Reverberations after Lajos Simicska’s revelations about Viktor Orbán

Lajos Simicska’s revelations about Viktor Orbán’s alleged involvement in the state security apparatus in 1981-1982 have given rise to accusations and counterclaims. And all the larger papers have published timelines of the allegations that surfaced here and there about Viktor Orbán’s possible informer past.

The controversy began in 1991 when a dossier surfaced at the Military Security Office (Katonai Biztonsági Hivatal), which handled the leftover documents from the ministry of interior’s III/IV Military Counterintelligence Unit. At the time the Antall government asked János Kenedi, one of the top experts on the state security apparatus in Hungary, to investigate the contents of the folder. Kenedi came to the conclusion that Viktor Orbán had been a victim of intelligence gathering and was innocent of any wrongdoing.

There are others, however, who claim that there were documents indicating that the young Orbán wasn’t so innocent. Lukács Szabó, who was an MDF member of parliament between 1990 and 1994, claimed in 2002 that Prime Minister József Antall at one of the meetings of the parliamentary delegation indicated that the government had found “proof of wrongdoing in Orbán’s past.” Apparently, Antall repeated this statement to several MDF members of parliament. In addition, one of Antall’s undersecretaries in charge of the spy network confirmed the charge.

Then we have Péter Boross’s latest statement, which he gave to Pesti Srácok, described as a government financed internet site. Boross was an old friend of József Antall, who named him minister without portfolio in charge of the National Security Office and, a few months later, in December 1990, minister of the interior. Boross now claims that he “asked for all possible documents relating to Viktor Orbán, and from these documents it became clear that although he was approached by the officers of the ministry of interior he refused any cooperation with them.” Boross claims that he can prove Orbán’s innocence.

In 2005 an ad hoc parliamentary committee was formed to look into the financial affairs of the Orbán family. This was when Orbán bought a very expensive house in an elegant section of Buda, into which he poured an untold amount of money to make it suitable for the large family’s needs. About the same time he began building his weekend house in Felcsút. Orbán came well prepared, and I must say that I was somewhat taken aback by the incompetence of the co-chairmen of the committee. In any case Orbán, without being asked, released a number of documents relating to his alleged ties to the state security organizations. For a while these documents were available on the orbanvictor.hu website under the heading “Valóság” (Reality). In 2012, when Ágnes Vadai inquired about his possible ties to the state security apparatus, he republished some but not all of the documents that had been available earlier. One of the documents not released in 2012 was titled “Suggestions for the creation of social connection” and contained personal information about Viktor Orbán. According to the document, the “connection” began on October 20, 1981, shortly after Orbán began his military duties, and ended on August 20 when he “was discharged.” This would indicate that Lajos Simicska told the truth about Orbán’s reporting on his fellow soldiers during his time in the military.

Also in 2005 a retired colonel, Miklós Mózes, told Fejér Megyei Hírlap that “he had sat down a couple times for exploratory talks with [Orbán], but it soon became evident that he might be useful for several jobs but not for secret work with the state security organizations.” Mózes, however, said something else of interest. It happened that Orbán was called up for military service again a year after he finished law school. Orbán apparently “by mistake” was sent to Tata instead of Zalaegerszeg where, as Mózes reported, the KGB was interested in the young lawyer and asked Mózes to facilitate his transfer to Zalaegerszeg. It is not impossible that by that time the Russians had become interested in the new young politicians who might have important positions after the demise of the Kádár regime.

And now let’s move on to research conducted on informers by Csaba Ilkei, a historian whose sympathies lie with Jobbik. One of the documents that was not republished by Viktor Orbán in 2012 was a note in his own hand that is reproduced here.

Handwritten note

István Csáki was a major in the ministry of interior’s III/IV unit. “Temesvári” was the pseudonym of an informer who, according to Ilkei, was Zsolt Szeszák, at the time a student at ELTE’s Faculty of Arts but here only identified as “Fidesz insider.” “Győri Gábor” was also an agent who was presumably, as indicated by the arrow, in some way connected to László Kövér. What Ilkei wanted to know was how Orbán could know Csáki or the pseudonym of Szeszák.

And there are other gaps in the story. László Varga, the historian of the state security network, did not find Viktor Orbán’s dossier named “Viktória.” It disappeared.

