Viktor Orbán’s “state of the nation” speech

Although Viktor Orbán delivered his annual address (which allegedly assesses the achievements and shortfalls of the previous year) two days ago, I always like to wait to comment until the complete text is available. Since Orbán never strays from his written text, that occurs within a day or two.

In fact, neither Orbán’s nor Gyurcsány’s speech, delivered the day before, had anything to do with the past year. Instead, both signaled the beginning of the election campaign. Gyurcsány’s speech was delivered a day before Orbán’s. Sensing that Orbán’s message would be void of any vision for the future, Gyurcsány wittily compared the prime minister to Hungary’s first king. King Stephen, he said, had a vision: he wanted a Christian Hungary, he wanted his country to belong to the family of European nations, and he wanted to get a crown from the Pope. He didn’t lower the price of oats before the tribal election! Of course, Gyurcsány was alluding to the lowering of utility prices, which has a lot to do with Orbán’s allure.

For his “state of the nation” speech Orbán faced a suspiciously young crowd in the Millennial  Center. As for past achievements, he was careful not to be too specific, but the little he said was mostly the figment of his imagination. Tamás Mészáros of the popular Újságíróklub on TV said last night that he is still waiting for the day when Orbán’s claims have any truth to them. He couldn’t find any in Orbán’s latest. There’s a good summary of his claims (with refutations) by Péter Uj and Zsolt Kerner in 444!.hu

Zsófia Mihancsik of Galamus initially found Orbán’s speech boring, but she reversed herself the next day after reading the transcript. She was amused by Orbán’s compulsive efforts to collect witty sayings from all over the world. Anita Vorak of Origo also came out with an article on the same subject  in which she tried to find the origins of “Viktor Orbán’s recycled pieces of wisdom.”

Orban evertekeloBeing a stickler for historical truth, I wasn’t too taken with the old story about Franz Joseph who kept repeating everywhere he went in Hungary that “everything is very nice, everything is very good, I’m satisfied with everything”–allegedly because these were the only sentences he knew in Hungarian. The truth is that Franz Joseph knew Hungarian very well and so did all Habsburgs in line for the throne, including Otto von Habsburg. But I think this tale about the “Kaiser” served a purpose because it is fashionable nowadays to say nasty things about the Habsburgs, who were after all the link between Hungary and the West for four hundred years. And Orbán in the same speech talked about today’s “labancok,” the socialists and the liberals. The “kuruc/labanc” dichotomy goes back to the early 18th century when the “kurucok” fought on the side of Ferenc Rákóczi while the “labancok” were traitors in the service of the Habsburgs. I wrote about this topic some time ago. So, Orbán and his followers are the “kuruc” patriots while the socialists and liberals serve foreign interests. If I were Orbán, I wouldn’t emphasize this “kuruc/labanc” distinction. After all, the word “kuruc” has been pretty much usurped by the anti-Semitic Jobbik, as in “kuruc.info.hu.”

Among Orbán’s many claims, there is one that is definitely true: he admitted that his accession to power was not a simple change of government. It was a change of political system. And thanks to God’s blessing, Fidesz and the Christian Democrats were able to participate in two such changes. One in 1989-1990 and the second in 2010. The twenty-year period that followed the first he describes as “post-communism.” The real change is the one he and Fidesz introduced in 2010. So, those of us who think that the regime change in 1989-1990 signaled the beginnings of democratic transformation in Hungary are now being told by Orbán that period is over, replaced by Viktor Orbán’s new political system. But what is this new system all about? We get no answer except that it is based on national unity, which is necessary for “building the future,” a future that remains unspecified.

Naturally the speech had its share of Biblical quotations. Given the fact that the prime minister may be one of the richest men in Hungary (Ferenc Gyurcsány estimates that just the real estate holdings in his and his wife’s names are worth 310-330 million forints) the quotation from Ezekiel 34:2-3 was amusing: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.'”

