Fidesz is paying Thomas O. Melia back for his help in 1989-1990

Yesterday afternoon I received a brief note from a friend who is knowledgeable about the events of the late 1980s when Viktor Orbán and his college friends were only dreaming of a regime change. The note referred briefly to the fact that Thomas Melia, who at the time was just about thirty years old–only six years older than Viktor Orbán, worked for NDI (National Democratic Institute), an independent, nongovernmental organization that has been supporting democratic institutions and practices since its founding in 1983. During 1989 and 1990 he, together other activists of NDI, was giving advice to members of various dissident organizations and newly formed parties on how multi-party democracy works and how they should prepare themselves for the time when they can have a voice in governing.

My friend, as usual, was well informed. Today Origo, a respectable on-line newspaper, came out with an interesting article about the relationship between Melia and Fidesz at the time of the regime change. Melia was in charge of NDI's East-Central Europe operations. NDI was very active in Hungary, as in other countries of the region, where its associates were helping the new democratic parties prepare themselves for the elections.

Origo interviewed Gábor Fodor, one of the founding members of Fidesz, who remembered Melia and others from NDI. The Institute organized training sessions and, according to Fodor, the NDI activists were especially fond of the young Fidesz crew. NDI not only taught Fidesz about the techniques of a democratic election campaign but it also financed trips for Fidesz delegations to the United States. According to Fodor, Melia was the key NDI player in Hungary. Fodor considered him "an excellent and skilled man, who knew Central Europe well." Melia visited Hungary several times and Fodor met him often. Fodor is 99% certain that Tamás Deutsch met Melia but "if not, surely he had to be familiar at least with his name."

Endre Hahn, today managing director of Medián, a polling company, also remembers Melia well. The preparation of the parties for the 1990 elections was "a long process" and some of the training sessions were held in a Lake Balaton hotel. Thus, the Hungarians had plenty of opportunity to get to know the activists of NDI, among them Melia. Fodor did concede that because Deutsch didn't speak any foreign language he had difficulty making contact with foreigners. (And here is a member of the European Parliament who doesn't speak any language except his mother tongue. How useful he must be in Brussels! Just like his fellow Fidesz EMP who, although he claimed that he spoke English, when some Hungarian youngsters phoned him pretending to be foreign correspondents he could only mutter out a few words and quickly hung up the phone. He must be very useful in Brussels too. If anyone would like to have a good laugh, here are three "conversations" with Mr. Áder in English just before he became a member of the European Parliament.)

But let's go back to Thomas Melia's connections to Hungary. In 1992 NDI published an edited volume entitled The New Democratic Frontier: A Country by Country Report on Elections in Central and Eastern Europe, 1992. It was Thomas Melia who wrote the lengthy (35 pages) piece on Hungary. Although in 1993 his interest shifted from East-Central Europe to the Near East, he kept in touch with his Hungarian friends. He visited Hungary and followed events there. For example, when János Martonyi visited Washington in 2000, at the end of his stay there was a conference where participants in the events of 1989-1990 recalled those exciting days of regime change. Thomas Melia was one of the speakers.

As my friend remarked yesterday, when Melia was training Orbán and his friends how to undermine the communist regime they surely didn't mind interference in Hungary's domestic affairs. But now they are outraged. It is not Melia who has changed but they–that is, if they ever were democrats.

Origo naturally wanted to get in touch with Tamás Deutsch, who not surprisingly wasn't available. However, NDI promised to give some details about Thomas Melia's activities in Hungary. So, I assume that this is not the end of the story as far as the Hungarian media is concerned.


  1. Professor from my knowledge of the Hungarian Psyche I am surprised that you comments on the lack of linguistic skills in Hungarian MEPs. Why should Hungarians MEPs even want to talk to any of those ‘sub human’ foreigners and other assorted monkeys in Brussels (or any where else)?
    If these idiot foreigners need to speak to the Hungarians they should speak in the only known human language –Hungarian-. The only words in English a Hungarian MEP needs to know are “Give us a lot more money!”
    No one should become a senior member of Fidesz who has any knowledge of any of the sub-human grunts hiccups and other vocal noises made by the sub human foreigners make. If they could understand what was being said to them they might become infected by the ridiculous ideas that sub human have of ‘Freedom’ and that would never do!
    To Orban Viktor’s mind Mr T.O. Melia was accorded the ‘Great Privilege’ to teach Him (O.V.) the arts of political subversion. Once that sub-human had done duty Melia should have gone back to the jungle or wherever.
    Mutt Damon I think are Hungarian and a good one too. To Johnny Boy however you are an “idegenszívű”. I am not a Hungarian, and therefore I am a imbecilic foreigner, stupid, naïve and as Johnny Boy will tell you I am some sort of sub-human biped. He will also tell you that only the Hungarians are civilised human beings!
    Johnny Boy will say to you “How dare any of us ‘sub humans’ and “idegenszívű” say one word of criticism (even in their own under developed monkey gibbering languages) against the ‘Mighty One’, his glorious revolution and the ‘Mighty Hungarians’.” This is what the mighty One has decreed shall be burned deep into the very Souls of all true Hungarians forever.
    The result is that Hungary will be what every true Hungarian wants – Totaly and uttely Isolated

