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Hungarians In Kiev

IFAT hosted the launch of Hungarians In Kiev, Árpád István Magyar’s recent book. The nearly 400 pages long issue follows the line along which the Hungarians, Rus’ people and the Ukrainians had met throughout history – from as early as the 9th century till recent days. The roundtable discussion was held with the participation of the editors, moderated by Sándor Ackermann.

In his opening remarks, Ernő Keskeny, former Ambassador of Hungary to Kiev, thanked the organisers for the event and the sponsors for the financial support of the book, what he believes to represent the wide range of the connections between the two nations. The book focuses on the diplomatic relations between Hungary and Ukraine, giving the credit for scientific precision to István Fodor and István Vidnyánszki, co-presidents of the Common Hungarian-Ukrainian Committee of Historians.

As the author could not be present at the event, his speech was delivered by Sándor Ackermann, research fellow at IFAT. Mr. Magyar emphasised the importance of being familiar with our common history, as many problems of the two countries are based on the insufficient knowledge of the other party. Following the opening speech, Mr. Vidnyánszki added that this is the most outstanding work concerning this topic, even if they had already participated in the creation of another study. János Kollár, leader of this project and former executive ambassador of Hungary to Kiev shared his opinion, that this book not only follows a wide historic timeline, but also represents real artistic values, which makes it one of a kind.

Following, Sándor Ackermann asked Mr. Keskeny about the role of the Embassy, who gave away that many of his colleagues had been helping with the translation. Concerning the connections of the two nations, he stated that as neighbours, we have to aim for a well-maintained relationship, just as what we had earlier, when Hungary was the third to acknowledge the independent Ukraine, and the first to build out diplomatic relations, back in 1991. Related to this, Sándor also asked what could have been the reason of the Hungarian support? The common history of the two of us, or the Hungarian realpolitik? In reply, Mr. Keskeny stated that the Hungarian leaders of that time wanted to re-build their external relations as the Soviet Union was about to fall apart.

Regarding the economic connections of the two countries, Mr. Keskeny expressed his hope that the currently ongoing war in East-Ukraine would end, and that peace shell bring more dynamics into the economy.

Last, but not least, the role of soft diplomacy was also mentioned - as the book also evolves around the topics of sport and music. Ernő Keskeny answered that all bilateral relations care for culture, as it shell be effective all the time, even when the tension rises.