The second Biblical quotation is applicable to Orbán’s social policy. It is the famous parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. You may recall the story of a well-to-do man who, before setting out on a long journey, called together his servants. He gave five talents to the first, two to the second, and one to the last for safekeeping . The first two servants invested the money and eventually doubled the amount they received. The third hid his talent in the ground. The master tells the third servant: “You wicked and slothful servant!… you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Indeed, Orbán’s social policy favors those who are the best off at the expense of people of modest means. However, the story has one aspect that doesn’t jibe with Viktor Orbán’s worldview. He has been steadfastly attacking those who become well-off by “speculating.” Of course, what the rich man’s two servants did was exactly that. They did not “work” for the money in the sense in which Orbán understands work. In his eyes, work means physical work, and riches coming from speculation are illegitimate as far as he is concerned. Yet he compares himself to the good servants; he has been a good steward of the nation’s wealth. He was brutally honest here: “Those who used the money best will get new chances. There is no sham egalitarianism here.” Modern Europe’s ideal of solidarity? Not for Orbán’s Hungary. Those who for one reason or another cannot compete will find themselves in a situation where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. They cannot expect help from this government, despite its fondness for talking about love, charity, and Christian values.

So, it is not true that Orbán’s speech was merely a collection of meaningless clichés. He said a lot about himself and his wonderful new world. It is in many ways a frightening vision.

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nevek
Guest

Could you please direct me to the speech trans into english on the net, thank you

_____

Mutt
Guest

Vick always rattles down the same shit year after year. These speeches could even be computer generated. You just need to increment the X and Y in the “X years ago” and “past Y year sentences”, sprinkle in some lame jokes (at least one must be a Transylvanian, “Szekler” joke) and some random bible stuff. Ready. Eat up! The McDonalds of campaign speeches.

Yes the young faces. I’d like to kick a few butts in the DK PR team. When will they understand the importance of “directing” the event? Was it really difficult to rally young faces to sit in for the Gyurcsany speech? And coordinate with the ATV camera person to get good shots. The grandkids on camera are like mental catnip for elderly voters.

One more advice to Gyurcsany. Tone down the stand-up comedy a notch. Try looking less improvising. Body language took quiet a bit out of the otherwise brilliant speech.

James Atkins
Guest

Orban’s Hungary does not know Christian compassion.

Yesterday I saw two Kozterulet Fenntarto men rushing off a tram at Janos Korhaz to harass a young woman who was blitzing: they were full of that panicky, bullying, military officiousness that the stupid and dimwitted display when given authority and a uniform.

It made me think that there is a chain of control from the top down to these dullard kozteruleti nincompoops and at each level humanity and compassion is extinguished.

You can deal with a blitzer without calling in the SAS.

Mutt
Guest

@James Apropos Budapest Transit Authority (BKV). Just saw this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yguZTcnCjS0

I think it was shot by the driver’s union, to prove how f*d up is the way people of buying tickets on the buses. If 4 people want tickets with receipts that takes 10 minutes. They did it during the day to avoid rush hours. What is stunning is the reaction of the riders. None of them sympathized with the drivers and their cause. Some even shoved them.

By the way this may have something to do with the 28 (!) year old fidesznik CEO (David Vitezy) the FIDESZ parachuted into the leadership position. This same genius is responsible for the atrocities with the blitzers (bliccelni = travelling without a ticket).

yahoo58743
Guest
nevek, please do not over-analyze this speech. From what we read from Prof. Balogh is absolutely enough to know. The speech has no relevance. It is an annual thing Orban himself introduced as in Hungary there were no “state of the nation” speeches before him. Once he started, probably it became impossible to stop, so he has to do it every year. People do not care about it. And they do not have to, because they cannot escape Orban anyway. All media, whether print or electronic (radios, tvs) are full of the government-sponsored brainwashing, so nobody is really interested in this speech, as he cannot possibly tell anything new. Orban is the fifth member of every family in Hungary, just like Kadar was, although truth be told in those days the media scene was so much weaker that he did not appear too often, especially when compared to Orban, who flows also from the tap, as we say it in Hungary. The linked 444.hu article is great in debunking Orban’s blatant lies on economy (“Hungary is a new manufacturing center of Europe”, “Hungary is growing again” etc.). I mean even the idiotic London-based analysts are extatic that Hungary had a… Read more »
Mr. Paul
Guest

“For his “state of the nation” speech Orbán faced a suspiciously young crowd in the Millennial Center.”

I think this point was heavily raised in Újságíróklub but the main point of criticism that the crowd had good clothes(??). Here is an analyisis on the crowd – clothes issue that covers it in great detail:

http://index.hu/bloghu/maria/2014/02/18/szep_ruhad_van_fideszes_bernyalonc_vagy

qaz
Guest

“Gyurcsány estimates that just the real estate holdings in his and his wife’s names are worth 310-330 million forints)”
That’s not too much, about 1 million euro. Are you sure of the number or the currency?

