Miklós K. Radványi: “Open letter to Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary” 

A few days ago a sharply-worded open letter addressed to Viktor Orbán made its way to Hungary. The editors of Népszava translated the English-language original written by Miklós K. Radványi, vice president of international policy at Frontiers of Freedom, a decidedly right-of-center think tank whose philosophy is summarized as “we promote the principles of individual freedom, peace through strength, limited government, free enterprise, free markets, and traditional American values.”

Not too many people in Hungary are familiar with Miklós Radványi, although he has been around Republican politics and politicians for a long time. Prior to joining Frontiers of Freedom, he served as the foreign affairs adviser to Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Christopher Cox. It is likely that the latter’s keen interest in East-Central Europe stems from his association with Radványi. Cox came to know several prominent anti-communists in the late 80s, among them Árpád Göncz, with whom he developed a close friendship. He and his new wife spent part of their honeymoon as guests of the by- then President Göncz and his family.

As for Frontiers of Freedom, Népszava seems to know that the right-wing think tank was a strong supporter of Donald Trump during the election campaign. Therefore, the argument goes, the “sharp criticism” comes from the “inner circles of Trump.” That may be an exaggeration, but we can safely say that on many crucial issues Trump and Radványi see eye to eye. Especially in their hatred of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The government mhttps://www.ff.org/author/radvanedia’s initial reaction to the appearance of the letter to Viktor Orbán was silence. It was only today that Magyar Idők published an op-ed piece on the subject. The author, László Szőcs, spent three years in the United States as Népszabadság’s correspondent in Washington. He tells us that he met many, many people, American and Hungarian diplomats and public figures in general, while in D.C. but he has never heard of Miklós Radványi or Frontiers of Freedom. The conclusion is that criticism from such a nonentity simply doesn’t deserve any attention. Szőcs’s main problem is not so much with the letter, in which Orbán is called the political prostitute of the European Union, but with Népszava’s editorial policy. One doesn’t place “an insignificant opinion piece … on the front page.” By doing so, the paper is misleading its readers. There are, after all, hundreds of such think tanks in Washington, holding divergent views.

Maybe so, but it cannot be denied that Donald Trump hasn’t paid any attention to Viktor Orbán, his kindred soul who, alone among European heads of government, endorsed him months before his election.

Here is the English original of Miklós K. Radványi’s “Open Letter to Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary.” It is perhaps the harshest criticism that has ever been published about the autocratic Hungarian prime minister.

Source: Magyar Nemzet / MTI / Photo: Péter Kollányi

♦ ♦ ♦

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I write this letter because I care about the past, the present, and the future of the country in which I was born and grew up. Also, as an American citizen, I am deeply concerned about the steadily deteriorating domestic conditions in Hungary and the reckless foreign policy that you pursue against the fundamental interests of NATO, the European Union, and the entire Hungarian nation.

During your student years, you criticized and actively opposed the dictatorship of the communist party. You were instrumental in the establishment of the Alliance of the Young Democrats. Your memorable speech at the reburial of Nagy Imre and the other martyrs of the October 1956 Revolution, in which you demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Soviet Red Army from Hungarian territory and subsequent free elections, contributed to the collapse of the regime in 1990. Elected to the Parliament in the spring of 1990, you led your party in opposition in a constructive fashion.

After the untimely death of Antall Jozsef, the first Prime Minister of the free Republic of Hungary, you made the politically expedient decision to transform the Alliance of Young Democrats into a “Civil Party,” thus releasing the genie of self-defeating nationalism from the bottle of a non-existent Hungarian ethnic superiority. You prevailed in the national elections of 1998. Although your party only received 42% of the votes, you embarked on a policy of “winner takes all,” resulting in shameless corruption and revolting mismanagement of government.

