The scandal of Viktor Orbán’s secret estate

Until now the personal excesses of Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, could be summed up in one word: “Felcsút,” a small village where, just like Romania’s former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, he built a luxury football stadium right next to his adobe house and where his private foundation, the Ferenc Puskás Football Academy, is located. Orbán’s foundation is richly endowed. Since 2010 it has received nine billion forints from the tax-free donations of admiring oligarchs. Hundreds of articles have been written about the Felcsút phenomenon, where everything is about Viktor Orbán and his whims. But it is possible that his downfall might come from a village only a couple of kilometers south of Felcsút called Alcsútdoboz, originally just Alcsút, meaning “Lower Csút, as opposed to Felcsút, Upper Csút.

The first time I learned that Archduke Joseph had an estate in Alcsút was when I read an amusing story, related by Mihály Károlyi, prime minister of Hungary in 1918, about the archduke. Archduke József suggested to him that, because of his enthusiasm for the new Hungarian republic, perhaps he should change his name to József Alcsúti. Károlyi wryly noted that he shouldn’t have tried to persuade the archduke to make a fool of himself.

Well, by now it is pretty certain that the Orbán family owns part of that estate and most likely hundreds of hectares of excellent agriculture land surrounding it. Thanks to Nárcisz (Daffodil) the kuvasz, whom Viktor Orbán paraded around to please those who are concerned about animal welfare, information has been gathered that makes it almost certain that Lőrinc Mészáros is a front man of Viktor Orbán. Not that we didn’t suspect that before, but none of the tricks for hiding Viktor Orbán’s wealth could ever be detected. Now, however, we have some idea of how the Habsburg estate ended up being the home of the prime minister’s family.

Until July 2011 the 13 hectare estate with five separate buildings and a water tower belonged to the Csákvári State Farm. It was then purchased by the CZG Real Estate Company, established in Székesfehérvár in 2006 by Győző Orbán, father of the prime minister. As soon as the older Orbán acquired the property, it was rented to Lőrinc Mészáros, mayor of Felcsút and a close “business associate” of Viktor Orbán. Mészáros told Krisztina Ferenczi, the journalist who spent years investigating Orbán’s shady business dealings, that he rented the place to store his farm equipment. For that privilege he plopped down 155 million forints, which allowed him to use the property for ten years. With this 155 million forints Győző Orbán paid off his loan from CIB Ingatlanlízing for the purchase of the estate. The property is still owned by CZG Real Estate.

Back in 2012 Mészáros told Ferenczi that no renovation was taking place, except for the minimal maintenance of these historic buildings. Ferenczi, however, could see even from a distance that several buildings on the property were being extensively renovated. Expensive new tiles from Coruna, Spain were installed on the roof and a second floor with dormer windows was being built from the attic of one of the buildings. At that time Ferenczi reported that on the second floor eight bedrooms, each with a separate bath, were created. By all appearances the Orbáns were planning to move in because the Felcsút house, right next to the site where the stadium was being built, was becoming unbearably noise and dirty. Ferenczi at that time came to the conclusion that, by the look of it, it was “Mészáros who bought a very expensive piece of real estate for the Orbán family.” I think we can flesh this out a bit more. First, Győző Orbán on borrowed money bought property that, although still in the name of CZG Real Estate, actually belongs to Viktor Orbán, who paid for it through Lőrinc Mészáros’s fictitious transaction, which is a crime by the way. What happened here is a typical money laundering scheme.

Ferenczi saw boxes of books that were owned by Anikó Lévai, Orbán’s wife, when she still lived in Szolnok with her parents. She spotted a temporary carpentry shop that was producing doors and windows made out of oak that greatly resembled the ones that were installed in the Orbán’s house in Buda. No question, a very expensive reconstruction and renovation of the buildings was taking place already in 2013. Ferenczi was also told by the locals that Viktor and Anikó Orbán often visited the site, which already at that time was impossible to approach.

I should add that the surrounding agricultural land is in three hands. Lőrinc Mészáros has 155 hectares, which he acquired on a twenty-year lease, after which the lessee, whether Mészáros or not, can purchase the land. A second owner is Anikó Lévai, who purchased land for very little money some years ago. Anikó’s land is rented out to János Flier, who owns substantial pieces of land around the estate. Flier might also be a front man, or at least he was often mentioned in the media as such. Therefore, there is a very good possibility that perhaps as many as 200 or even 300 hectares of land surrounding the estate actually belong to Viktor Orbán.

