New Hungarian regime, new or not so new decorations

Even as Hungary's economy is on the brink, the luminaries of the non-existent Christian Democratic Party spend their time coming up with a list of new decorations to be awarded to important dignitaries at home and abroad. After all, if there was a revolution and a new regime there must be appropriate ornaments attached to it. Yes, if there is a "Planet Orbán" as The Economist called today's Hungary and an "oddball" prime minister, there ought to be new state decorations. The ones that have been given out since 1990 are too closely attached to the Third Republic. Even their names contain the word "köztársaság" (republic) which was barred from the new constitution. Although the Christian Democratic bill submitted by Zsolt Semjén, György Rubovszky, István Pálffy, and János Latorcai doesn't propose that these old decorations be abolished, they are becoming a dime a dozen. For example, some of them can be awarded to as many as 350 people a year!

Not so the new/old decorations. The most important decoration will be the Order of St. Stephen. Who else? This particular decoration was established by Maria Theresa in 1764 and was abolished in 1946 when Hungary was declared to be a republic. There was good reason to abolish the Order as well as the decoration. Apparently Maria Theresa wasn't too keen on establishing a separate Hungarian order but eventually gave in, but only if the Grand Master of the Order would always be the Hungarian king. Thus, once there was no kingdom there could be no Order of St. Stephen.

Szent Istvan Rend

However, such legal niceties don't seem to deter Semjén and his friends. If one looks through the list of recipients of the Order of St. Stephen since 1764 it is clear that most of them were aristocrats and politicians faithful to the Habsburg dynasty. Here and there one can find writers or painters, for example, Kálmán Mikszáth and Pál Szinyei Merse, but there were some names among the recipients the Hungarians couldn't have been too happy with. For example, the Grand Duke Konstantin, one of the commanders of the Russian forces whose help was necessary to defeat the Hungarian war of independence in 1849, or Alfred Windischgratz who had an important role in the military attaks on the Hungarian forces. Between 1918 and 1940 Horthy refrained from awarding the order, but between 1940 and 1944 the Hungarian government made some unfortunate choices. Among the recipients we find Joachim von Ribbentrop, German foreign minister; Gian Galeazzo Ciano, Italian foreign minister and son-in-law of Mussolini; and finally, Hermann Göring, marshall of the German Reich.

The Order of St. Stephen will be the highest Hungarian decoration. Judging from the proposal, it will be awarded for extraordinary service to the country. Moreover, the person will be required to have an international reputation. I might add that the decoration will be called Magyar Szent István Rend.

Corvin-lanc es koszoruThe next most important decoration will be the Magyar Corvin-lánc (Hungarian Corvin-chain). Now, that is truly interesting because this was a decoration Miklós Horthy established in 1930 to recognize outstanding Hungarians in the fields of literature, art, and science. Originally twelve people could receive the honor yearly, but after the Second Vienna Award when northern Transylvania was ceded by the Romania to Hungary their number was raised to fifteen. The Corvin-lánc was revived during the first Orbán government when twelve people received it. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the current bill proposes fifteen recipients. After all, this government thinks very much in terms of the Carpathian Basin. A whole office attached to the Prime Minister's Office will do nothing else but busy itself with the work attached to the awarding of the Corvin-lánc.

The third decoration will be the Hungarian Legion of Honor (Magyar Becsület Rend). This is a new one. Yearly ten of them could be awarded to people for outstanding service in the interest of the nation or for unusual bravery demonstrated in the line of duty. In case some of you think that this is an ad hoc decision you are wrong. In the proposed bill there is a detailed description of what this new decoration will look like. I'm almost certain that many millions have already been spent on the design and that the prototype is ready.

Until now the president of the republic was ex officio the recipient of the Order of the Hungarian Republic. Now he will also receive the Order of St. Stephen. In addition, he will be able to use a variation of the Hungarian coat-of-arms that is held up by two angels. And if Pál Schmitt is enamored with the two angels alongside the coat-of-arms, Viktor Orbán must also be able to use a coat-of-arms that is different from the ordinary. He will have the use of a coat-of-arms that will be surrounded by ivy.

