Orbán system or Orbán regime: Debate on the nature of the Hungarian government

I’m sure that readers of Hungarian Spectrum know that I have a very low opinion of Hungarian “political scientists” or, in Hungarian, “politológusok.” They are not really political scientists as we define the profession in the West. A Hungarian “politológus” is an unaffiliated political commentator at best. At worst he is in the pay of a political party as a so-called adviser. These “talking heads,” instead of doing research, normally go from one TV station to the next, pontificating about current politics.

But here and there we can find genuine political scientists in Hungary. A case in point is András Körösényi. Right after Fidesz won the 2010 election, he was named director of the Political Science Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Körösényi is described in the media as an “ősfideszes,” one of the progenitors of Fidesz from the late 1980s. Naturally, his appointment and his subsequent firing of some well-known political scientists were considered to be political acts. Körösényi protested in vain that the purge was not political, especially since most of those who were let go were considered to be associated with the left. He claimed that his decision was based on three considerations: (1) the staff was too large, (2) some of the political scientists were merely talking heads, and (3) the professional attainment of several associates was below par. In fact, Körösényi most likely was telling the truth. The very first man to be fired was the Fidesz propagandist Tamás Fricz, whose weekly column in Magyar Nemzet and lately in Magyar Idők is a disgrace to the profession. Körösényi, who is the best known Hungarian political scientist abroad, encourages the Institute’s associates to publish in foreign professional journals. Körösényi’s own list of publications is impressive in this respect.

You will not find either Körösényi’s or any of the associates’ names in daily publications. Nor are there any lengthy TV interviews with them about current political events. I wouldn’t be surprised if such activities were either discouraged or outright forbidden. However, the Institute periodically organizes conferences on selected topics. The topic of today’s conference was “Twenty-five years of the Hungarian political regime: 1990-2015.” The occasion was the publication of a new volume edited by Körösényi himself titled “The Hungarian political regime after twenty-five years.”

I suspect that the use of the word “regime” in the title sparked the interest of reporters. After all, “regime” is often used as a derogatory term, implying an authoritarian government or dictatorship. And since the public associates Körösényi with Fidesz, there was great interest in his thoughts on the nature of this regime. (Although he himself told a political science undergraduate at Corvinus in an interview for the political science department’s newspaper not long ago that he doesn’t keep in touch with his former political friends.)

The differences between a political system and a political regime are crucial to Körösényi’s argument. According to standard definitions,

A political regime is a set of political structures that make up a state. These political systems range from direct democracies to totalitarian regimes, such as military dictatorships. Common systems in the modern world include democratic republics, monarchies, and representative democracies.

While

A political system is the set of formal legal institutions that constitute a “government” or a “state.” This is the definition adopted by many studies of the legal or constitutional arrangements of advanced political orders. More broadly defined, however, the term comprehends actual as well as prescribed forms of political behavior, not only the legal organization of the state but also the reality of how the state functions. Still more broadly defined, the political system is seen as a set of “processes of interaction” or as a subsystem of the social system interacting with other nonpolitical subsystems, such as the economic system. This points to the importance of informal sociopolitical processes and emphasizes the study of political development.

Körösényi labels the present political Hungarian setup the “Orbán regime.” His reasons for this label are manifold. All of the political changes that have occurred in the last six years are connected to Orbán himself. A political system, in his opinion, is a “stable, permanent phenomenon, but a regime is very temporary. A regime might not be capable of ‘consolidation.'” Even those who sympathize with the right don’t trust that this regime will survive Orbán himself. Körösényi believes that the changes introduced since 2010 have not basically altered the political system, i.e. democracy. He brought up freedom of the media, free elections, and an independent judiciary. What is really different in this Orbán era is “a new kind of exercise of power.”

tinkering

Examples of this new kind of exercise of power are the following: (1) the government always wants to solve some kind of crisis; (2) because of the perpetual crisis situation there are always extraordinary situations which demand authoritarian governance; (3) Fidesz created the myth that in these extraordinary times the country needs a leader of “extraordinary talents” who also satisfies the desires of the People and therefore his rule is democratic; (4) after taking away most power from the constitutional court “the concept of political majority is raised over the rule of law and meritocracy”; (5) public debates are superfluous; (6) the government avoids dialogue with institutions and elites and turns straight to the People; (7) this paternalistic and anti-pluralistic regime “has reorganized the relation between government and society and it more and more tries to influence our everyday existence”; and, finally, (8) the Orbán regime is right-wing but in many respects transcends the distinction between left and right. Its chief ideology is anti-communism, but even that can change. It can always substitute some other enemy instead. Ideology and pragmatism are mixed in its everyday governance, which Körösényi calls “tinkering” (barkácsolás).