Details of the owners of agricultural land surround the estate

Details of the owners of agricultural land surrounding the estate. Búzakalász is Mészáros’s company.

Unfortunately, opposition politicians failed to pick up the stories published by Krisztina Ferenczi in 2012, which very accurately described the situation. Suddenly now, in search of Nárcisz’s home, Péter Juhász of Együtt, who is the most relentless corruption hound, decided to pursue the story and demand an investigation of Viktor Orbán’s financial situation, which is clearly not what he claims it to be. Under the circumstances I very much doubt that there is any hope of a serious investigation. But thanks to Nárcisz there is now proof that the Orbáns actually live in the former estate of Archduke Joseph. The dog’s microchip tells us that his owner is Gáspár Orbán, son of Viktor Orbán. In 2013, when microchips were made mandatory for dogs, his domicile was listed as Alcsútdoboz. Moreover, the gatekeeper of the estate named Viktor Orbán as his boss, not Lőrinc Mészáros, when talking with the journalists of 444 a few days ago. Slip of the tongue.

I doubt that anyone could prove that the estate is actually Orbán’s. On paper it is still owned by his father’s company, but if Hungary had an independent prosecutor’s office it could certainly probe into the details of the renovation of the buildings. Where did the money come from for what had to be a very expensive undertaking?

László Seres in HVG predicted that “with the discovery of Nárcisz’s domicile the fall of Viktor Orbán has begun.” That’s a far too optimistic assessment of the situation, but given all the country’s domestic problems, the discovery that the modest prime minister is actually a billionaire who lied about his wealth for all these years might inflame the population. Jenő Veress of Népszava also asked: “Could Nárcisz be the banana peel that the empire falls on?” Maybe, but for that the whole opposition must keep the story alive and not let the scandal die, as opposition politicians have so often done in the past.

March 10, 2016
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Guest
A thief, a looter, a sneak and a liar. As a Hungarian, however, he merely continues a ‘progressive tradition’ (haladó hagyomány) in Hungary that goes way back to the medieval robber barons, and more recently has the glorious memories of the Jew Laws of the Hungarian Nazis to look back on, the commie destruction of the remnant Hungarian middle classes, the Kádár era thieving from government property by whomever and wherever possible, the looting of national assets through robber privatization after the regime change, the recent theft of the private pension funds by the ‘government,’ right now the expropriation of public funds by Matolcsy for purposes of corruption, and so on. Other contemporary Hungarians also of course practice thieving and looting in their own larger or smaller ways, and expect that as a matter of course, not least as a well-deserved perk in both public and private life. The stink of Balkan-style corruption literally permeates every nook and cranny of public life over there. An utterly hopeless state of affairs, and it beggars belief that Brussels is subsidizing it to the tune of many tens of billions of euros. Orbán himself is a disgusting pig, a Hungarian mini-Ceaușescu, but he… Read more »
Observer
Guest
Yes, Orban is “a thief, a looter, a sneak and a liar” – totally devoid of any morals, ruthlessly compensating an inferiority complex to the extent of being pettily vengeful and malicious. (A well-known psychological set). His disdain for the law was made public years ago by the infamous instruction – go ahead breaking the law, we’ll call in our lawyers, azt jó napot (a cynical “Have a good day, Sir”). BUT, there were no of corrupt PMs in Hungary, at least since Istvan Tisza. According to an article in Rubicon (a quality history magazine) stated a couple of years ago, there had been corruption even at the cabinet level, but the buck stopped at the PM office. Orban is not only the first, but right away totally corrupt PM, imprinting this attitude onto the whole system, e.g. Imre Kerényi gloating that this raging corruption was only natural in the political “fight for resources”. These remind me of the old “Mutiny on the Bounty” where the Admiralty lords hearing Capitan Blight commented on the need to be careful while promoting officers of low origins. I often recommend to my fascist interlocutors talking about gypsy crime to look no farther but… Read more »
Member

@ambalint

True to the last word.

Guest

So what should happen is photographs taken of the estate, even if they are old historic ones, since no doubt the place is well guarded. Or, some enterprising soul can send drones to take pictures.

These should then be submitted to Brussels, with the question whether the EU still wants to continue funding our dictator’s lavish lifestyle, which he does at the expense of hospitals and medical care for his citizens, proper schools for his citizens, and funds for the entire infrastructure of Hungary, just so he can live it up in a style to which, as an uncouth country bumpkin, our little Orbi is not accustomed.

