Tuesday, 08 January 2019 09:01


Janos Szeky, Radio Lemberg Hungary, 08.01.2019


In the early hours of 4 February 2018, terrorists tried to burn down the headquarters of the Hungarian Cultural Association of Subcarpathia (Kárpátaljai Magyar Kulturális Szövetség — KMKSZ) in Uzhgorod. The attempt failed; the Molotov cocktail did not explode. There were no personal injuries, and material damage was slight. 


A correspondent from the Hungarian state news agency MTI was quick to respond, and that same morning published a report saying the KMKSZ and local administration head Mr. Hennady Moskal agreed that the attack was an act of provocation. They said it should not turn local Hungarians and Ukrainians against each other. 


This, however, was not good enough for the Hungarian government itself. Later in the day the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a communiqué, which simply ignored any cooperation between the KMKSZ on the one hand, and Mr. Moskal and the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on the other. It put all the responsibility on the Ukrainian authorities, acted as if they did not really want to investigate the case, and demanded to identify the perpetrators and their motives "as soon as possible".


Some weeks later, on 27 February 2018, a second arson attempt was more successful – the KMKSZ HQ burned down almost completely. By that time, Polish security services discovered that the perpetrators were members of the extreme nationalist group Falanga, with visible Russian (more precisely Donbas) ties. But the Hungarian government stuck to the tale that behind all this there was a centrally "organized campaign" spearheaded by “Ukraine and especially the Ukrainian state media". 




Of course, this shows that the the Hungarian government has no idea of how Ukrainian media works. This is a projection of the Hungarian set-up, where a predominant part of the media is either controlled or owned (officially or through stooges) by the government, making it possible to run powerful hate campaigns against "migrants" (refugees) or George Soros.


In the Ukrainian context, the motivation is somewhat different. Relations with Hungary were at a nadir in that month, partly because of the language clause of the Education Act, and partly because of the Hungarian response of blocking or vetoing any steps towards Ukraine's EU and NATO integration. This latter tactic so transparently coincides with the Kremlin's interests that a dramatic argument had to be invented, and that was of alleged Ukrainian nationalist fury directed towards Zakarpattia (Subcarpathian) Hungarians.


For anyone who isn’t a Hungarian government politicians or media hack, it was clear that the terrorists had ties to Muscovy. So to make this version of the story usable for government propaganda, Viktor Orbán's media had three tasks: 1) simply ignore the Russian thread; 2) enlarge anti-Hungarian manifestations, and ascribe provocations to the Petro Poroshenko government; and 3) downplay or ignore any cooperation between local Hungarians and Ukrainian authorities, or pro-Hungarian gestures.


Last Saturday, on 5 January 2019, though, new details emerged which change the picture. The Poles have leaked some investigation materials which mentioned that an interpreter gave the terrorists €500, saying "this money comes from Hungary”. Later, when the Molotov cocktail did not explode, the leader of the team said "The Hungarians won't be happy, you would rather spread it on the walls.” This is what the second team did on 27 February 2018.


This does not necessarily prove that the action was directed from Hungary. It may be something just as dangerous – that it was a Russian false flag operation pointing to Budapest, reassuring the traditionally Hungarophile Polish national extremists that they are doing the right thing after all. But it seems unlikely that Hungarian non-military secret services will act soon. So either this way or that, Hungarian credibility in this affair is shattered for good – at least if anyone cares about Hungarian credibility at this point.

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