His opponent was Zsolt Boda, department head of the Academy’s Social Science Research Institute, who criticized Körösényi for “beating around the bush.” In his opinion, this governance can be understood only “within the paradigm of hybrid [illiberal, authoritarian] regimes.” Boda doubts, for example, that the Orbán regime can still be called democratic, given the present state of the constitutional court, the functioning of the judicial system, especially the prosecutorial branch, and the present electoral system.

According to Gergely Tóth, a reporter for Index, “although Boda didn’t draw the conclusion, many political scientists present strengthened [his] opinion that in light of the changes that have taken place since 2010 the fine distinction between regime and system …doesn’t make much sense.” Most likely Boda is right, but considering Körösényi’s past association with Fidesz and its basically right-of-center political views, it is pretty remarkable that he got to the point of such a fundamental critique of the Orbán regime.

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Paul
Guest

Discussing how to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic…

Bimbi
Guest

Mr. Körösényi is a scientist and an intellectual and like all of that ilk, likes to make lists, to classify, because thereby one can then make a contribution to knowledge and understanding. There are the original thinkers and then there are those who make lists.

Meanwhile on the ground in Hungary the financial, moral and spiritual corruption and rape of the Hungarian People (ah yes, the People) continues unabated. The Fidesz “system”, the Fidesz “regime” is like an invasion of ticks all sucking the blood out of the nation and the nation is not even aware of it because they don’t feel the bite… …ah! But there I go, classifying again.

Like Paul says, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. What we need is an effective tick spray.

Guest

Re: ‘There are the original thinkers and then there are those who make lists’

And it is evident that indeed there are thinkers but also there are those inveterate ‘tinkers’ one being a very active Mr. Orban especially in the constitutional space of the country. Politics and its ‘process’ and its ‘interactions’ changed and controlled by deft sentence structures.

I’m sure he learned all that from Vlad who understood that if a state is to be crafted the way a leader insists it to be run ‘tinkering’ with the laws of the land is the only way. Using pens is much preferable to using force which was the ‘old’ way of doing things. ‘Style’ is paramount nowadays as we look at various politicians!

And ‘political science”…perhaps an oxymoron in the country. How could there be rigor in its analysis if the ‘scientists’ are looking all over their shoulders?

Wondercat
Guest

Reminiscent of the last seventy years in the USA? “(1) The government always wants to solve some kind of crisis; (2) because of the perpetual crisis situation there are always extraordinary situations which demand authoritarian governance”. Cold war, Korean war, war in Vietnam, war on drugs, war on crime, war on, yes, cancer. EVERYTHING a war. Iraq, Islamic State, and Edward Snowden. Give us your freedoms, we’ll protect you. Ah, well.

Istvan
Guest
An interesting perspective on the USA wondercat. The truth is the USA was fully prepared to impeach a President even though by your analysis we are perpetually moving ever closer to authoritian rule. We strike a balance here between the rule of law and political power. We may may allow on occasion individual rights to be eroded, but rarely the property rights of those of us with significant wealth. It’s the reality of America and has been for far longer than 70 years. The USA is a great power that has global economic interests and therefore we have to wage various forms of warfare to protect those interests, some of the wars you reference are rhetorical wars that are fully understood to be so by the media. Looking at both the Iraq and Vietnam wars our withdrawal from active combat was driven in part by popular opposition to those wars within our county based on the exercise of free speech rights enshrined in the Constitution. This opposition to long term warfare is a bitter pill to those of us that have been in the military, because it is based on a delusion that the wealth and power our nation has… Read more »
Member

OV/OT: My guess is that the people arrested heading to Budapest with weapons will turn out to be arms dealers but Orban will be trying his usual tricks to stoke it to look like a terrorist threat, preferably a muslim one…
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Guest

OT The dying Budapest Stock Exchange will be converted to an instrument for distribution of state subsidies to Hungarian companies.

http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/national-bank-of-hungary-takes-over-budapest-stock-exchange/29502

rad
Guest

Agree with the post. Körösényi is a conservative and an anti-communist. He is the kind of conservative which never really existed in Hungary.