I would suggest to all those who are attending the demo on the 15th, old photos of the estate are plastered everywhere on placards and the teachers and doctors, in particular, make this a number one issue, in view of the outrageous lack of funds for their essential services.

Guest
London Calling! Firstly all credit to Krisztina Ferenczi – keep plugging away Krisztina! It’s investigative journalists like you that keep democracy on the straight and narrow. (And even if you are not fully apprecated in press-shackled Hungary.) You are even more necessary in a commocracy. It’s exposure like this that consolidated Yanukovych’ downfall – all too much of a similarity with Orban. Of course coming out of communism – but still stuck in its ways – offered the ‘Nomenklatura’ unbridled opportunities to snatch up the vast portfolio of property that would be privatised. The land once held as communal land – the collective farms – the TSz’s – and the equipment – and farmed for the benefit of the workers in villages became too much of a temptation. The old ‘Nomenklatura’ – the new Fidesz – have had first dibs of the rich pickings. The old administrators of the TSz’s have become the wealthy land thieves – but they still prepare the gift carrier bags at Christmas for the old workers and still give them first pickings of the firewood from the Danube forests. Even the old Russian barracks – so run down in Gyor, for example, have been renovated… Read more »
Observer
Guest

FYI Krisztina Fereczy passed away last year.

Guest

Really? Thanks.

May she RIP.

Han
Guest
petofi
Guest

Died at the age of 65. No cause given at wiki. Rather young. Anyone know how she died?

Guest

Please, what is “TSz”?

Guest
The TSz’s are the administrative centres of the collective farms all over Hungary as a result of the successful ‘collectivisation’ of agriculture. Kadar succeeded where his predecessors failed and most of Hungary was collectivised in the 60’s. This meant that nobody owned the land and all the equipment was pooled and shared. The TSz’s still exist in some form but the land is slowly being privatised to those in Fidesz at knock down prices – which incidentally come with very valuable EU subsidies – and come with the land whether it is farmed or not. It’s been amusing to see how quickly someone can become a farmer with just attending a day of a farming course – which then qualifies you to buy the land – at very very low uncommercial prices. State robbery in essence. The old elite still hold all the controls as the New Elite – Fidesz – and are able to misappropriate land to their relatives – land originally owned by everyone. This is a communist state frozen in transition – a commocracy – where old communist practises persist in new clothing – and where Fidesz insult the opposition by calling them communists! They are the… Read more »
Guest

I know it would help if I could tell you what TSz is an abbreviation of – but my partner is at college!

I’m sure someone will step in!

Guest

Is there a minimum size to the land, for getting subsidies, Charlie?

Guest

“….. the single farm payment, is doled out by the hectare. The more land you own or rent, the more money you receive.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/farm-subsidies-blatant-transfer-of-cash-to-rich

I’ve known neighbours in Somerset who seem to have just ‘a large garden’ to worry about deadlines for applying for their ‘Brussels Wedge’.

Guest

I’m sure you know – a hectare is 100 metres x 100 metres about the size of one of Orban’s football pitch (playing area).

Guest

Wikipedia says the minimum is ‘ .3 of a hectare’ which ‘must be used for farming’ .

Amazing! Good question!

Guest
One of the ‘upsides’ to collectivisation, for me, (although it is disappearing as more land becomes embezzled) is that you can walk anywhere. In England all land is owned and mostly fenced. You can only walk on it if there are public footpaths across it and registered in the great English tradition – in the Ordinance Survey Map. These used to be secret documents and have a long history – but you can buy them now and use them to go for rambles in the country. They are works of art and you can spend many a happy hour just reading them (saddos that some of us are!). When my partner came to England – to rural Guildford – she just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just take off into the country for a walk! In Hungary you can walk anywhere and won’t (yet) encounter an angry farmer for trespassing on his land – even when he’s removed all the footpath signposts and blocked the ways. Walking in the country is a real pleasure in Hungary – because of the previous communal ownership – you can walk anywhere it seems with only (only!) the occasional hostile dog. I hope it… Read more »
Guest

Just as an interesting codicil (!) – possibly!

In England a footpath can be closed if it is unused for 365 consecutive days – although how you prove it is anyone’s guess.

Every year in countless villages, villagers ‘beat the bounds’ where they make sure to walk all the public footpaths around – thus ensuring their continuing access.

Similarly, if a private pathway can be shown to have been used continuously for 366 days then it can becomes a public footpath.

