I would like to write briefly about something that is a specifically Hungarian political concept: “nemzetpolitika.” One could translate the word into English easily enough as “national policy,” but that would give rise to misunderstanding. While the English phrase “national policy” means “a broad course of action adopted by a government in pursuit of its objectives” in general, the Hungarian “national policy” means something entirely different. In the Hungarian context it means the government’s attitude toward and subsequent policies directed at Hungarian nationals living abroad, especially in the surrounding countries, areas that belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary before 1920.
I don’t think that it surprises anyone that right- or right-of-center governments are normally much more concerned with issues relating to Hungarian minorities living outside of Hungary. The government formed in 1990 was a coalition of conservative parties whose prime minister in one of his very first official speeches announced that “in spirit he wanted to be the prime minister of fifteen million Hungarians.” And in the constitution adopted in 1989 there was a reference to the Hungarian government’s obligations toward those Hungarians who after 1920 found themselves outside of the new Hungarian borders.
It is perhaps inevitable that Hungarian governments struggle with the policies affecting ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring countries. Throughout the past twenty-two years Hungarian governments have been fairly generous in their support of Hungarian schools, theaters, book publishing, and even political parties in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine. But when conservative governments (1990-1994 and 1998-2002) were in power, relations between Budapest and the Hungarian political parties in the neighboring countries intensified. This was especially the case during the first Orbán administration when the Budapest government wanted to strengthen ties between the Hungarian communities abroad and Fidesz, the party. Viktor Orbán hoped to influence ethnic Hungarians, especially in Romania and Slovakia, to be selective in their support of Hungarian governments. That is, not to support whatever government happened to win the elections in Hungary but only a government led by Fidesz.
The Orbán government was so aggressive in its quest to spread its influence in the neighboring countries that the inevitable happened: strained relations with Bucharest and Bratislava. Yet the Orbán government forged ahead, setting up all sorts of formal institutions. Among them was Magyar Állandó Értekezlet (MÁÉRT, an acronym that means “for today”).
MÁÉRT meets yearly. This year’s meeting held yesterday was their eleventh gathering. The first was held in 2000 during Viktor Orbán’s initial stint as prime minister of Hungary. Representatives of Hungarian political parties, both domestic and in the neighboring countries, get together and hammer out a common program. I might add right here that there were two parties who refused to sign this year’s final document: the Ukrajnai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség (Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Ukraine) and MSZP.
Zsolt Semjén, head of the Hungarian Christian Democratic Party (KDNP) and “deputy prime minister” (a position that is alien to Hungarian administrative tradition), is responsible for looking after “national policy.” In this capacity he chairs these meetings. The prime minister is normally on hand to deliver a ringing opening speech full of lofty national ideas.
This time Orbán was fairly specific about Hungary’s role in the Carpathian Basin and brought up Hungary’s resolve to gain an economic foothold in the former territories of Greater Hungary. Earlier I wrote about this so-called Wekerle Plan, which is supposed to provide capital for the expansion of Hungarian businesses in the Transylvanian part of Romania and in Slovakia.
In his speech Orbán talked very critically about “the nationalistic turn of events in Romania” and expressed his sympathy for President Traian Băsescu. He specifically mentioned the forthcoming Romanian elections and didn’t hide his choice of candidates. Despite the fact that Romanian foreign minister Titus Corlatean only a few days ago asked the Hungarians not to get involved in Romanian domestic politics, Viktor Orbán is not a man to stay above the fray.
The Orbán government constantly meddles in the affairs of Hungarian parties in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine. As far as Romania is concerned RMDSZ, the largest Hungarian party, is not favored by Orbán and Fidesz. Instead, some of the Fidesz politicians–for example, László Kövér–supported Jenő Szász (Magyar Polgári Párt / Hungarian Civic Party) while Orbán himself backed László Tőkés, the former Calvinist bishop and now one of the deputy speakers of the European Parliament, who also established a party (Erdélyi Magyar Néppárt / Transylvanian Hungarian People’s Party). Orbán won against Kövér, and the decision was made to remove Szász from the political arena by appointing him to a new organization, most likely created only for Szász. It is called Nemzetstratégia Intézet (Institute of National Strategy). Never mind that it was only in December that the Orbán government set up the Nemzetpolitikai Kutatóintézet (Research Institute of National Policy). A second institute when most likely Hungary doesn’t even need one.
