Another Friday morning “non-threat” from Viktor Orbán

According to some analysts, Viktor Orbán’s latest Friday morning interview was perhaps one of the most revealing and most frightening. On such occasions the prime minister sometimes unwittingly reveals facts about himself and the country that would perhaps best remain hidden.

I already mentioned his inappropriate quip about the unwelcome German tanks in 1944. He went on to make a “non-threatening” remark about those who do not embrace Fidesz. In connection with the clearly fraudulent tobacconist shop concessions, he said: “I am a mild-mannered person, so I am not saying this to threaten anyone, but if we wanted to enforce political considerations in such a tender, there would not be a single left-wing winner.” As Erik D’Amato wrote on politics.hu,  “if Viktor Orbán wanted to he could crush you like an ant, but he won’t, because he’s chill.”

threat commons.wikimedia.org

Threat / commons.wikimedia.org

Orbán again beat the drum about his government’s accomplishments, starting with the country’s fantastic economic achievement that by now “the whole world recognizes.” Please, anyone who’s heard such praise, stand up! I also learned from this interview that Hungary’s economic growth was respectable in 2011 but then came a “second wave of economic crisis in Europe” that caused all the trouble in Hungary. Thus, the Hungarian government’s unorthodox policies had nothing to do with the recession that followed two years of small economic growth.

Orbán actually boasted about his illegal seizure of private pension accounts from millions of citizens when he described how “we reorganized the system of pensions and took away the money from the financial markets,  taxed the banks, forced the multinationals to pay taxes.” He admitted that he could do all that because of his party’s super majority. The truth? The pensions were taken away from the people and not the markets. Both the banks and the multinationals had paid taxes before; what he and his right hand, György Matolcsy, did was to levy crippling additional taxes on them.

The untrue statements didn’t end here. Orbán claimed that the European Union wants to force the Hungarian government to “take away from ordinary people … lower pensions … lower social welfare, decrease child support.” Orbán categorically stated that he will never satisfy such demands from the European Union because they amount  to an austerity program, a concept whose very mention is forbidden by Fidesz.  But the fact is that every time the chips were down Orbán gave in to the demands of the European Union concerning the budget deficit. Except the Orbán government refuses to use the word “austerity” (megszorítás). All sorts of other words are substituted for the austerity packages that followed each other in rapid succession throughout 2011 and 2012. One of these synonyms is “zárolás” (sequestration, freezing of funds), which according to Orbán “doesn’t take money away from people.” So, if the Ministry of Human Resources must spend less on education or healthcare it does not affect, according the economic wizardry of the Hungarian prime minister, the well being of the country’s citizens.

It is also clear that Orbán is unwilling to begin serious structural reforms. If Hungarians don’t like to hear about austerity they are equally leery about “reforms.” Their experience in the past has been that reform means a diminishment of their income or their access to social welfare benefits. Instead, Orbán is ready to contemplate such suggestions as spending less on government bureaucracy, further raising taxes on banks and the multinationals, and even increasing the transaction tax rate “if the European Union insists on a lower deficit.”

And finally, a few words about Viktor Orbán’s attitude toward his own role as prime minister of the country. Ever since 2002  Orbán has often repeated that “the nation cannot be the opposition.” He equates his own political side with the nation. Those who have a different set of political views are outside of the nation. At the end of the interview this interpretation of his own role became clear: he considers himself the prime minister of those who are Fidesz supporters.

I already mentioned this gentle soul’s words about his limitless power to grant tobacconist licenses based on political considerations. Orbán explained further: “I would like to make it perfectly clear that I will never turn my back on our supporters. Why is it wrong if entrepreneurs who share our values and otherwise fulfill the requirements win these tenders?… To turn our backs on our own voters, our followers (hiveink), our supporters just because we politicians will receive less criticism  this way, that I will never accept. We have to endure these criticisms because if our followers cannot count on us, who can?”

It’s no wonder that last night Ágnes Vadai (DK) in an interview on Egyenes beszéd kept referring to Viktor Orbán as “the man who calls himself Hungary’s prime minister.”

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49 comments

  1. Dear Editor,

    SOCIOPATH (please take me seriously)
    Obviously not something to be taken lightly as we know..