That said, the conclusion of the index journalist was also apt: does it really matter how we call the Orban-system when it is de facto dictatorial (ie. the will and decision of only one person counts) and there’s no argument about that?

webber
Guest

OT
Országimázs program day 2.

While the government plans to move into new palaces in the Castle, and crows about its successes (and trolls here crow too), Hungarian children are fed food like this in schools and kindergartens all over the country:
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For more pictures of what Hungarian children are fed in government-run schools, see the following stories- warning, some images include insects and insect parts cooked in the food:

http://index.hu/belfold/2014/05/24/az_orszag_legundoritobb_menzakajai/

http://promenad.hu/cikk/bocsanatot-kertek-az-undorito-menzas-etelert-159879

norbi
Guest
See, how easy it is to create a good media campaign against this government? Why doesn’t the opposition does something like that? Not just a facebook post but a systematic campaign with similar pictures? Fidesz would surely do it (come to think of it, Fidesz had a media portfolio even in opposition) and when this campaign would be over then Fidesz would be onto something else, like pushing a nice fat corruption case and so on without ever relenting. But the Hungarian left-wing is lazy and clueless. The Left ceded the media to Fidesz. As they say the medicine for stupidity has not yet been invented. Fidesz will duly use the media for its own purposes like breaking a nice purported terrorism case – instead of on a right-wing medium – on ATV. Ohhooh, my little friends, the terrorists are already in our midst, they’re everywhere, but also here in Budapest, so Orban’s gotta lead the nation, not lefties wusses who would invite a million Arabs… ATV reaches leftists and government critical voters whose flipping toward Fidesz is strategically much more important then to feed loyal fidesznik voters. HVG’s alarmist titles also help. (Note to self HVG has been on… Read more »
webber
Guest

Norbi, where do you think I got those images???

From opposition sources, of course.

You Fideszniks with your “the left is clueless and bankrupt” (hooray, hooray) mantra are very predictable and are getting very boring.
That’s no way to keep your reader’s attention

Bowen
Guest

@ Norbi, or whatever name your random troll-avatar-generator picks for you next time. Regarding Webber’s photos of hospitals and schools.

This is what people can see in Hungary every day. They see the blackened decaying buildings. They see the graffiti everywhere. They see the poor street lighting and closed down shops and boarded up windows. They see the homeless people sleeping in their own excrement wherever they can find a basement ventilation shaft giving off some heat. They can now see armed soldiers on the streets, and those less-able to think critically can now add ‘Muslim terrorists’ to their long list of existential threats making them ill.

You can ask why there is no effective political opposition. It might be because they’re also corrupt and useless. It might be because people like Kover Laszlo don’t let them speak. But tens of thousands of bright, young people are leaving Hungary and they’re not coming back any time soon. It won’t take long before the effects of this will be seen on the nation, and it’s going to be very very sad.

norbi
Guest
Bowen: this is a mistake you are making. A lot of hospitals in bigger towns have been nicely renovated (thanks to EU funds). Not in Budapest though. But many people who get sick in Miskolc, Győr, Pécs etc. are actually surprised how nice their hospital is. The kids in schools don’t vote and their parents voting decision doesn’t depend solely on menza kaja which has always been really bad quality so there’s not much decline in this respect. What you are saying is that people think through these problematic issues and realize that the situation is bad and that they will vote accordingly (which ever party offers a better program for say, health care). Voters are much more irrational and emotional. Fidesz knows this. Media campaigns do work. Remember how much Fidesz could arouse the emotions in 2002 when Fidesz lost and from then on the enthusiasm, the fire was kept burning via dozens of stories and media tricks (Fidesz even turned up the heat a notch or two after 2006) so that by 2010 Fidesz won by a landslide. I just don’t see any efforts to turn up the heat, to create emotions and enthusiasm, and without such efforts… Read more »
webber
Guest

