Growing anti-Russian sentiment in Hungary

In the last couple of months the Hungarian government has been so preoccupied with George Soros’s evil empire that it has not noticed a shift in public opinion on its increasingly close relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Hungarians are getting fed up with Russian influence, which is noticeable wherever they look. In March, Publicus Intézet conducted a poll which revealed that the majority of Hungarians consider Viktor Orbán’s pet project, the extension of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, to be contrary to Hungarian interests. Better informed people are convinced that the City of Budapest was forced to buy refurbished outmoded metro cars from Russia–cars that kept breaking down–in order to please the Russians.

When Bernadett Szél of LMP accuses Fidesz members of parliament of being Russian agents, when anti-Russian slogans are chanted at demonstrations, and when the Party of the Two-tailed Dog carries posters like the ones shown here, we can see that Orbán’s shameless courting of Putin’s Russia is starting to backfire at home.

By now many perfectly sane people are convinced that Orbán’s abrupt foreign policy turnabout when he was reelected prime minister in 2010 was not exactly voluntary. Until then, Orbán had been fiercely anti-Russian. Russian-Hungarian relations, way before Russia’s Putinization, were seriously strained during Orbán’s tenure as prime minister between 1998 and 2002. It took the socialist-liberal government years to normalize relations between the two countries. While in opposition, Orbán criticized any and all moves toward closer relations with Russia, especially Ferenc Gyurcsány’s friendly personal relations with Vladimir Putin after 2006. But then, in 2009, Orbán showed up in Moscow as the head of Fidesz to attend the congress of Putin’s party, United Russia.

It was Ferenc Gyurcsány who the other day said publicly what thousands of people suspect: that Vladimir Putin has something on Viktor Orbán which caused him to change course practically overnight. On April 8 Gyurcsány gave a long interview to Magyar Nemzet in which he claimed that “Viktor Orbán’s about-face can be logically explained only by assuming that the Russians are blackmailing him.” Upon further questioning, he indicated that he knows about certain aspects of Orbán’s life that might lend themselves to blackmail. On April 21 he went further in an interview on ATV’s Egyenes beszéd. “I know the following: the Russians have confronted the prime minister with certain facts and documents which are so embarrassing that he would think five times before he would reject Putin’s demands.” Those who are in possession of the documents can be forced to release them only if the documents are required as evidence in a court of law. Therefore, Gyurcsány continued, “the prime minister should sue me over this accusation if he thinks that what I’m saying is untrue. In that case, I will prove my assertion.”

This is a pretty startling announcement from a former prime minister, but the fact is that a fair number of commentators, politicians, and ordinary citizens have been convinced for some time that this recent Russian-Hungarian love affair raises red flags. Two politicians who were interviewed right after Gyurcsány, neither of them a Gyurcsány fan, didn’t reject the possibility. On the contrary.

Meanwhile an activist, Gergő Komáromy, to demonstrate his opposition to Orbán’s cozy relationship with Putin, threw (washable) yellow paint on the Soviet War Memorial, which stands on Liberty Square right across from the U.S. Embassy. Komáromy received a fine of 30,000 forints (around $100), a much milder sentence than Márton Gulyás got for a lesser act. But that was not the end of the story. A few days later Komáromy was contacted by a Chechen-born Russian citizen, Magomed Dasaev, who demanded a public apology. After Dasaev informed him that he is a nice Chechen but there are others who are not so nice and might be after him and his family, Komáromy readily agreed to a public apology both in Hungarian and in English. The video that was put online was a great hit among Russian internet users. In no time close to 200,000 people watched the Hungarian’s humiliation. For good measure even the Russian Foreign Ministry got into the fray, calling attention to the bilateral agreements on Soviet and Russian military memorials in Hungary.

That a Chechen decided to take things into his own hands and threaten a Hungarian citizen was too much even for András Stumpf of the conservative Válasz. He found the video “chilling.” The Fidesz government, which prides itself on being a “national government,” should be national now and raise its voice against a Chechen forcing a Hungarian citizen to be humiliated in front of everybody. The Russians “look upon this city as their predecessors used to. As a colony, their own little kindergarten. So, it is really time for all of us to be national.”

Bernadett Szél (LMP), a member of the parliamentary committee on national security, moved into action. She finds it unacceptable that neither the Hungarian intelligence community nor the prime minister speaks out against “Russian pseudo civilians telling Hungarian citizens how they can protest the government’s policies.” Her view is shared by Zsolt Molnár (MSZP), chairman of the committee. The committee will call on the Budapest police and the Office for the Defense of the Constitution for an explanation. What happened cannot be tolerated in an EU country, Molnár said.