    “A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others. A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused – it is done to get one’s way). Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways.”

    from a site re:

    The Difference Between a Sociopath, a Compulsive, a Pathological, a Chronic, and a Habitual Liar:

    http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/lying-and-deception/confronting-a-partner/compulsive-lying/types-of-liars.html

    It’s a VERY SOMBER fact.

  2. The Hungarian Spectrum blog is a rich source of information on the Orban regime.
    The other urgent task is to find simple arguments which can change the mind of the FIDESZ supporters in Hungary and in America.
    We need two different approaches.
    The Hungarians who live in America are blind loyalists, because they like the Fidesz policy on Erdely/Transylvania, and the nostalgic worshiping of the Horthy era.
    The voters who live in Hungary, are probably less solid supporters of Fidesz.
    They enjoy the anti-Roma and anti-Semitic messages.
    They can be categorized as social Dinosaurus.

  3. rrres13: speak for yourself. BTW, in case you have not noticed, Ms Balogh is also a Hungarian who lives in America. So am I.

  4. andysomos :
    Dear Editor,
    SOCIOPATH (please take me seriously)
    Obviously not something to be taken lightly as we know..
    “A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others. A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused – it is done to get one’s way). Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways.”
    from a site re:
    The Difference Between a Sociopath, a Compulsive, a Pathological, a Chronic, and a Habitual Liar:
    http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/lying-and-deception/confronting-a-partner/compulsive-lying/types-of-liars.html
    It’s a VERY SOMBER fact.

    I absolutely agree with your inference and would like to offer this article to those that can read Hungarian to back it up. I have referred to this article in my comment yesterday and I do find it absolutely chilling. It analyses the behaviour and characteristics of not only Orbán but some of his lieutenants as well. Sociopaths they all are, but he uses the word psychopath quite often too. Is it an overstatement, or do any of you agree? Apologies that I have no time to translate it, it is a frightening document if only half of it is true!

    http://www.alsoorsi-hirhatar.hu/hirek/megdobbento-orban-viktor-es-a-fidesz-vezetoinek-patologiajabol

  5. I am reposting my comment from yesterday for those that might not bother to track back, as I have only got back to this blog today. I, in no way, meant to diminish Prof. Balogh’s achievements in informing that part of the world that only reads English about our sufferings currently in our homeland. Please forgive my occasinal bursts of frustration!

    “”Quote Eva S. Balogh :
    JGrant: “I enjoy your comments most of the time, but currently it is becoming a tad irritating how every idiotic and therefore totally predictable madness that OV puts out gets an amazed reaction from you.”
    Perhaps for you who knows the situation very well it might be boring or even irritating. However, I think it is important to chronicle of Viktor Orbán’s doings. Spectrum is partly for an audience that might not be so well informed than you.

    Fair comment. I take your criticism and hope that you and the other commenters will forgive me for the occasional burst of frustration. Yes, your role in advising the world that wants to know about what is going on in Hungary is invaluable. Only yesterday I had an e-mail from a lecturer friend in England whom I advised to read HS, and who thought how brilliant it was and what a shame that I haven’t told him about it sooner.

    By the way, I am still interested in your opinion in what you think is going to happen after Orban! 🙂

  6. sackhoes contributor – you are the good Hungarian, and your assistance is hotly sought, to mount a cavaliery campaign to change the mind of the Hungarians in America, to end their enthusiastic support for Orban, the fake Messiah.

    The challenge is to mobilize minds, to shed all fears, and fight for the principles of freedom.

    Orban polarized the people, Hungarians in Hungary, the multiple generations of emigrant Hungarians, and the rest of Europe.

    He offered alliance to everyone who wanted to breach the unity of Hungary and Europe.

    He invited all reactionary force to come out into the light, hate and ruin the enlightened policy of the late Jozsef Antal, the democratic development of Hungary.

    He found too many allies in this nasty act.

    The losers are all free people.

  7. JGrant – you analyzed the blog quite correctly. We agree that the Hungarian Spectrum blog represents a super value, while other efforts have to be developed to end the Orban dictatorship.

    Every day, the readers are adding valuable comments, with the words of Petofi, Paul……to emphasize our opposition against the Orban created chaos and polarization.

