Fidesz’s attitude toward the communist past

There is a lot of talk in Fidesz circles about the communist past and its sins. Only yesterday there was a day of remembrance for the victims of communism. In the large crowd in front of the House of Terror stood Hungary’s prime minister with his lighted candle which he placed on the sidewalk.

In his reply to Hillary Clinton that Hungarian Spectrum made public yesterday, Viktor Orbán wrote about the “lamentable” fact that “Hungary failed until now to conclude the post-communist era.” In fact, Viktor Orbán and Fidesz in the last twenty years have had plenty of opportunity to reveal some of the secrets of this hated communist past: to make public the list of those who belonged to a vast network of informers. However, Fidesz never had any inclination to do so. In fact, they steadfastly refused the demand by SZDSZ to reveal the identity of the informers. The only country to do so in the whole East European bloc.

There are 32,000 documents still not available, including the names of the agents

One cannot help wondering why these “young democrats” who theoretically shouldn’t have been involved in the spy apparatus of the Kádár regime are so adamant in shielding the former regime’s secrets. Unfortunately, there can be only one answer: too many leading members of Fidesz or the two Orbán governments are implicated.

Only yesterday I watched the video of a Zsolt Bayer program on Echo TV with two invited guests: László Bogár and Imre Boros. Both right-wing economists. László Bogár is a regular contributor to Magyar Hírlap, so it is easy to place him on the political spectrum. In August 2002 he was mentioned as one of the eleven members of the first Orbán government who had been implicated as part of the spy network. His companion on Bayer’s program, Imre Boros, was on the same list. The list of names was published in Magyar Hírlap, then a liberal paper. The article describing the results of the so-called Mécs Committee can still be read on Index.

Naturally, Bogár denied the allegation. Secret service officers tried to sign him up but he valiantly declined their invitation. He was such a fierce anti-communist that at the age of nineteen he joined the party. In 1988 he changed his colors and became one of the founding members of MDF. By 1998 he was undersecretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.

As for Imre Boros, the other participant who served as minister in the first Orbán government, his involvement has been documented in “Szigorúan titkos,”  a partial list of agents who as members of the secret police with military rank received a monthly salary over and above their normal salaries in civilian life. We can find out from the document that Boros didn’t relinquish his service until March 1990. The details of his activities can be found in the archives storing these crucial documents about the activities of the informers. He is described by those who knew him in his youth as a devoted communist party member.

So, what happened? Why was Fidesz called upon again to show the party’s true colors concerning the still secret list of informers? There is no more SZDSZ, the party that was keenest on revealing the secrets of the Kádár regime’s archives of the ministry of the interior, but LMP took up the cause. On December 1 the party demanded that the complete holdings of the still secret documents be made public. It was on Monday, February 20, that a vote took place on the issue. The result is telling. Out of the 386 members of parliament 320 voted: 120 “yes” (37.5%), 172 “no” (53.8%), 28 abstained (8.7%)

Of the 226 Fidesz members of parliament 154 voted against the resolution, including Viktor Orbán. From the Christian Democratic People’s Party seventeen, among them Zsolt Semjén, voted against it. Nobody in the MSZP, LMP, Jobbik and DK delegations voted against the proposal. There were several people who were present but didn’t vote: notably, János Lázár, Tibor Navracsics, and Mihály Varga from Fidesz, Péter Harrach from KDNP, and Attila Mesterházy and István Nyakó from MSZP. Mária Wittner, the fiercely anti-communist heroine of the 1956 revolution, interestingly enough abstained.

From the Fidesz delegation nineteen members voted for the proposal, including Gergely Gulyás. The breakdown of the votes can be seen on the Hungarian parliament’s webpage.