  2. the tragedy of the fidesz and hungary’s velvet transformation is similar to the french revolution.
    no hope exists for a decent system.
    orban may return the nation to the convoluted times of the horthy-mussolini-hitler era.
    whining about life and making the worst moves.
    let us wait for the first signs of genocidal policies.
    there would be two beacons for the right moves, ferenc deak and bela kiraly.
    but who pays attention to moral giants?

  3. JOhnny Boy: “1. Deutsch is a prick 2. Melia is a prick too.” And that comment very much covers the depth of Johnny Boy’s reagular attempts to try explain the word around him or deal with any criticism directed at Fidesz.
    As far as the Fidesz goes, of course they did not come out an apologized for or distanced itself from the outburst of this diplomatically crippled individual’s comment. Then again, Deutsch, is a great friend with Orban, just like those other underqualified people who lately pop up with many government positions that will shape the future of Hungary.

  4. Mutt: welcome to the club.
    Melia lied.
    Either he got his information from the Freedom House who lied, then Melia is ‘wrong’, or he lied deliberately.
    He said the Media Council has the right to impose fines.
    This is NOT TRUE.
    Why do ‘critics’ lie all the time?

  5. Just like most argument by Fidesz, Johnny Boy’s critique again shows incapability to bring up a counter argument. In four sentences Johnny Boy uses the word “lied” , and then “not true” without any facts to put up a counter argument. Unfortunately for Fidesz anyone (and I mean anyone left, right or centre) who signals any disagreement, becomes the enemy. Johnny and Fidesz thinks that they are wiser then anyone in the EU or in the USA or in the Venice Commission, in the Freedom House, in any religious organizations (but the Vatican). In their counter argument they use (or cannot use) facts, so they publish press releases via their own MTI that does not disclose all the facts, or conveniently misses the facts. About Johnny’s comments on the Media Council imposing fines not being true:
    On July 8th The International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South and East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), visited Hungary to meet with journalists and with András Koltay, a lawyer who is a member of Hungary’s new, all-powerful Media Council.
    “Koltay sought to fend off criticism about the still-high fines envisioned under the legislation by suggesting that they were “not without example” in Europe, and that so far in Hungary the fines have been very low. ”
    So, should we believe to the Fidesz or not when they are saying there are fines? WHo is lying Johnny Boy?
    Suggested reading to the alike of Johnny Boy:
    Press Freedom Visit to Hungary
    Hungary Anti-Semitic Double Standard by the Radio Free Europe:

  6. Johnny Boy wrote:
    “He said the Media Council has the right to impose fines.
    This is NOT TRUE.”
    Tell that to RTL KLub, faced with a 144m HUF fine in May. Why do you lie all the time?

  7. Deutsch is the Fidesz token Jew, I wonder if that’s why Johnny Boy doesn’t like him..

  8. PWT: Melia was referring to the Council’s right to impose fines on grounds of biased broadcast. This is not true, the council cannot impose fines for any medium being biased.

  9. David: judging by your posts, you do have a database of Fidesz members being Jewish or not.
    Isn’t such a categorization allowed for anti-Semites only?
    Aren’t you an anti-Semite?

  10. Johnny Boy:
    “To PW: Melia was referring to the Council’s right to impose fines on grounds of biased broadcast. This is not true,”
    It is not what Johnny Boy said. this what he said.
    “[Melia] said the Media Council has the right to impose fines.”
    Johnny Boy is confused as much as Orban is. In any case the article I provided a link above very much proves that if although indircetly, Fidesz do intends to corner everyone financially who crosses their path.
    Johnny Boy: To “David: judging by your posts, you do have a database of Fidesz members being Jewish or not.”
    I guess Johnny Misses all the press. The subject of Deutsch’ background (just like Orban’s) is a common conversation piece on many forums, left , right and the centre. The difference between the various discussions is the tone and not the factuality. I am not sure if Deutsch is a Jew or not. If he is, he cetainly have no trouble with his conscience to hang out with Orban anti-semi friends, like the peacock of Magyar Hirlap.

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