Others called attention to mysterious Chechens showing up in Moscow. As Krisztián Ungváry put it, “In the beginning, the Chechen only asks; then he sends the head of a dead animal; and finally someone is hit by a car.” Attila Ara-Kovács recalled a group photo from 2006 on which one can see Anna Politkovskaia, Stanislav Markelov, and Natalia Estemirova. What they have in common is that by now all three are dead, killed by Chechen hit men. And, of course, there is the case of Boris Nemtsov, who was killed practically in front of the Kremlin, also by a Chechen. Putin, it seems, created a network of Chechen henchmen who do his dirty work. Given Viktor Orbán’s itchy palms and CÖF’s talk about civil war, the appearance of Hungary’s own Chechen is worrisome.

I assume that nobody is shocked after everything that has happened recently that the attitude of Hungarians toward Russia has undergone a dramatic shift. To the question “In your opinion, whom does the current foreign policy of the government serve first and foremost?” the percentage of those who named Russia tripled (from 9% to 26%) between November 2016 and April 2017 while the percentage of those who answered that the Orbán government’s foreign policy primarily serves the interests of the homeland has shrunk from 57% to 45%. But more about this fascinating poll tomorrow.

April 23, 2017
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PENNY OSWALT
Guest

RUSSIA HAS ALWAYS HAD A FOOTHOLD IN HUNGARY AND EUROPE, ESPECIALLY AFTER WWII. THERE IS NO GOOD TIME TO STAND UP, JUST JUMP UP AND IN THE FIRE WE GO!!!

LydsG
Guest

The apology video is chilling but sadly familiar. Kadyrov uses this tactic widely against anyone who dares to criticise his rule in Chechnya. Taped ublic and humiliating apologies……

Guest

I imagine that what Putin has over Orbán is a financial scam, and exposing it would spell the end for the House of Orbán. No wonder our PM is so hell bent on closing down the CEU…as per orders from Moscow.

And the threat of a jail sentence of a few decades would also be a strong inducement for our Orbi to make sure he toes the line for Putin.

Guest

“…the end for the House of Orbán.”

It may come suddenly, cracks begin to open and in a short while nothing is left standing and unbroken. Vividly described in “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Poe.

Member

“The end for the House of Orbán…”

But there is already ample evidence of Orbanite financial scams, and his supporters do nothing but shrug.

LwiiH
Guest

Gyurcsány owes it to the Hungarian public to come clean with what he knows.

Reality Check
Guest

Maybe he is holding back. It would have a stronger impact if the info is released closer to the election.

Istvan
Guest
Ferenc Gyurcsány also said he had definitive proof that Hungarian forces staged an attack on refugees at the Serbian border several years ago. He showed a video he claimed proved this which it actually did not. He never produced one witness from the Hungarian side to testify that Hungarian forces opened a gate to allow refugees into Hungary so they could be beaten. Now the beating of the refugees may have indeed been staged, but Gyurcsány had nothing but circumstantial evidence to back up his claims. Now he says he has evidence that Orban has been blackmailed by Putin, but has produced none of this. Again Gyurcsány could be correct in his assessment of the blackmail of Orban by the Russians, but I will believe he has the evidence to back this up when I see it. Reportedly according to what I have read and watched on ATV Gyurcsány claims, he was able to view copies of the alleged documents proven Orban was subject to blackmail through an intermediary, documents which would shed light on the illegal and dishonest financing of Fidesz and Orban. Gyurcsány said he would take all steps to acquire the documents and make them public, but… Read more »
Member

I’ve heard, from credible sources, that people have dirt on Orban that is much more personal than financial scams. I leave it up to your interpretation.

wakond
Guest
Nobody will publish any dirt on Orban. Somebody had a good analogy the other day. This dirt Simicska or Gyurcsany may have is like the nuclear bomb. Neither Gyurcsany nor Simicska can really publish anything because they cannot be sure that the dirt is really so destructive. If the big secret turns out to be underwhelming than they have nothing left against Orban who has Polt and the entire justice apparatus against them. As long as Simicska and Gyurcsany keep using innuendo they are protected from legal actions because Orban cannot know what they really have and what the outcome can be of the publication. This results in a classic nuclear detente. So nothing will be published but we will keep hearing that they have something serious. Anyway those who love Orban will continue to love Orban. They know that Orban is corrupt, they know that he might’ve been an informant during communism, that he beats up his wife from time to time that he’s under psychiatric treatment. But they love Orban anyway because this is real love, warts and all, and they also hate the communists even more. Never again communists is the first and only principle for most… Read more »
Guest

Yes it’s kind of MAD:

Mutually Assured Destruction – like during the cold war between Russia and the USA.

A bit OT:
Today my wife got the letter from O, Nemzeti Konzultáció – and I was quick enough to save it from being destroyed immediately! 🙂

Just for fum I looked at the questions and the given alternative answers again – it’s really unbelievable!
Biting the hand that feeds you is not enough as a comment …
I’ll take the paper to Germany and show it to my friends – even if you don’t know Hungarian the way Magyarország, Brüsszel and illegális appear says it all.

Fidesz must be disappointed that Le Pen seems to have no chance in the second round – Macron calls himself “a friend of Germany” and he surely will defend the EU’s activities.