If there is something to be ashamed of, it is not the completely rewritten constitution that bore the date 1949 but that Hungary is the only former communist country that has not been able to deal with its communist past. In large measure because of Fidesz’s active opposition. In this respect Viktor Orbán is quite consistent. On the one hand he incites people against the communists who should all be punishable for criminal behavior while on the other he refuses to make public the secrets of that regime he finds so abhorrent. Just as he says one thing at home and something else abroad, so he verbally attacks the communists while in practice he shields them. How long can this go on? When will people become tired of this two-faced behavior? It seems that most people in the European Union find Orbán’s behavior distasteful. The question is when that will happen on his home turf.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Guest

London Calling!
How can Orban hold a candle outside the terror house in memory of so many murdered artisans and yet not remove the last dregs of communism? In England we call this hypocrisy!
History will wait; and history will condemn when the truth will out. And Orban’s record will be seen for what it is.
What has he got to hide? Maybe he is protecting friends and family? Maybe his father?
But like Spain, and their civil war ghosts – until they are expunged, true peace and reconciliation between citizens will remain unresolved.
But what else did we expect? Transparency in this administration is as opaque as a muddy pond. Rumours of corruption, nepotism and duplicity already build a long list.
Will the statue of Orban end up in some ‘yesteryear’ park – with just his boots embedded in the plinth?
Regards
Charlie

Living with it in Hungary
Guest
Living with it in Hungary

Eva, Do you know why the previous governments have not released the documents?
And I’ve always wondered how someone who’s written a letter that states that they have the right to throw the opposition in jail and they should do so get elected. Oh yeah, I guess that is what OV is trying to do now…. I’m sighing as I realize, Hungary needs a complete political scrubbing from top to bottom and it’s just so unlikely to happen.

Kingfisher
Guest

I’m glad you focused on this Eva. It is rather disappointing to see that the opposition press doesn’t treat it as a big issue. Why weren’t there lurid headlines in Népszabi etc (imagine the headlines in the Daily Mail or Express “What are you hiding Viki?”) As it is, the chattering classes mumble and the wretched caravan moves on.

GW
Guest

As long as those files remain closed to public and scholarly inspection, all assertions about the era are unsubstantiated PR, whether claiming innocence or accusing others of culpability. If members of the government want to throw accusations against their political opponents of connections to the earlier regime, they damn well better be able to prove that they, themselves, were not connected and their present status was not due to their — or their parents’ — status in the old system.
Since they are not willing to do this, the government’s claim to have broken with that past should be taken, at best, as not proven, and I assume most Hungarians will eventually realize that in many cases, its is a complete lie. Yep, “all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

Member

My fear is not that the government does not release the said files, my fear is more to do with what Eva reported on Feb 26, 2011
” Bence Rétvári (KDNP), undersecretary in the Ministry of Administration and Justice, was talking about all documents pertaining to the activities of the secret service. According to him a “constitutional democratic state cannot keep personal information collected illegally by an immoral regime.” The documents currently in the Historical Archives of the National Security Service (Állambiztonsági Szolgálatok Történeti Levéltára) will also be given to the victims or their descendants. Only documents pertaining to the activities of the informers will be stored there.”
Well there is your answer why is it “right” what they are doing.
By destroying the files also fits into the regular attempt of Fidesz to rewrite history. At this time they are not only attacking the history of the past but the current and upcoming history of Hungary. Without getting access, the real motivation of many Fidesz politicians actions or non-actions) will be hard to scholarly analyze in the future.

Wondercat
Guest
Wondercat
Guest

Oh, the shame — HaraSZti. SZ SZ SZ. **facepalm**

anecdote
Guest

Wait a minute! Aren’t you all on the wrong track?
I seem to remember a guerilla organization operating in the Mátra Hills called the FIDESZ Liberation Front, risking their lives in the fight against Soviet Leninism. No…..no..maybe I dreamt this.
But surely there was a Sikorski-type Provisional FIDESZ government in London…struggling for democracy and freedom in Hungary? Oh!….I don’t know…perhaps I’m too confused…I’m just dreaming.
BUT ONE THING I DO REMEMBER….there were masses of two-faced shite-arses who joined a Faustian Pact in order to enjoy the benefits and goodies that had their origins in the New Economic Mechanism of 1968. When the ship started to sink, pragmatic co-optation did its normal work and lots of carpetbaggers quickly burnt (literally) their ‘P’arty books…..As Heine said…where you burn books you eventually burn people…and that’s what is (figuratively) happening now.
And now an anecdote. Rather naughtily, the other day I asked a “Liberating-Provisionalist” who Pál Maléter was. Of course, Maléter was (rightfully) a hero of the 1956 uprising. When I asked what his last words were (Maléter was executed)he didn’t know. So I told him: “For a free and socialist Hungary”.