There is only one startling omission. The Order of Imre Nagy will no longer be awarded. St. Stephen came, Imre Nagy went. More about this disgrace tomorrow.

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Paul
Guest

“Until now the president of the republic was ex officio the recipient of the Order of the Hungarian Republic. Now he will also receive the Order of St. Stephen.”
Is this the one-time long serving Communist President?
Surely not – weren’t they the bad guys?

Paul
Guest

“Even as Hungary’s economy is on the brink”
The forint is practically back where it was against the CHF before the IMF ‘U-turn’, and against the Euro it’s only a couple of forint away from repeating its worst ever rate.
So the impact of the Great IMF Bluff lasted barely a week.
What will Orbán do now?

Paul
Guest

And it just got worse:
(From the FT)
Moody’s lowers Hungary’s rating one notch
The rating agency Moody’s cut Hungary’s government bond rating by one notch to BA1, below investment grade, and kept a negative outlook, citing rising uncertainty on the country’s ability to meet fiscal goals and high debt levels.
“Moody’s believes that the combined impact of these factors will adversely impact the government’s financial strength and erode its shock-absorption capacity,” it said in a statement.
“The rating agency’s decision to maintain a negative outlook on Hungary’s ratings is driven by the uncertainty surrounding the country’s ability to withstand potential event risks emanating from the European sovereign debt crisis.”
Moody’s said it would further lower Hungary’s rating if there was a significant decline in government financial strength due to a lack of progress on structural reforms and implementation of a medium-term plan.
It said it would consider stabilising the outlook on the ratings if the country were to embark on a sustainable consolidation path, involving a more consistent implementation of the medium-term plan and its euro convergence programme.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ddb56f04-16f0-11e1-a45d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1efeeWsiK

Member

It doesn’t matter what it is. A Hallmark card or the Bigass Hungarian Cross (Nagy Magyar Valagrend). What matters is who is it from.
Like the “Munka Erdemrend” in Kadar regime (Labor Award ?). Even in the eighties you could buy them in the Ecser flee market. Geza Hofi put one on his back in one of is standups.
It tells a lot about a country when it changes it’s decorations like underwear.

Member

How much money these under-qualified “politicians” are spending on surveys, traveling road show, separate room with a guard for the new Constitutions, mailings, illustrative artworks, piano for the President, cars, moving offices, new decorations? Where do Hungarians think this money is coming from? Don’t they see that it is coming out directly from their pocket?

Gabriella
Guest

Some1: The letter Orban sent out this past Spring to his “subjects” cost him over 1.7 billion (miliard) forints. His speechwriter, Doncsev, charged him some 10 millions for a year worth of congratulary letters, cards, and some speeches. According to my Mom and Klubradio, letters were sent out to the retired population this past few days….probably for the same amount.
I only need a little imagination to think how much some of the other activities might cost on your list.
I am sure the ones who voted him in, don’t care how much money comes out of their pocket, welcoming every change, because in their eyes he can do no wrong.
After Orban won, a friend of mine with a faraway look in her eyes told me it will take Orban to make everything right in the country at least 10 years.
Adding, we will have to sacrifice a lot! Since then she inched toward Jobbik very gradually and I try not to see her anymore.

Gabriella
Guest
Ron
Guest

Eva: but there were some names among the recipients the Hungarians couldn’t have been too happy with.
Well that is an understatement, some of them would be considered in current days terms as war criminals, notably Julius Jacob von Haynau (no. 818).
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Jacob_von_Haynau
What I miss is actually the return of the King and the nobility. King Viktor and the round table.