The Orbán government’s divisive politics in Romania only diminish the political clout of the Hungarian minority. Fidesz politicians also made a mess of Hungarian politics in Slovakia. Currently, the largest Hungarian-Slovak party is Most-Híd (meaning bridge in both languages). But Most-Híd didn’t even get an invitation to MÁÉRT because the Hungarian government doesn’t consider Most-Híd a Hungarian party.
Orbán may have been dissatisfied with Romania, but he sang the praises of Robert Fico who “likes straight talk. Hungary also has a government that follows that practice.” Well, we will see how long this honeymoon will last. Knowing Orbán, not for long.
I would like to inform all of your who are regular readers and commenters of Hungarian Spectrum that I delete all comments from “gárdista / kurunchonvéd.” His last comment suggested that the Hungarian government would actually strive for border revision. I just want you to know where he stands.
Gardista – should understand that the International community will never allow Hungary to ‘re-align’ Trianon.
We in England – who are familiar with the situation – would campaign against Orban – with the surrounding countries – to prevent it in the event that Orban’s manoeuvres try it on more than he already has.
Remember Gardista you are a colony of the EU and they won’t allow it either – you (Orban) signed another treaty remember?
And when Hungary gets a decent government – fair to all, and eschewing corruption – then the ‘paramilitary’ constituency will be driven underground; and hopefully the Nazi faction too.
Hungary is a population of decent people and your activities and views distort that fact.
So Eva has muzzled you because: we know exactly what you would say; and exactly how you think; and we are not interested. We get enough racism and anti-Semitism from the other trolls.
Trianon? – Suck it up.
As others would say on here – just go back to Mein Kampf – I think you are on page 54.
Try to read it without moving your lips?
Re Gardista. Since then I was told that he doesn’t just want border revision, he wants the whole thing back.
The frightening psychological reality of those supporting, wildly, everything that Orban does and says is this: they take their sense of security and their strength in the combativeness with which they adhere to their beliefs. The more they’re attacked, the stronger they must defend.
Wouldn’t this be akin to the beliefs of Germans like Goebbels who went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer? And this..only when the Russians were just 100 meters from the bunker.
It’s almost impossible to comprehend it an act like that. Frightening.
As a matter of fact, the best thing happened to those Hungarians on the wrong side of the border – this time I mean outside! – is the EU and Schengen: the first time after Trianon they could freely move around, as if wasn’t any borders anymore. Obviously it isn’t the goal in certain circles – there is nothing to fight against, no confrontation, it takes out the whole ‘fun’ being a Hungarian in another country, if everything goes on peacefully.
Don’t you worry, though, they working on the ‘restoration’ of the well proven ethnic hatred, pretty soon everything gonna be ‘normal’ again.
You summarized the situation very well. Orbán is whipping up nationalism for his own political goals. Dangerous game. He did the same between 1998 and 2002 too. This time the situation is even worse. Even the Frankfurter Allgeimene Zeitung called his Ópusztaszer speech frightening. And FAZ is a conservative paper.
Preliminary data from the 2011 census, dated October 4, 2012
Click to access nepszelo2011_2.pdf
Tappanch – the report in your link says the population is 9.982 – the figure I quoted earlier.
I notice now that the English site is giving the population as 9.939 (dated July 2012)
I don’t ‘have Hungarian’ so the difference maybe explained in the narrative.
If this lower figure has become the ‘revised total’ – the graph only shows births and deaths – then the immigration figures still need to be factored in.
Apparently the KSH adjusts its census figures only if Hungarians officially tell the authorities that they have gone abroad.
There must be hundreds of thousands who don’t bother – and Orban must be delighted.
No one can use the figures against him.
So the attractive ‘place-women’ you highlighted earlier may be serving a purpose!
(Find those 9m census returns!)