Accordingly, the voters rejected you and your party in 2002. During your eight years in opposition you organized street riots and other violent disturbances against the legitimately elected government. You declared total resistance and refused to attend the meetings of the Parliament. In this manner, you abdicated your responsibilities as the leader of a democratic opposition and turned yourself and your party into a highly destructive force in Hungarian politics.

In 2010, you and your party were brought back to power with an absolute majority in the Parliament. As the head of a one party state, you have continued on the same destructive path that you so ineffectively walked in opposition. The list of your political, economic, social, cultural, and moral transgressions would take, if enumerated, several volumes. However, your most destructive political, economic, and moral offenses must be stated. You have had a real opportunity to create a model of European democracy to the world by respecting the independence of all three branches of government, especially the judiciary. Instead, you have invented the term “illiberal democracy” that has only demonstrated your lack of understanding of what democracy is all about. In your deranged arrogance, you have scattered the political reforms of the last quarter century and pushed the poisonous ideology of exclusive nationalism. Today, in order to cultivate an idiotic version of Hungarian exclusivity, you are in the process of raising a subservient generation that surely will not be able to stand its ground in the global competition.

In economics, you again have misunderstood what capitalism is all about. You have established a corrupted form of “state capitalism,” best described as a Houdini economy, in which both the private business and the distribution of their products are controlled by you and your acolytes. By favoring individuals of your preference, while excluding others who refuse your game of “pay to play,” you have reinstated the same economic model that characterized Mussolini’s fascist state, Hitler’s national socialist empire, and Stalin’s gulag economy. Your heavy reliance on public works has brought forth an unqualified working underclass that is wholly dependent on your government. This underclass, which comprises one-third of the workforce, is free neither economically nor politically. You and your cronies’ insatiable appetite for corruption have destroyed the health industry as well the hitherto excellent Hungarian education system.

In foreign affairs you have turned yourself into the political prostitute of the European Union. While the European Union’s financial contributions have provided the life support needed to keep the economy above water, you have attacked the “imperial rule” of Brussels on a daily basis. Using the Hungarian minorities in the neighboring countries as political pawns, you have tried to divide the member states of the European Union along racial and ethnic lines. Simultaneously, you have made highly publicized overtures to the Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to justify your dictatorial regime at home. In the same vein, your alleged friendship with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has merely served to legitimize your indoctrination of the Hungarian youth.

In closing, guided by your narcissism and megalomania, you have abandoned Hungary’s and Europe’s political, social, and moral ideals. Instead, you have been marketing your “illiberal democracy” and your corrupt economic ideas. These are not the values the Hungarian people elected you for. These are not the ideals the Hungarian people aspire to. What they want is true democracy and economic freedom. These, in turn, are not the realities you care to acknowledge. Your sick ego calls for a despotic and morally empty state. You have failed your people. They must hope for your speedy departure from office to live free again, to think normally again, and yes to dream of a better future again.

December 5, 2017
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Zoli
Guest

The misinformed opinions of someone I never heard about.

Observer
Guest

Zoli
Everybody is “misinformed”, they dobt soeak Hun, nobody understands: Népszava, all the parties, Jobbik included, HS, Orange Files, Bud Beacon, US State Dept/Kostelancik, the four EU commissiners, the former Dutch ambassador, the minister, 1/2 of Euro Parliament, etc.

Put a new track, don’t embaeass yourself that cheap.
Orbán has sold his ass to Putin (and ours too) and the US gov doesn’t like it. Actuakky nobody likes ut in the OECD and I hope more than a slap in the rist is coming. These signals nay cone very useful in eventual extradition procedures.

1956
Guest

Why are we paying any attention to the current Hungarian regime, when the core problem is the aggressive colonization of Hungary by the agents of the Kremlin.

PS

Actually, I think that Trump will stop those guys in their global manipulations to the surprise of the Russian, Hungarian and sleeping American people.

Radványi may know something in advance, perhaps still hidden from us.