Törpefejű
Guest

Bad timing on my part to look at these images so soon after eating….
Especially that “St. Stephen” bauble, which looks like a Slovak motorway sign imposed on a Red Baron insignia (not to mention the fact that the Iron Cross is invariably brandished – in place of the illegal swastika – by German far-rightists). And then that crown on the top! Completely ghettofabulous bling! Just the spitting image of those car air-fresheners in the shape of crowns popular in Los Angeles in the early 1990s.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Moody’s cut rating of Hungarian bonds to junk! http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-24/hungary-s-

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

The forint is at 317 to the euro.

Ron
Guest
Member

Eva: “The forint is at 317 to the euro.” It is part of the conspiracy. THe whole world is against Hungary. Haven’t you heard yet? Seriously, I do not think that Orban understands that his policies that he wakes up in the morning with do harm Hungary. THere is a relationship between his nostalgic vision, his looking into the Hungary’s questionable past for guidance, his way of attempting to govern, the economical adjustments and Hungary’s tumbling. WE all understand that there is a crises in Europe, but no other countries are coming up with such jerk reactions and diversion attempts on the daily basis as Hungary. There is not a serious political or economical entity left that can take Orban or Matolcsy seriously.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Some1: “I do not think that Orban understands that his policies that he wakes up in the morning with do harm Hungary.”
Maybe now Fidesz realizes that they have to get rid of him because otherwise there is total economic collapse.

Paul
Guest

I’m feeling a little ignored here – I posted the Moody news hours ago!
Bah!

Paul
Guest

AND the news about the forint weakening again!
As of today, it’s right back where it was before the IMF bluff – both the Euro and CHF (even against the poor old £, the forint is doing badly!).
So all that nonsense for nothing?
What now – Orbán back to the IMF for real this time?
It’s an upside-down world where ‘the market’ does the job the US and the EU couldn’t do, and stops Orbán’s mad plans.
I might become a capitalist at this rate!

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul, I was too much in a hurry to post the news. It was only later that I read the posts. Sorry.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “What now – Orbán back to the IMF for real this time? It’s an upside-down world where ‘the market’ does the job the US and the EU couldn’t do, and stops Orbán’s mad plans. I might become a capitalist at this rate!”
I always thought that this would be the only way to get rid of this guy.

Member

So beside rebuilding the financial world as Matolcsy modestly stated in the Weekly Answer, he was also busy with saving the Hungarian language. As you recall one of the most important task of our “new” Government to build respect for the Hungarian language, and to save it, of course. It was discussed before that Pal Schmitt, Hungary’s president has its shortcoming when it comes to proper language use. It should not come as a surprise then that Matolcsy beside being a brilliant financial reformist, also embarked on reforming the Hungarian language. In his tax papers filed, he identified himself as an Ország Gyűlesi képviselő vesus országgyűlési képviselő. (Think of vicepresident versus vice president but reversed.)
http://www.kormany.hu/hu/nemzetgazdasagi-miniszterium/a-miniszter/vagyonnyilatkozat

ZalaEger
Guest

The secrets of the Orban republic are hidden.
Who are the grey advisers and sponsors of Orban?
A trial for crimes against humanity has to be prepared against these masters of conspiracy.

GW
Guest

Eva wrote:
“I always thought that this would be the only way to get rid of this guy.”
I believe that, barring real alternatives from the dysfunctional opposition, this is most likely: like Greece or Italy (or, for that matter, from Gyurcany to Bajnai) a resignation by Orban and a turn to an “expert” government, superficially from the right, much as the Bajnai government was — in the offices that count — an expert government superficially from the left.
It will be painful and, as in Greece or Italy, of questionable democratic legitimacy, but the Hungarian economy now requires a form of triage, emergency medicine, and all of these expensive publicity stunts, wasting precious time and money on non-essential matters like awards lists, drawn-out investigations of political opponents, renaming plazas and the like, are either signs of plain administrative incompetence or, worse, cynical tactical actions intended solely to distract from inaction or failure in areas of greatest need and urgency. The question is simply if, when the core of business leaders, intellectuals, and bureaucrats with connections to Fidesz come to demand such a move in order to preserve their own interests and assets, they will not have come too late.

