So today a little more text and no drawing. Today’s #inktober topic is #clock and it made me think of the way time is used and how it is so related to identiy in Ukraine. I’m gonna try and tell you a bit about it:

I was living in the far western part of Ukraine, right on the border to Hungary. The Hungarians, the Ukrainian freedom fighters and the Germans fought together in WWII against the Russians. So when they all lost the war, like Germany, the Hungarians had to give up part of their land. Germany’s east became part of Poland and Hungary’s east part of the Soviet Union.

One difference (amongst many) is that while Germans had to leave eastern Prussia when Germany lost the war, Hungarians stayed where they were and it was only the border that shifted. This is why there is still a large Hungarian minority in Ukraine. (Also interesting in this context: The people that fought on the Ukrainian and Hungarian side and survived got imprisoned after the war and sent into Stalin’s camps, which made the Russian the enemy and the Nazis the heroes unquestioned until this day. I will have to write more about that at a different time, but I see that as one of the root causes of the ongoing Nazi cult and extreme nationalism in Ukraine’s west these days…).

Now since the establishment of the Soviet Union I guess (?) the time zones change at the border between Hungary (CET) and Ukraine (EET). The Hungarian minority in Ukraine however still uses Hungarian time, Roma and non-Roma alike. They all listen to Hungarian radio and watch Hungarian TV. In the villages they have their own schools where they are taught in Hungarian and only learn Ukrainian as a second language quite late in, if at all. They have their own churches and church services in Hungarian and their lives are absolutely dominated by Hungarian time (magyar szerint), news and identity. Everyone who can afford it, has a Hungarian (European) passport.

Catching the train, going to an office, going to some schools however works in Ukrainian time, or Kiiyv time (Kiev szerint). So basically whenever you make an appointment to meet somebody outside of the village you have to make sure, that you’re both talking about the same time zone. It’s really common. Mostly every sentece that involves a time includes a Kiev szerint or Magyar szerint and you really do get used to it.

I find it really fascinating. Becuase it also continues outside of the village. The Hungarian Reformed Church of Transcarpathia uses Hungarian time for their church services and everything related to church, while everything around them is in Ukrainian time. So you basically sit inside of a church and it’s one hour earlier for you than for the Ukrainian person walking by the church.

And then there’s more. For a week I stayed with a family in Lupokovo, which is in the carpathian mountains not so close to any Europenan border at all. The people who live there are Ukrainians (Huzul) and they, to my surprise and unlike the Ukrainians in the more flat regions of Transcarpathia also live with what they call European time. Everything in that village; church, offices, schools, etc. operates under Ukrainian time, they watch Russian TV (completely differnt time zones) and still in their private life, when they make appointments or talk to each other they use European time. Just because they feel more like Europeans.

So there’s that. And here’s some chicken in Ukraine. They also do a really good job as alarm clocks.

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