Sadly, these people–and I believe Fideszers are like that now–have no rational capacity when it comes to
the actions and policies of Orban. They will BELIEVE
and FIGHT to the END regardless of the Right or Wrong of the situation. What Orban has done is create a Gordian Knot of Nationalism and the Catholic Religion against which rational argument is powerless.
Petrovics and Balogh:
Wouldn’t this be akin to the beliefs of Germans like Goebbels who went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer? And this..only when the Russians were just 100 meters from the bunker.
It’s almost impossible to comprehend it an act like that. Frightening.”
Mayhap as frightening as an event in Hungary from the HVG 2010 June 28 issue
A Wikipedia szerint az MDP PB (a párt legfelső vezetősége, a Politikai Bizottság) 1951. április 19-én tartott ülésén Rákosi Mátyás élesen bírálta a belügyi tárca működését, és elítélte Zöld Sándort, amiért baráti kapcsolatokat ápolt az időközben letartóztatott „a Márciusi Frontban szerepet vállalt ‘hazai’, kommunistákkal. „Az ülés másnapján Zöldet családjával együtt holtan találták otthonukban, a hivatalos tájékoztatás szerint végzett két gyermekével, feleségével és édesanyjával, majd öngyilkos lett.”
Of course, in this blog there is no interest to show the communist related issues……particularly when Jews were involved both as victims and as causitive effect….
Today’s news. Merkel & Orban.
Merkel would be the only person with strong enough clout to tell Orban that he should restore democracy in Hungary. But she seemed to be satisfied with Orban, therefore she gave Orban her implicit support.
I don’t think Gyula Gömbös should be allowed to continue here and I’m sure everyone agrees – maybe with the exception of Louis and Bernadette …
Re Merkel and Orban:
Of course you have to read between the lines: An “open talk” and Orbán says where the EU had complaints, they were addressed …
We’ll surely hear/read more about this “open” but not “friendly” talk and the media and the other German parties continue to heavily criticize the Hungarian government.
BTW he won’t be a candidate again for vice president of the conservative EPP.
I do not want to deceive myself. Most of CDU/CSU, including Merkel support Orban. Perhaps they would love to introduce a less democratic system in Germany too, Orban is their pilot program.
I’m adressing my words here to Wolfi and Tappanch. I agree that Gömbös doesn’t belong here. Neither is the “kuruchonvéd.” I’m disturbed by this sudden interest of the Hungarian neo-nazis in the Spectrum. I already placed them into a category where I have to decide whether their writings should be published or not. However, there is a plug-in to wordpress that should take take of these characters automatically. I will take care of it tonight.
As far as the German visit is concerned, I tend to agree with Wolfi. I don’t think that the private conversation was as friendly as the press conference would indicate. I also heard from a very good source that in the top leadership of CDU Merkel is one of the severest critics of Orbán. So, let’s not be too pessimistic.
Moreover, Orbán is not the sort of fellow who can be nudged by being scolded in public.
Éva did report on the Biszku issue about a year ago, and I wasn’t reading tears out of it. I’m not sure if there has been enough development for another post on it, personally I’d also wait out where the procedure is going exactly.
‘Even the Frankfurter Allgeimene Zeitung called his Ópusztaszer speech frightening.’
Probably they’ve also experienced the flashback effect watching and listening Orban – I have.
If someone just look at this image:
– for one – and has some previous knowledge of the ‘Ahnenerbe’ and the ‘Blut und Boden’, it isn’t particularly hard to get certain very unpleasant associations.
I agree with FAZ, it’s a threatening sense of foreboding, indeed.
And if you count in the zealots – a kind whom you just expelled – the threat all too real to ignore.
These accusations are truly ridiculous. If I had stayed in Hungary in 1956 I would have been one of Biszku’s victims. Not necessarily going to the gallows but a few years in jail for sure. I hated the Kádár regime but I was glad that eventually it softened up enough to be a country more livable than East Germany, Czechoslovakia, or Romania. In those days one could foresee the very sudden and very unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union. So, one could be grateful for even a “soft dictatorship.”
