By Paul Goble
Moscow has placed more hopes in Hungary and its nationalist Jobbik Party to support Russia’s position in Europe against Ukraine, but it may have miscalculated in a serious way: Hungarians are a Finno-Ugric nationality and have an interest in protecting Finno-Ugric peoples within the current borders of the Russian Federation.
That interest is something that the Kremlin has ignored, pleased as it is by Hungarian nationalist interest in making claims against Ukraine and opposing European sanctions against Russia for its aggression there. But the Kremlin may be about to be reminded that Hungarians have interests which are anything but congruent with the powers that be in Moscow.
That is because the Free Idel-Ural Movement, a group that seeks to represent the peoples of the Middle Volga, half of whom are Finno-Ugrics (the Mordvins, the Mari and the Udmurts) has called on Hungary’s pro-Russian Jobbik Party to speak out in defense of these nations (idelreal.org/a/29595682.html).
Sures Bolyaen, the vice president of the Free Idel-Ural Movement has appealed to the Jobbik Party to come to the aid of its fellow Finno-Ugric peoples. The three Finno-Ugric nations in the middle Volga have lost their right to require instruction in their national languages and thus are being Russianized and Russified more than ever before.
The Russian attack on these nations should be enough for all other Finno-Ugric peoples to come to their aide, but there are other reasons as well. The Hungarians in general and the Jobbik Party in particular know that if other Finno-Ugric peoples are threatened with extinction, the Hungarians are as well.
“We are counting on the Jobbik Party to understand this and to represent the interests of Finno-Ugric peoples not only in Europe but also in the global international arena. Friends are recognized in misfortune. Today, the misfortune has come to our house, to Idel-Ural.” We look to other Finno-Ugric peoples and especially to the Hungarians to help us.
The Jobbik Party has taken the lead in demanding that the rights of ethnic Hungarians be protected in Ukraine, Bolyaen says; it is only right and proper that the same group should take the lead in demanding that the rights of their fellow Finno-Ugrics in the Russian Federation be equally respected.