I used to work near Throgmorton Avenue (where the Old Lady of Threadneedle resides – the Bank of England) and rather annoyingly you would find your way blocked by massive wrought iron gates.

It was closed for one day a year – on a certain saint’s day that I can’t remember – just to prevent it becoming a public right of way.

A great inconvenience requiring a long detour which made me late for work again!

petofi
Guest

@ CC

One mustn’t forget that the other crowd–the MSZPers–were no better just less efficient and less daring. Thievery runs deep in the soul of Hungarians. As I’ve said before, all this tilt to Fidesz was begun at Oszod in 2006 where the backroom MSZP-boys didn’t like the sound of Gyurcsany’s “it’s time to go straight”. Better in opposition with a crook in charge than a reformed political culture. One good apple trying to cure a barrel of rotten ones? Won’t happen, said the MSZPers. So here we are. A bit of a mess even for the backroom MSZPers but now they’ve gotta settle for the odd payoff as it comes.
They’ve now signed up for minor rolls, as required by director-Victor.

Sic transit Hungaricum.

Hajra Magyarok!

Gergely
Guest

Orban is beloved despite his corruption. People know exactly that he is rich as any proper ruler should be.

Voters are absolutely OK with that.

However, people don’t like the leftist corruption because somehow it’s not deemed indigenous or proper. In the leftist corruption there is always a pro-foreign, jewish, EU, amateurish etc. element and the leftists are always get caught (Zuschlag, Hagyó, Simon etc.). The fideszniks are like Robin Hood, they are smart and never get caught. They are like us. Sure, they steal, but at least stadiums and museum are also being built and energy prices were cut. Even the little joes got something.

So this is a non-scandal.

People knew about it and already forgave Orban.

After all, Orban is the top dog and he has the right to be rich. This is the order of life and people accept that. What’s the big deal?

Guest

Gergely?

You only know Hungarianism – there is a better world out there.

Your post looks so sad – from such a loser – to a member, like me, of a true democracy (however defective).

Zsombi
Guest
This is the reality. Get used to it. In Felcsút people are totally indifferent. Orban is the leader, so he is rich, that’s his right. This is a new system, the leader is allowed to be rich, one doesn’t have to be Janos Kadar any more. The rich and the powerful can, what’s more, must play their roles. They must exercise their power and must show their status at all times. People actually expect that. A leader must lead and must act powerful. Modesty implies that one is impotent, that one apologizes for his/her existence and status but then how are you defending the nation against its assailants (the EU, the US) if you are modest and impotent? How? No. One must be rich, it shows how successful you are because you got away with your stealing. People do expect the politicians to be corrupt. But it has to be “our corruption”, not “their corruption”. Orban’s story shows that even from a small town a little guy who were regularly beaten up someone can be king. Isn’t that fantastic? There are opportunities, Rogan or Lazar are similar people, came from small places but they made it regardless. This is how… Read more »
Guest

No. Unequivocally no.

Have you read Lord of the Rings?

With Hungarians like you it means Hungary will never come in from the wilderness during my lifetime.

I suspect you might be being controversial for the sake of it. (Hope.)

But I think not.

Guest

Of course, I meant ‘Lord if the Flies’ by William Golding….

Guest

@charliecharlieh
Today 5:23 am

The mentality and ethos of a whole people rarely change, unless they go through some absolutely cataclysmic experience like the Germans or the Japanese did in WW2.

There is therefore no doubt whatsoever that Hungary will never come in from the wilderness during your lifetime, my lifetime or any other lifetimes in the foreseeable future.

With or without Zsombi.

Get used to it, Charlie.

Meantime you can enjoy the Hungarian countryside regardless.

Guest

Zsombi
What a strange and old fashioned view, as if Hungary is not part of the rest of the developed world.

In ancient Greece, I think it was Cicero, or was it Seneca, who made a real nuisance of himself by buttonholing anyone and everyone in the street and tearing apart the then fashionable notion that if someone is rich, it automatically means they are a good person.

He used, as any good philospher would, logic and reason and completely undermined his interlocutor’s arguments, and of course was killed for his efforts at trying to educate the masses.

Strange to think that the same illogical notions are still muddling the minds of some present day Hungarians, as has been nicely illustrated by your kind self, Zsombi.

You know, in the UK you can go to evening classes and study philosophy, at any age.

petofi
Guest

@ Zombi

I think you meant Socrates, no?
The figures you mentioned were Romans, not Greeks…

Guest

Aha, I knew it was one of those venerable chaps.
Yes, Socrates, and the hemlock, etc.

