpathian Sich is part of Ukraine’s National Guard. Oleg Kuzin, head of Carpathian branch of Svoboda, is assigned as commander of the unit. Svoboda has many times demanded to stop Yobbik activities in Ukraine. In 2014 István Szávay, a Jobbik MP and vice president of the far-right party, and his three associates were banned from entering Ukraine as a result of efforts applied by Ukraine’s Security Service. 

All told, it goes to show that the fascist methods of political struggle practiced by Carpathian Sich are not isolated actions committed by individual radicals, but rather a policy implemented by the current Ukrainian regime. By threatening to take actions against representatives of Yobbik and HVIM in Transcarpathia the Carpathian Sich crossed the red line dividing the killings of dissenters inside the country (Oleg Buzina, Oleg Kalashnikov, others) from physical threats directed against the citizens of neighboring state.