Although I cannot think with the head of a Nazi, I do believe the main motive behind that horrible act was something entirely different. Goebbels probably wanted to save his children from being tortured and/or otherwise humiliated by the Russians. That would not have been an entirely groundless fear, actually. Remember how many German women and girls were raped, tortured and murdered by Red Army troops for no other reason than being German. If they did that to ordinary girls, what do you think they would have done to the children of the Nazi propaganda minister?
And that case was not unique, either. In 1951 a Hungarian communist Minister of Home Affairs. Sándor Zöld, slaughtered his entire family before committing suicide because he thought the ÁVH was after him, and thought his family would be subjected to brutal torture if he escaped by simply killing himself. Mind you, he was right. The ÁVH was going to arrest him. It was them that found the bodies when they went to round him up.
@Tyrker re “Remember how many German women and girls were raped, tortured and murdered by Red Army troops for no other reason than being German.”
This is ridiculous! Some soldiers have always raped the losers’ women and daughters, whether they were German or … It also happened in Western Germany – the French had a lot of soldiers from Marokko etc and they were feared by everybody at first (I grew up in the French occupied zone) but it always was just a small minority of soldiers who did this and the officers tried to prevent it – because they knew there might be a backlash …
A bit OT:
When I went to the Gymnasium we had a discussion group with French soldiers/NCOs. We met regularly either in a bar or the Casino of the French army – where champagne (or rather vin mousseux), whisky and cigarettes were cheap …
Goebbels could have sent his children away to the countryside – maybe even with false papers which some Nazis did. But he was a type similar to Hitler: If we’re going to lose and die, the whole German people should die with us!
Some of the discussion partners were from North Africa, some also from the Caribbean, nice people really.
Of course, Wolfi is right. That would have been a rational decision on his part but he rather killed six innocent children.
You should watch the movie “Der Untergang” (Downfall) about the last days in Hitler’s bunker. It’s stomach turning to watch when Frau Goebbels’ with the family doctor goes around to sedate the children after they went to bed then later they make them bite on a cyanid capsule. No. It wasn’t protection from the Red Army soldiers. They didn’t want them to live in a society without National Socialism.
Petofi is right. Orban is like reverend Jim Jones. Imagine Orban ordering the nation to commit suicide to protest the IMF … Nah. Let’s talk about something else.
It’s not my decision to decide who should be thrown out but I’m getting fed up with the sneaky anti-Semitic remarks from Kovach.
Kovach, before you write down anything try to imagine that you are sitting at a table in a pub with normal people conversing about things … Imagine their faces when you open your mouth. If these idiotic stink bombs are the only things you can contribute then please move over to another table or shut up.
By the way reverend Orban, the leader of the Temple of Fidesz, wants to be surrounded by children when he’ll deliver his October 13th sermon. They are bussing 47 busloads of kids from Transylvania about 2000 to the festivities. Bombing is out of the question …
What? Unbelievable! Will they be singing and handing him flowers after he finishes his idiot speech?
It gets more and more like Ceausescu every day. Isn’t this child abuse?
Sorry, I can’t get this out of my mind now. Keep those innocent kids away from Zsolt Bayer. Something must be done.
Mutt: “Kovach, before you write down anything try to imagine that you are sitting at a table in a pub with normal people conversing about things … Imagine their faces when you open your mouth. If these idiotic stink bombs are the only things you can contribute then please move over to another table or shut up”
Be assured, I would say the same thing to your face also!
Listen, you shithead Kovacs: anyone who compares the nazi atrocities against jews to anything such as the murder of a family is seriously lacking in perspective and certainly, empathy. THERE IS NO COMPARISON, IDIOT. Murder is not murder in every insistence. Asholes like you should be sat in front of the computer screen and forced to read, for 24 hours, the EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF THE GAS CHAMBERS BY NAZI GUARDS.
Try reading some now.
Seems to me hate is flowering in the air only destruction no positive answers life is short dont hate be constructive , dont look for mistakes look for the positive in any governement.