Ron
Guest

GW:The question is simply if, when the core of business leaders, intellectuals, and bureaucrats with connections to Fidesz come to demand such a move in order to preserve their own interests and assets, they will not have come too late.
I do not think so. The Fidesz politicians continue to play their stupid game, until something terrible is going to happen.
Look what is going on in Esztergom.
http://www.stop.hu/belfold/az-esztergomi-fideszes-varosatyak-talalkoztak-a-nepharaggal/967012/

Kirsten
Guest

GW:The question is simply if, when the core of business leaders, intellectuals, and bureaucrats with connections to Fidesz come to demand such a move in order to preserve their own interests and assets, they will not have come too late.
If they manage to do something sensible at all. In my impression the “revolutionary ideology” is so pervasive that some people in Fidesz are unable to think in other terms currently, while that part that still could, is principally barred from announcing a change because of the U-turn that this would mean in front of the “believers”, “brave magyars” or the disinterested observers who would not go to vote and thereby support Fidesz. The situation appears a bit different to me than that in Italy because of the recent and still ongoing “revolution”. The stakes are higher for Fidesz. But as no one has a better answer, the probability of the bleak outcome written by Gabriella (the Jobbik world) and suggested by many other contributors here some time ago has clearly risen recently.

Paul
Guest

“Jobbik World” is a weird and wonderful place.
The latest headline on Hungarian Ambiance:
“Behind-the-scenes forces want to bankrupt the country. It is time to leave the EU and join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization”
http://www.hungarianambiance.com/
Have a look, there’s plenty of other weird and wonderful things on there. If you want to find out how the Jobbik ‘mind’ works, this is a good place to start.

Andy
Guest

I have a theory, that in every country 70-80% of the population is simply speaking …. stupid. They can be easily brainwashed by populist politicians. Unfortunately, as it seems to me, in Hungary not only the general public is stupid, but all the governments for the last couple of hundred years. All these governments could achieve so far, is loosing steadily territories, shrinking the country & getting beaten in all the important wars. They are no better in peaceful times either.
What is the problem with this country, he?

Kirsten
Guest
Andy, the problem is for instance that it is claimed so easily that most people are stupid and definitely too stupid to decide and think for themselves. The point why this is a problem is that such a statement is the basis of all thinking that is opposed to democracy. “Because most people are too stupid, we/the most gifted/the rich/the nobility/the chosen few (etc.) have to decide, and not only for ourselves but also for them.” It may be tempting to think so low of other people in current circumstances, but the consequence is that you undermine the basis of democracy. What is worse, it is suggested that this is done with the best intentions. What is never considered, however, is that in many countries in Europe, and not only in the East, the transition to democracy was complicated. It included some sort of democratic education, with the help of other nations. That was the case in Germany after 1945 and in Spain after 1975. (In the US, as I understood, political education is done extensively in schools, but perhaps the American contributors could confirm this.) What follows of that for Hungary? The fact that perhaps a number of people… Read more »
Member

Kirsten: In Canada, government, election process, multiculturalism and democracy is taught from Grade 1. Schools can receive mock-up election ballots, election screens, etc to help students understand how election works.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kirsten: “the problem is for instance that it is claimed so easily that most people are stupid and definitely too stupid to decide and think for themselves.”
I have news for the Hungarian government. They are not that stupid. It may take a few more months but they will wake up.

Paul
Guest

“It may take a few more months but they will wake up.”
But what will they then do? Orbán has effectively eliniated all options except vote Fides/Jobbik, or do nothing.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul: “But what will they then do? Orbán has effectively eliniated all options except vote Fides/Jobbik, or do nothing.”
Let’s just wait a little bit. What about if the IMF will demand certain changes in the constitution? What about if Fidesz will realize that Orbán is leading them into the abyss and the important guys revolt? There are many options.
Of course, Fidesz, the party, can just sit and watch how the country goes bankrupt and with it they go as well.
We will see.

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