Budapest Beacon’s interview with Eva S. Balogh

At the end of October I posted two interviews that the Budapest Beacon‘s Benjamin Novak conducted with Charles Gati and Miklós Haraszti. During the Budapest Beacon‘s staff visit to the United States, they also talked to me. We decided that the conversation would be conducted in Hungarian, to which English subtitles would subsequently be added. Now that the subtitling of that part of the interview which dealt with the history of Hungarian Spectrum is finished, here it is for everybody to see.

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It said…I did. Kiss…(blush…sorry)…love your work.


Sigh. Havelaar. Best wishes and thanks Eva. Every morning I start my day looking up your blog. It is very important.

Jon Van Til

Thanks for all you do, Eva. Hungarian Spectrum is an extraordinary accomplishment and a shining light into the increasing gloom of this country’s agonizing passage.

Charles Gati

Nagyon jo, a befejezes kulonosen frappans, de az egesz tortenet a magyar tortenelem fontos kis resze.


lumpy Lang

Thank you. What was the name of your ‘forradalmi ujsag’ in ’56? Did any copies of it survive?


Thanks, Eva!

And of course: Thanks too to the people at Budapest Beacon for their efforts!

PS and totally OT:

What do you use that sewing machine for?

Michael Shafir

I REALLY enjoyed your interview very much. Congratulations. You can count me in among those who have breakfast in your company, though sometimes I read you very late at night. Eight out of ten times, I also put your contributions on FB. Thank you for your work.

Michael Shafir

Joe Simon

Now, this was a very onesided interview by the Budapest Beacon. The questions were ‘soft balls’, the answers were very misleading. .The HS’s sole preoccupation is Orban, an almost pathological fix by Eva on OV. Hardly a Spectrum.


Along with all the others, I thank you and Budapest Beacon for this video. It clearly shows the energetic, lively and very engaged mistress of this blog! I also repost it on my FB page.
With much gratitude.


Thank you so much for this interview. You probably don’t know how much you mean for many of your readers. For me it is the daily encounter with reason in a confusing hungarian world. I don’t know how you do this day after day; you have to have some super genes and a lot of tenacity!
I am so happy that you don’t do much sewing, thank you Wolfi for asking, seeing those sewing machines gave me an inferiority complex;-) “Where does she get the time?”
Thank you again, dear Eva, for all you do for Hungary, may your work be blessed. With real admiration . . .

Martin Eden

I published some time ago and for a year weekly column in one Slovak newspaper, so I have to say that I really admire how you can keep your level, it must have been bloody work to write all this comments and as a regular reader I really appreciate your humanism and focus on the context and historical perspective. As a Marxist I can not agree with the way how you personify social processes and put your analyses in black and white context:) good luck and many more year!


Dear Eva, this was a very nice interview.


Economic news.

The assets of the Hungarian equivalent of the FDIC (deposit insurance)

2014. January: 91.9 billion HUF (now 0.296 billion euros)
2014. November: 37.2 billion HUF ( 0.12 billion euros), a 60% fall!

D7 Democrat
I very much enjoyed this and I appreciate the amount of work which is put into the writing of the articles. I will also take on board the point about “civilized” debate as there are times when I (or more often my partner’) think my use of certain terms when describing the regime has been inappropriate! I do despair sometimes about the level of apathy in Hungary, I genuinely believe we are a long way off a “tipping point” but Orban and his apologists on here seriously overestimate the genuine esteem in which he is held in by the population at large. He stays in power because the economist opportunists still believe he can deliver, the minute the oligarchs see him as a threat to their earning power, then he is toast. If (when?) he falls, it will be when he has believed in his own invincibility one time too many. The only thing which I think could improve Hungarian Spectrum is that it would be interesting to see more intellectual conservatives participating in the comments more. As my Hungarian improves, I am finding that there are some articles and comments on the likes of Mandiner which are a light… Read more »

Dear Éva, wonderful interview! You are a real inspiration and a hero to many of us. Keep up the priceless work. — SH

Jan Hink

Dear Eva,

I, too, follow your blog regularly. It is part of my search for what really counts at the moment, and I feel it often helps me. When a country is in such turmoil internationally as Hungary is now, criticism is direly needed and for me you are an inspiration, too, in many ways.

At the risk of taking too much liberty, though, I would suggest more stress on culture and economics, as I also feel that your focus on politics is rather heavy at the moment.
I say this because I know how difficult it is to let your criticism be heard, and land. In our contacts with friends in Hungary (respectable citizens and Fidesz supporters) we find that criticism only has a chance of landing when people hear other things from you, too, especially if you do not live in the country (we are Dutch and live in Hungary only a few months per year at the most – it’s visiting more than living, really)

I am sure you will keep up your work and I hope my suggestion will reinforce the wight of it.

