A week and a half ago, the Executive Committee of the Municipality of Munkács (Mukachevo) had the statue of the Turul bird, a Hungarian mythical symbol, removed from the bastion of the castle, replacing it with the Ukrainian coat of arms. Most people in Transcarpathia, regardless of their nationality, believe that such a barbaric removal of the statue was unnecessary, as national symbols can coexist peacefully in the region – as they used to.
On October 13, the Executive Committee unceremoniously had the statue removed from its pedestal during an air raid by simply sawing it down.
The local Hungarians were perplexed, for there was a war going on in the East, and the Hungarians were doing their part to help the refugees.
The governor of Transcarpathia, Viktor Mikita, called the incident a provocation that had to be investigated by the intelligence services. The chairman of the Transcarpathian Regional Council, Volodymyr Chubirko, said that the common history should be honored and peace should be preserved in the region, as there is a war in the east.
“Francis II Rákóczi also fought for freedom and independence, and according to him most of his people were Slavs, Ukrainians. And this should be understood, because the Turul is a symbol of that time,”
said the Ukrainian politician.
FactFrancis II Rákóczi (1676-1735), the last prince of Transylvania and leader of the revolt against the Habsburgs named after him, is today considered a Hungarian national hero and a figure of integration across ethnic borders. Romanians, Ukrainians, Slovaks, Zipser Saxons, and Slovenes also fought in Rákóczi’s Kuruc army.
The city leadership did not officially react to the criticism, only a part of the city council distanced itself. In the meantime, over the weekend, the Turul was replaced by the trident of the Ukrainian coat of arms. Imre Pákh, a New York businessman from Munkács and the owner of the monument, offered the city authorities a compromise, in vain. He wanted to restore the statue at his own expense and have the national coat of arms placed elsewhere in the castle. Now he wants to take legal action against the destruction of the monument.
The ceremonial unveiling of the Ukrainian coat of arms took place this morning.
Via Hirado.hu, featured photo: Facebook/Dr. Lukács László György
Article originally published on our sister site, Ungarn Heute.