The new Hungarian landowners or, as some call them, “ersatz peasants”

In the last few days opposition papers have been having a great deal of fun over the “degree” that Lőrinc Mészáros received that made him eligible to be a bona fide tiller of the land (földműves). Without this piece of paper Mészáros, former gasfitter and current billionaire, and his family wouldn’t have been able to purchase over 1,400 hectares of land from the Hungarian state.

Those of you who still don’t know who Lőrinc Mészáros is shouldn’t fret. Almost no one knows much about the man, except that he is a very close associate of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. How close a financial relationship they have is a topic of hot debate in Hungarian public discourse. There are even some totally cynical human beings who believe that Lőrinc Mészáros doesn’t really exist.

Meszaros es Orban

Lőrinc Mészáros and Viktor Orbán

The modest village gasfitter is by now an international player. For example, he just became majority owner of the NK Osijek football club, although as a youngster he wasn’t even interested in the sport. But I guess as mayor of Felcsút and CEO of the Ferenc Puskás Football Academy, a personal foundation of Viktor Orbán, he has to be a soccer enthusiast. Or at least act as if he is.

The land auction the Orbán government initiated is a bonanza for those who are lucky enough to be able to purchase parcels of agricultural land, mostly because of the European Union subsidies they receive simply for owning them. The whole scheme, critics maintain, is a perfect opportunity to fill the pockets of Fidesz politicians, their relatives, and their business partners.

On paper everything looks squeaky clean, as Fidesz politicians repeat often enough. First of all, only bona fide farmers are eligible to purchase land in Hungary. There are three ways to be considered a farmer. First, by having a degree from one of the agricultural colleges or by graduating from a specialized agricultural high school. A person can also qualify as a farmer if he has been the owner of a farm for the last three years. There is a third category, however: the so-called “golden eared farmers” (aranykalászos gazdák) who finish a crash course consisting, at least on paper, of 400 hours of instruction, costing around 250,000 forints. Businessmen, politicians, lawyers, and their family members flocked by the thousands to finish the course before the land auctions began. These are the people one irreverent journalist called “the ersatz peasants.” And with good reason because, as vs.hu revealed in October 2015, most of these courses are phony and the institutions that offer them merely diploma mills.

The number of farmers grew rapidly throughout 2015. In the summer of 2014 there were only 34,000 “tillers of the land,” including Mrs. Viktor Orbán, but by the end of last year that number had jumped to 106,000. Not all of them were “ersatz peasants” but many, including Fidesz politicians, were. For example, Fidesz MP Balázs Győrffy, president of the National Agrarian Association and one of the chief promoters of the land auction. His story is really bizarre. It came to light a few days ago that Győrffy, given his position, was planning to hide his purchase of 150 hectares of land. He arranged a loan of 160 million forints for his chauffeur to purchase the land. Immediately after the chauffeur became the owner, he sold one square meter of land from his 150 hectares to Győrffy. Since the new land law stipulates that a neighbor has the right of first refusal, the chauffeur subsequently sold all 150 hectares to Győrffy.

Mészáros, unlike Győrffy, didn’t try to hide his and his relatives’ land purchases. As far as I know, his family won the most land of anyone in the auction game. The Mészároses received several parcels amounting to 1,400 hectares. Győrffy’s 150 hectares pales by comparison. But, of course, Mészáros is in a very special position. He is considered to be Orbán’s alter ego.

Mészáros had owned land earlier without needing to be formally qualified. This time around, however, like the rest of the applicants he had to get a piece of paper to be eligible to purchase more land. HírTV discovered that the former gasfitter took his “exam” miles away from Felcsút at an agricultural establishment close to Szekszárd. When the director of the place was questioned, he told the curious journalists that Mészáros “had received instruction at his own farm and only took the exam at [their] place.” From the conversation the reporter got the impression that this particular examination center is a favorite among pro-Fidesz oligarchs.

Együtt became so suspicious that they decided to go to the police asking for an investigation of the case. They charge that the “diploma” was given without the “student” fulfilling the necessary requirements and that therefore it is actually a forgery. Consequently, the Mészároses’ land purchases are illegal. Of course, we all know that nothing will come of that investigation.