Norbi claims hospitals in Miskolc are in good shape. Here is a picture of a meal served to a child this year in a hospital in Miskolc:
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Here is a picture of a “full meal” for an adult in a hospital in Miskolc:
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Here are more pictures from hospitals in Hungary (don’t know where – could be anywhere in the country). There are many more horrific pictures in the links I have provided below.
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Stories here:
http://www.szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu/sokkolo-kepek-jelentek-meg-a-magyar-korhazakbol/

http://www.nlcafe.hu/gasztro/20150114/korhaz-leves-csotany-borsod/

http://www.kiskegyed.hu/aktualis/kozugy/ezt-eszik-egy-magyar-korhazban-az-emberek-megdobbento-fotok-130772

http://nol.hu/belfold/borzaszto-kepeket-osztanak-meg-a-korhazi-allapotokrol-1539861

Norbi, you don’t know what you are talking about.

norbi
Guest

Webber:

You are wrong. The are more than one hospitals in Miskolc. Please do your research.

All I said was that people who went to facilities like this one (maybe not all people of Miskolc are so lucky) are actually positively surprised. There are quite a few such units in rural places (financed by the German taxpayers of course).

I am right or am I right?

http://epiteszforum.hu/csillagpont-korhaz-miskolcon

webber
Guest

Norbi, give it a rest.
Of course some hospitals have been fixed! Just look more closely at the pictures of food from the hospital in Miskolc, Norbi. They are pictures of food served in the hospital that was renovated – you can see clearly that the table is new in one shot. I picked those shots because they are from a hospital you said was okay. Hospital renovated – food still inadequate, inedible, and quite likely full of bacteria.

The other pictures are just illustrations of how awful hospitals are all over Hungary. Hungarians all over the country see this sort of thing.

In short, you are wrong in more than one way!

Bowen
Guest

Hospitals in Hungary are massively under-funded, indebted, and there is a growing shortage of medical professionals.

http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/hungarys-healthcare-on-the-brink-of-disaster/18001

http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/hungarian-health-care-workers-earn-110th-that-of-their-western-counterparts/20371

(Just in case anyone accuses me of posting the dreadful Hungary-hating propaganda of the evil Budapest Beacon, the articles I linked to above summarise a range of Hungarian news sources, which are cited.)

norbi
Guest

And how do these opposition sources amount to a systematic media campaign? Do you have any idea about the media reach of opposition blogs? Or even Nők Lapja Café or Index?

Mind you opposition sources are quite useless because its readers need no persuasion. One wants to reach undecided, conservative, rural, uneducated people, older folks, people who are not interested in politics – and not already likely voters for the opposition.

So I’m talking about a segmented, comprehensive campaign (reaching rural, undecided voters), with lots of repetition. An internet post here or there will not do.

Kormos
Guest

@Webber (the one who decides who is Hungarian or not). It is interesting to see old hands holding spoon and fork in menza. Anyone can make disgusting pictures while making chicken soup from whole chicken or “kocsonya”. I remember food in Hungarian boarding schools and workplaces of the 1950s and 60s. Well…all I can say we survived.

bülbül
Guest

Sorry, but this TEK story smells like an inside job to create hysteria and fear.

This is when fact checking would be important alas we have no such luck.

HVG, ATV et al will disseminate the story without any source criticism.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20151125_tek

webber
Guest

bülbül
A new name.
I see you lot are now trying to discredit HVG and ATV.

Reuters, The Guardian and other international news sources have reported the story too (see below). It is major news.

Would you also say Reuters disseminates stories without source criticism?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/24/us-hungary-security-idUSKBN0TD34820151124#1QSWKFH80YdCPktf.97

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/25/hungarian-police-says-four-arrested-on-way-to-budapest-with-explosives

Nice try (but still a “fail”)
P.S. Thanks for confirmation that ATV is hated by the Hungarian government, and you trolls.

bülbül
Guest

Please calm down. I’m no Fidesz troll.