Guest

What’s also very strange:

Not once do the words “European Union” appear in the whole questionnaire! Nor in the accompanying letter by O!
Just once did I find the word “Europabán” – of course together with the word “terror” – apsychologist must have a lot of fun analysing this whole stupidity!

Unbelievable, this kind of idiocy/stupidity/you name it …
If I were a EU politician, my immediate reaction to this Hungarian gulyash would be:
You either change and behave like a democracy and follow the rules – or get out and pay back the money that went to your corrupt nomenklatura!

Ferenc
Guest

my suggestion:comment image
and start collecting…..

wrfree
Guest

Re:’ If the big secret turns out to be underwhelming than they have nothing left against Orban who has Polt and the entire justice apparatus against them’

‘Nothing left?’ I’d think it incomprehensible. The bag has to be bulging. That great ref noted of the ‘House of Orban/Usher’ points to a rotting edifice of Magyar Gothic falling into a sort of hellfire.

And the results of the regime stand out like gigantic open canker sores. Orban as a Prince Prospero could rue the day he flirted with the ‘Red Death’. As the piros csillag continually walks in the Orban abbey more and more it could be said ‘darkness and decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all’.
VO’s ‘masque’ too may not have a happy ending. The old boy is traipsing in the Gothic era..😎

Observer
Guest

Istvan

Don’t waste time with the faithful, the opposition parties shoul forget them, ignore them in the campaign. The only point in engaging them is to play to and influence the undecided.

trackback

[…] Procentul ungurilor care cred ca politica externa promovata de guvernul de la Budapesta serveste in primul rand rusilor s-a triplat in ultimele 6 luni, ajungand la 26%, arata un sondaj de opinie citat de blogul hungarianspectrum.org. […]

trackback

[…] Procentul ungurilor care cred ca politica externa promovata de guvernul de la Budapesta serveste in primul rand rusilor s-a triplat in ultimele 6 luni, ajungand la 26%, arata un sondaj de opinie citat de blogul hungarianspectrum.org. […]

Tyrker
Guest

OT but interesting – a young historian called Péter Csunderlik has written a book on the history of the Galilei Circle. 24.hu has already reviewed the book – the review itself is rather badly written but still intriguing:
http://24.hu/poszt-itt/2017/04/21/szaz-eve-osszealltak-a-fiatalok-hogy-megvedjek-a-tanszabadsagot-nem-lett-jo-vege/

wrfree
Guest

Yes, really a very interesting jumble.. Fin de siecle free-thinking ‘circling’ around trying to make a break with the Magyar upper class past. Very timely that subject thesis considering the attack on CEU and academic freedom.

Ron
Guest

Here you can find the thesis in English.

http://doktori.btk.elte.hu/hist/csunderlikpeter/thesis.pdf

Guest

I’m sure that in Hungary there existed similar circles on the other end of the political spectrum – fascist, antisemitic, nationalist – “Greater Hungary” kind of stuff.
How about analyzing them, Tyrker?

Start with Wass Albert …
In which “circles” did he move?

Observer
Guest

Where are the studies of the brilliant idea the late J. Torgyàn offered? What if offering again Hungary to the Virgin Mary really resolved all our problems? Why isn’t this studied and tried?

pappp
Guest
Simple papers signed by Orban or family will not convince Orban voters to abandon their idol. Just today we saw that Rogan’s lawyer personally received 7 bn forints (22 m USD) as a commission just from ‘selling’ Hungarian government debt to Chinese investors (the lawyer, fronting for Rogan, probably received commission from selling to other investors too). That 7bn was a cut for doing absolutely nothing, just participating in the deal. Nobody really cares about it. It’s really just change in the greater scheme of things. I don’t know what Gyurcsany has seen but unless it was pictures showing Orban counting cash received from a Russian mobster or KGB-man the evidence just won’t do. Any official papers, agreements, bank statements can easily be forged, doctored and Orban surely prepared his media counter offensive to deny the authenticity of such papers. A blackmailer must have phone calls or picture or videos and even in such case the autocrat can prevail see Erdogan. The Russians must have something really serious, credible that cannot really be countered effectively. I suspect they have some video or wiretapped calls, that would be in line with the Russians’ MO. Since those they also amassed evidence through… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Simple papers signed by Orban or family will not convince Orban voters to abandon their idol’

You know then the question could be what will. Perhaps it will be the ‘Russian’ connection.

Perhaps the electorate is now trying to jibe the exhortation, ‘Magyarorszag for Magyars’ with a reality where the country partakes in genuflection toward a former occupier. Activity for a supposed ‘sovereign’ state? Many look now to adjust that picture into a reflective and coherent whole. The homage then can only looked at as undignified and unbecoming of the nation.
Russia is not perfect. Far from it. It’s blemishes are always hidden.

Observer
Guest

Guys,

Let me repeat for all.

Don’t waste time with the faithful, the return on investment there is pitiful, if any, the opposition parties should forget them, ignore them in the campaign.
The only point in engaging them is to play to and influence the undecided.

wpDiscuz