And finally, why doesn’t Viktor Orbán say outright that he never, ever reported on anyone in his life? Yesterday Orbán was asked by Hír24 about the “informer case” and he even answered, which is an exception to the rule. This is what he said: “The facts speak for themselves. All information is available. I suggest that you study them. I find it sad that someone out of personal resentment would sink this low.” Magyar Narancs, commenting on this statement, noted that “although it is difficult to believe anything Lajos Simicska says, the question is lurking in the back of our minds: why can’t the prime minister’s office or the press secretary or he himself put together a simple sentence: “Viktor Orbán was not an informer and never reported on anyone.” Indeed, this is a legitimate question.

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István
Guest

Normally over informers who were brought into a state apparatus who did not personally kill or harm people I would say forgive and forget. But in the case of Orban that is nearly impossible because of his own rhetorical persecution of social democrats for their past ties to,Kadar and the Communist Party. So PM Orban will have to be left to twist in the wińd for now, suffering is good for the Christian soul I was told in Sunday School. So it should be excellent for PM Orban.

Webber
Guest

I disagree with the “forget” principle for one category of people: Those who hold or wish to hold public office. All documents should be released about them – about all of them. That should be the price of holding public office.
If the information is out, they cannot be blackmailed.
If voters want to support a communist informer or a communist security officer, that should be their right. But voters should know.

tappanch
Guest

How much does the state media authority (MTVA) pay to commenters on its internet blogs ?

http://mtva.hu/hu/sajtoszoba-main/sajtokozlemenyek/vallalati-sajtokozlemenyek/10660-szerzodesek-blog-irokkal

If you are a selected Fidesznik commenter, you can get as much as $140 for a four-line comment !

Now I understand how the state media can spend $300 million a year …

http://skoffelza.hu/blog/meg_vagyunk_mi_adatigenyelve
http://blog.atlatszo.hu/2015/03/szazezrek-a-kormanyzati-bloggereknek-az-mtva-kozzetette-a-szerzodeseket/
http://index.hu/kultur/2015/03/10/brutto_250_ezerert_blogolnak_allami_penzbol/

Guest

“…the question is lurking in the back of our minds: why can’t the prime minister’s office or the press secretary or he himself put together a simple sentence: “Viktor Orbán was not an informer and never reported on anyone.”

Viktor Orban knows that as soon as he denies it proof that he lies will be published.

Webber
Guest
Spin doctors are already working to save Orban – and some very surprising people are defending him. For instance, what F. Kőszeg claimed (below) in Orban’s defense is so deeply illogical that I will not bother to translate it – I’ll summarize and people can check the Hungarian original for themselves. Kőszeg he says he’s amazed that anyone would raise the possibility today that a politician could possibly be blackmailed by foreign powers who have Hungarian state security documents. (since Russia is the only country with these documents, it’s weird that Kőszeg didn’t name Russia). To back up his claim that very idea that a politician could be blackmailed from abroad is ridiculous, Kőszeg then says that it’s been proven countless times that having a past as an informer is harmless to a politician unless people from his own party want to get rid of him. WHERE is the logic in that??? How could any of that preclude blackmail from abroad??? Why is Kőszeg speaking like this? Has he lost his marbles? -Kőszeg azon is elcsodálkozik, hogy ma még mindig lehet riogatni azzal, hogy a külföldre került állambiztonsági iratokkal fogják zsarolni a magyar politikusokat. “Holott százszor bebizonyosodott, nemhogy holmi társadalmi… Read more »
Vegan
Guest
Kőszeg is weak, he has been sick for quite some time, let’s not forget that. Moreover Kőszeg is a kind of conservative SZDSZ-er who has some deep personal issues with the Hungarian left-wing as such. He was against the MSZP-SZDSZ coalition and conversely he has sympathies to Fidesz. Moreover he simply (purposefully) misunderstands the psychology of the whole thing. People are very interested and curious about these issues, but they often overlook such “errors of judgment”, but that’s the thing, people should be aware of these facts. Moreover the psychology of politics is that some things are forgiven for some people, but the same thing at some another time, in the case of another people is held against such people. During the 2014 elections corruption cases were held against the united left-wing, but Fidesz was forgiven even if its votes knew about its corruption. Such Event (like the internet tax or the unequivocal establishment of Orban’s past as informant) allow people to vent their anger, to feel self-righteous, if already they harbor doubts. The communist agency issue with respect to Orban could – especially now – be very dangerous. I fell sorry for Kőszeg, who seems to be making a… Read more »
Webber
Guest
Reality Check
Guest

@Webber or @Eva, could you or someone please post a quick guide to the informer coding III/III, etc.?

These designations keep coming up and I am sure many of us have no idea what they specifically mean.

