Author Archives: Eva S. Balogh

Interviews with Kim Scheppele, András Simonyi, R. Daniel Kelemen, and Edit Frenyó

Richard Field and Ben Novak of Budapest Beacon visited the United States recently and recorded several interviews with experts on Hungarian affairs. Here I am making available four interviews that I believe readers of Hungarian Spectrum will find interesting and constructive.

Our friend and contributor Professor Kim Lane Scheppele of Princeton University talks about how Viktor Orbán is using the refugee crisis as a pretext for turning Hungary into a police state. Kim Scheppele’s interview is followed by one with András Simonyi, Hungary’s former ambassador to NATO and the United … Read the rest

The attitude of Hungarians to the refugee crisis

We have been so preoccupied with the global aspects of the refugee crisis that we have neglected its domestic aspects. We know that Viktor Orbán’s response to the refugee crisis has met with widespread approval and that Fidesz’s popularity has grown. We also have a sense that Jobbik by and large supports the government even if it would introduce even more draconian measures against the would-be immigrants. MSZP, sensing the general anti-immigrant sentiment, is sitting on the fence and refuses to commit itself. The party’s leaders like to describe their … Read the rest

In memoriam: Árpád Göncz (1922-2015)

Árpád Göncz (1922-2015) served for ten years as the first president of post-communist Hungary. He was liked and respected by 70-80% of the population even though Hungarian society was as politically divided then as it is now. What was his secret? The answer most likely is that he didn’t act like a politician. He remained the same unassuming fatherly figure everybody called Uncle Árpi.

This apolitical image, however, contrasts sharply with Göncz’s recurring encounters with politics. At age of 22, right after he finished law school, he was called up … Read the rest

Criticism and self-criticism of Hungarian teachers

I have written many times about the state of Hungarian education, which in the last 25 years has gone through multiple changes, not necessarily for the better. In the past I usually concentrated on the quality of education and teaching methods and bemoaned the fact that, as far I can see, life hasn’t changed very much in the last 60-70 years in the average Hungarian school. But now I would like to turn to the teachers, who are the focus of the latest drama in Hungarian education.

In 25 years … Read the rest

Richard Field: Experts discuss causes and consequences of the refugee crisis

This summary of a round table discussion appeared in the October 1 issue of Budapest Beacon. The participants are Daniel Kelemen of Rutgers University and Rafaela Dancygier and Kim Lane Scheppele, both of Princeton University. The discussion took place at Princeton on Tuesday, September 29.

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The end of the honeymoon?

Rafaela Dancygier, who studies ethnic diversity in advanced democracies, said she was puzzled by the fact that a vast majority of Germans supported the government’s decision to admit almost a million refugees so far this year and an additional 500,000 … Read the rest

The moral health of Hungarian society

More and more thoughtful Hungarians are raising their voices, calling attention to a moral and social crisis in their country. The deplorable state of Hungarian society has been a phenomenon of long standing. It wasn’t Viktor Orbán who created a society that is oblivious to the fact that the country in which they live is heading toward a tipping point when the entire edifice might collapse, burying the country’s citizens beneath the ruins. Though it is Viktor Orbán who is speeding up the process.

While an overwhelming majority of the … Read the rest

Orbán’s crack police force in action at the Serb-Hungarian border

It was on September 16 that the Hungarian police, with the active help of members of TEK, the so-called anti-terrorist force created by Viktor Orbán to serve as his and his regime’s bodyguards, brutally attacked a group of refugees. The asylum seekers had been led to believe that the Hungarian authorities had decided after all to open one of the gates on the freshly closed border between Serbia and Hungary. Given the large number of reporters and cameramen on the scene, many videos and descriptions of the “battle” exist. Although … Read the rest