I don’t care about what Guardian or Reuters say (btw they only say “Hungarian police say”, they too need to be quick to produce content), I just don’t like alarmist articles which uncritically reprint government assertions, assertions of a government which regularly lies and is deeply corrupt.

The story may or may not turn out to be true or as serious as asserted. We just need time and I’m suspicious when Orban’s personal body guard (head of Orban’s own intelligence/security agency) says something.

ATV is now aligned with Fidesz because Hit Gyüli (the owners) got to like Fidesz, sorry to break it to you.

webber
Guest

bülbül – what you said was implicitly in support of Fidesz.

ATV backs the government’s anti-immigrant stance, that is all. It is not the same as being aligned with the government (Fideszniks are now trying to convince people that ATV and HVG are pro-Fidesz – a desperate form of discrediting the opposition)

As to your other comments: What do you recommend, that Reuters should NOT report the story?

I think Reuters may know a bit more about what is newsworthy than you do, and you might give them credit for that.

Get a clue.

Guest

@webber
November 25, 2015 at 4:12 am

Is it really the case that anyone critical of the Hungarian left, even by implication, must necessarily be a Fidesz troll?

I myself can readily imagine a person who might absolutely loathe Fidesz (or Fidesz/Jobbik) yet be a trenchant critic of the Hungarian left: to me, at least, it seems that these two viewpoints are in fact very far from reflecting mutually incompatible propositions.

webber
Guest

Mike –
I can imagine such a person, too. I know quite a few..

What I cannot imagine is someone who is opposed to Fidesz and who also gratuitously, at every moment possible, makes fun of the opposition and of independent or opposition journals and t.v. stations.

When that person does not for a second reflect on Fidesz’s fault, I have a strong suspicion.

Such a person is either, I believe, a Fidesz troll OR a fool who has picked up and is unthinkingly repeating Fidesz discourse.

A good troll always denies s/he is a troll, and tries to insinuate him/herself into things. Rather like a III/III informer in the old days.

webber
Guest

There you go – Index has reported that the people TEK caught were not terrorists, and that TEK was just blowing smoke.
http://index.hu/belfold/2015/11/25/nem_dzsihadistak_lehettek_akiket_a_tek_elfogott/

As to earlier reports by non-Hungarian-government sources – they all, including HVG, reported only that TEK said it “could not exclude the possibility” that the guys were terrorists.
HVG reported, perfectly, what TEK claimed, and did not make any claims of its own.
Index is now reporting that what TEK claimed appears not to be true.
I would bet anyone any amount of money that HVG will publish a new report, based on new information, and with some details Index has not revealed.

I would say that opposition reporting is doing very well indeed.

Observer
Guest
The opponent Mr. Boda doubts .. that the Orbán regime can still be called democratic, and I absolutely agree. Freedom of the media is nominal only : the outlets acquired by Fidesz using dubious funds, e.g. misappropriated taxpayers money, dominate the market. State owned media is unabashedly a government propaganda outlet. Huge, in % terms, state advertising money control the market by enriching loyal media, while starving critical outlets. Independent advertisers are advised, i.e. threatened, to avoid critical outlets thus further multiplying the distortion. Free and fair elections ? Definitely not in the small country communities, where the regime’s minions decide on everything – from construction permits, to land lease or public contract award to “public work”, which is now in lieu of social payments. In large cities the elections can be called free, but for a few charges brought by Mr. Polt or arrests made just before elections and for threats against opposition voter groups. Two crucial factors for a modern election are money and media. Both are denied to the opposition and piled up high at Fidesz. The democratic parties are often blamed for not building their own media empire while in power, which is a bit like… Read more »
Guest
@webber November 25, 2015 at 4:12 am May I add that for a variety of historical reasons Hungarian political imagination is pathetically impoverished. The principal political comfort zones of Hungarians are Christian Nationalism and National Socialism, with late Kádár-style National Communism running a close, nostalgic third. On the other hand, the “market” in Hungary for liberalism is less than minuscule, whether it be the classical capitalist kind, left-liberalism or modern West European-style liberal conservatism. After the regime change there was an uncomfortable, half-hearted attempt at running a kind of left-liberal democracy for almost two decades – albeit heavily intermixed with robber capitalism and Balkan-style kleptocracy – where many ex-Communists of Budapest-Jewish descent morphed into left-liberals, while ex-Communists of non-Jewish descent from the countryside morphed largely into Christian Nationalists. “Happily,” Hungary has now returned to the principal populist comfort zones of the Hungarian electorate, otherwise known as illiberal democracy, where with a two thirds constitution-changing parliamentary majority the Christian Nationalist Fidesz Mafia runs the country as its own feudal fief and is settling in to rule for a very long time; where there is a full-on whitewashing of the Horthy era; where the National Socialist Jobbik is the principal opposition party;… Read more »
webber
Guest