But I thougt it was someone else, too, who made nuisance of himself by questiong the status quo endlessly? But many thanks, Petofi

petofi
Guest

Diogenes

Observer
Guest

Oh you have a lot of these “moral” people whom the dictators get tired of and have them “removed” – Thomas Becket, Thomas More, Seneca’s case is a bit different.

Guest

@time4change
Today 6:45 am

No sense in shooting the messenger (Zsombi), time4change, and neither is there any sense in injecting irrelevant philosophical or historical points into the debate.

You may well know some talented Hungarians who form exceptions to the rule, but the issue at hand is the totally corrupt and retrogade semi-feudal mentality and ethos of the Hungarian leadership and of the electorate that put them in positions of absolute power.

No amount of harking back to Diogenes is likely to throw any light on what is actually the accepted way of life and way of doing things in Hungary today (as it has always been throughout Hungarian history).

spectator
Guest

“This is a new system, the leader is allowed to be rich…”

Here is where you’re completely wrong!

The system isn’t new, au contrite! This is the system called “feudalism”, when the ruler owned land and people, and let only his loyal vassals gain some wealth — or giving them for their faithful service.

Apparently the majority of Hungarians quite comfortable with the idea that someone — even a self appointed ruler — put them back to servitude and taking everything from them, in exchange for free hate and sick ideology.

They really need to be locked inside with all those barbed wire fences.

Guest

@spectator
Today 8:22 am

Exactly.

petofi
Guest

Another way to show your strength is to beat your wife and dog…

peter
Guest

exactly and a true fidesznik does these proudly as in Jóska nem rossz ember, néha eljár a keze, ez igaz.

Guest

@Zsombi
Today 5:18 am

I agree that this is exactly how it is in Hungary. A hopelessly retarded and corrupt feudal mentality, typical of Balkan, Calabrian or Sicilian villagers.

My point is that what the hell was the EU elite smoking when they invited this crowd of feudal leftovers to join the club.

And what is Brussels smoking today to be actively subsidizing absolutely astounding, all-pervasive levels of corruption in Hungary to the tune of tens of billions of euros.

Looks to me like both being a triumph of foolish hope over elementary common sense, precaution and minimal considerations of self-preservation.

Observer
Guest

OMG

Zsombi’s message should be related to all people (zemberek-hez), they should learn their place, kiss the master’s hand, take the kicks and pay up.
And love the leader for this bright future.

John Orwell, take this.

Observer
Guest

George Orwell of course, sorry been in a hurry

Guest

@Observer
Today 5:43 am

This is not just an Orwellian phenomenon as described in Animal Farm, but simply the very typical traditional feudal and semi-feudal attitudes (rendi, rendiség) of Hungarians to this very day.

Hungarian mentality and ethos seems to have got stuck somewhere in the middle of the 19th century and has never ever been able to move forward from there ever since.

Observer
Guest

@Charlie

Spot on – very sad to read such nonsense, but it is not so rare here, as saying goes “you can plough the Hungarian’s back, as long as the plow is “nemzeti”.

The message is even more astonishing – once a Leader, he is entitled to rob blind and people would love him for it !! This is as perverse as the unorthodox Robin Hood the troll mentioned – so unorthodox that he looks like the Sheriff. This is the
Orban’s world – everything is something else in a labyrinth of lies.

Even this principle of “appropriate robbery” is twisted – it does not apply to others who eventually stole while in power, e.g. Zuschlag, Hagyó, Simon.
It doesn’t down on the poor troll that corruption looked different because it was deemed illegal and was (usually, if not always) prosecuted, before Orban adopted it as a policy. He can’t grasp the enormity of the scale where the looting can be measured in % of GDP, while he gets no more than crumbs of the spoils at best for peddling the agitprop lies.

Their Hungary today – what a shame.

petofi
Guest

I would think that the proper punishment for the present mafia band is quite simple: they should not be jailed. Let them live at home; but they should all be forced, for atleast 20 years, to use the toilets shown recently on the blog–

Guest

Gergely
Funny you should say that ” The fideszniks are like Robin Hood, they are smart and never get caught.”

I was thinking along similar lines, because the other main charater in Robin Hood is the Sheriff of Nottingham, who, just like Orbán, steals from the poor to give to the rich! Well done for pointing out the similarities between a Robin Hood nasty character, and our equally unethical little Orbi.