Observer
Guest

There will be gnashing of teeth in the agit prop department and in the Hub embassy…
This pretty accurate summary is hitting hard at the felcsuti thief. The letter is published by the FF organization, its not only Radvàny. Good!

Member

Mr. Radványi is stating the obvious truths about Orbán’s kakourgocracy, but surely when it comes to “narcissism and megalomania” a more prominent kakourgrate than Liliputin comes to mind — one about which Mr. Radványi has been mute (perhaps unsurprising, since his mentor is the senate’s dark-gray eminence)…

Ron
Guest

Stevan can you please explain the meaning of the word kakourgocracy and kakourgrate. Or are you talking about (according to my dictionaries) about kakistocracy.

Member

Ron, that reminds me of the old Hungarian Arisztid/Tasziló joke:
Arisztid goes to the doctor and says:

A: Doctor, I want you please to castrate me.
D: Castrate you? But do you mind if I ask you why?
A: It’s because I have met a Jewish girl whom I have asked to marry me, and she says she will only do it if I have this operation.
D. “Castrate” [kiherélni]? Are you sure she didn’t say “circumcise” [körülmetélni]?
A. Doctor, I think you have found the right expression!

[The A/T jokes always have to be told with a robust, rolled uvular “R”.]

Member

Ron, Stevan in his rather special way is trying to say that Trump is a bigger deal than Orbán. That is true, but it is still refreshing to hear the latest teardown of Orbán from someone who cannot be brandished with the liberal/left label.

Ingmar
Guest
I also see some kind of activities of the politicians in Hungary critically. In Hungary has been developed a society with Gulag communistic, right wing and more right wing politicians … but no real democracy. That m u s t be seen very critically. Because there were systems who didn’t and don’t accept the human being as such, don’t accept the freedom of a human being and of christian men. The ‘imperial’ thinking of Brussels I must say indeed doesn’t interest me too. EU we all entered absolutely wasn’t thought as Empire with seat in Brussels. To think this way absolutely wouldn’t accept what we all entered. I’m officially Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary (and also King of Austria-Hungary) etc etc. So we have an Empire here in this region. On 2015-07-16, I was officially called His Majesty at Tihany Arch Abbey in presence of as I was informed the Holy St. Steven’s Crown of the Hungarians after presentation to the Arch monk there and was informed there ‘You have all the rights now.’. As Univ. Prof. of Law Sciences Dr. Mark Varszegi informed as at Andrassy University Budapest on 2017-11-15, at the event concerning the actual aspects… Read more »
Jean P
Guest

Is this a machine translation of Cyprianus?

ambator
Member

Weare quite used here to jibberish of the most absurd kind from time to time, but this one is possibly the record holder. All that notwithstanding, must it be so long? Mercy!

Gabor Toka
Guest

Well said Ingmar, I could not put it better myself. But since I am also Emperor of Austria, we need to divide the Bundeslaender among ourselves in the fine tradition of Roman co-emperors.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘The ‘imperial’ thinking of Brussels I must say indeed doesn’t interest me too. EU we all entered absolutely wasn’t thought as Empire with seat in Brussels’

Perhaps indeed some things in perception have changed since the days of when a proposed ‘United States of Europe’ was in its nascent development. So just a point.

After the War one of the most important considerations for the setup were the Soviet incursions into Europe. Britain and France looked on it with trepidation and sought a collective security with the rest of Europe. So today we have an EU but there is a member now whom we know very well and appears to be a prime instigator in trying to rip it apart. The EU ideally needs to be be careful. They risk being chum in the face of Soviet and collaborative ‘interests’ if they forget their earlier mandatefor union.

bimbi
Guest

Congratulations to Mr. Radványi. He seems to have touched all the bases in his lightning tour of Orbán’s “illiberal democracy”. Glad that the street riots between 2002 and 2010 were included. Orbán’s corruption financially, economically and morally has so many sides, so much depth.

Member

Yes! It is a good short summary of Orbán and his ruining of Hungary starting in 1989.