“Some soldiers” – yes, that’s the key. Your experiences in the French-occupied zone underline the differences between the attitudes of the Western Allies and the Reds very nicely. As you say, rapes were mostly isolated incidents in the French-occupied zone and officers were doing everything they could to prevent them from happening. This is completely different to the experiences of those fellow countrymen and -women of yours who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the Soviet-occupied zone, where ideologically motivated mass rape, humiliation and torture were the order of the day. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out the award-winning documentary, A Journey Back to Youth, which relates the horrible – but unfortunately true – tales of East Prussia’s ill-fated teenagers. In case you were wondering, no, this is not some neo-Nazi propaganda film – it was actually directed by a Russian Jew, the accomplished documentary filmmaker Alexander Gutman.
That could well be the case. As I said myself I cannot think with the head of a Nazi. But as I also pointed out, his case isn’t all that unique. When a man knows that an armed force – be it an enemy army or his own country’s secret police – is seeking to capture and torture him with little to no opportunity to escape, suicide is often the only way out – regardless of whether he is an awful and evil man like Goebbels, a communist minister like Zöld, a freedom fighter or something entirely different. And if that man has a family he must also think about what would happen to his loved ones after his suicide. Sometimes these people will kill all of them before killing themselves because they reckon a cyanide pill or a quick shot in the head is still better than weeks, days or even hours of torture that their loved ones would have to endure at the hands of the vengeful captors. That’s why I believe this is a more plausible explanation for the familicide committed by Goebbels than simple fanaticism, but I could be wrong of course. (As to sending his children off to the countryside, that could have been an option to consider earlier on but not when, as “petofi” put it, the Russians were only 100 metres from the bunker.)
Statistics on the number of rapes committed by the ‘liberators’ can be easily accessed in Krisztian Ungvary’s The Siege of Budapest, Yale University Press, 2005 on page 354:
“In Budapest, according to information available to date, about 10 percent of the population were raped.” On the same page “Statistics show 2 million women in Germany were raped, and some 60,000 children born as a result. Of the 1.4 million female inhabitants of Berlin at least 110,000 were raped and 1,156 subsequently gave birth.”
Yes, revenge is sweet …
You shouldn’t forget that all this happened after Germany (and Hungary!) had declared war on the USSR and invaded it and killed a lot of Russians.
Strange that you guys always see only one side – and like to stay in the past instead of the 21st Century.
Dr Balogh: “I have a real problem with the comparison between Goebels and Zöld in the first place. Zöld committed suicide and killed his whole family because he was afraid of his own kind. Goebels simply didn’t want to live (or die) after the fall of the Third Reich.”
In my opinion, fearing your own kind is worse than fearing someone else as a cause.
Both weere fearing the future, each his own.
Oh, yes. A the time Ungváry’s book came out (1998) there was a huge discussion about it on the Hungarian-language lists. I said at that time that Ungváry’s extrapolations might not be accurate. Just because in X city this was the case (and even there the data might not be entirely accurate) one cannot say that in city Y the same pattern was followed exactly and the results were the same.
The Russian occupied Pécs at the end of November. It was a peaceful affair since the German-Hungarian forces decided not to defend the city. In January, we moved from our country place back to the city and eventually we had a number of soldiers, Yugoslavs, Bulgarians, and Russians, whom we had to put up. I remember all of them. The Yugoslav was a woman who was terribly grateful for the nice bath she could have at last. The Bulgarian tried to teach me the numbers in Bulgarian. And there was Sasha. The Russian, Sasha, was a jolly fellow who wanted to pay cards with my father. Father didn’t play cards and the card game Sasha wanted him to play he had never heard of before. Sasha drove my mother crazy because he kept calling her “mama,” and considering that my mother was in her late thirties she didn’t appreciate that kind of endearing address.
Then one day Sasha arrived with a Hungarian woman and made it clear that he was planning to bring the woman into the house. Well, my mother told the woman to be ashamed of herself and made clear to Sasha that over her dead body he is bringing her inside. My father was somewhat worried about the possible consequences. But no, Sasha gave up the idea and the woman departed.