Though you do seem a trifle confused about what the story is about….

Guest

“The fideszniks are like Robin Hood”

Gergely,

I thought you might be interested in the song about Robin Hood, which was the soundtrack to the TV programme, and what he says about the rich and the poor. Cannot see much in common with him and Fidesz.

“Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men,

Feared by the rich, loved by the poor,

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood.”

Guest

Possibly the word ‘the’?

petofi
Guest

The sounds of a tribal, ass-kisser from 900 AD.

Guest

If we believe for a moment that Gergely and Zsombi are not satrirical then we have to admit that (the majority of …) Hungarians are not democrats and Hungary is no democracy – and then Hungary doesn’t belong in the EU but to some “Eurasian Empire” under the leadership of Putin …
Good riddance!

Istvan
Guest
If one assumes Hungary because of its proximity to developed Western Europe should not have rampant institutionalized corruption then It almost seems as if their is a character flaw in the national character of Hungary. But if one looks at the correction between corruption to poverty and underdevelopment internationally, it appears not in the least to be based on a national character flaw. Politicians here in the USA who sometimes come from humble family background and who even attain good educations are susceptible to corruption. In Eva’s home state of Connecticut there have been amazing corruption cases such as the convicted Mayor of Bridgeport Joseph P. Ganim who was reflected even through his corruption was proven in court, or former Gov. John G. Rowland, or former Bridgeport state Sen. Ernest Newton II, or past Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez all of whom have been faced with corruption issues. Here in Chicago Illinois we have had so many politicians and public officials jailed for corruption I could list dozens, including a former first generation Serbian American from Chicago who was a neighbor, a success story in the Eastern European community, elected governor, and who now is serving a long sentence in federal… Read more »
szílí
Guest

@Istvan: This is not a national character flaw. People are poor and backward. Underdeveloped. There is a sore lack of the independent middle class (bourgeoisie). That’s all.

This is the same everywhere from Hungary, Serbia, Russia to Africa, to Indonesia etc.

Power is exercised in a different way than it is written in the major books on Western democracy or politics.

From J. S. Mill to Lenin many people saw it clearly that democracy and freedom may only exist (people only care about those) if there exists an independent middle class.

For others, especially in rural regions (which in Hungary means everything outside Budapest) these concepts are alien and strange, simply do not correspond to the daily reality.

While I agree that people resent corruption and the epic scale of robbery these don’t mean that they would happily vote for a (leftist) opposition. Hungarians vote for Fidesz and Orban despite their corruption. Why? That’s a good question and the answer isn’t clear (e.g. the book on the Hungarian Mafia State isn’t convincing).

Guest
szili I can never understand why seemingly sensible people refer endlessly to the fact that there is corruption and wrongdoing elsewhere, and not just in Hungary. What good does that do? How does that help improve things here? So why do you do it, when it sounds like an apology for Orbán’s mafia state.? It is glaringly obvious that where there are people (and that goes even for the north pole and antarctica) there are difficulties. And why? Because no system is perfect. What is different about Hungary and what puts the spanner in the works as far as changing things, is this very attitude, that things are bad elsewhere too. The most developed and evolved democracies have huge problems, but unlike in Hungary, they also have huge citizen’s movements to address the issues to rectify whatever the problem might be, such as corruption, underfunding, racism, etc. And most importantlly, there are checks and balances, which are now non-existent in Hungary. I suggest you address the issue of checks and balances (or the absence of)in Hungary, rather than picking at glitches elsewhere. In England and the USA, once upon a time there was slavery, and not all that long ago.… Read more »
peter
Guest

It’s useless to compare Hungary to the UK or the USA. Its apples and oranges or even more dissimilar. If however you look at Serbia, Moldavia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, and yes countries from what used to be the “Third World” things are exactly the same. That’s not an apology. And that is why Balint Magyar’s book on the Hungarian Mafia State was criticized – there is nothing really special Hungarian in it. Underdeveloped countries all over the world suffer from the same or very similar problems. What is more or less exceptional or surprising, however, is that Hungary is in the EU (which these days would not admit Hungary). (NATO is a different issue, Turkey is in the NATO even though it occupies illegally half of Cyprus, for starters.)

Guest

What Peter describes is the funny (?) side of this:

Hungarians always declare that Hungary is part of central Europe and does not belong to the Balkan – but reality is different.

