– tells our anonymity source to the Index, referring to the fact that the administrative transformations in Ukraine have now reached Transcarpathia. Otherwise, since the day of the local elections, October 25, there has been a grave silence about what kind of village cultural institutions will be abolished.
Administrative reform has been implemented in Ukraine under the slogan of decentralization.
The micro-regions were created by merging several settlements, from which the districts are built, and from them the county. The districts were also merged, six of the thirteen so far, and most of the Hungarians of Transcarpathia live in two of the six, in the districts of Uzhhorod and Beregszász.
– says György Dupka, a historian and cultural politician, about the situation. With the administrative changes, district cultural classes have been abolished, so those involved, such as librarians, are not yet able to turn to whom. Almost every settlement has a library, a house of culture, and Hungarian dance ensembles.
Mergers or terminations may follow,
According to László Zubánics, President of the Hungarian Democratic Union of Ukraine (UMDSZ), financial support for culture has always been decided on the basis of the remaining principle: if it remains from the budget, it may be given to it. Although the reorganization affects an average of two or three people per settlement, any austerity is a loss for the Hungarians.
Our resources working in libraries are concerned not only about their existence but also about the fate of books. Tens of thousands of books could go in the trash if the authorities decide to withdraw their support. And for the Hungarians trying to preserve their identity and culture, it would be a huge argument if the Hungarian literary values collected over many years had no place.
According to our sources, the possible dissolution of the institution would be perhaps one of the greatest disasters on Hungarian cultural life. He has hosted several art exhibitions and literary events with Hungarian writers in Slovakia and Romania. The aim of these is to bring the youth back into Hungarian literary life and to preserve the cultural identity of the Hungarians living abroad.
György Dupka and László Zubánics also emphasize that the problem affects everyone, not against the Hungarians. The libraries in question do not contain only literary works in the Hungarian language, just as the houses of culture are not used only by the Hungarian minority. Ukrainians working in cultural life are equally threatened by their existence.
The micro-regional authorities will hold their first inaugural meetings on Friday, so nothing is certain yet. This is precisely the cause for concern and fear.
(Cover image: Students study in the library of St. Stephen’s Catholic High School in Munkácsi, which was added to the list of institutions of national significance in 2012 and opened its doors in 2001. Photo: János Nemes / MTI)