Viktor Orbán’s new “propaganda ministry”

The Hungarian media is full of speculations about Viktor Orbán’s decision to shake up the Prime Minister’s Office, which is a monster of a ministry with as many as 740 employees at last count. The modest office Viktor Orbán inherited has grown enormously in the last five years or so. The number of its employees, believe it or not, has increased eightfold, and that is not the end of it.

In addition to the Prime Minister’s Office (Miniszterelnökség), a new ministry was just created, ostensibly for “political coordination.” It is apparent, however, that this new ministry, under the direction of Antal Rogán who until now was the head of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation, will be a “propaganda ministry.” Not only anti-government media outlets and opposition politicians call it that; even János Lázár does. And he ought to know. Having a propaganda ministry, even if it’s called something else, brings to mind such unsavory examples as Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the Soviet Union’s Department for Agitation and Propaganda, China’s Central Propaganda Department, and Fascist Italy’s Ministry of Popular Culture. Orbán is continuing his march toward a one-party state inside the European Union. Quite a feat.

I don’t like to speculate about the reasons for personnel changes because we know very little about the complex political and personal relationships in high Fidesz and government circles. But, given the strictly hierarchical structure of Fidesz and the Orbán government, we can safely assume that the most coveted positions are those closest to Viktor Orbán since all important decisions are made by the prime minister. Although stories circulated about Rogán’s desire to be a member of the government one day, I think we can safely say that it was Viktor Orbán who decided that the work of András Giró-Szász, undersecretary in charge of communication in the Prime Minister’s Office, was not effective enough. Here I’m not relying on rumor but am simply quoting János Lázár again, who today made the off-the-cuff, cutting remark that “here is now the opportunity for a new team in the ministry of propaganda and information to show that they can do an even better job than András [Giró-Szász] did.”

I’m somewhat baffled why Viktor Orbán thinks the government’s current propaganda is not satisfactory and he needs another ministry to take over. The latest opinion polls indicate that Fidesz’s popularity, as a result of the government’s anti-refugee propaganda, has bounced back. The hate campaign worked. Whatever we might think of the method, it was successful politically. The propaganda machine has been working faultlessly ever since April of this year. So why set up an entirely new ministry now?

I suspect that Antal Rogán has something to do with the current anti-immigration campaign. We know from Antal Rogán himself that the first time the possibility of his move into the prime minister’s office in some capacity was discussed was in late April. It was about the same time that the Orbán government decided to send out questionnaires inquiring, with leading questions, into the population’s views on immigration. It was in June that the huge billboards in Hungarian told the migrants how to behave and how not to behave in the country. All this leads me to believe that there is a good likelihood that it was Rogán who came up with the step-by-step game plan for the anti-migrant campaign. Hence Orbán’s decision to entrust communication/ propaganda to him. Success builds on success.

The Hungarian media is portraying Orbán’s decision to move Rogán over to the Prime Minister’s office as a typical Machiavellian move on the part of Orbán. The prime minister thinks, they argue, that János Lázár has far too much power and lately has become something of a media star with his lengthy Thursday press conferences. Journalists point out that Orbán makes sure that no one person acquires too much power, which might eventually threaten his position. Hence, he is playing Rogán off against Lázár. In addition, there are stories going around that the two men dislike each other, which Lázár denied a couple of days ago.

Quite independently of whether there’s personal animosity between the two men or not, the fact is that the original plan to have Rogán in the Prime Minister’s Office as a kind of chief-of-staff tasked with “political coordination” wouldn’t have worked. As Lázár pointed out, there must be one and only person who takes responsibility for the work done in the office. In fact, Lázár threatened to resign if Rogán joined his ministry. Since Orbán didn’t want to lose Lázár, he was ready for a compromise. Headlines in certain papers saying that “Orbán wouldn’t mind if Lázár quit” were, in my opinion, figments of journalistic imagination. Lázár is too important a man in the administration. If he quit today, the whole government would be in disarray, perhaps for months. Orbán was in a quandary. He needed Lázár but he also wanted Rogán’s alleged skill as a propagandist. Hence a new ministry for Rogán.

The last press conference given together by János Lázár and András Giró-Szász

The last press conference given jointly by János Lázár and András Giró-Szász

This new ministry will be in charge of all communication. Rogán will be the boss of all the communication workers, whether in the government or in Fidesz. And there are many, including Giró-Szász’s team of twenty men and women in the Prime Minister’s Office, who will be subordinated from here on to Antal Rogán’s ministry.

In this shakeup, although Lázár eventually decided to stay, Giró-Szász resigned, despite the offers he received from Rogán and Lázár. He had the luxury of picking up his hat and leaving since he is a very rich man. His salary in the Prime Minister’s Office is chump change. The reason for this decision? He obviously didn’t want to work for Rogán, whether for personal, structural, or, perhaps the main determinant, political (even a smidgen of ethical?) reasons.

It is very hard to know what goes on behind the scenes in the Orbán empire because those who are close to the boss are very tight-mouthed. They know that what counts above all is personal loyalty, which means agreement with Orbán on all issues. They know that the prime minister’s political longevity trumps every other consideration. We can now wait with morbid curiosity to see how Rogán’s ministry ensures that Orbán remains in power for twenty years.

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tappanch
Guest

Chootology, or rather the Orbanesque Kremlinology.

It is so sad that we had to come to this. 🙁 , but this shows the state of Hungary.

deak2015
Guest

THE HUNGARIAN SPECTRUM WILL BE IN THE HISTORY BOOKS WITH THIS ANALYSIS.

THIS ARTICLE MUST WAKE UP ALL SLEEPING CITIZENS.

WHY CAN’T ALL HUNGARIANS BE FREE?