Perfect reading for Non-Hungary-Experts to get a quick outline about Orbán/Hungary.

Orbán/Hungary for beginners (which includes most Hungarians themselfs).

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘morally empty state’

A big stab when the country is raised high to the rafters as ‘Christian’. It will be necessary one day to explore deeply how a state under VO stewardship can institute crime and corruption to practically a state of virtue.

bimbi
Guest

@wrfree, 10:20 a.m.

What you have asked is not so difficult. The whole structure of Orbán’s “illiberal democracy” depends substantially on a structure of lies, assumptions, insinuations, nationalistic rhetoric, bribes and pay-offs such that there is something for everybody. I am sure that if you asked the leaders of the Catholic Church in Hungary whether they support say, Mr. Mészaros’s personal enrichment, they would deny it. However, the church itself is bought by its special tax position in which public funds are fed into the Holy coffers (as well as providing the not-to-be-missed opportunity for proselytizing to the young and innocent through the ‘excellent’ Catholic schools). Orbán is like a talented juggler keeping many balls in the air all at once. A lie for every taste and a price for everyone (like his faithful Roma).

Member

Sorry to say, Éva, but the allegation that Radványi belongs to Trump’s inner circle is not just an exaggeration; it’s simply wrong. Radványi himself denied it in a phone conversation with Mr. Bolgár on December 4 (Klubrádió). Frontiers of Freedom has always been Reaganite-conservative Republican, funded primarily by the Koch brothers, who are not quite fond of Trump. Radványi himself is a rather sharp commentator on Hungarian affairs. Élet és Irodalom has published three of his articles; they are impressively clear-sighted for their time.

http://www.es.hu/…/radvanyi…/a-pokolba-vezeto-magyar-ut.html
http://www.es.hu/…/…/radvanyi-miklos/maradsz-aki-voltal.html
http://www.es.hu/…/radvany…/magyarorszag-makacs-demonai.html

Marty
Guest
Sorry, but the dogs bark but the caravan goes on. Just today it was news (see link below) that 11 NATO members sent a letter to Orban because Hungary is preventing Ukraine from getting closer to NATO. Basically Hungary is working for Russia to prevent any kind of cooperation. We’ve been saying this for years of course but appeasement is the only thing the Western “powers” are capable of. Unfortunately, as we see from the example of Venezuela the agony of an autocracy can be very long. There is a nice article on Venezueala in this week’s New Yorker and basically it seems the situation is hopeless, the Bolivarian Revolution continues. Nothing can be done, the opposition (no wonder given the chaos and killings) is similarly weak and divided as in Hungary (or any other autocracy) and the Russians and the Chinese are there to help, plus Venezuela has oil just like Orban has the EU funds. Radvanyi is nice, but let’s face it. He is totally irrelevant for Orban. Orban doesn’t care about intellectuals. He only cares about really powerful people who have the real, credible capacity to influence him like Putin, the Chinese government or Trump. Below that… Read more »
LwiiH
Guest

I’m sorry but I don’t see the point of this open letter. It obviously wasn’t intended for VO. So, what’s the point. There is no call to action, there are no solutions, it’s just a rant.

Also, the only English source for the 444.hu link is Politico… sorry but I need something more than that before I’d consider the report reliable. Not that I wouldn’t like to believe it.

Observer
Guest

Evidence ? C’on, are u trolling us?
Where are you living? Don’t u read this blog, or Àtlàtszò, 24, 444, etc.