There is a Hungarian slang word “kamu,” which comes from the word “kamuflázs” (camouflage). It means “phony,” “unreal.” Most likely the diplomas of Mészáros and the Lázár brothers are “kamu.” But so was the announcement by the president of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Father Szabolcs Anzelm Szuromi, that he had just been appointed a research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge University. He added that he had been invited to be a member of the university’s accreditation committee. Upon investigation, the whole story turned out to be “kamu” and the announcement was quickly removed from the university’s website.

From top to bottom graft, lies, and corruption. How long will the Hungarian people put up with all this?

February 16, 2016
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tappanch
Guest

I think the term “Lázár brothers” does not refer to Orban’s minister Janos Lázár and his brother [I do not know whether he has a brother or not], but to the unrelated Orban’s friend, the owner of the CBA grocery chain and former coach-driving champion Vilmos Lázár and his brother Zoltan.

Member

or as others call them “Orban extended family”.

Guest

London Calling!

When Robert Mugabe confiscated land from the whites in Zimbabwe he gave it to black thugs who were part of the intimidation gangs that forced them out.

The new black owners didn’t have a clue how to cultivate land and it soon fell into decay and disuse – as it still is today.

Zimbabwe went from being the bread basket of Africa to having to import grain and finally to a destitute starving population having to travel to South Africa looking for work.

Viktor Orgabe is putting valuable land assets into the hands of ignorant land owners. Expect food crops to diminish and more subsidies for melons because Hungarian farmers don’t have a clue.

A true banana republic.

Expect the dark sunglasses in future Orban pictures – and Mészáros too.

Will he be driving Orban’s choo choo trains?

Observer
Guest

OT
If you are = Charlie London I suggest u look at FHP, post “20 thousand …”.
I laughed loudly.

Help.

How do I insert an object- photo or chart in such comment?

Guest

I am! And I did! Thanks

But it won’t stop the unintelligible prolix.

petofi
Guest

“How long will the Hungarian people put up with all this?”

Surely a rhetorical question. The simple answer is, “Always”.
It’s what the Hungaricoes know: they’d be dumfounded in a society
that worked ‘on the level’.

Guest

And not just dumbfounded, but completely lost.

Guest

But let us be fair, the situation is exactly the same in the Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria or Macedonia, except that those peoples do not seem to have the phony pretensions of the Hungarians to be “européer” (Western oriented civilized people).

Guest

Wealth creation Hungarian style: cheat and defraud the EU whose Brussels bureaucrats and the financing core countries don’t actually give a flying damn about that, since it is money that no one actually owns or accountable for that is being dispensed for strictly ideological reasons. In the end, it is just money for jam, and the EU doesn’t really give a fig about what the Hungarian “elite” does with it.

Orbán & Co. are perfectly aware of this and maximally exploit the enormous private wealth creating opportunities that this manna from heaven makes possible for them, their extended families and their cronies.

It is a wealth creation scheme in a hugely grandiose imitation of village chicken stealing that even the Mafia would lick its chops for, though in contrast to the Mafia or village chicken thieves, the Hungarian “elite” does it perfectly legally, especially since their rubber stamp parliament is ever ready to create “laws” to give legal cover to thievery as and when required.

tappanch
Guest

Herr Garbitsch:

“Victory shall come to the worthy.
Today, democracy, liberty and equality
are words to fool the people.
No nation can progress with such ideas.
They stand in the way of action.
Therefore, we abolish them.
In the future, each man will serve
the state with absolute obedience.”

Chaplin:

“… do not despair.
The misery upon us
is but the passing of greed,
the bitterness of men who fear
the way of human progress.
The hate of men will pass,
and dictators die,
and the power they took
will return to the people.
So long as men die
liberty will never perish.”

Guest

Re: \’the ersatz peasants\’

Made a reflection on the Jagger/Richards composition:

\’Let\’s drink to the hard working people
\’Let\’s drink to the lowly of birth
Raise your glass to the good and the evil
Let\’s drink to the salt of the earth
…..Raise your glass to the hard-working people
Let\’s drink to the uncounted heads
Let\’s think of the wavering millions
Who need leading but get gamblers instead\’

More than likely the policies of Magyar \’education\’ are rearing their head as they have been for hundreds of years. Keep the minions only to make sure they just put their backs into the work. Wise others will take care of the rest.

tappanch
Guest

Fresh official quarterly data from Hungarian National Bank
(Treasury stopped publishing weekly data from January 1, 2016)

Balances of the Hungarian state 2015-12-31 [2014-12-31], billions of forints.

