Kin-state politics stirred by a geopolitical conflict: Hungary's growing activity in post-Euromaidan Transcarpathia, Ukraine

  • Patrik Tátrai Geographical Institute, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, MTA
  • Ágnes Erőss Geographical Institute, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, MTA
  • Katalin Kovály Geographical Institute, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, MTA

Abstract

In the last decades, as a result of intensified migratory movements, scholars have globally witnessed the proliferation of transnational migrant and diaspora communities in many cases challenging the traditionally conceived sovereignty of nation states and inducing policy answers in the field of migration and citizenship politics. In Central and Eastern European countries, citizenship issues have been embedded in kin-state politics due to the existence of great number of ethnic-kin communities living in the territory of a neighbouring or nearby host countries. That is especially true to Hungary that has elaborated a sophisticated system of kin-state policies composing inseparable factor both in its domestic and foreign politics. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine generated such push factors that resulted in boosting out-migration in its westernmost region, Transcarpathia, where sizeable ethnic Hungarian community resides. The out-migration is further facilitated by pull factors manifested in intensified political presence and kin-state politics of Hungary, Poland and Czechia, three Visegrad countries in need of fresh labour force. The present paper - after reviewing recent migratory processes - offers an analysis on the interrelatedness of migration, geopolitics and kin-state politics in Transcarpathia.
We argue that Ukraine's crisis resulted in a major shift in regional geopolitical power relations opening the floor to the Visegrad countries to intensify their presence and influence in Western Ukraine, primarily seeking for human resources to satisfy their demographic and workforce needs. Focusing on Hungary, we intend to prove that the out-migration of Transcarpathian Hungarians posed a serious challenge to the well-built system of Hungarian kin-state policies resulting in major modification of measures targeting Transcarpathia. We point to the ambiguous nature of the prime kin-state policy measure, the dual citizenship without residency introduced in 2010 by Hungary, arguing that following 2014 in the post Euromaidan Transcarpathian context it represents a tempting pragmatic tool embodying practical opportunities, even material benefits attractive for all Transcarpathians, including non-ethnic Hungarians. Finally, we conclude that Hungary's kin-state politics not only contribute to the decrease of the number of Transcarpathian Hungarians, but there is a high risk that - with their Hungarian citizenship - they will resettle in Western Europe, not in Hungary.

Published
2017-10-05
How to Cite
TÁTRAI, Patrik; ERŐSS, Ágnes; KOVÁLY, Katalin. Kin-state politics stirred by a geopolitical conflict: Hungary's growing activity in post-Euromaidan Transcarpathia, Ukraine. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin, [S.l.], v. 66, n. 3, p. 203-218, oct. 2017. ISSN 2064-5147. Available at: <http://ojs3.mtak.hu/index.php/hungeobull/article/view/543>. Date accessed: 15 dec. 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.15201/hungeobull.66.3.2.
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Article