Mike,
You included (and always include, I recall) a thorough critique of Fidesz in your precis.
Why would you, therefore, qualify as a Fidesz troll in anyone’s eyes?
Again, criticizing the opposition is not per se suspicious (there’s a LOT to criticize!). There is a certain pattern of criticism, however, that looks an awful lot like trolling, because it just echos what bona fide trolls repeat here ad nauseum (leftist losers, etc.). If a person repeats those hackneyed phrases and ideas, and if a person suggests obviously opposition media is actually Fidesz-controlled in an attempt to discredit that media, then that person is either a troll or a tool.

Gabor Toka
Guest
Back to the original topic, I quite agree with almost everything in the article, including the skepticism regarding the distinction between regime and system. If all the undemocratic features would go once Orban became incapacitated from one day to another – or at least it was really up for grabs whether they do, and the outcome would depend on unpredictable interactions in the ensuing leadership struggles -, then I guess Korosenyi’s analysis was correct. But that is not the case with the features listed by Boda, eliminating those requires more than a change of leadership style, and some of them – e.g. creating media pluralism – simply cannot be done by a Fidesz government (can you see them pumping money into opposition media and opposition parties so that they can compete?). Even the permanent crisis-hysteria may stick around because an undemocratic system cannot consolidate in a (still) relatively developed country, and hence the crisis hysteria is probably a necessary feature of the system. BTW the focus on the crisis rhetoric as a key feature of Orbanism was anticipated in much earlier critical assessments of Orban by Körösényi. See “A jobboldal elhúzódó válsága.” Kommentár 2007 (4): 97-101 and “A rendkívüli állapot… Read more »
webber
Guest

Gabor –

In short, is it a swine, a hog, or a pig? And if it is a pig, is it as fat as it might be?

(I really like Paul’s comment – the first comment in this thread)

Gabor Toka
Guest

My point was not about the Orban regime, but that Korosenyi’s argument may not be convincing but has political merit.

Observer
Guest

Gabor Toka
November 25, 2015 at 8:05 am

I agree with most of you post, incl. that after Orban … but let’s stay with the realities –
dictators don’t retire – they die, one way or the other, or, in modern times, are removed and left alive.
I can’t imagine how the Fidesznyiks can do better – Orban and other power crazies got their coveted turn in the dictator’s chair, after all the communists set there for 40 years .. goes the argument.
All sorts of small time thieves like Gyula Budai, half-baked intellectuals like Imre Kerényi crawled out into the Fidesz sunshine to suddenly grow large and to exert their power as they saw fit. The other, more numerous part, were the money grabbers large and small, and some grand ones, or simply opportunist hangers on. History of our times knows few events, where so much public wealth was pumped into private pockets (no proof Italy circa 60s was worse). Definitely no one in Europe made it from nothing to the 100 richest citizens list in four years, all on government contracts. What’s better?

Gabor Toka
Guest

I think it would be great if more Fidesznyiks thought they could do better. At least they could halt some excesses, and at best they would have other ideas than Orban”s in a succession crisis. Orban is a 52+ Hungarian men with an unhealthy life style facing non-negligible health issues. He has access to better health care than usual but is mad enough not to take advantage. (I would not spend much time with discussing this if the opposition challengers had a better chance than stroke, but for now …) Of course there is a risk that under a less entrenched successor the regime may become more oppressive (but that I guess would be the least of the problems), even more spendthrift in securing the loyalty of clients, and even more harmful in its policy choices and the mad illusions that it spreads in society. But the same risk is there as long as Orban is.

