The long arms of Viktor Orbán: The Balsai Report

Yesterday morning when I decided to write about Viktor Orbán's preoccupation with Ferenc Gyurcsány I couldn't have known how appropriate this backward look would be by early evening. A few hours after I finished my article, MTI reported that the prime minister had asked the speaker of the house to make "the Balsai report available to members of parliament." Orbán thought that the availability of this report on the "brutal police attack of 2006" would give the members an opportunity to discuss the details of the report.

What is this Balsai report? In its final form it is a 142-page document in which István Balsai, former MDF minister of justice in the Antall and Boross governments who later joined Fidesz and until recently belonged to the party's right wing, outlines his indictment of Ferenc Gyurcsány and his government for their role in those allegedly brutal police attacks in September-October 2006. The report was finished by March 15, 2011 and was given to Viktor Orbán, but the prime minister for one reason or another decided to hold it back.

Just to give you an idea about how important this "investigation" is for the Orbán government, it is telling that on May 5, 2010 reported that "Here is the first move of Fidesz!" It seems that the most important step for Viktor Orbán in the middle of an economic and financial crisis was to name a commissioner charged with the study of what happened in 2006. As Orbán said, "there is no place here for caution or hesitation…. Everybody must answer for their role in this affair. There will be no exceptions. We will not pay any attention to rank, title or age." Finding out the "truth" about who is responsible for the police brutality is "just as important as saving the country from economic collapse."

The man who was named to this important post was István Balsai. I have written about this man at length, especially since he was recently named one of the new hand-picked justices for the enlarged Constitutional Court. You may recall that he wasn't exactly the favorite of the taxi driver mentioned in my September 23 piece. It is easy to dislike István Balsai.

By October 2010 Balsai was certain that on the basis of the material he had seen there was the likelihood that a criminal investigation might be initiated against Ferenc Gyurcsány. In a press conference Balsai announced that once he presents his report "it will be as clear as day that an investigation must be ordered and responsibility will be established." This is an interesting statement especially since in the next sentence he admitted that "there is no concrete document" that would prove this assertion. He was relying on his powers of deduction.  An odd comment from a lawyer who should know that simple inference doesn't stand up in the court of law.

By February, Balsai's stories became more and more bizarre. In an interview on "Ma reggel" (This Morning, MTV) he came up with "witches' tales." He learned that "police units were trained to be prepared to fear the demonstrators. They were told that the demonstrators will take hostages from their ranks and perhaps they will even attack their families." When asked by the reporter who came up with these witches' tales Balsai answered: "You know exactly in whose head these ideas were born. We all know the intentions of the man were who is still a member of parliament. Without his and his minister's knowledge none of these could have happened." 

By April we were told that Balsai's report full of witches' tales was already in the hands of Viktor Orbán. Péter Szijjártó promised its release once the work on the new constitution was finished. But, as usual, bits and pieces of the report leaked out. Magyar Nemzet reported on July 16, 2011 that Balsai's report contained references to "the possibility of terrorist activities." Well, that's heavy. Terrorism! The report apparently states that the brutality of the police was the logical consequence of "the Gyurcsány government's aggressive and paranoid drive for power." Now, that's really funny especially in light of the picture that emerged from independent observers of the events by the staff of the U.S. Embassy and summarized in yesterday's post.

In the report we find no more proof than what Balsai had offered in his television interview. "Gyurcsány must have given instructions to the police." Never mind that all the people involved testified before the parliamentary sub-committee investigating the events that no such order was given. As for terrorism Balsai's two-sentence "proof" is truly laughable. The argument is that the demonstrators were intimidated by the sight of the police. Some of them might have had panic attacks, or feared death. They could have thought that the police might actually use their weapons against them. If such intentions can be ascertained, the charge of terrorism will stand because even preparation for a terrorist act is considered to be a crime.

At the end of Balsai's report there are references to people who helped him in his work. Among them we find the names of those involved in the "investigation" by the Civil Jogász Bizottság of Krisztina Morvai. Another source is the far-right Nemzeti Jogvédő Alapítvány és Szolgálat.

