Hungarian ultra-nationalist Barna Csibi seeks ties with Donetsk separatists

October 2, 2014

Barna Csibi on parade in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The leader of an offshoot of the banned Hungarian paramilitary group Magyar Gárda has moved from Romania to the Subcarpathian region of Ukraine to defend local Hungarians and connect with Donetsk separatists (and even Russian President Vladimir Putin), Átlátszó reported citing Romanian investigative Rise Project.

Csibi is part of a growing number of radical right-wing figures seeking to forge relations with the Kremlin. He says: “Vladimir Putin is the only one who supports autonomy for the people living in Eastern Europe. If you look at the rhetoric of EU or the Hungarian state, you will see they have not raised this issue since Kosovo gained independence.”

The former tax official became well known in Romania in 2011 when he hanged national hero Avram Iancu in effigy on the main square of Miercurea Ciuc, a small Romanian town mostly inhabited by ethnic Hungarians.

Such is his loyalty to Putin he is skeptical that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by Russian separatists. On autonomy of the Hungarian territories within Romania, he asserts: “Russia fully supports the independence of Szeklerland (a Hungarian enclave in Romania) for strategic purposes. Szeklers want independence, just as the people of Donetsk do.”

In fact, according to Csiri, the Russian media covers the Szekler issue to a surprisingly large extent. “I have been stunned at how much they know about us. I have even made up a joke: Russians know more about us than (Hungarian prime minister) Viktor Orbán,” the far-right agitator quipped.

Csibi sustains himself by selling propaganda materials and ultra-nationalist merchandise through a number of companies that have connected to radical right-wing groups in Hungary. He has reportedly tried to register as a trademark the expression “Székelyföld nem Románia!” (Szeklerland is not Romania), but to no avail. Recent activities include active propaganda for the Donbass separatists among Hungarian-speaking people in Romania, and networking with pro-Russian political forces.