roberta
Guest
Dear Professor Toka, Fidesz is plain impossible to reform. There are no “reasonable” fideszniks, this is an empty set, existing only in the wet dreams of liberals. The present Fidesz is the very end result of 25 years of cumulative evolution, where survival depended exclusively on loyalty. Whoever remained by now is a spineless corrupt drone. I can imagine that some fideszniks appear in private as “reasonable” (such as they do not fart at the dinner table) to outsiders (just remember how many times did Orban and his minions fool the educated American diplomats) but in real life this isn’t how it works. I think you imply in your comment that Fidesz is a real party such as any Western party with competing factions, with varying ideologies, separate power bases and so on but this is not the case with Fidesz. Fidesz is probably the most monolithic party east or Russia and it is certainly more monolithic than MSZMP was in 1980’s. Just because Rorgan is competing with Lazar for the attention of Orban (and for funds to steal), this doesn’t make Fidesz a party in the traditional sense. Even in totalitarian dictatorships the dictator has to make compromises, take… Read more »
Steven1946
Guest

Roberta, I am you fan.

Even Petofi can learn from Roberta? They maybe twin siblings.

Eva, our beloved blogger must come up with fresh sounding observations. She should try to mix analysis with comments.

Otherwise, she puts us at sleep.

Guest

Steven, are you still in/near Tübingen?
I’m there now …

That analysis of Fidesz by roberta is fantastic!
The big question really is:
What will happen after Orbán?

Reminds me a bit of Spain after Franco, Portugal after Salazar …
It didn’t take long for those regimes to crumble!

Gabor Toka
Guest

roberta, I do not see much of a difference between our diagnoses except on one point. What I was suggesting is that it is good to have some supply of right-wing narratives that fidesznyiks can conceivably adopt in the hope of distancing themselves from the most blatantly undemocratic features of the regime. I can see many scenarios of a transition from this regime to sg else but all of them look more attractive if some elements in the party, for opportunistic reasons or otherwise, seek to position themselves as more of a democrat than Orban. Of course, nothing is going to happen without a more effective opposition, and it would be sad and counterproductive if let’s say the left analyzed things like Korosenyi. But the left on its own may not be enough for a regime change, and the people inside the party will never accept the kind of diagnoses that you would. So there is a need for some pluralism in how the regime is criticized publicly, and one should appreciate every flower, even when it is not your most preferred one.

Member

OT: Does any comment came out from the Hungarian government regarding the Russian/Turkish tension? I think Orban is at a hard place. It is hard for him to support Androgan (one of his favourite politician), go against Putin, not go against the NATO.
Just recently it was pointed out that Russia did use Hungarian airspace. Now, on November 20th the Hungarian gripens were employed because of a Turkish plane over Hungary.

http://mno.hu/politika/folyamatosan-ropkodnek-orosz-gepek-a-magyar-legterben-1311012
http://www.pecsiujsag.hu/pecs/hir/belfold/hm-egy-torok-repulogep-miatt-riasztottak-a-gripeneket

webber
Guest

As someone else already pointed out, the idea that the Russian gas line through Turkey will someday reach Hungary is probably now really dead.

webber
Guest

On the topic above, the whole conversation has been held already, admittedly with a difference in tone and verbiage, but the essence is the same, and the essence is
“It’s a problem of …. perception” (49 sec.):

Istvan
Guest

The Islamic State would be exceedingly wise to stage an assult in Hungary because Orban has made out Hungary to be a Christian warrior state reminiscent of the Chursades. It is also a paper tiger filled with corrupt officals happy to look the other way for various forms of smuggling. In terms of propaganda value an organized IS attack on Hungary could be turned into a goldmine.

There are enough supposedly wealthy Middle Eastern men visiting Hungary for sex hollidays and staying at high end hotels like the Four Seasons in Budapest to provide the troops and cover for such an attack if the weapons are pre- positioned. There even websites that actively promote this tourism for example http://www.budapestagent.com/budapest-sex.html

When and if it comes Orban’s security apparatus will look like bigger fools than did the NSA/CIA/FBI did in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the USA or the French security apparatus currently looks. The current stories being floated in the media are propaganda for the Orban security apparatus in the manner that the FBI here in the USA promotes stories of breaking up various small terror plots.

