Oddities in Hungarian right-wing circles: the Fidesz web site

Lately the editors of Fidesz's web site have put such extremist writings on their pages that I'm amazed. A couple of years ago the site was edited in a much more judicious manner. This morning great was my surprise when under "The Writing of the Day" I saw an article by Edit Kéri, "retired actress." And where did this article appear originally? In Magyar Hírlap, a daily that by now strongly resembles the infamous online paper, Kuruc.info. Actually, Edit Kéri's other "investigative" journalistic pieces also appear on Kuruc.info.

The name Edit Kéri rang a bell. I remembered that in the early 1990s she was very active in extreme right-wing circles, but lately I hadn't seen her name. The lady is eighty-four years old but she is still active. Recently she wrote a book about the Kossuth Square massacre in October 1956 in which she apparently solves the mystery of who fired on the unarmed demonstrators. The book was published by the World Federation of Hungarians in 2009 and can be purchased only in one right-wing bookstore, Magyar Menedékhely. One ought to hurry because the book is available "only in limited numbers."

As for her career as an actress I didn't find much except that between 1950 and 1958 she worked in Győr and later in Kaposvár. In 1958 "she left her career for political reasons." On Kuruc.info I found an article by Kéri on "the actual number of Hungarian Jewish deaths and its falsification." Her so-called "research" which is not research at all claims that there were only 200,000 Jewish victims in the enlarged Hungary, which means only 110,000 in today's Hungary. Of course, this is nonsense. Further, she claims that two publishing houses, Corvina Kiadó and Times Publishing, conspired to falsify the numbers. This is the picture thatKeri Edit cikk accompanies her article. I don't think that I have to dwell too much on Edit Kéri's ideological bent. But that doesn't seem to bother the editors of Fidesz's web site.

This time Edit Kéri's target is Lajos Bokros. The piece is entitled "Bokros's shadow of Rostov." Kéri alleges that Lajos Bokros didn't get his degree from the Karl Marx (now Corvinus) University but from a second-rate, three-year college in Rostov in the Soviet Union. Why Rostov? I guess because Gyula Horn did get a degree there in the early 1950s. And she disputes Bokros's claim that he spent a year at the University of Panama.

How did Edit Kéri come up with these "novel" pieces of biographical information about Lajos Bokros? In 1995 she was talking to the principal of a Hungarian Reformed gymnasium in Budapest when in the course of the conversation an article came up that had appeared a few months earlier in a weekly called Reform, a right-wing publication. The paper claimed that they wrote to the University of Panama inquiring about Bokros's alleged degree and the university answered that they had never heard of Lajos Bokros. The principal told her that he knew Bokros's father who was a decent good religious sort but his mother was a terrible liberal. Bokros, she continued, graduated from high school in 1972 and spent a year in the army, as was customary, but instead of going to Karl Marx University he went to study in Rostov. Daddy Bokros told the principal every year how well his son had done academically in the Soviet Union. Altogether he spent three years there and returned to Hungary in 1976 or 1977. And yet this liar of a Bokros claimed in his autobiography in the Parliamentary Almanac that he attended Karl Marx University between 1973 and 1978. He also added that he spent a year at the University of Panama. "Well, I never heard anything like that from his father," said the principal. Moreover, according to this principal no one ever found his dissertation at Karl Marx University.

Edit Kéri swung into action: she sued Lajos Bokros on the basis of what the good high school principal had told her. Kéri must have been very frustrated when she never heard back from the prosecutor's office. She was convinced that they were covering up the whole thing. Kéri is certain that Bokros kept his three years in Rostov secret because of his western orientation. After all, he must have written a Russian-language dissertation "in the spirit of Communist ideology" and that wouldn't look too good in Washington and London.

So much for Edit Kéri's talents and the depth of her research. First of all, even without knowing anything about Lajos Bokros's career one immediately knows that there is something wrong here. Kéri's only source is an alleged acquaintance of Bokros's father. Kéri didn't bother to visit Karl Marx University and find out whether Bokros attended the university. Dissertations are kept at Hungarian universities and surely if she had bothered she could have visited the university's library or archives, wherever they keep old dissertations.

Well, let's see what Wikipedia says about Lajos Bokros's student years. (Of course, Kéri would retort, this might be a compilation of Bokros's lies and those of his co-conspirators.) It is indeed true that he finished high school in 1972 and that he served a year in the army before he could enter university in 1973. In 1976 he applied for a scholarship to spend a year in Panama. The "only" demand was that in a very short period of time he had to learn Spanish. There were 200 applicants and they took five, including Bokros. At the University of Panama he studied linguistics, literature, and economic history. While there he collected information on South American anti-American attitudes and wrote his dissertation back in Hungary on Central American industrialization and the development of a Central American common market. He received his degree in 1978 and two years later his Ph.D. In the 1980s under the pseudonym of Rikárdó Dávid he wrote articles about economic subjects in Hungarian samizdat publications.

I think it is quite clear that no one should spend much time on Edit Kéri, and I wouldn't have either if I didn't discover this ridiculous article on Fidesz's web site. What are on earth is going on in their heads? Are they so afraid of Lajos Bokros that they need Edit Kéri's help? How can they lower themselves to that level and especially why?

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John T
Guest

So on what basis is she suing him?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

John T: “So on what basis is she suing him?”
She tried at the time. I guess in 1995. The exact Hungarian legal description is: “feljelentést tett az ügyészségnél.” So, she asked the prosecutor’s office to investigate. They refused. Not surprising given the flimsiness of the charge.

Brum
Guest

Bokros recently questioned Zapatero in the European Parliament in rather fluent Spanish. That much for Panama. I guess he can speak Russian too even without the Rostov stay. Plus English. He must be really annoying for all his competitors who barely get by in anything but Hunagrian.

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