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.