Ferenc
Guest

I think you miss the point. Radvanyi’s letter is written to OV, but as it’s open it’s meant more for everybody else to read.
So it might bring people still supporting OV, but with increasing doubts, closer to deciding to stop their support. That’s where this is really about.
For Hungary and the Ukraine, I was wondering why Szijjártó, minister of foreign affairs and trade, will be presenting the HU government in tomorrow’s EU-LIBE hearing. I mean it’s about the ‘Rule of Law’ inside Hungary! I suspect him to try to point to other countries, first of all outside the EU (e.g.the Ukraine…) and I can imagine later on to Romania (no clue about/with what…).
Anyway looking forward for tomorrow morning’s hearing, it can be watched live from 9:00 EU time at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20171207-0900-COMMITTEE-LIBE (and later on demand on same link)

Member

“Below that level he couldn’t care less – because they really have no credible leverage over him and this has been proven time and again.”

No, you are wrong.

He **shouldn’t** care less because it is true the likes of Mr Radvanyi have no real leverage over him. But that is not the same as saying that he doesn’t care about criticism.

But you know as well as I do, that Orban is psychotic, seriously mentally ill and any kind of criticism festers like a poison in his diseased mind.

The fact that he knows he is considered as uncouth, thuggish scum by most of the European Union’s political class and a lot of the liberal Budapest middle-class does enrage him, trust me.

wrfree
Guest

I hear a crinkling sound of Radvanyi’s letter from the hand of VO as it flies into garbage can. The infection since Baile Tusnad has gotten worse. Liberal democracy… almost dead as a doornail. The ‘patient’ is dying.

petofi
Guest

? “enrage him”??? Not likely.

Any hurt feelings are easily assuaged by taking a peek at his many bank balances…

He laughs last who’s up to his elbows in 100 euro bills…

Member

To ignore the psychotic nature of the fat dictator is to ignore the most essential element of his character. Of course he loves the money he has stolen from the Hungarian and EU taxpayer but he hates, absolutely hates like a petulant child anybody who dares to stand up to his dictatorship.

Observer
Guest

Marty, LwiiH

Yours is a barren attitude (Hungarian too): the caravan goes, what is the point, this will not succeed, etc.
What do u suggest? Do nothing? Every trolls says this.
Politics involve a lot of work, chipping at the big rock, undermining it, washing the foundations away, etc. More often than not a political death is “the death of thousand cuts” as the Chinese say. History provides many examples of startling victories against all odds, close to home the 2006 election. Everyone should keep working and keep the powder dry, who knows e.g. a world military or financial crisis would turn the tables, Orban may get a stroke if his bank a accounts are revealed, etc.

Ferenc
Guest

nightmare – rémálom
“Look what present I got! Finally I can start preparing for the 2020.March.01 celebrations!”
image: wearing a new jacket full with medals OV shows his little pony

Guest

Well, whoever wrote this letter, unfortunately it is a surprisingly low level of criticism of Mr. Orbán’s policy. It is not enough to state plainly that he turned into a “a highly destructive force” in Hungarian politics and declare that he reinstated “the same economic model that characterized Mussolini’s fascist state” without bringing up any proof. Sadly this piece just provides fodder for Fidesz party media.

The only remarkable matter of consideration is: what is the real relationship between the Orbán government and the Trump administration recently? Is there any connection between them? Is Orbán hedging his bets against the failure of Trump? Has he maintained any connection with establishment Republicans here?

Observer
Guest

glukacs

The proof is all around u if u live in Hun. If not, read this blog, or Àtlàtszò, 24, 444, Kim Schepelle, Bàlint Magyar, Jozsef Debreceni, etc.

Guest

I have had more than enough proof thank you. I am just saying that I do not understand the goal of this particular ‘open letter’. What I read here is that in Miklós Radványi’s opinion Orbán is a dangerous autocrat. I agree and I am an American citizen too, so what? Sorry, but really who is Miklós Radványi? If Orrin Hatch (or Sebastian Gorka for that matter) wrote this, it would make a difference for someone living in the US. From anyone, even from a ‘right-wing oriented think tank’, I would have expected a bit deeper argumentation. For example in his view what is incompatible in Orbán’s policy with that of president Trump? Or that of any establishment Republican?