Alfred Kruger, Sr.
Guest
qaz, Gyurcsany only estimated the publicly known holdings of Orban himself. Gyurcsany has no access to the asset report of Orban’s wife who is also under obligation to prepare such a report, but her report remains under seal unless the relevant parliamentary committee believes that the member of parliament’s own report (ie. Orban’s) does not reconcile with reality — obviously a Fidesz led committee will never come to that conclusion. Given that assets acquired solely under Orban ‘s wife’s name (e.g. real estate, money on bank account with her name only) may also qualify as joint marital property to which Orban is entitled to at 50% (unless Orban’s wife bought such property from a separate estate she inherited, and there are some other minor exceptions) it would be important to know how much “she” holds (ie. half of which actually belongs to Orban in case of divorce). Also note that Orban’s wife has been a house-wife all her life, although I am sure on paper she received some salary, wrote books etc. which would account for some of her holdings. (Do not forget that Zsolt Nyerges, the second most important party oligarch after L. Simicska comes from Szolnok, who came… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

@qaz

Yes, it must have been a typo. It should read 330 million EUROS. Yes, 100 billion HUF is a more realistic number if you add the holdings of his relatives & Strohmen.

Look at this long list of real estate Aniko Levai (Orban’s wife) owned & owned up in 2010, before the checks in the system were erased:

comment image

Who saw Orban’s wife’s reports of assets since 2010? Are wives, children and parents exempt from public scrutiny in the Orban regime?

Let us say they skim only 10% of the 5 billion euro EU support yearly…

If 4 billion euros of Paks-2 go through Kozgep, then 0.8 billion (20%) might end up in Fidesz hands.

tappanch
Guest

Read the “Talpalatnyi föld” series of articles from 2012:

part 6:
http://atlatszo.hu/2012/07/27/talpalatnyi-fold-vi-tiborcz-most-nem-panaszkodhat/

GW
Guest

Alfred Kruger, Sr., I lived around the corner from Orban’s house in District XII of Budapest. I viewed the property myself with a real estate agent while it was on the market. Be assured that while it was not a mansion, it was certainly not a house that could be purchased and renovated on his parliamentary or ministerial salary.

tappanch
Guest

2005 “partial report” of a parliamentary committee –

http://www.parlament.hu/irom37/18470/18470.pdf

tappanch
Guest

Nine days ago, somebody wrote a detailed analysis of Orban’s asset growth using the nickname “Gyurcsany”

http://www.helikonportal.net/szavazas/szerint-ki-lesz-apr6-utan-keszthely-jarasi-parttitkar

JoEjszakat
Guest

eject. reject. end. impeach. lock out. bar. denounce. deelect.
Enough?

Guest

@mutt #5 I have not heard of “atrocities with the blitzers” or indeed anything about bus ticket-buying on the buses. Is there anything out in English?

Member

Mr. Paul :
“For his “state of the nation” speech Orbán faced a suspiciously young crowd in the Millennial Center.”
I think this point was heavily raised in Újságíróklub but the main point of criticism that the crowd had good clothes(??). Here is an analyisis on the crowd – clothes issue that covers it in great detail:
http://index.hu/bloghu/maria/2014/02/18/szep_ruhad_van_fideszes_bernyalonc_vagy

You cannot blame anyone for being suspicious as on March 15, 2011 Orban hired his extras to clap and cheer in the crowd after his speech. Even Mandiner (and we both agree that Mandiner is anything but liberal) took the news at the time about the the 500 young extras, paid by the government. So, what did the ministry’s press secretary said? “in my knowledge, the spectacle of people standing on the stairs were part of the artistic production or the celebratory show” („ismereteim szerint a művészeti produkció, vagyis az ünnepi műsor része volt a lépcsőn álló emberek látványa.”)
So, can maria.bog and you blame us to suspecting that the young crowd in their suits and ties were also part of Orban artistic performance?
Is maria.blog did not like the previous spectacle of Fidesz?

Member
seres
Guest

Some1: about the casting for Orban’s “state of the nation” speech.

Here is the link to the story (see below) at 444.hu . Even without speaking Hungarian one can at least see on the pictures the difference between the participants at a simple rezsicsökkentés campaign event and Orban’s speech.

The wholesome looking people were mostly from IKSZ, the Junior Christian Democrats, a kind of hard core part of KDNP (which is itself just a hard-core wing of Fidesz existing for marketing purposes, as there is a 5-15% of the population for whom Christianity is the main issue in life) made up of Buda-dwelling young fideszniks, who will appear on any picture where good-looking young fidesziks are needed.