Webber
Guest

III/III was the name of the communist secret security organization that spied on Hungarian citizens – Hungary’s Stasi or Securitate if you will. They kept a large network of informers throughout the country – people who reported on their colleagues, friends, and relatives. III/II was in charge of spying on foreigners.

gerzon
Guest

One thing needs to be clarified.

For example people recruited in the army (while they were serving the draft) were formally recruited into the military counter intelligence section (III/IV) but were still asked to spy on, say, internal Fidesz issues and their people around them especially as the draft lasted only for a year (at least for those who were admitted to university). The connection to the security services of course did not end upon leaving the army after the one year military service.

Informants were often moved from one directorate to another due to administrative reasons, even though they kept doing the same thing.

The point is it doesn’t matter which section they were registered in formally, they all did the same thing, provide private info to the communist state on unsuspecting people.

It’s the myth of the security establishment that only the III/III were “bad guys” (laypeople doing morally questionable informing) and the rest were just “professionals” who only did their job. This just isn’t true.

Reality Check
Guest

Thanks!

vauvau
Guest

I hope you see that now that there are multiple corruption, embezzlement etc. cases (Questor, Buda-Cash, Mészáros Lőrinc – Szilárd Kiss etc.) the opposition does absolutely nothing about the “Fidesz-corruption”.

These parties are not doing anything, not saying anything, they are mute and neutered. Ok, Péter Juhász representing the non-existent Együtt is an exception.

But wouldn’t Orban be staging some kind of media show day after day denouncing the szoci corruption in the opposite case? Wasn’t this how Fidesz won in 1998 (hitting the Tocsik case) or in 2010 (Nokia boxes and so on)?

My conclusion is that MSZP, anyway completely enfeebled, is being financed/controlled by Fidesz and it already received those meager crumbles which were just enough to shut the szocis up. Not even the usually energetic DK says anything. LMP is clearly on Fidesz’ payroll so I’m not even counting them. The entire left is insanely lazy and its politicians seem to do everything to reinforce their image as people unable to use even the best political gifts thrown at them, how could they possibly govern?

petofi
Guest

Your problem, Vauvau, is that you can’t imagine the level of political corruption–simply, corruption within the society–that is tolerated, neigh, preferred. What bothers most Hungarians, in their innermost hopes, is that someone would reform all this before they got into the profitable act themselves.

To me, what is most reprehensible, more than the corruption, is the society and its members that revel in the mayhem and unlawfulness that surrounds them.

Opposition members are silent because Orban has immeasurably increased ‘the playground’ and the amounts to be taken of which they get crumbs. Secretly, this only gladdens the average, amoral, Hungarian soul…

Member

Why don’t they open up the “vault of documents”? Simply, if it would be out for all to see, it would lose its power. People could not be blackmailed any further, and the communist “boogeyman” scare tactics would not work coming out of the mouth of those who likely are on the list.

petofi
Guest

Ask the Bishop of Hungary why the papers shouldn’t be opened…

gino
Guest

According to the government’s plans Hungarian colleges and university will henceforth be prohibited to teach media and communications studies at bachelor’s level.

The only exception, which will be allowed to teach media studies in Hungary will be – but of course – the National Public Service University where police, soldiers and secret service people are trained. (In other words, other universities may still offer masters level programs to the graduates of the NPSU)

Media, information, power, spies, loyalty — these are the only terms the Hungarian government (also the Russian, let’s not forget) can think about freedom of speech and the press.

This siloviki culture is getting crazier by the day. Russia’s influence in Hungary runs much deeper than people realize.

http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20150311-allami-iranyitas-ala-kerulne-az-ujsagiro-oktatas.html

Tompika
Guest

Tamas Deutsch our favorite Fidesz politician (and knower of big secrets about Orban) has a point.

Goodfriend recalled so abruptly he was just blinking, Thomas Melia leaving his post abruptly, now Dirk Gerkens fired with immediate effect even if only a short term was left until the end of his term.

Those opposing Fidesz don’t seem to survive for long.

http://hvg.hu/velemeny.nyuzsog/20150311_Deutsch_Tamas_fenyegetozik_vagy_mi

Member

He was smart enough to leave out Nemtsov’s name, that would probably mean a jail sentence. At any case hinting of any sort of pressure, namely blackmailing by a government official, wouldn’t be considered a crime?

Reality Check
Guest

But, Nuland and Bell keep bringing up the same issues as Meila and Goodfriend did. So, I do not see any cause and effect relationship in your observation.

Havelaar
Guest

@ tappanch

Is this for real? My Hungarian is not that good but I would love to know the details.

