George Soros and Viktor Orbán: From friend to enemy

Anyone who thinks that Viktor Orbán’s charge that George Soros is responsible for the refugee crisis is too bizarre to be believable should think again. The propaganda is working. Nyugat.hu, an internet site serving western Transdanubia, reports regularly on Körmend, the town where a camp for about 300 refugees was set up. Although there have been no incidents resulting from the presence of the refugees, parties and civic groups have organized several town meetings. First, Jobbik and a local political organization invited a Hungarian Reformed minister to speak about Hungarians’ Lebensraum (élettér), whose connotation in Hungarian is no better than it is in German or in English. The next day Fidesz held a meeting where one of attendees confidently announced that “if the mercenaries of Gyurkó Soros were annihilated, then Hungary would have no such problems.” Orbán’s message had obviously sunk in.

While Viktor Orbán is busy orchestrating an attack on Soros, the Clintons, the Democratic Party, and the Obama administration, the Hungarian opposition is countering, pointing out how beholden Fidesz and Viktor Orbán in particular are to George Soros. The Demokratikus Koalíció website states that “Orbán owes his political career to George Soros.” This is an exaggeration, but it is true that Fidesz, before it became a party, received generous and sustained financial support from Soros’s Open Society Foundation.

Everybody I talked to who knew Orbán and the other young activists of Bibó College had a very favorable impression of them. Soros was no exception. It was Miklós Vásárhelyi, press secretary of Imre Nagy during his short-lived tenure as prime minister of Hungary, who introduced the young activists to George Soros. Vásárhelyi became a close friend and representative of Soros. In the 1990s he was the chairman of the Open Society Foundation in Hungary. During these early years Fidesz received 4.7 million forints, which would be worth roughly 200 million forints today. I remember vividly that the foundation supplied copy machines to several burgeoning political groups, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. Prior to that gift, producing the necessarily very short-run samizdat material was a slow, cumbersome process. Soros also funded scholarships for Viktor Orbán, József Szájer, László Kövér, and Tamás Deutsch to study at British universities. Orbán received a monthly stipend of 10,000 Ft from a Soros-funded organization, which allowed him to devote himself to politics.

Although after Fidesz became a party it no longer received financial help from the Open Society, the relationship between the party leaders and Soros remained friendly. They parted ways, however, when in 1993 and 1994 Viktor Orbán led his party to the conservative camp. According to an Origo article published in 2010, after Orbán won the election in 1998 Soros hoped for a while that the young new prime minister would take the country in the “right” direction. But after about a year and a half into Orbán’s term, relations between Soros and the prime minister deteriorated. It is hard to know who was responsible for that turn of events, but I suspect it was more Orbán’s decision than Soros’s. According to Anna Belia, who was program director of the Open Society Foundation in Hungary at the time, the foundation tried several times to initiate meetings with the prime minister, but their requests were left unanswered. The problem was that Soros’s foundation “supported movements and publications that were not to Viktor Orbán’s liking.”

From 2000 on, Soros began to curtail his involvement in Hungary, claiming that soon enough Hungary would be a part of the European Union and his philanthropy would not be needed. And indeed, by 2008 the sole remaining program of the Soros foundation was the Roma Education Fund.

George Soros offers help in October 2010 / Ssurce: Origo / Photo Csaba Pelsőczy

George Soros offers help in October 2010 / Source: Origo / Photo Csaba Pelsőczy

Two years later, however, Soros was back. He offered one million dollars toward the cleanup efforts of the red sludge environmental disaster. At the same time he gave millions for Hungary’s Roma program, the Decade of Roma Inclusion, in addition to his Roma Education Fund, through which he partially funded the Hódmezővásárhely integration program, which was considered to be a great success of János Lázár, mayor of the city. At that point Soros was planning to expand the program and was hoping that within five years the number of children taking part in the program would be raised to 30,000. I must admit that I don’t know much about the current situation, although I know that the foundation’s scholarship program is a real success in Hungary. As for the integration project, I doubt that Soros is satisfied with the attitude of Zoltán Balog, who is a strong proponent of “loving segregation.” No rational arguments against such a solution can change his mind.