And now let's move back to early November 2006 because to my knowledge this was the first and perhaps the only mention of Fidesz's plan to publish a book with "horrifying charges of police brutality." The information came from Zsolt Németh, who had just returned from Washington and paid a courtesy call on Ambassador April Foley. Németh was one of the founding members of Fidesz; he has served as a member of parliament ever since 1990. He was undersecretary of the foreign ministry between 1998 and 2002 and today is again filling the same position.

Németh alleged that the police had compelled individuals to sign statements that "nothing happened" as a precondition for their release from custody. (This accusation to my knowledge never made it in the campaign against the Hungarian police.) Németh contended that "the government's goal was to portray the opposition as criminals and thus alienate the public, whatever the risk to Hungarian democracy." At this point Foley commented that "Fidesz's demonstrations had attracted violent elements whatever the party's intentions." But Németh couldn't be moved. "It was all the police." He indicated that another demonstration was being planned for November 4.

So, here we are. We always suspected that Krisztina Morvai's "independent" Civil Jogász Bizottság (Civic Legal Committee) was no more than a cover, that the so-called investigation was done at the behest of Fidesz which then used it for its political ends. But we didn't know that Fidesz was planning to publish their findings. Now the cat is out of the bag. It is also likely that Fidesz paid the bills for, among other things, Morvai's frequent visits to Brussels and elsewhere to spread the bad name of the Gyurcsány government and the Hungarian police.

The campaign was surprisingly successful. In the last five years or so, Fidesz managed to falsify the history of those days. A few months ago Magyar Demokratikus Charta asked people to contribute videos, pictures, and all sorts of evidence that would assist them in setting things straight concerning the events that took place in September-October 2006.

I myself was glued to the television and watched far into the night how the "peaceful demonstrators" set cars on fire and threw rocks at the policemen who were mostly acting in self-defence.

Just as the staff of the U.S. Embassy was not moved by the story of the innocent bystanders terrorized by the police, I will never change my mind about those days. How could I? I watched for hours the frontal attack on the police by rock-throwing skinheads who smashed everything in sight. Indeed, it is time to set things straight although, judging by Balsai's report, the falsification is being intensified. The goal again is the same: to put Gyurcsány into jail.




  1. It is becoming funnier by the minute. Morvai, Orba, and their “independent” Hungarian loving friends who are there to protect democracy. I wonder if the report also contained some facts that we posted about back in March 5th. Here are some FACTS:
    ” according to secret documents that were unveiled recently, it was actually the members of the Fidesz who were upset that force was not used. It was Nyitrai who was demanded to know, why the police was forbidden to use its firearm. So, the FIDESZ acknowledged that the Government instructed the police not to use firearm. Nyitrai and other Fidesz members were mad that the the Government gave this instructions. Obviously it it would of been up to FIDESZ, they would of order the use of live ammunition to protect the police. THis is not a theory. THis is in print, in an official document. Jobbik’s Zagyva Gyorgy, now also mentions that the use of live ammunition would of mean the death of several people. In plain English the Jobbok admits, that there were no live ammunition used.”
    “there was something else in that document: Fidesz parliamentary members were in communication with the leaders of the “uprising” all through the siege of the MTV building. I remember the name of Ilona Ékes and Mária Wittner but there might have been others as well.”
    Are these facts are in the report???? I think not. It would tell way to much about what really happened, and who really saved the people from the live bullets. Certainly not Fidesz!

  2. very informative post.
    the dirt is overwhelming.
    how can hungary produce such greedy gangsters, like orban, morvai, balsai….? including their law degrees?
    is it genetic in some layers of hungary?

  3. I should have mentioned that Morvai ended up in Jobbik but lately there have been talks about some falling out between Morvai and Vona. Would be nice to know the exact relations between Morvai and Orban. And naturally between Orban and Vona.

  4. Your whole post is not one bit better than Balsai’s “witch tales”. Your “deductions” are at least as laughable as you operate with “we always suspected” and “the cat is out of the bag” and such senseless banalities.
    This whole post is a mess of derogatory adjectives and zero content.