Ferenc
Guest

First, it makes a difference, and if others will write similar, it will ‘only’ make more difference!

Second for all your questions, just contact the man himself at https://straighttalkusa.org/contact/ and/or comment on his post with the original letter.

This complaining and discrediting of people writing something is soooooo tiresome. Seems done mostly by people who just don’t like the message and trying to hide it from others to take note of it.
So if you don’t belong to those people, please just stop it.

PS: Do you really believe one letter of Gorka’s past or future writing?

Observer
Guest

Glukacs
An open letter is a media communication form, not a deeper essay or study as the ones I pointed to.
If O.Hatch or another senator or a rep doesn’t ring this bell, the FF may just as well do it, everyone do their bit in defence of democracy.

Guest

Rather OT – or not?
My wife just told me that the Hunky government is starting a new war against Jobbik and Simicska because of the financing of these billboards. We’ll surely read more about it.

And a story from real life:
Our neighbours are pensioners which get around 70 000 or 80 000 HUF a month each – as we say in German: Too much to die on, but not enough to live on …
Now the village offered cheap firewood to every “poor” pensioner – but in November (which is the base for the definition of poor) they got that “present” from Orbán, an extra 10 000 Forint so they are above the limit defined for being “poor”!
If they hadn’t some extra income from their garden, selling eggs and vegetables I don’t know how they could survive – considering that they are both sick and have to pay for their drugs and doctor’s visits …
Again the Fidesz motto:
If you have nothing then you are nothing!

Ferenc
Guest

RE: new war by OV&Co now against Jobbik
This is outrageous what OV&Co have done now, it’s all over the news, fined Jobbik 1.1million Euro for ‘forbidden party funding’, all based on the ‘Lopnak’ campaign in the spring of this year!!

To me it seems that OV&Co want others to get so angry at them, that ‘anything can happen’, so far this didn’t, so they need to ‘upgrade’ their provocations. No clue where this all will lead to, but the longer it lasts, the worse and uglier it will get.

My recommendations for immediate implementation:
*kick OV&Co out of the EPP
*freeze all EU funding to HU
*organize independent EU observers for everything related to ‘Rule of law’

Jean P
Guest

The only way the EU can get rid of Orban is by bribing him. Everyone has his price.

Observer
Guest

The fascist light regime hardens: it is tithing to crush Jobbik as it did with PeopleChristianDems, with Torgyàn’s FKGP, with I.Dàvid’s MDF.
However, there’s a significant qualitative difference – this is a direct attack aimed at eliminating an opposition party from the elctoral race (not just discrediting, slandering opponents, or pumping money in own campaign in order to influence the vote).

Istvan
Guest
Miklos K. Radvanyi was not on team Trump’s radar screen for inclusion on his national security team, they much preferred a Gorka type, eventually military officers. I don’t see that Radvanyi’s letter reflects any of the thinking in the White House, but really knows from one day to the next what is actually the thinking at the White House. But I do agree with Radvanyi’s analysis of the state capitalist nature of Hungary and the comparison with fascist corporatism is one that I often make on this blog. I would add that in the Magyar Idők article Eva is actually mentioned in passing which I found interesting. The problem is that Trump simply doesn’t care if Hungary and the Russian Federation are actually promoting non-market economics in favor of a different model. Trump’s primary concern has been the profitability of his own corporation and he is willing to do business in Russia or anywhere else he can make money. He has applied those pragmatic values to the White House and hence we have the current scandals over Russia. He is willing to use Russia against China or Islamic fundamentalism if he can and do favors for Russia to facilitate that… Read more »
Matt L
Guest

Stinging, and half true. I doubt that Radványi understands that much about economics. I have my problems with OV’s kleptocracy, but its a stretch to align it with the economic mismanagement of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin!

Criticism like this doesn’t mean much from a man who supports the GOP and President 45. They pursue the same policies in the United States that Orban and his allies pursue in Hungary.