Member

Meanwhile On Planet Hungary …
There is rumor going around about a possible “solidarity tax” – the new brainchild of the FIDESZ geniuses. They are contemplating taxing people who live and work abroad and have registered domicile in Hungary. It would a percentage of the pre-tax salary, the rumor says. The government hasn’t confirmed it but a KDNP MP, the mayor of Szombathely, mentioned it when he was asked. Never mind it is agains a bunch of tax laws inside and outside the EU …
… and now for something completely different. A man with three noses (not really).
atlatszo.hu (atlatszo = transparent) won a law suite agains Annamaria Szalai, the head of the media council (yeah, that one, the porn magazine editor). She wrote a response to Thomas O. Melia and refused to make the letter public. The courts ruled in favor of the atlatszo.hu. I believe the letter is in English. Bummer. Another victim of the American “language imperialiasm”… . **Facepalm**

Kirsten
Guest

I was thinking what makes it so difficult to recognise one’s own actions in the past. The most popular narrative apparently says that whatever (evil) happened in the past was the consequence of foreign domination and interference, and as a consequence occurred without (perceived) deliberate own contribution (even if people cooperated with the Turks, with the Austrians, with the Soviets, were in the Communist Party, etc.). The insistence on ‘sovereignty’ currently is then comprehensible. Certainly not for those who are more certain of the ‘ownership’ of their country but apparently not for all. This coward approach to personal responsibility for collaboration with the secret service only supports my impression that contrary to appearance, the actual basis of the magic idea of ‘Hungarianness’ (a common understanding of what this means) is weak. To provoke a bit: it appears to crack when confronted with nearly any conflict among Hungarians.

Guest

London Calling! (confused!)
Wondercat and Mutt please explain **facepalm**?
Or maybe don’t? The mystery may be better than the explanation!
Regards
Charlie

Wondercat
Guest

@Charlie: Go to mirror. Sink head in shame. Cover face with hand. Peep through fingers at mirror. Observe appearance. Done and dusted!

Christi
Guest

@Charlie,
here’s an image of double facepalm !
comment image

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest
Why are the secrets of the Communist Past still to be kept secret? Why are the grandees of Fidesz and the Viktator so adamant? What is in these records that is so damming to this group of folk? Whilst we may not be able to see the originals we might be to figure something from what we know about the various doings of these folk How was it that the ‘Dormitory Discussions’, which gave rise to Fidesz, were allowed? The III.III must have known all about it. Both the communist apparatus and their western opposite numbers had talent scouts. Both were very good at their job. I suspect that somewhere in the Hungarian Security there would have been an ‘unofficial’ group who watched the doings of the ‘Party’ and the general ‘goings on’ in what I call “Red Man’s land”. They did this because it is a good idea to be able to know which way the next load of dung would be flying. Even at the subordinate (To the KGB and GRU) levels of Hungary’s Security apparatus they would have known that the ‘end was neigh’. Their ‘talent scouts’ would have spotted the Viktator and analysed his personality. Here… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!
Thanks Wondercat and Christi!
I’m not normally so slow!
…so will hang my head in shame!
(**facepalm**)
Regards
Charlie

Guest
London Callaing! So a Ministry for Sex then? From Fideszik? (see what I did there?) (To an Englishman Fisdesik works better but I know sz is classed as a single letter sound! Or what about Fidbik? – More suggestions please! Or if Orban really nauzes it up Jobfid!) I fear for sexual minorities in Hungary – looks like a mandate for discrimination. Or more dangerously, positive discrimination for Roman Catholics? How about the death sentence for Homosexuals – like Nigeria? And no civil partnerships then? – it could have really been a confident liberal mandate for a forward thinking Hungarian society – if it existed. Religious bigotry rules! A really worrying development for a free society – no word of how the internet should be controlled yet? (Because it will be.) Ah yes the horse! So I had my suspicions – Fidesz is a bunch of cowboys? GDF has solved the water problem (Hilarious GDF!) But I haven’t yet worked out how the horse will carry the three men? It might look a little undignified. And how will a horse, and school-trained horsemanship, cope with the missile-equipped drone that any war of the 21st century will involve? From my observations… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!
I have reposted the above comment to the correct blog.
Sorry!
Regards
Charlie

wpDiscuz