  5. @Some1: Can I ask you for the sources for your ‘facts’. Normally it is courteousy to provide them.
    I find it difficult to accept things as facts when all someone (literally) has done is quote themselves and not made that clear. Your first quote is written as a comment under the moniker “someone” from this blog from March 05, 2011 at 04:30 PM (source: )
    The second quote is ESBalogh’s comment March 05, 2011 at 06:19 PM (the same source).
    So, could you please do us the courtesy of providing the references to the “secret documents that were unveiled recently”.
    That way we don’t have to rely on believing you.
    @is orban a close ally of morvai?: “is it genetic in some layers of hungary?” No, it isn’t even phenotypic. Though it is clearly cultural. And you missed out Gyurcsány from that list.

  6. i find gyurcsany sympathetic. he is the exception among the twisted and aimless hungarians.
    he finally rejected the inhumanity of communism, and fascism, and advocated the correct path to liberty.
    like jefferson, szechenyi or ferenc deak.
    what is good in orban’s, morvai’s, vona’s, szijjarto’s “giccs” nationalism, patriotism, racism. who, with a shred character wants to follow the FIDESZ political direction, which may end up in another national suicide?

  7. Vandorlo: “Normally it is courteousy to provide them.” Thanks for tuning in. THe courtesy to the link was provided in a much earlier post from the March 5th one. (I m not like the Fidesz, when I say facts, I do mean facts.) In any case to help you out….
    BY the way, it never fails to surprise me how well the supporters of Fidesz become short sighted and forgetful about any items that shows the double standards and the political games Fidesz plays. Also, let me include that is not only Nyitrai who are implicated. He just used the most extreme words.
    I welcome the opportunity to provide a link. Enjoy.
    THis is a great summary with direct quotes to Nyitrai’s live bullets wishes, and some Fidesz members sympathy words, and how they distance themselves (at the time) from the riot participants.
    Before someone will say that the above summary is tainted, here is a link to the whole 45 page long Tops Secret minutes. (Stamps, and dates included. Sorry it is all in Hungarian:
    Thanks Vandorlo!

  8. confused name: “who, with a shred character wants to follow the FIDESZ political direction”
    Most of Hungary does, and be strong, the overwhelming majority of the word is a nationalist patriot. It’s you going upstream, not everybody else.
    “which may end up in another national suicide?”
    Luckily, your paranoia has no connection to reality.

  9. JB, Fidesz had 24 percent backing among eligible voters in the latest poll by Ipsos. Other polls reflect the same dismal levels of support. Since when is 24% the majority of Hungarians? I think you meant to write that the overwhelming majority of Hungarians do not support him.

  10. Eva, some1, do I understand this blog and your comments correctly that there is a Balsai report for the public that either contradicts or omits facts that are included in the top secret parliament report also written by people from Fidesz (and available to the public, even if not officially)? Too bizarre.

  11. “This whole post is a mess of derogatory adjectives and zero content.”
    I’m so glad you are back, JB. I’m still smiling at this wonderful piece of self-analysis. I didn’t think you had this much perception and self-awareness – let alone honesty.
    Well done!

  12. Kirsten: I only read the condensed version of the Balsai report, but the 2006 parliament minutes are officially available. This is why I did not shortened the link, so people can see that it is officially available on the Hungarian Parliament ‘s website.
    Comparing the two documents leads to staggering (or not) conclusions about how the Fidesz operates and how the try to manipulate the facts and via the facts advertently all Hungarians. THe comparison for that matter tells more about the Fidesz and its responsibility in trying to create a divided country for their own benefit.

  13. some1, I wonder why the Balsai report was necessary in the first place if the other report was already written and even made public?

  14. Johnny Boy: your postings are pitiful. Your accusations that Eva Balogh is lying are mere words, evaporating as soon as they are uttered. Where are your facts? You must have them, otherwise how would you know? If you know, wht don’t you share them with us? Or are you just bluffing?

