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Rethinking Hungary

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

To assert that history has not been kind to the Hungarian people is an understatement.  From the establishment of the Hungarian Kingdom in the year 1000, politically, economically and socially the country, situated in the geographic middle of the continent, has come under repeated strains.  Uncountable generations have been born and died through inestimable transformations of great importance only measurable by seconds on a historical scale.  In order to demonstrate some measure of control, the frequently alternating rulers have had to lie about the destructive causes, including their significant contributory failures, thus turning the majority of their subjects into perfect idiots.  With time, these lies have metamorphosed into a giant vacuum, in which the Hungarian people have gradually lost their moral identity as well as human integrity.  Thus isolated from the rest of the world, the prostituted past has always eliminated the elusive future. 


When liberation from the twin occupations of Nazi Germany in 1945 and colonial Soviet Union came in 1991, the people were politically as well as morally unprepared to govern themselves.  Clearly, Hungary was out of step with the rest of Europe.  The first free elections returned an amateur majority, with the reorganized Communist party in the minority.  This freely elected government - ubiquitously incompetent and inept - only lasted a single term.  In 1994, the voters returned with absolute majority the former Communists to power.  Filled with fear from the power bestowed upon them, they too lasted only four years.  In 1998, Viktor Orban’s FIDESZ - misnamed as “Young Democrats,” in actuality “Fully Matured Communists” - came to power within a coalition government.  This coalition did not fare better than its predecessors.  Yet, the Viktor Orban-led FIDESZ spiced up its incompetence with the first signs of extreme power grid and lawless corruption.  From 2002 to 2010, Viktor Orban found himself in a political no man’s land.     

Then, in 2010, he returned to the pinnacle of political power with a two thirds majority full of hatred and an overwhelming desire to avenge his previous protracted humiliation by the hand of the Hungarian voters.  The new government got down to the business of ruthlessly implementing a list of familiar Socialist/Communist aspirations, starting with the confiscation of all private retirement savings of about 3 million Hungarians between 2010 and 2011, amounting to $11 billion.  Allegedly waging war against the unscrupulous private funds, they laid the foundation for a gargantuan wave of corruption across Hungary’s political life and the economy.  In this Orbanesque “Gangsterocracy,” the Prime Minister and his cabal, consisting of his family, his closest associates and selected foreign accomplices formed a virtual joint stock company for the exploitation of the national wealth with profits shared among them.  While professing to be Europe’s most Christian ruler, Viktor Orban established the religion of corrupt money that practically has no heretics in today’s Hungary.  Concomitantly, while basking in the glory of illiberal conservatism, the notion of governing democratically was replaced by the tyranny of the cabal, in which the Minister of Interior Sandor Pinter and the Chief Prosecutor Peter Polt provided the unbreakable legal protection for any illegal act. 


Enjoying his two third majority in the Parliament (Orszaghaz) and the backing of the European Union’s greedy members, Viktor Orban turned Hungary into the land of cheap labor, ruthless exploitation and practical slavery.  To add social insult to the meager livelihood injury, Orban’s Gangsterocracy destroyed the health industry and ruined education throughout the country.  Having enjoyed the backing of Putin, Xi, Erdogan and occasionally the Polish leadership, he repaid them with running political and economic interferences in Washington, D.C. and Brussels on their behalf as well as generously dolling out state preferences inside Hungary.  Short, revengeful and vain, he remained an evasive figure.  Interchangeably dubbed the evil gnome and even worse, he entered his first premiership in 1998 poor as the biblical Job while his stooge Lorinc Meszaros, an uneducated good for nothing pipefitter, is the richest person in Hungary.  Second to the former are his son in law Istvan Tiborcz, his oldest daughter Rachel, his father, his siblings and a short list of comrades in crime, such as Antal Rogan, Laszlo Kover, Gyorgy Matolcsy, etc.

Russia’s brutal aggression in Ukraine strengthened Viktor Orban's political and economic duplicity.  After initial hesitation, ironically called by some as Viktor Orban’s peacock dance, he imposed a state of emergency and declared the United States of America and the states of the European Union - all of Hungary’s allies - individually and collectively guilty of causing Russia to invade the equally guilty Ukraine.  Presently, in spite of his tyrannical state of emergency, protectionism and government interference into the markets, Hungary is caught up deeply in major economic and financial crises.  At this crucial moment, Viktor Orban decided to blackmail NATO by delaying the ratification of Sweden’s and Finland’s accession, and the European Union with an avalanche of veto threats regarding joint actions against Russia and on behalf of Ukraine.


Clearly, the United States of America and the European Union got Viktor Orban wrong by greatly underestimating his internationally destructive Gangsterocracy.  Now, it is still not too late to wise up and stop the Orbanesque cancer from becoming a deadly disease.  Allowing him to remain the proverbial fox who is guarding NATO’s and the European Union’s hen house is unacceptable.  His illusionary illiberal paradise is a hell for both organizations as well as the Hungarian people.  For all these reasons, maximum and coordinated political, economic, financial and cultural pressure must be applied to force Hungary to return to the path of constructive membership within both organizations, to abandon its hostile pro-Russian and pro-Chinese policies and its domestic tyranny.  The ultimate goal of both organizations should be not the containment of Viktor Orban’s Gangsterocracy but assisting Hungary to shed Viktor Orban’s tyranny and to develop into a fully fledged democracy.                         


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