Securitisation spill-over: the case of Hungarian and Romanian national minorities in Ukraine after 2014



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Tartu Ülikool


This research deals with the securitisation of minority issues in Ukraine after 2017. It aims to explain how Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014 made Ukraine conduct nation-building policies to protect Ukrainian identity and language and pass the education law in 2017 which deprived the national minorities of the right to obtain full education in their native language. The law outraged the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia and its kin-state Hungary, and thus the securitisation spilled over from the “Russian” to the “Hungarian triadic nexus”. No such securitisation occurred with regards to the “Romanian triadic” nexus, although Hungary and Romania are very similar as kin-states, while the Hungarian and Romanian minorities share similar characteristics. Primary and secondary data demonstrated that such issues as unmet expectations, lack of communication between Hungary and Ukraine, as well as traumatic history and the instrumentalisation of minority issues led to the securitisation of the “Hungarian triadic nexus” and a stalemate in relations between Hungary and the Hungarian minority on the one side and Ukraine – on the other. Although Hungary and Romania look similar as kin-states, there are substantial differences in their domestic and foreign policies which account for their different reaction to the policy change in Ukraine. At the same time social and political resources as well as the relations with the host-state and the kin-state are crucial in explaining why the reaction of Hungarians in Ukraine was more hostile than that of Romanians.