The Hungarian government contributed more than 30 million forints (EUR 97,300) to the construction of the 200 sqm community centre which will be operated by the Hungarian Cultural Federation of Transcarpathia (KMKSZ). Speaking at the inauguration ceremony on Saturday, Ernő Keskeny, Hungary’s ambassador to Kiev, said the community centre would be a worthy venue for hosting events for the Hungarians of the Ungvár (Uzhhorod) district and local Hungarian organisations. Keskeny said the establishment of the community centre was a notable example of the support Hungary extends to Hungarians living beyond the border. István Grezsa, government commissioner for development coordination between eastern Hungary and western Ukraine, said the inauguration of the community centre gave cause for a “double celebration” because it not only demonstrated Transcarpathian Hungarians’ will to live but was also a significant event for Hungary because “we form a single national community.”
According to the latest census, around 150000 ethnic Hungarians live in Transcarpathia, a region which had belonged to Hungary before the First World War, to Czechoslovakia in the interwar period and to the Soviet Union following the Second World War, and which has become part of the independent Ukraine in 1991. In recent years, tens of thousands of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine have been naturalised.