István
Guest

Webber Orban assuming he was a low level informant would be subject indeed to blackmail by the Russians. Magdolna Baráth academic work on Russian access to these records I think pretty much supports that idea. Then of course there is the idea that effectively Orban could have been turned into a sleeper agent of the Russians.

None of these thoughts at this time can be proved, but they are indeed scary. I know that US military intelligence was concerned about the possibility of Russian blackmail against all soldiers from Warsaw Pact nations. Such things can and did happen in the past.

Kirsten
Guest

I wonder whether these contacts from the early 1980s can be so decisive. Probably the secret police contacted a number of people of that age, just to check. I believe some1 is right, if these files were not surrounded by secrecy and myth, and the time before 1989 were approached without trying to suggest that Hungary was in actual fact the most rigid Communist country, such debates would quickly lose their intensity.

It would be better if Simicska came out with some more recent material about his “friend” Viktor, but probably he might harm himself in the process also. So instead some spy activity of 20-year old Orban, mafia activity of the 50-year old Orban appears more relevant to me.

spectator
Guest

Kristen, it isn’t about what the Viktor has done as an eighteen- or twenty years old youth, not at all! Rather if wether or not can anyone trust in such person who hold (practically) the highest political position in the country and keep lying about his past, hence presents potential vulnerability to the whole country.

With such hypocrite nature and the omnipresent complex of grandeur he will do whatever to keep his past activities under wraps.
How anyone can tell, which of his lunatic ideas came straight from him or trough ‘persuasion’ by ‘influential’ others?

Member

webber made an excellent comment on the previous thread.
“” Viktor Orban, may well have been a communist informer?
The continued existence of communist agents in the Hungarian government who may be blackmailed by Moscow is a matter of international concern, and poses a security threat to NATO, and thereby to the United States. Every citizen of a NATO country has every right to be concerned and informed about this.”

Wong
Guest

Kirsten, Simicska’s method of choice is the Lingchi.

ENgil
Guest

An interview with Istvan Szent-Ivanyi who as a former SZDSZ politician was appointed as ambassador to Slovenia by Socialist Gordon Bajnai and who miraculously survived until February this year.

Hir24.hu is one of the most visited news sites, recently purchased from the Finnish owners by a front company owned by an oligarch (holding the medium for Janos Lazar’s circle).

The unrelenting questions show how fideszniks think about Orban’s successful, pragmatic foreign policy. Fideszniks really believe in Orban’s success over the critical West (Goodfriend, Melia, Gerkens etc.) and why shouldn’t they? Orban is being financed to the tune of HUF 8000bn HUF, he is adored in Russia and otherwise nobody cares or can do a thing about him abroad…

http://www.hir24.hu/nagyinterju/2015/03/11/szent-ivanyi-istvan-orban-hintazik-s-nem-ker-az-okos-emberekbol/

Webber
Guest

That just shows how socially isolated Fideszniks have become. Recent election results show that the electorate, as a whole, isn’t thinking this way.

spectator
Guest

“Boross claims that he can prove Orbán’s innocence.”

Right!
I have seen he hasn’t done it, I was there..!

Guest

One could also say the cat playing with the mouse.

Kirsten
Guest

spectator, the moral aspect here is not very helpful, you will find “moral lapses” anywhere, and the interpretation of the seriousness of such lapse can be subjective. So, Gyurcsany “lied”, and all PMs before him also “lied”, the Communist “lied” and all of them “stole” also. What Orban has been doing in the past five years is what is most important currently. That Simicska is now talking about something that happened more than 30 years ago, and apparently also lasted just one year or so, whether people were directly harmed by that is not known or not revealed, so the whole thing is a distraction. Could they not perhaps speak about how Fidesz is financed…?

Webber
Guest
Kirsten – What happened more than 30 years ago is, unfortunately, not a distraction. Former informants in politics can be blackmailed in Hungary because the files have never been opened. All files, however, were sent to Moscow in the communist period. They are still there. If a politician was an informer, Moscow can blackmail that politician by threatening to release the files. If that politician is a r-winger who has made his career cursing communists and all those who supported the communist system, the chance for blackmail becomes even greater. But let’s just set aside the fact that there is a chance of blackmail (I assure you there is): If a politician makes a career of calling all his opponents left-liberal bolsheviks who are responsible for the crimes of communism against which he and his party have always struggled, and if that resonates with the voters, then the fact that this politician was a communist informant who spied on his friends and colleagues for Hungary’s version of Stasi is more than relevant. Quite a lot of r-wingers in Hungary today were attracted to Orban because of his verbal attacks on communism (fair enough! It was a horrible system!). The revelation… Read more »
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