Petrovich the civilized:: “Listen, you shithead Kovacs: anyone who compares the nazi atrocities against jews to anything such as the murder of a family is seriously lacking in perspective and certainly, empathy. THERE IS NO COMPARISON, IDIOT. Murder is not murder in every insistence. Asholes like you should be sat in front of the computer screen and forced to read, for 24 hours, the EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF THE GAS CHAMBERS BY NAZI GUARDS.
Try reading some now.”
I was comparing Zold’s (a Hungarian Jewish AVH official’s suicide and murder of his family because of fears from Rakosi ( the communist party boss and also a Jewish) with Goebbels and familiy suicide and murder. In my opinion both were horrific events as far as the children are concerned. According to you the Zold event was not a murder but the Goebbels event yes.
Please leave out any concentration camp stories from this discussion, the subject has nothing to do with it.
Dr Balogh ” Father didn’t play cards and the card game Sasha wanted him to play he had never heard of before. Sasha drove my mother crazy because he kept calling her “mama,” and considering that my mother was in her late thirties she didn’t appreciate that kind of endearing address.
Then one day Sasha arrived with a Hungarian woman and made it clear that he was planning to bring the woman into the house. Well, my mother told the woman to be ashamed of herself and made clear to Sasha that over her dead body he is bringing her inside. My father was somewhat worried about the possible consequences. But no, Sasha gave up the idea and the woman departed.”
A smaller town (Kiskunhalas) and a Russian soldier is quartered in our house, behaves well and when during the day other Russian moved away a sofa from our home, he went to one of the naigbors and brought another to us. Reasonable “civilized behavior.
Our neighbor a teacher was shot against our hous’e wall when he tried to protect his wife and he was dying for hours in great pain because the Russian did not let anybody into their yard.
Generally the frontline troops behaved reasonably well, it was the second echelon that committed most of thieving and rape and at times the killing.
Wolfi, I hope you realise that the implied logic behind your innocent.sounding statement is the same as the “reasoning” the Hungarian extreme right uses to justify the white terror of 1919-20. (To wit, they say that the white terror was a “natural” and “understandable” reaction to the bloody Red dictatorship of 1919 during which over half a thousand people had been executed – and many others tortured – by the “Lenin boys.”) The fallacy in their logic – and yours – is that neither the white terror nor the Russians’ revenge was limited to the actual perpetrators but affected mainly innocent people.
(As to Hungary’s “declaring war on the USSR,” this topic has been beaten to death – Hungary never “declared war” on the SU, she simply “considered herself to be in a state of war” in the wake of two unprovoked air strikes on (mainly non-military) Hungarian targets, both of which took place on 26 June 1941. Of course it wasn’t a wise decision or a brilliant idea – after all, Hungary could have protested through diplomatic channels -, but that doesn’t change the historical fact that Hungary never “declared war” on the Soviet Union.)
I don’t know who “the guys” who “stay in the past” are but for the record it was “petofi” who brought up Goebbels and his familicide.
@Tyrker and Louis:
Don’t you have anything to say on the problems of today’s Hungary ?
I’ve deleted the rest of my comment …
PS: So Hungary fought a war without a declaration, even better …
Yup. She was attacked without any prior warning and her leaders thought she had no other choice than to fight back. They were wrong, of course, and this has had disastrous effects as we all know. József Antall was a lot wiser – when, 50 years later, a Yugoslav aircraft bombed the town of Barcs, he didn’t think that meant his country was necessarily at war. His government protested but did not send any troops across the border. Wish Horthy and Bárdossy had been this wise!
I do. There are many problems in Hungary, the most important ones being that 1) the country produces/manufactures precisely nothing that could not be produced/manufactured elsewhere in the world, which makes her extremely vulnerable, 2) she’s heavily reliant on sources of energy that can only be obtained from abroad, 3) her SMEs hopelessly lack capital, 4) her employment rate is extremely low, 5) her inhabitants’ desire to “keep up with the Joneses” has resulted in the accumulation of massive government/household debt and 6) her ageing population is putting an increasing burden on the welfare system. (All of these things are interdependent of course.)
The gravest problem of the country is that practically none of her leaders, whether in power or in opposition, have the foggiest idea of the possible resolutions of these issues. In fact most of them do not even realise these are the biggest issues in the first place.
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