Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Hungarian service by S.K.

To be precise, it is about public service as the public television company of Hungary, MTV, exemplifies it. This institution started its life in 1957 and held alone the interest of the Hungarian population until the change of the system in 1989-90 and after. The Magyar Televízió, of course, was a state run, communist-directed propaganda tool in the service of building the socialist state. To emphasize its stand in contrast to the despised capitalist past, it was housed in a gorgeous palace in downtown Budapest in the building of the … Read the rest

The Hungarian budget debate: Politically motivated economists and others

Twenty-nine people, no friends of the current government, published an open letter in Magyar Nemzet and Magyar Hírlap addressed to members of the Hungarian parliament. The men and women who penned their names to the document were even ready to pay for the publication of the letter. MTI claimed that the letter was the work of "well-known economists, among them high-level government employees of the Orbán government." Yes, it is true that there are some "well-known economists" among the signatories, but most of them are neither well known nor economists. Some come … Read the rest

New theories and reality: The case of the Hungarian student

As I mentioned yesterday, theories abound about the reasons for the tragedy at the University of Pécs. Some "experts" blame the media. Others think geographically: all these "bad influences" come from the West. If only the borders were sealed or at least couldn't easily be crossed Hungary would be saved from the scourge of the western world where such murders happen. Aggression grips the country and it spreads rapidly unchecked by a government that is unable to introduce the law and order everybody is longing for.

Politicians especially love that last explanation. Surely … Read the rest

Murder at a Hungarian university

There is a tendency in Hungary to assume that bad things happen only in the United States. On the other hand, went the common wisdom until recently, in Europe it is unimaginable that someone would go berserk, enter his school, and kill several teachers and fellow students. Then it happened. First in Germany where a seventeen-year-old student killed sixteen people and then in peaceful Finland where there was a similar shooting rampage with ten victims. After these two European tragedies, the story changed somewhat in Hungarian folk wisdom: in Hungary such things cannot possibly … Read the rest

Past and future Hungarian prime ministers in Russia?

Yesterday after I received numerous comments on my post on Orbán's alleged "negotiations" with Putin, I was inclined to agree with some of you that perhaps I wasn't concentrating on the really important issue. Possibly it isn't important whether the meeting between Putin and Orbán actually took place or how long it lasted if it did occur. The real issue is Viktor Orbán's attitude toward Vladimir Putin's Russia. I had to agree with the comment that " Putin's authoritarian 'democracy' where one really has a strong man leader with the veneer of … Read the rest

Attila Mesterházy: The Hungarian socialists’ candidate for prime minister

It's not official yet, but it is almost 100% certain that MSZP will campaign before the 2010 elections with Attila Mesterházy (age 35) as their candidate for prime minister. Most people think that by nominating Mesterházy MSZP has pretty well admitted that the party has no chance whatsoever at the next elections. Naturally, this is the stated opinion of Fidesz. But Fidesz was joined by the former socialist prime minister Péter Medgyessy who, completely forgetting his own substantial role in causing the downfall of his party, gleefully announced that MSZP is … Read the rest

Negotiations between Putin and the Hungarian opposition leader?

Recently I noticed a short news item: "Orbán conferred with Vladimir Putin." Hmm? That was surprising. From the article I found out that Viktor Orbán, in his capacity as one of the vice-presidents of the European People's Party, was a guest at the eleventh national congress of the ruling United Russia Party and that while in St. Petersburg he took the opportunity to talk with Putin. Péter Szijártó, the Fidesz spokesman, was tight-mouthed. The only thing he divulged was that Orbán and Putin had talked about the future of Russian-Hungarian relations. His … Read the rest