Uralistica

Uralists and Turanists in Hungary: the Choice of the Theory of Ethnogenesis Changes it all

The sharp dispute between Finno-Ugrists and Turanists has been one of the most important driving forces of the Hungarian history of the last 200 years and one of the most intimate points in the structure of Hungarian self-consciousness.


Turan and Fenno-Ugric worlds, Altai and the Urals, the north and the south are struggling for Hungarians, trying to gain over them and include into their own “world”.

The history of the dispute is complicated and multilayered. The plot in a nutshell can be read as follows:
In the beginning of the 19th century fundamental works which proved the cognation of Hungarians with the Finno-Ugric peoples emerged.The conjectures and incoherent evidences date back to the earlier times, but they were rated as hypotheses or theories along with the exotic versions which argued the kindred of Hungarians with Etruscan, Sumer and Japanese people.


At that time Hungary was ruled by the Habsburg Empire and the Habsburgs are thought to put much value upon the idea of the kindred of Hungarians with Siberian nations and Lappish reindeer breeders. Anyhow some of the freedom-loving Hungarian intellectuals who were opposite to the Austrian monarchy did not want to be associated with the “benighted” nations with no genealogy. They prefered the idea of the cognation with the neighbouring to the Hungarians nomads who were famous in Europe for having romantic character and martial spirit. The theory of Finno-Ugric origin was claimed to be politically engaged and ordered by the Habsburgs for rapprochement with the House of Romanov.


At that time the struggle of the science against the ideology and politics began: Finno-Ugric origin of Hungarians is incontestable, but Turanists have strong political and cultural influence and due to it the idea of two-typed kindred emerged. The linguistic affinity is claimed to be “weak” and the natural cognation is said to be “strong”. This hybrid version considers Hungarians to be related to Mansi and Udmurts on the basis of linguistic affinity, but “blood relationship”, as apologists of Turanism say, is more significant. The fact that Hungarians are brothers of powerful ancient Huns and other nomads seems more important for them.


We lay aside the peripeteias of that dispute since we are interested in another issue: though the question of Uralism and Turanism is not the most important for the Hungarian society, it marks the border between two antipodal social groups with different values, views and modes of life. Here is our infographic that illustrates the ultimate contrasts between the followers of Turanism and supporters of Finno-Ugric origin of Hungarians.



The material does not purport to be objective)

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