Poor Semjen wrote: http://www.kormany.hu/en/prime-minister-s-office/news/left-conducting-anti-hungarian-propaganda-on-issue-of-immigration

His place is also assured in the history books.

spectator
Guest

It will be the role of the political “commissar” I assume!
After all, Rogan even managed to say right in the Hungarian parliament that that the ‘refugee problem’ (OK, I’m not sure if he already used the ever so popular “migrant” definition, but anyway:) went out of hands is entirely the oppositions fault! As if they were in charge in the last couple of years..!

Such talent is dearly needed, particularly since Habony probably busy with managing the online “brainwashing machine” and some of his old pet projects, i assume.

If anyone picky enough may notice the resemblance with Goebbels office, but of course, we aren’t that kind of people who will point to such things, far from it!

It certainly must be some kind of honest to God assignment with purely National(ist) interest in sight..!

What else is there, anyway, but really..?

mmmgyro@aol.com
Guest

What else would u expect from a jealous greedy inbred moronic idiot. The European Union has passed the point that they r fed up with Hungary. Hungary is a disgrace to the European Union. Hungary is about to chock on their own greed.

István
Guest

Eva”s essay on the Office of the Prime Minister was fascinating and caused me to wonder how did PM Orban”s Office of 740 employees compare with President Obama’s Executive Office. It turns out that reasonable estimates of the size of the Executive Office of the President of the USA is about at the maximum 4,000 people. Hungary has around 9.8 million people and the USA has a population of about 321.2 million people. The USA is about 33 times the size of Hungary in terms of population, yet our executive bureaucracy is only about 5.5 times larger than that of PM Orban’s bureaucracy.

Given that Hungary is not a wealthy nation the size of Orban’s office is massive and should be prompting the citizens of Hungary to insurgency. I suspect the Hungarian people must enjoy having high taxes in order to tolerate Orban’s massive buracracy.

Member

Of course they will blame the refugees for that too.

tappanch
Guest

Miniszterelnökség:
2010: 94
2014: 740 people

Other ministries have also increased the number of their “cadre”s significantly.

http://tenytar.blog.hu/2015/01/16/oriasi_bukta_az_olcsobb_allam_igerete
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Guest

Re: the ‘Orban empire’…

Looks as if VO has taken a page from history and wrapping himself in French robes ala Louis XIV at his best. Shrewd Louie had his bureaucracy going so well that it had all who were in his pocket looking to him for favors and benefits as he concentrated power to the degree that he could allegedly say ‘I am the State!’ Jaysus, he did it for 72 years!

VO appears to be learning from the best in consolidating and wielding power namely a guy named Niccolo Machiavelli on the night table and Louie’s excellent creativity in generating his fawning bureaucracy to help him control and rule. No ‘Fronde’ will occur on his watch if he can help it! And Budapest looks to be a resurrected Versailles for the reign of the Sun King.

Bugumil
Guest

“I’m somewhat baffled why Viktor Orbán thinks the government’s current propaganda is not satisfactory and he needs another ministry to take over. ”

Now that the popularity bounced back is the time to strengthen the reserves and prepare for the future.

A good lawyer (like Orban and Lazar) always prepares for the future, contemplating next steps and preparing for contingencies, however remote and unlikely. This is a mind-set, but this is what makes a good lawyer. Non-lawyers can’t understand this. They think differently, less paranoid and thus more prone to failure.

Now is the time to reorganize media-communications.

petofi
Guest

@Bugu

How would you know if Orban is a good lawyer? He never worked a day in his life…

Reality Check
Guest

Although it did bounce back, about 1/3 still support other parties, and another 1/3 support no party. IMost of the change in support came from Jobbik supporters not undecided voters. So, they could easily flip back to Jobbik.

In addition, about 60% of the population think the country is headed in the wrong direction compared to 35% who think it is headed in the right direction.

http://median.hu/object.7ebb5252-0697-4a1d-8494-6019f109655b.ivy

So the support does not run deep and could easily slide again.

In addition, given the huge amount of negative press in the international media, they are probably worried that it will influence their citizens.

Guest

Lázár: “here is now the opportunity for a new team in the ministry of propaganda and information to show that they can do an even better job than András [Giró-Szász] did.”

It should always be pointed out when the government is committing a crime. Using the taxpayers money for party propaganda is a crime among all the other crimes. No matter what they decide in the Disney castle.

Guest

Re: ‘It should always be pointed out when the government is committing a crime. Using the taxpayers money for party propaganda is a crime among all the other crimes. No matter what they decide in the Disney castle’.

If not noted already here or in other posts since the economy is not my forte it would appear that the personal tax rate in Magyarorszag has dropped down to about 14-15% which is much lower than in previous years. On the other hand corporate, sales and ss taxes have edged up more so. Gotta get the money from somewhere for the ‘bureau’.

All in all tax policy would look like it is structured to get ‘love’ from all Magyar working stiffs. Better 15% out of taxpayer pockets than three or more dollars for every 10 earned from a few years ago. Not sure what the saving rate is but those forints saved probably get pumped back into consumer spending with the state getting those sales taxes in the coffers.
The ‘Disney’ edifice looks to be primed to grant many ‘wishes’.

tappanch
Guest

Distribution of asylum seekers in Germany:
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Member

Why do we need to know the distribution percentage in Germany? Is there some significance I am missing?

Member

This article is from 2011, containing facts, links and quotes of Orban and his minions’ lies. The situations since then got even worst.

GW
Guest

I predict that the next government reorganization will streamline affairs into a Ministry of Peace, to manage war, a Ministry of Plenty, to manage the rationing of resources to loyal Fideszniks, a Ministry of Love, to manage hatred for Europe, America, and all Hungarians who are just not Hungarian enough to love Little Bro.., I mean Viktor Orban, and a Ministry of Truth, to manage lies…

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