  15. SC – he’s becoming more and more erratic. He used to be a strong voice arguing against what Éva and others were posting, often seemingly armed with information, links and sources, rather than just views (so much so that it led some of us to think he must be a troll), he occasionally even scored points.
    But recently he has posted less and, when he does post, he nearly always falls back on “derogatory adjectives”, invective, personal attacks and the simple process of reversing everything – as in his most recent post when he accuses Éva of exactly the tactics he uses in his own posts.
    I suspect this is all related to the collapse of Fidesz’s support and the increasingly obvious fact that OV is stumbling from one mad-cap scheme to the next, with no coherent strategy. Not to mention the increasingly desperate mess that OV is dragging Hungary into.
    JB believes passionately in OV and sees his victory last year as a just revolution and the beginning of Hungary’s rebirth as a proud and great nation. The first year or so of OV’s reign made JB a very happy man and he was on here all day, crowing and attacking.
    But, as reality begins to bite, he is now realising that OV is not the great leader he believed him to be and that Fidesz don’t actually know how to revive Hungary (or even what they are doing). OV has let him down horribly.
    He still comes on here and attacks, but his old zest has gone. He still believes, and he still thinks of us as heretics and Hungary haters, but he is beginning to have to deal with the possibilty that OV has conned Hungary (and, more importantly, JB), and worse still, far worse – the possiilty that we may have been right all along.
    All in all, you have to feel sorry for the guy. He wanted so much, and OV promised so much, but now Fidesz are slowly pulling the rug from under him. He is learning the hard way that loyalty to OV is a one-way street.

  16. Kirsten, my take on this is that the Minutes were very clear that it was the police that needed help, and that the whole event went out of hand because of the extremists and the soccer hooligans. It was clear that the members of Fidesz blamed the government at the time for not using proper force (like live ammunition) to protect the Television. Now, this is certainly not the message that would fit Orban’s agenda. He wants to show that it was the government at the time who wanted to harm people, and it is the Fidesz who tried to protect them. If we believe the Bajnai report, we have to believe that a few Fidesz members lied on September 19th. If we believe the Minutes, it is obvious that Bajnai is lying.
    The declassified document are minutes taken immediately after the 2006 events on September 19 at 10:30 am in the Parliament.
    The suggested agenda is the Information Session About the September 18-19 Events at the Hungarian Television.
    Szilvasi informs that they had prior knowledge that some extremists may try to disrupt the protest. He said that as everyone was able to see from the television, it was a criminal act that had happened (he is referring to the mob here, not to the police). He also told everyone that the riots were spontaneous and were started by extremist groups and elements well known to the police and security. They used sms [just like in London] to quickly inform each other. No one was prepared for the attack against the Television. Over a hundred policemen were injured; one sustained life threatening injuries.
    The extremists at some point let the soccer hooligans get in front of them. These hooligans are well known fans of the clubs, Fradi and Ujpest.
    Ervin Demeter (Fidesz) was asking a question about the readiness of the police for such events. He wants to know if the police would be capable to protect Hungarian interests from similar riots. Later he expresses his concerns. If the groups there even legally should have been allowed to demonstrate in the first place. He says that he believes that “there was not enough force in Budapest to protect the said institution(s)”
    Nyitrai (Fidesz) argues why did they NOT ALLOW the police to use their weapons (referring to live ammunition). He also admits that police were thrown rocks at. He is mad that they specifically ordered the police not to use their weapons.
    Here is a HUngarian quote from Nyitrai:
    “Elhangzott itt több soron – és itt jönnek a kérdések -, hogy a rendőri állománynak olyan utasítása volt, hogy nem használhat fegyvert . Szeretném megkérdezni, hogy ez egy külön extra utasítás volt-e az adott helyen, az adott napon . Mert egyébként ez egy képtelenség . A szolgálatban lévő rendőr az egyik olyan, aki egyébként, ha az ő életét és testi épségét fenyegető veszéllyel találja magát szemben, minden külön engedély nélkül használhatja a fegyverét, és akit mondjuk kockakövekkel hajigálnak – és higgyék el, hogy isteni szerencse, hogy ott nem halt meg egy-két rendőr, meg egy-két nem rendőr is, hozzáteszem, mert ott össze-vissza hajigálták a köveket . Ha ez nem elég jog arra, hogy valaki használja a fegyverét, akkor itt nagy baj van ……… Micsoda dolog az, hogy ilyen esetben kvázi külön megtiltják a rendőrnek – ha ez így történt, és erős a gyanúm, hogy így történt, mert ezt többször hangsúlyozták -, hogy önmaga testi épségét megóvja . tájékoztatása szerint azon az estén bizonyos értelemben spontánnak nevezhető, különböző, a szolgálatok, illetve a rendőrség által is ismert szélsőséges csoportok vezetői, tagjai által szervezett agresszióra került sor, amely spontán fejlődött ki, nem előre eltervezetten.