Anyway, Mr. Paul wants us to believe that leftist (aka communist) journalists were fixated on the clothing and as such their arguments should be dismissed as silly. This is bul***t.

There was again casting and 444.hu has the story.

I am sure Mr. Paul will come right away after he wakes up and explain that away, but the guy is just a Fidesz/Government spokesman assigned to this home page. They need to be everywhere and all the time.

http://444.hu/2014/02/17/fitalokra-csereltek-orban-kozonseget/

petofi
Guest

Mr. Paul :
“For his “state of the nation” speech Orbán faced a suspiciously young crowd in the Millennial Center.”
I think this point was heavily raised in Újságíróklub but the main point of criticism that the crowd had good clothes(??). Here is an analyisis on the crowd – clothes issue that covers it in great detail:
http://index.hu/bloghu/maria/2014/02/18/szep_ruhad_van_fideszes_bernyalonc_vagy

For me, to a man, they look like they were on a day-pass from their ‘dohany uzlet’ (tobacco shops)…

petofi
Guest
Mr. Paul
Guest
Some1 : Mr. Paul : “For his “state of the nation” speech Orbán faced a suspiciously young crowd in the Millennial Center.” I think this point was heavily raised in Újságíróklub but the main point of criticism that the crowd had good clothes(??). Here is an analyisis on the crowd – clothes issue that covers it in great detail: http://index.hu/bloghu/maria/2014/02/18/szep_ruhad_van_fideszes_bernyalonc_vagy You cannot blame anyone for being suspicious as on March 15, 2011 Orban hired his extras to clap and cheer in the crowd after his speech. Even Mandiner (and we both agree that Mandiner is anything but liberal) took the news at the time about the the 500 young extras, paid by the government. So, what did the ministry’s press secretary said? “in my knowledge, the spectacle of people standing on the stairs were part of the artistic production or the celebratory show” („ismereteim szerint a művészeti produkció, vagyis az ünnepi műsor része volt a lépcsőn álló emberek látványa.”) So, can maria.bog and you blame us to suspecting that the young crowd in their suits and ties were also part of Orban artistic performance? Is maria.blog did not like the previous spectacle of Fidesz? Some1. Ask and you shall recieve.… Read more »
Caprice Goldberg
Guest

OT:

Watching the protests in the Ukraine last night, I became overcome by a feeling of nausea; everyday Ukrainians are furious about the prime minister’s shift away from Europe/the EU and move back toward Russia.

Such protests here in Hungary would be anti-EU and pro Russia, just the opposite. Here, such protests would be lined with nazis and other assorted trash. The irony is appalling.

I guess that here we have the Peace Marches, there they have freedom fighters.

Pathetic and disillusioning.

NaaN
Guest

Caprice, how do you know that the Ukrainian protesters do not have extreme nationalists among them? In fact they do. There is no strong Western-oriented (liberal) opposition in Ukraine (or in Russia, A. Navalny, the token opposition guy, is a very nationalistic xenophobic person, same in China), those how exist, are not strong enough. In the Western provinces the situation is different, true, but in Kiev? They don’t want to be a Russian province for sure and they hate the current president, but the picture is not as clear as you imagine it.

Mr. Paul
Guest

Caprice in Ukraine there are thousands of people who are willing to die to have Janukovich removed. dozens of them are already dead, killed just yesterday.

To make any sort of comparison between the two you have to ask yourself the question. Would you be willing to die to have a chance at removing Orban? If not then let’s not compare the two in the future. It is not comparable on any level.

tappanch
Guest

My humble recommendation:

Ukraine should be split into two in order to achieve peace.

W & N: Ukrainian Nationalist Dictatorship

E & S: Russo-Ukrainian Dictatorship.

In the current setup, whoever wins an election, the other half of the country is not happy with the result.

Let the two halves compete economically to find out which is better: the EU or the Russian aid.

tappanch
Guest

Orban has solved this quandary:

he accepts money from both the EU and Russia.

Pretty smart.

Mr. Paul
Guest

According to latest reports seven policemen also died in Ukraine. So more than a few people on are also willing to become murderers to achieve their goals in removing Janukovich. Which is also a huge red line to cross for even the most radical, the ultra fanatic people, full of hatred of the other political side.

tappanch
Guest

Ukraine live:

http://live.reuters.com/Event/World_News

If Orban enters Beregszasz (Berehove) on a white donkey, he will be celebrated as a re-conquistador, a new Horthy.

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