The Empire Strikes Back


MEMBERS ONLY: Renata, left, and Klaudia hold their new Hungarian status cards

The end of empire leaves many orphans. When the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled after World War I, one third of Central Europe's ethnic Hungarians were cut off from the motherland. Later, under communist rule, their ethnic and national identities were actively suppressed. Now the Hungarian government is offering a belated homecoming to the 3.5 million ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries with a new "status law" that came into force last month. The legislation extends generous benefits to people of Hungarian descent in the region — ranging from stipends for Hungarian-language schooling to subsidized travel and facilitated work permits — but...

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