Kormos
Guest

@Istvan. You are a true Hungarian patriot. I hope other Hungarian readers from Chicago visit this anti-Orban blog

Bart
Guest

A nice article showing how people decide in elections (hint: not by weighing policy options and suchlike).

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/sam-harris-id-vote-for-dangerously-deluded-religious-imbecile-ben-carson-over-noam-chomsky/

spectator
Guest

Regarding the ‘vox populi’ and the ‘majority rules’ thereof:

If Orbán and all the orbanists in Orbanistan so keenly insisting on that only the will of majority matters, nothing else, how comes that Orbán doesn’t accept the EU rulings based on the same principle?

Did anybody ever considered this?

Wouldn’t be time to ask this question in public?

Bimbi
Guest

About nothing very much:

A quote from Budapest Beacon today from the official Hungarian Residency Bond Program sales pitch:

“Hungarian Residency Bond Program is an excellent value for money and the cheapest option in Europe: you pay EUR 360,000 to take part in the Program, and you will get back EUR 300,000 after 5 years.”

Of course what they don’t tell you is that over the last 5 years under Orban the Hungarian Forint has been devalued by over 64 % (wrt USD) from 179 to 294 HUF/$.

And this from the home of Quaestor! Apparently there have been >3000 takers to date. That is a lot of money into the Fidesz off-shore coffers.
comment image

spectator
Guest

@rad
I guess it matters.

If you haven’t noticed yet, this whole regime/system mostly goes on communication, nothing much more, really. I
It defines itself as opposed to something or other, in spite the fact that it ever existed or it isn’t. Next day/week/month they will change the direction without a hitch.
It relays entirely on the belief of the people, and how to manipulate it. (For better or worst. I have the answer, but it’s beside the point.)

So, in case of anybody would decide to counter it, must do it on the very same platform, because people bound to refer to definitions – what they usually get from the so called ‘media’. Since most of the words have some kind of emotional and/or value related connotation, the definition of something so fundamental is vital.
In this respect the distinction between ‘regime’ and ’system’ indeed can be very important.
In case if it handled right, of course.

spectator
Guest

@bimbi
Since the whole affair goes on €uros, why it supposed to be related to the value of the HUF? Am I missing something here?
Besides, of course that how much it will cost to the state (which isn’t really important in case of the private profit what the Rogán related offshore company earn, I know.)

Otherwise quite a number of other banana-republics doing the same, nothing new here, isn’t it?

Bimbi
Guest

Dear Spectator,
This great deal is being offered by the same firm that brought you the theft of Euro 10 billion of pension money almost as soon as they came to power, lying about its use to decrease the national debt. Fail. It is the same group who now brings you a drop of 3.4% in the investment rate in Hungary where, of course, the economy is doing better. Fail. The same firm that brings you industrial scale corruption in the tax office, “nothing to see here, folks, nothing t see here”. Fail. Well, if you would like to trust your money to the off-shore branch of Orban Inc., I guess that is your decision. I expect after five year they will be happy to bail you out for your losses just as they bailed themselves out with insider information before the Quaestor collapse. And where has the Euro180 million skimmed off the top gone anyway?

satiled
Guest

Tidbits about the Fidesz-Jobbik power conglomerate.

http://mivoltmaaneten.tumblr.com/image/133857261147

Fidelitas, the youth organization of Fidesz, holds a three-day retreat in early December.

One of the programs will be a workshop on the challenges affecting the younger people such as re family policy and issues of home ownership.

Speakers will be:

Balogh Ákos Gergely, a loyal fidesznik journalist of mandiner.hu,
Veresné Novák Katalin secretary of state for family and youth issues and this is interesting:
Dóra Dúró, the Jobbik MP whose husband is Előd Novák, also a Jobbik MP and a fanatic editor of kuruc.info.

Guest

Re: ‘Fidelitas…the youth organization..’

Probably a neat and fortuitous tabula rasa there when it comes to forming civic ideas among youth. But the future perhaps is already foretold if it’s the only ‘education’ in generating insight on civic, moral and social responsibilities of citizens.

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