Guest

If I said it is reasonable to judge the third world by: its poverty; low wages; awful toilets; crumbling health service; terrible roads and chaotic administration – what conclusion would you come to?

Guest

@time4change
Today 9:33 am

A favoured rhetorical tactic is to change the subject upon running out of argument, or point the finger to elsewhere, or shift the referential context, or change at least the slant or tenor of the discussion.

The only way to counter that is with a steady and unwavering focus on the topic at hand.

:-))

Guest

@szílí
Today 8:05 am

You make an excellent point re the rural regions in Hungary.

The key to the impotence of the democratic opposition in Hungary is precisely because they are unable to make any serious inroads in the rural regions.

Conversely, the key to the strength of Fidesz and to a lesser extent of Jobbik is that the rural regions form their power base.

Observer
Guest

@szili “Hungarians vote for Fidesz and Orban despite their corruption.”

Not quite so.
Most people in the country have no access to any radio or TV (last year RTL) critical of the regime. The accessible (mostly state) media is a mouthpiece streaming endless propaganda. Their only source of free info is the net, where Hungary is again at the bottom of the use stats, even without net tax.

Hence one can’t expect the traditionally suspicious and negative Hungarian to accept the critical bits from the net over the flood of rosy propaganda from the other media. I have often quoted cases, well known in our circle, to the fidesz leaning interlocutors had no idea what I am talking about. Even if they had, they need time to accept the truth going against their existing mindset.

The modern weapon of politics is mass media, this is why all the regime’s efforts to subjugate it.

Guest

@Observer
Today 11:18 am

But then how come that rural Hungary voted solidly Fidesz or Jobbik back in 2010, when the current restrictions on access to alternative opinion on radio and television had not as yet been introduced?

And even with these current problems of access to alternative points of view on radio and television, papers such as Népszabadság or Népszava are surely available in rural regions too, should anyone be willing to buy them.

And presumably internet sites are just as available in rural regions as in the capital.

So I am afraid I am unable to buy the argument in your post above. It seems far more reasonable to assume that Fidesz and to a lesser extent Jobbik are simply populist mouthpieces of genuine public opinion in rural Hungary.

I accept however, that with these restrictions of access to alternative opinion on radio and television, it is most unlikely that public opinion in rural Hungary would ever change.

And I also accept that this is exactly the point of the restricted access introduced by Orbán & Co, namely to retain their power base fully intact for the foreseeable future.

Observer
Guest

@ambalint Today 11:18 am
I commented the @szili statement that rurals still vote for Fidesz despite its corruption. My point is that they vote so, because their don’t know much about the corruption. That doesn’t mean they will switch voted at the first revelations.

Net: only 60% of Hungarians use internet.
Other media: H-s get 90% of news info from TV and ATV is the only and geographically restricted critical outlet (Hir and RTL started some critical reporting last year).

I agree that if this info barrier is not broken it will be tough.
But I see the process where the Fidesz flood of lies can backfire, where the rurals/not well informed will start to doubt everything or believe the opposite (irrational, again, but suites us fine).

petofi
Guest

The news in the country is often, slyly, dispensed by mother church. And we know where that leads….Fidesz…Jobbik

Guest
@Istvan Today 7:21 am You make a very good point, a valid point, although the levels of Hungarian corruption, thieving and looting, its generality and all-pervasiveness, would surely give a good run for money to even the Chicago Outfit in the good old days. And there are of course the many precedents of thieving and looting in Hungary’s history, especially in the 20th century. After all, there has been nothing like the Hungarian Jew Laws in the States, the physical dispossession of the middle classes by the Hungarian commies, the systematic stealing and looting of government property by one and all in the Kádár era, the robber privatization of national assets after the regime change, and so on, all of which totally desensitized Hungarians by now, regarding property rights and elementary ethics. And indeed, if corruption of the scale that you note in Connecticut or Illinois was the only serious problem in Hungary, then Hungary would not be that different from many a country further West. The problem in Hungary is that the general level of corruption is only one among the countless other revolting issues, albeit one of the most egregious among them. Ultimately, it is a problem of… Read more »
Member
Great article. I would not say that his personal excess until now can “be summed up in one word: Felcsút”. Through the years on this blog too there were factual records added about the ever growing wealth of the Orban family. Just like the other assets, the “newly” acquired estates often registered under the name of others. Through history there were instances of self-made millionaires, many were the “product” of their own creativity (Silicon Valley), artistic merits (composers, painters, actors, directors), and/or business sense (real estate, mining, trade). There are a few, who became rich through the back of their “own people”, sometimes in disguise as “I am doing this for you”. These later is the group of political leaders who accumulated enormous wealth through their clever dictatorship. Yes, I think Orban’s Hungary reached a point dictatorship. In a country where the rule of law does not need to be followed by all, where the country’s chief prosecutor is not independent, where the taxes paid, and where the spendings of the National Bank can be classified is not a democratic country, it is a dictatorship. The Orban family cleverly shuffled the cards by selling and buying, transferring and by the… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Noting Orban’s cleverness in these matters, I would say that his Hungarian fortune is just the tip of the iceberg…