gross debt of the central government:
32,968.9 [31,936.1] , up by 1,032.8 or 3.23%
(Treasury data : 24,699.7 [23,881.1], up by 818.6 or 3.43%)

net debt of the central government:
25,121.6 [24,842.3], up by 279.3 or 1.12%

“consolidated” net debt of the government:
25,392.5 [24,514.2], up by 878.3 or 3.58%

MNB international reserves: 30.3221 [34.578.3] in 10^9 euros.
MNB official exchange rate on December 31: 312.42 [314.89]
Therefore
MNB international reserves: 9,473.2 [10,888.4] in 10^9 forints, down by 13.00%

(Consolidated net debt of the government – international reserves of the central bank):
15,919.3 [13,625.8], up by 2,293.5 or 16.83% !!!

tappanch
Guest

Dear Eva,

Your website is unavailable from Hungary using regular browsers this morning (around 9:40 AM local time). It is however available if I am [pretend to be] elsewhere in Europe.

tappanch
Guest

My quick research shows that Eva’s website is accessible from most countries of the world at this moment (04:07 EST, Feb 17, 2016) EXCEPT Hungary and Iran [I did not check China].

Guest

Hm.

Could it be that Fidesz is experimenting with selectively “jamming” Hungarian Spectrum?

Like jamming Free Europe Radio, the BBC and the Voice of America back in the “good old” commie days?

tappanch
Guest

Hungarianspectrum.org is back in Hungary after almost two hours of blank.

@ambalint
Yes, this could have been an experiment by one of the numerous state “organs”

Member

re: kamu… Looks like Petike’s recent round-trip to the US is a typical “kamu” or alibi –journey (Hungarian alternative of kamu-). I don’t know who we can fool by this act by sending a trade rep to NY at the same time when the PM is performing in Moscow. (Especially if he will avoid DC this time but would have a nice tea party instead with an alternative lobbyist group?) Hey, was there no one around like a deputy-PM to be sent simultaneously to Beijing for the sake of true offset and balance?

I would expect the same kind of “balancing” from Belgrade run by Milosevic-time non-aligned thugs.
http://index.hu/gazdasag/2016/02/16/szijjarto_peter_nyugatra_nyit/
http://privatbankar.hu/makro/na-de-mit-csinal-szijjarto-peter-amerikaban-290436

PS: Tappach@ MNB claims that the debt calculated by Maastricht criteria actually have decreased by the end of last year. http://www.vg.hu/gazdasag/makrogazdasag/nagyot-esett-az-allamadossag-az-ev-vegen-465731 Usual year-end trix or just lying?

Member

The law that the neighbor has the right of first refusal to buy agricultural land has been around at least since the 1990s. We bought a vineyard in Tokaj in 1992. My wife and daughter have Hungarian citizenship, which is required to own agricultural land. Over the years, we have extended our holdings as neighbors have sold their lands. I am sorry to learn that we missed our opportunity to get EU subsidies because we already have our land for well over 3 years. The problems of being honest in a dishonest land.

tappanch
Guest

Yesterday, economic minister envisioned 0% deficit for next year.

http://www.portfolio.hu/gazdasag/adozas/teljesitik_orban_almat_erre_keszul_a_kormany.1.227319.html

This is a farce for unsuspecting foreign analysts.
The Orban government is desperate for an upgrade from Fitch, Moody’s or S&P.

As I calculated above, the net position of Hungary actually deteriorated by 16.8% (!!) last year, in local currency. (net position := net “consolidated” debt of the government – international reserves of the National Bank MNB).

I used official data only.

tappanch
Guest

The state of the health care, Hungary 2016.

http://imgur.com/ZKYhXOh

The promise of a January 2016 pay raise in the public health sector

has been erased on fidesz.hu.

http://444.hu/2016/02/17/leszedtek-a-fideszhu-rol-az-egeszsegugyi-beremeleses-kozlemenyt

tappanch
Guest

Orban’s advisor [or éminence grise ?] Habony held his wedding in the Museum of Fine Arts for free. (and could take home 10 of the old paintings)

http://444.hu/2016/02/17/habony-arpad-ingyen-kapta-meg-a-szepmuveszeti-muzeumot-a-lakodalmara

tappanch
Guest

An ad by an unhappy German businessman of Hungarian origin:

comment image

http://www.168ora.hu/itthon/hirdetesben-szolt-be-orbannak-egy-nemet-uzletember-143122.html

Guest

translation? Google Translate did not yield a valid one.

tappanch
Guest

Putin + Orban dva brata (two brothers) . Paks 2 budyet zhity. (will be built).