Ildikó Csuhaj, Népszabadság’s sleuth when it comes to information being leaked from Fidesz, reported today that in Fidesz circles the number of Soros’s “domestic agents” is growing. By now, even former SZDSZ politicians and Ronald S. Lauder are being accused of serving Soros’s agenda. Some people in government circles are convinced that the large American investment banks conspired with Soros to launch a concerted financial attack against Hungary. Apparently their “source” is a novel by Tamás Frei, A bankár. Of course, it is fiction but, according to the book by György Matolcsy’s secretary, after reading it, even the head of the Hungarian National Bank saw the light. Matolcsy is convinced that this novel describes a real life situation. In government circles there is also the strong belief that Soros is responsible for influencing the U.S. State Department through his accusations that “the Hungarian right has Fascist attributes.”

Finally, Jane Mayer has a long article in The New Yorker about a clumsy effort “to perpetrate an elaborate sting on Soros.”

May 21, 2016
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Member

The events happening in Hungary and the actions of the Fidesz criminals, thieves and murderers, masquerading as the Government of Hungary are more and more surreal.
The mini-Mussolini is a dangerous psychopath and he is loosing his mind and falling deep into paranoia, despite of his medications.
Unfortunately a large number of Hungarians are also loosing their ability to distinguish between the reality and the distorted World, presented to them by the Fidesz brainwashing media. The voice of the scummy riff-raff and the rabble is allowed to prevail above the intellectuals. A disaster is in the making.
Hungary is going downhill faster and nobody seems to be able to stop the slide, until the disaster will hit everybody hard. It is not a pleasant ride, with a terrible end to come.

Guest

London Calling!

It’s just so astonishing that someone can turn on somebody who has done so much – and could do more – for your country

Before Hungary was in the EU it was a backwards communist transitional economy and needed all the help it coud get.

It’s worth seeing Tappanch’ figures and dates again:

“In Soros’s “pay”:

Viktor Orban: April 1988 to (?) 1990
József Szájer: 1986 – 1987
Tamas Deutsch: 1989
Zsolt Nemeth: 1988 – 1989
Maria Schmidt: 1985-1988
Zoltan Kovacs: 1994-1995”

Now that they find it easier to embezzle EU funds – money without much accountability – they kick George Soros in the teeth.

And with the collusion of the electorate.

I’m tempted to say “what a nasty Nation” but have to give the benefit of the doubt.

What a nasty government.

webber
Guest

Éva, call me paranoid if you like, but I would not attribute the slightest bit of significance to statements made by people at so-called town meetings in Körmend, or whatever small town you wish to mention.
Or rather, I would attribute just about as much significance to those statements as to those which appeared in the letters-to-the-editor” section of Népszabadság under Kádár.
The choreography Fidesz can achieve in rural places….

Guest

webber… Looks like you believe they’re all stuffing themselves on the Fideszian gulyas being served and maybe scared of sending it right back in kitchens throughout the village etterems!…;-)…

webber
Guest

I believe people are picked – some self-selecting Fideszniks – to attend these events. Normal people these days don’t attend this sort of thing. They have better things to do.

webber
Guest

And also, one loudmouth from a village is just that – the village loudmouth. Just because someone talks passionately and loudly while others stay quiet does not mean that others agree with him (I’m from a rural background, btw).

Guest

I agree with you on the ‘loudmouths’. But you know I just have to say that I am aware that there others who just can’t get away from believing that outside agitating disznos are oinking their way towards ruining the Magyar ‘way’ and elet. They sure believe the Fideszian line on that. Oink oink!

Guest

And just something about etterems and ‘freedom’.

I noted once that when trying to get a meal in a village during ye olde Kadar times my wife and I weren’t even served therefore we didn’t even have the chance to tell the proprietors whether the meal was good or not so good.

Today ‘etterems’ are all over the place but it would seem nobody complains about the bad ‘food’. Now Janos is gone and ‘szabadsag’ reigns yet it would seem the populace isn’t availing itself of sending in complaints.
And if they are it’s very very hush hush as one probably feels the blast of heat from a hot stove if the mouth opens. So , so much for szabadsag in still what can be called arguably a merry barrack.

Istvan
Guest
Ildikó Csuhaj may not be a journalistic “sleuth” when it comes to Fidesz as Eva’s essay indicates, but rather an operative for Fidesz. This type of operative poses as a critic, but actually never says much critical of Fidesz. I have been reading her stories for years now and that pattern is clear. Even, the story Eva links to shows Csuhaij’s tendency to present supposedly insider Fidesz information in a context neutral manner. In this story she puts forward the Fidesz position that Soros proposes placing at least one million Muslims in Europe and then follows that with an Orban statement on how he is opposing that. Ildikó Csuhaj must know full well that Soros has publicly also opposed EU quotas for refugees on Hungary and other EU countries see http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/04/09/europe-how-pay-for-refugees/ She could have easily made reference to the actual Soros plan. Balint Magyar discusses the variety of ways Fidesz has domesticated the media, I believe Ildikó Csuhaj is an example of that process. If she wrote any extremely critical stories of Fidesz using leaks from the party it’s self her sources would be cut off and she would probably cease to be a columnist. She plays the role the… Read more »
Guest

She plays the role the Orban media octopus allows her to play.