Jan Hink


Thank you Eva for everything!!!! I am so proud to be “member” of this blog for the last 5 or 6 years. I love so many of the regular commenters here. It is always such an eye-opener to come here. Thanks for all your work, and thank you for all who always come back to comment.


I love the way you describe website where hungarians hate every other hungarians!:-) as a foreigner, when I mention that, people don’t always believe me:-) you website itself might be the reason why the Dear Leader wants to tax internet:-) Thank you for it!

Bécsi Wolfi

Congratulations for hungarian spectrum, which I read every day. I just don´t know how you hear Magyar Radió on the internet, I don´t manage that since last december. I cannot post a witty comment, but please continue with your blog.

D7 Democrat: There are no Western-style conservative people in Hungary. This is a myth. Merkel or Cameron’s party is much more (even unbearably so for most) liberal, progressive, fair, pragmatist, capitalist than the dreaded SZDSZ ever was. The Republican party exists on a different planet entirely, the only common ground of Fidesz and the GOP was their hatred of post)communists, but now that Orban is best friends with Putin, I don’t know how this could be reconciled.The divide is not between conservatives and liberals. There are either people who support Orban’s (or Jobbik’s) quest against modernity and capitalism and there are his opponents who either do not vote, or vote for the divided opposition. Most fideszniks and most people in fact deeply fear the West and anything that comes from the West, however conservative, is immediately labeled “liberal” which is itself just a code for the quintessentially bad and foreign (aka the Jew). The West ruthlessly forces people to face their own inadequacy in this “new” world and naturally people don’t like that. People only associate capitalism, stress, unbearable competition, for Hungarians forever unattainable standards in everything, foreign bosses, foreign owned shops, gay rights, immigrants, letting islamic (brown looking) people… Read more »
It’s very interesting to see and hear the person behind the blog I’ve been reading for a long while now, and to hear about how it originated. I was particularly interested in your account of the inception of the blog, and how the realisation that you were (at the time) uninformed about what was really going on here was what spurred you on to find out more and write about it. In some ways what you said about Hungary being very obscure to people outside the country at that time, with little good information available, is still true today; for brevity’s sake I’m not going to try to even open the can of worms which is the question whether this cause or consequence of other matters… But it’s inspiring to me, who started reading the blog in a similar position to you starting it – as a “beginner” – to hear this. I second D7 Democrat’s wish for more intelligent opposing views, though this blog may not be the place for them – where are they, in English? On that subject, interesting to hear that the “bolondház” tone of most Hungarian on-line political discussions is not a new phenomenon! Thank… Read more »

Tappanach, regard the deposit insurance monies, do you know whether this money has been applied (as deposit insurance) or otherwise spent by the agency, or has it been spent elsewhere altogether?


Dear Eva, the Hungarian Spectrum archives are a true treasure to me – a very useful source of information. Your blog brings the Hungarian past alive, offers clues to the current concerns and covers the complexity of the way Hungary is moving forward (or should I say backward).
Sincere gratitude and thanks for your enormous efforts.


Csodálatos Eva.


Dear Eva, I’ve learnt so much from you in the last six years. Reading your blog (and the comments) helped me to finally form my own opinion about the Orban Government and I sincerely thank you for opening my eyes. Wishing you all the very best for the future and apart from reading the views of the “other side”, I also look forward to the Hungarian Spectrum every morning.


The laws of Fidesz (excerpts)

“First Law.
Every measure the government takes can be explained by a combination of

gratuitous malice and

There are no exceptions.
If you can’t tell which, bet on theft.”

“Fifth Law (the Law of Omerta).
The three pillars of Fidesz governance are the

Bolshevik-style exercise of power,
Mafia-style conduct of business and
incompetent public administration. ”


It was a real treat to watch this (on the 97th anniversary of the Nagy Oktoberi Szovjet Forradalom ;-).

Thanks a lot!

tinshed (@tinshed)

Like many others here I really enjoyed this interview. Thank you for making it available, especially with English subtitles. I am sure that when future historians come to write the history of Hungary in the early part of the 21st century they will consult The Hungarian Spectrum to understand what went on.

I was interested to hear your views on Orbán and whether it was a “decent” person back in 1988-89 compared to today. In my view has a moral weakness that has been exposed and strengthened by the corrupting nature of power. We all know Lord Acton’s dictum on this topic but never has it so clearly demonstrated in the case of Orbán. He is utterly corrupt – and I just don’t mean in a personal wealth sense but also in the sense he is destroying Hungary and all the things I am sure he once held dear.


Proposal to be considered by a future government: Give Eva Balogh the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary.