The baffling story of Zsolt Bayer’s decoration

Almost a week has gone by and the furor over the decoration of the foul-mouthed, racist, anti-Semitic Zsolt Bayer hasn’t quieted down. In fact, it has grown. The protest started with a single individual who had received a similar decoration earlier. He sent it back to János Áder, president of the country, with a note explaining his reason: he didn’t want to belong to a group that includes people like Zsolt Bayer. Others followed his lead. As of today 82 men and women have expressed their disgust in this way.… Read the rest

In the service of the Orbán regime: György Schöpflin and the pig heads

I would advise György Schöpflin, Fidesz member of the European Parliament ever since 2004, to stay away from Twitter. It is a dangerous instrument in the hands of politicians, especially politicians who can’t keep their mouths shut. And it seems that he can’t. Two weeks ago his name came up in connection with one of his unfortunate tweets about a Hungarian journalist “and his ilk” who in a dictatorship would already be “in the jug.”

But that was nothing in comparison to what happened yesterday when several English-language papers reported … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán in Rio

Back in 2001 Viktor Orbán paid a visit to the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland to express his ardent desire to host the 2012 Olympics. As we know, that didn’t pan out. I was certain that once he was back as prime minister of Hungary he would make another stab at putting Budapest on the Olympic map. And indeed, shortly after he took office in 2010, talk of hosting the Olympic Games in 2024 began to surface in the media. Soon enough billions of forints were sunk into preliminary studies … Read the rest

The Orbán regime and culture: oil and water

When I heard that Mária Schmidt was appointed government commissioner in charge of the “Memorial Year of the 1956 Revolution and War of Independence,” I swore that I would refrain from being popping mad every time I heard yet another crime against the memory of those days. I said I would just ignore the whole thing, although I knew this would be difficult given the amount of money–13.5 billion forints ($49,245,000)–that the Orbán government is spending between October 23, 2016 and October 23, 2017 for the sixtieth anniversary of the … Read the rest

The latest revelations in the Roland Mengyi case

People unfamiliar with Viktor Orbán’s Hungary might think that I’m spending far too much time on the case of Roland Mengyi, a Fidesz MP. So what, they might say. They caught a politician who is a crook. Happens in the best of countries. What’s the big fuss?

Well, that’s not how things work in Hungary. The Orbán government has been in power for more than six years, during which the independent media reported on a raft of suspicious cases. Not once did the “independent” prosecutor’s office ask the president of … Read the rest

Zsolt Bayer, the purveyor of hate, in his own words

Decent, democratic Hungarians are stunned. The hate-filled, racist, anti-Semitic journalistic hack, Zsolt Bayer, on the recommendation of Zoltán Balog, received the third highest decoration the government can bestow on people of great achievement. János Lázár presented Bayer with the “Hungarian Middle Cross.”

The independent media could scarcely find words to display its disgust with the government, but some headline writers rose to the occasion. One headline read “By mistake Zsolt Bayer received the cross of the knight [lovagkereszt] instead of the Swastika.” Swastika in Hungarian is “horogkereszt.” A blog writer … Read the rest

Roland Mengyi, the Fidesz Voldemort: from billionaire’s front man to politician

This is the story of Roland Mengyi’s sudden appearance, out of total obscurity, in high politics. The original article titled “Egy milliárdos táskahordójából lett politikus a fideszes Voldemort” (The Fidesz Voldemort went from being the bag carrier of a billionaire to a politician) originally appeared in index.hu and was translated by the staff of The Budapest Sentinel.

Earlier I reported on the findings of Attila Rajnai, an investigative journalist, who in two installments published details of the scandal in the weekly 168 Óra. Since then another Read the rest