Over the past few years, the political relations between Hungary and Ukraine have been declining, but with a new measure, Ukraine might just deprive Hungarian-Ukrainian dual citizens in the Ruthenian Transcarpathia and other parts of Ukraine from taking up government offices and titles.
Telex reports that although the presidential order was officially written on the 26th of February, the Ukrainian government only declared it in the past couple of days. The existing problem is complicated as previously, Ukraine did not officially recognise dual citizenship. Thus, the number and identity of Ukrainian citizens with Hungarian dual citizenship have been kept secret by the Hungarian government.
Over the course of the past few years, there has been hope that the Ukrainian government might fix the issue, but it turns out that quite the opposite is true.
Although it was not directly aimed at the Hungarian minorities living in Ukraine, this decision will affect from 100,000 to somewhere around 130,000 people. Ukraine’s reason for their new law is to thwart any attempts at internal attacks against the sovereignty, independence, home affairs, and the territories of Ukraine, suggesting that the main target were the Russian-Ukrainian dual citizens in Eastern Ukraine. Even though the data is not shared with Ukraine, now the country’s secret service will have a legal basis for investigating people’s dual citizenship.
In reality, in the following months, anyone who has dual citizenship will lose the right to hold:
– public offices
– local government positions
– leading positions in state-owned companies with strategic importance
– and to know state-secrets.
The affected people can only keep and apply for such positions if the background check conducted by the secret service proves that they have no dual citizenship of any kind. The prohibition will be in place until the person renounces their non-Ukrainian citizenship. This act will – in reality – demolish local Hungarian parties in municipalities with Hungarian populations. Telex says that, apart from symbolic meaning,
it also has practical benefits; Hungarian-Ukrainian dual citizens are also considered to be citizens of the European Union.
The bad relations started when Ukraine passed an education law in 2017 which heavily limits the teaching of non-state languages in schools. Additionally, this January, the country’s language policy which heavily discriminates against non-Ukrainian languages entered into force. The new language law declares that Ukrainian must be used in administration, in culture, and in public life. Telex also reported several cases of attacks against Hungarian parties and foundations via vulgar letters and messages, and
the Ukrainian secret service has previously sent teams to several Transcarpathian institutes on accusations of separatism.