Observer
Guest

@some1 / Petofi

Yes, we see only the tip now.
But I disagree on the issue of eventual prosecution of the Orban mafia crimes. They have been breaking their own laws, which would be enough tostart with and jail many of those, a’la Al Capone – for tax evasion, at first. And I have some good ideas regarding ways to see that justice is served.

It will take time and effort, but it can be done. Single precondition – defideszation of the respective systems, once disinfected and a bit reformed they can do the job.

petofi
Guest

Sorry, Observer, ’tis but a dream.
A tree grows in Hungary, and there ain’t no way a savvy Hungarico going to cut off the branch he’s sitting on!

(And good luck to you in trying to uproot the tree…)

Guest

@petofi
Today 1:31 pm

Exactly. Dreams and wishful thinking.

Guest

@Some1
Today 8:11 am

Many a Latin American dictator comes to mind, or sheikhs and dictators in Arab and Central Asian countries, or Black African dictators, or Marcos of the Philippines, or even Ceaușescu, in certain respects.

Member

Mészáros family (Orban’s proxy) has obtained another 4000 hectares of prime agricultural land.

http://index.hu/gazdasag/2016/03/11/meg_4000_hektar_allami_foldhoz_jutott_meszaros_lorinc/

Member

Wasn’t ii the mayor’s wife in his new fiefdom (Herceghalom) who prevented the filing of an anti-Fidesz referendum with the help of skinheads a few days ago?

tappanch
Guest

Close friends of former Fidesz faction leader and current propaganda minister Rogan have received 16 billion forints from a state-owned bank.

http://index.hu/gazdasag/bankesbiztositas/2016/03/11/tenyleg_rogan_ismerosei_nyertek_az_eximbank_16_milliardjat/

tappanch
Guest

At the end of January , Mr Matolcsy, chairman of the National Bank handed over another 0.3 billion of public money to his “foundations”, to a total of 280 billion forints.

According to a new law, public money becomes private in the foundations.

The Constitutional court will take out only the no longer necessary retroactive parts of this law , according to minister Lazar’s words yesterday.

http://www.vg.hu/gazdasag/szazmilliokat-kaptak-az-mnb-alapitvanyai-466999

tappanch
Guest

The relationship between Mr Meszaros and a piece of valuable real estate in Budaörs.

http://atlatszo.hu/2016/03/11/meszaros-lorinchez-kozeli-exzsaru-sertepertel-egy-ertekes-budaorsi-telken/

petofi
Guest

Which suggests a foolproof way in the future, of bringing to justice those who were complicit with Fidesz transfer of land and property…just keep track of those who’ve been amazingly ‘fortunate’
during this period!

petofi
Guest

Gee, I wonder how Viktor the Victorious would like it if Bernie (the Jew) would be elected president?

petofi
Guest

(Actually, I’d pay good money to hear Kover’s first words on the election of Bernie…)

Guest

@petofi
Today 1:56 pm

Don’t hold you breath my friend, it won’t happen.

But if it did, it would indeed be absolutely fascinating to watch the reaction of the leaders of the antisemitic, anti-liberal and anti-US Hungarian mafia.

petofi
Guest

@ambalint

re: on the election of Sanders as US president

I can hear Kover’s words now:

” You see! We told you all along that the jews control the US! And the US controls the EU. Should we be subjugated again by jews? No!! Therefore we must leave the EU as soon as possible…”

A scenario for the future departure of Hungary from civilized surroundings.

Observer
Guest

I guess Clinton is no Orban fan either, actually no foreign Orban fan comes my mind.

Member

BTW, Juhász has brought a charge against Orban’s father and seeks to mobilise anybody doing likewise:
https://www.facebook.com/Juhi.JuhaszPeter/photos/a.486159078123247.1073741827.478686885537133/1032190306853452/?type=3&theater

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