  17. Paul, it’s pretty ridiculous to see from you that my posts would be of zero content when I so easily dismantled you only by asking some basic questions last time.

  18. LOL Paul, just ready your ‘analysis’ of me.
    You could have spared all this work for yourself if you asked why I posted less nowadays.
    Because I’m submerged in renovating my flat, that’s why. Sorry if I disappoint you.

  19. “Paul, it’s pretty ridiculous to see from you that my posts would be of zero content when I so easily dismantled you only by asking some basic questions last time.”
    In your dreams, JB, and only in your dreams.

  20. But enough of this banter, here’s my ‘Facts about the casino development’ post I wrote on September 16. I just found it in my wp drafts folder (I spell check in wp – not always successfully!). Your comments would be welcome, but please try (as I have) to stick to verifiable facts and not opinion:
    So, to sum up, the facts that we know are as follows:
    1. A group of investors wanted to set up a holiday/tourist complex (including a casino) on the shores of Velencei-tó.
    2. The land they wanted to use (70 hectares/173 acres) was owned by the State.
    3. They offered to ‘buy’ the land off the State by exchanging it for another piece of land (owned by Joáv Blum, one of the investors). This land was an orchard in Pest County and was about 2 and a half times the size of the lake-shore land, but worth less.
    4. Several different appraisals of the value of the two pieces of land were carried out (at least 4) and we are told that the majority of these agreed on a price difference of about 300m Ft (£0.9m/€1.05m/1.45m$), but one (?) appraisal calculated the difference at 1.3b Ft – over 4 times as much. The prosecutors chose to use the higher figure for their case.
    5. The project was going ahead until it was stopped by Pest County Land Office, on behalf of the regional land office, who had rejected the land transfer “for technical reasons”. (This is the least clear aspect to me – I’m not sure who stopped it, or why, or what has happened to the project since.)
    6. Orbán Viktor nominated Gyula Budai, to be ‘special commissioner’ to investigate these “suspicious land transactions”. Budai claimed he found English-language correspondence between Gyurcsány and Blum and Bajnai and Blum concerning the deal which contains proof of wrongdoing and later accused them of perjury. Both men sued Budai.
    7. Budai then had Miklós Tátrai, the former CEO of Magyar Nemzeti Vagyonkezelő, the office that handles the sale of state properties, and Zsolt Császy, the head of its legal department, arrested. Both were refused bail and spent at least three months in jail.
    8. When Tátrai’s case came to court, he testified under oath that Gyurcsány had not forced him to close the deal, he had just told him about the idea of the land swap and had asked him to look into the legal possibilities of an exchange. Tátrai also said that getting the land in Pest County was a good deal from the state’s point of view, as part of it was needed for the construction of a new road, and that his office had had no plans for the lakeside land. He also stated that the owner of the Pest land was willing to pay any difference in the value of the two pieces of land. Tátrai and Császy were then set free by the court (although I don’t know if this indicates the end of the case, or just their being released on bail).
    I think that’s it. Is this accurate?
    If anyone can add any more, please do. But only known, verifiable facts, please. I’d especially like to hear from JB on this (seriously).

  21. There may be another reason which no one has considered as to why Orban Victor to want to lock up Ferenc Gyurcsány and throw away the key.
    Ferenc Gyurcsány is, I understand a very wealthy man. Orban Victor is not so wealthy. If Orban Victor could get Ferenc Gyurcsány locked away, then the State could sequester all of Gyurcsány wealth as the ‘proceeds of crime’.
    Once the ‘State’ had got its ‘hooks’ on Gyurcsány money etc. by using ‘Normal’ Hungarian Government accounting techniques it would all just ‘disappear’ POOF. Just like the dew on warm summer’s morning.
    Suddenly Oban would now become very very wealthy and Ferenc Gyurcsány would become very very poor.

  22. Odin’s lost eye,
    From the official record, Orban should not, indeed, be a particularly wealthy man. He has, officially, lived on the salary of a member of parliament, caucus leader, or Prime Minister. Not enough to, for example, buy the land and build a large house in Kútvölgyi, high up in Budapest’s prestigous District XII..
    Oh, wait a minute… he did buy the land and build the house….

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