Just like the troll(s) here who always tell(s) us:
Fidesz is a winner, O is invincible, the leftists are wussies …
It’s the same strategy I think!

webber
Guest

EXCELLENT observation, István.
Népszabadság has been owned by Fidesz for some time now. It keeps a semblance of criticism for its old readers – you’ve seen right through it.
The only Hungarian daily broadsheet that is now reliable about the government is Népszava, and government people generally refuse even to speak with Népszava’s reporters.
Magyar Nemzet has had a veneer of critical articles since Simicska had his spat with Orbán, of course.

Aggy
Guest

Csuhaj’s resume is rather murky. Given the industry (thought of as fundamental by the Hungarian security establishment) and her closeness to Fidesz (who are paranoid about anybody except for secret servicemen/women), this fact alone can suggests an association with the Ministry of Interior (both pre-1990 and now). I say it is much more likely than not that she is a belügyes loyal to Fidesz (almost all of them are anyway).

Guest

Interesting piece by Mayer in the current issue of the New Yorker. No doubt there are a bunch of ‘Victor Kesh’s’ ( love that name!) floating around here partaking in what is known in the dirty tricks trade as ‘rat*******’ where fellows like O’Keefe seek to entrap and have their ‘targets’ break the law as they seek to sway elections. Such a nice American to bag and ‘get’ one of his countrymen.

As far as the supposed ‘cold war’ being dead it seems the detritus never went away. The illiberalists still love , adhere and know the value of the old ‘vanguard’ doing the dirty work to pave the way for ‘adjustments’ in democratic societies when it comes to the political spectrum.

The fellows are working hard. And as all this is going on I’m just setting in watching embedded KGB agents having fun in the series, ‘The Americans’ stoking up so much mayhem in American politic life during the Reagan administration. Commies, illiberalists, different names but underneath it all same spiel and at the last same old same old.

Guest

Did you know that the series, ‘The Americans’ is based on real Russian spies living as a family in the USA for many years?
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/07/discovered-our-parents-were-russian-spies-tim-alex-foley

wwwwp
Guest

OT: in the WaPo poll Trump took the lead over Clinton 46-44 among registered voters. This is an 11-point shift towards Trump in a month and a half.

Orban is smiling needless to say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-election-2016-shapes-up-as-a-contest-of-negatives/2016/05/21/8d4ccfd6-1ed3-11e6-b6e0-c53b7ef63b45_story.html

tappanch
Guest

Outside Hungary:

USA:
Trump’s ties to the Genovese and Gambino mob “families” are detailed:

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/donald-trump-2016-mob-organized-crime-213910

Austria:
van der Bellen wins only in Vienna and Vorelberg.
In Burgenland: Hofer 63%, van der Bellen 37%

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tappanch
Guest

I meant VorARLberg

tappanch
Guest

Close races take place only in NiederÖsterreich & Tirol (only 50.7% for Hofer in both BundesLändern)

tappanch
Guest

Correction – only in OberÖsterreich & Tirol – as you can gather from the greener pastures on the map above.

tappanch
Guest

Eligible voters: 6.382.507
Turnout: 60.7%
invalid votes: 3.7%

Hofer 1.937.863, 51.9%
Van der Bellen 1.793.857, 48.1%
The difference is 144,000 votes.

http://wahl16.bmi.gv.at/

tappanch
Guest

Share of Muslims in Austria:

1971: 0.30%
1981: 1.02%
1991: 2.04%
2001: 4.22%
2009: 6.17%

Observer
Guest

Honest, I have no idea what was George Soros thinking in 2010, he definitiely should have known by then …

Anybody ?

Member

Today’s editorial in the Hungarian Pravda Magyar Idők presents the narrative that links Soros and the kerfuffle about the Central Bank’s foundations: http://magyaridok.hu/velemeny/soros-az-offshoros-689176/ Barnabás Siklós explains that there is a consolidated attack orchestrated by Soros and other financial troublemakers to undermine the very successful Hungarian state, economy and ideological revolution. The story is simple enough for consumption at home. But the state’s choice of propaganda shows that Matolcsy is here to stay. Also foreshadows further Putinization.

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