Live news conference in Moscow:

https://www.rt.com/on-air/putin-orban-news-conference/

tappanch
Guest

Putin looks really bored with Orban,

tappanch
Guest

So does Lazar (the Istvan) in the first row.

tappanch
Guest

EU sanctions against Russia will not be renewed automatically in the future, says Orban

tappanch
Guest

Russia will provide this [12 billion dollars or euros ?] for Paks-2.

News conference has ended.

csitiri
Guest

Putin announced that Paks II will be built. Siemens and GE are also lobbying for it.

The EU should get lost.

Orban and Putin decided and therefore Paks II will stand.

This is how it happens in Hungary and Russia. Especially as the legal agreements are airtight.

The ukaz of the top dog is sacrosanct.

tappanch
Guest

Watch Ceausescu’s final speech, dear [likely] troll #4:

http://visualcultureblog.com/2010/10/the-lost-camera-in-ceausescus-final-speech/

Member

“How long will the Hungarian people put up with all this?”

Something is brewing in Ersatz Country…

The next is the plaid shirt revolution. Teachers and parentsare posting selfies on Facebook in plaid shirts, reacting to a remark made by Istvan Klinghammer, Orban the Fifth’s Chief Muckety-Muck of education. He was disgusted by the “unshaved, lazy, revolting teachers who are just farting around (grasszálnak)” when he was asked about the recent teacher demonstrations against the Orban government’s policies.

Hmm. He likely meant facial hair, but he probably didn’t know that 95% of teachers are women in Ersatz Country.

I like this word. But the Fidesz is not just ersatz. It is the “satz” of the country.

Guest

@Mutt:
“Bodensatz” probably describes it better – translated as”dregs” …

tappanch
Guest

Budapest (Fidesz government) applied to hold the 2024 Olympics today.

One of the selling points:

“No requirement for a referendum to be conducted”
(in practice, only referendums the Fidesz government agrees to can be conducted)

http://444.hu/2016/02/17/budapest-hivatalosan-is-beadta-a-palyazatot-a-2024-es-olimpiara

Guest

Re: 2024 Olympics

If indeed the country gets the Games I would imagine if you are still reporting on key data that the pilfering will be staggering. No doubt the govt accountants have studied Sochi.

Guest

A little classic comedy from a bit back…
Ersatz vs reality…Farming 101…;-)…

http://youtu.be/yxjBJFy7TmI

Guest

Totally OT but maybe interesting:
There\’s a German company near where we live in Germany that rents out workers in mechanics (welders earning 30 000€ a year) with special knowledge – and it has a lot of business in Hungary too:
http://www.europakraft.de/?L=2
Looks to me as if the owner (?) Stefan Körmendi is Hungarian and now has some kind of trouble with the Hun government?
Anyone knows more about this?

Here\’s his facebook post (Hungarian) – too complicated for me right now …
https://www.facebook.com/europakraft/posts/976948899059606

webber
Guest

Körmendi appears to be either a “job agent,” or associated with a company in Germany trying to recruit Hungarians with certain skills (he mentions welders, locksmiths, engineers).
What looks like “trouble” is actually Körmendi’s hiring pitch – and it seems unique to me: he starts by listing everything he sees as wrong with Hungary, insinuates that Orban might introduce martial law if the new terrorist act is passed by Parliament, and then suggests that it might be a good idea for people to work abroad.
I’ve seen advertisements from job agents recruiting people to work in Britain and Germany before, but I’ve never seen anything like this.

Guest

Webber, the company has a strong presence in Hungary, their own building somewhere (look at their Hungarian homepage) where they teach these specialists?
I was just wondering what’s going on.

Observer M
Guest

It was my pleasure to contribute to your intelligent, invaluable, unique and tireless service to the Hungarian cause! May God help you and give you good health and strength to continue! Éva, it was so nice to see you in a video!

G.W.
Guest

This is all part of the Fidesz program of a return to a Hungary with an economy and society that is feudal in all but name. The landless farmers doing all the work on the large estates of the nobility have been transformed in one century to sharecroppers working the EU-subsidized land of Fidesz princes and barons.

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