Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fighting the Devil: Viktor Orbán’s speech on St. Michael’s Day

Yesterday Viktor Orbán had a busy day. In the morning he unveiled an enormous statue erected in Ópusztaszer to celebrate his own regime. In the afternoon he attended a gathering at Lakitelek where 25 years ago some 200 public figures, writers, and thinkers met to discuss the state of Hungary in 1987. Lakitelek is considered to be the beginning of the end of the Kádár regime.

Let’s start with Ópusztaszer; tomorrow I will write a few words about Lakitelek. The state-funded statue was erected to celebrate Orbán’s Regime of National … Read the rest

Charles Gati’s keynote address at the U.S.-Central European Strategy Forum, September 20, 2012

The U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe in the 21st century:
Promoting democracy, security, or both?

Thank you very much for this most generous introduction. Maybe I shouldn’t start talking at all because it’s going to go downhill from here, for sure.

In response, I would like to relate an old story. Several decades ago, in 1975, I wrote my first policy oriented piece in a magazine that very few of you would recognize. I’ll show it to you: This was the way Foreign Policy magazine looked then. It was … Read the rest

MSZP’s vision of the future: “The Left, Hope, and Strength”

Now that MSZP’s leaked “working paper” has become available we have a better idea of what the party leaders have in mind as far as strategy is concerned. Although the MSZP politicians I heard speak about the document emphasized that naturally this is not the final word on the strategy the party will follow in the next year and a half, after reading the text I think it is fairly clear where the party is heading.

The authors of “The Left, Hope, and Strength” are convinced that MSZP shouldn’t try … Read the rest

Gordon Bajnai versus Attila Mesterházy: Two views, two strategies

Although the democratic opposition is in disarray, the Fidesz government is already preparing the ground for a possible return of Gordon Bajnai as leader of the opposition that hopes to regain power after the 2014 elections.

A sure sign that Viktor Orbán is somewhat worried about Bajnai’s candidacy is that Kehi (Kormányzati Ellenőrzési Hivatal/Government Control Office) just made the decision to initiate a formal investigation in connection with the sale of Dataplex Kft back in 2005. The accused are not mentioned by name, but the suspicion is that the real … Read the rest

The Gripen affair redux

I don’t think we will ever find out who bribed whom in 2001 when the Orbán government suddenly decided to purchase the Swedish-British Gripen fighter jets instead of the American F-16s.

In the last ten years there was off and on coverage of this strange case. I myself dealt with it at least three times. My first piece on the subject was written on August 13, 2007. Shortly afterward, on November 26 of the same year, I had to return to the topic because of a parliamentary committee that was … Read the rest

A botched-up show trial in Hungary

I’m going to write today about the infamous Hagyó affair. Miklós Hagyó, who joined MSZP in 1998, was a wealthy businessman who soon enough became an important political figure in Budapest. He was one of the deputy mayors in the administration of Gábor Demszky, who led the city between 1990 and 2010. Among other things, Hagyó oversaw the business practices of the Budapest Transit Authority (BKV). The losses at BKV were staggering; year after year the central government had to come to its rescue. The business practices of BKV had … Read the rest

Milla and LMP: Double curse of current Hungarian politics

A few days ago I made optimistic noises about a possible collaboration among democratic parties and anti-Fidesz civic organizations without which there can be no change of government in 2014. My optimism resulted from the joint demonstration by DK, MSZP, and Solidarity at the conclusion of the hunger strike of four DK members of parliament. Since then I have been awakened from my dream.

Only a few days after the hopeful signs of cooperation Milla, a civic organization that began on Facebook on December 22, 2010, announced that it is … Read the rest