    The comments in this blog are great contributions in the fight against the Orban clique.

  8. tappanch :
    2011-2012
    EU Money —-> Agency of the Orban government ——> Companies in Seychelles & others
    http://atlatszo.blog.hu/2013/05/18/tovabbi_offshore_hatteru_cegek_kaptak_tobb_szaz_millio_forintos_eu-tamogatast

    Well done, tap.
    Now, why doesn’t the opposition scream this from newspaper ads all over Hungary? (Or, do they first skim off a sizable % from donations for themselves first? A little transparency on donations would be a good place to start in promoting good governance…)

  9. Unfortunately, sticking a proper label on Orbán doesn’t change things. I wonder what it takes to reach out to the 50+% of the nonvoters to get them interested in constructive politics, to change their views, open their eyes, make them Europeans again – make them citizens!

  10. Orban would make fantastic blackjack player. Every new lie is bigger then one one before and most normal politicians would stand but this guy keeps getting hits and still doesn’t go bust. Amazing!

    Of course he knows better his compatriots. Here is an illustration. Watch this wonderful contemporary Hungarian folks song gem by Rosy on the Echo TV (Nazi TV). English subs by me.

  11. Disgusting stuff, Mutt, that video. I had a fine retort for grandma but finally, even I had to shrink from the harshness of it…

  12. By the way, the video is indicative of the thinking of the Orban-Faithful. Grandma sings
    that her purse is empty, empty, empty….but that Orban will fill it.(!!)
    Imagine that. The very person who’s stealing everything will fill her up!!!!
    How can you fight that….?

  13. (Sorry, ideas are coming in spurts today.)

    Has anyone listed for her the vast holdings of Viktor, and how a man who has never held a job is able to own multi-million (euro not forint) homes and an SUV that cost at least 70,000?

  14. Not too much OT:

    M1 tv just ran a program (again!) on Bajnai and the “goose company” . Fidesz must be really afraid of him, trying character assassination again and again …

    Orbán probably got his money from the grateful people sending their measly Forints to him …

    Or what do you think ?

  15. Wolfi, wrong, Fidesz is not so much afraid, as they simply have the capacity to do it, and it is more strategically important to “kill” Bajnai first than to start with Mesterhazi (who is anyway unknown, mixed up with the other Mesterhazi who sat in jail, and is a true “communist”, being member of the MSZP, plus with MSZP you can always count on a deal).

    I am pretty sure Fidesz prepared for a much tighter campaign (even at this stage) and I think they are a bit at loss what to do. I mean they will spend a lot of money on increasing public sector wages etc. but as to ‘campaign proper’ they are more prepared than what they seem to do.

    If they deal with Bajnai too much, even in a negative way, such exposure would assign Bajnai more importance than it is seen from the polls.

    So simply this particular tv show has no importance, although Fidesz will spend a lot on the goose issue. But this is not a game changer. The impotence of MSZP and Bajnai is.

    Fidesz always prepares for a blood bath, real take no prisoner style action (planned for several steps ahead), in other words expect the same from the opposition to behave as they do, and they just can’t believe their luck with this opposition.

  16. “I would like to make it perfectly clear that I will never turn my back on our supporters. Why is it wrong if entrepreneurs who share our values and otherwise fulfill the requirements win these tenders?… To turn our backs on our own voters, our followers (hiveink), our supporters just because we politicians will receive less criticism this way, that I will never accept. We have to endure these criticisms because if our followers cannot count on us, who can?”

    When I read this statement in the morning, it boils me up. Unbelievable!! May I remind him that not only the fideszers are paying tax!!

    Just basing on this arrogance, should make it easier to the undecided to make a decision on who they want to back.

  17. @ enuff

    How right you are!

    But forget Arrogance….does this sound like the head of a country who, supposedly, is entrusted to treat citizens equally? Isn’t this how the head of a DEMOCRATIC country is supposed to deal with all his citizens?

    This quote should be plastered everywhere in Hungary…every day…from now until the election. This alone should disqualify Orban as head-of-country material of a civilized, European country in the 21st century.

  18. The first corporations will be created for the public servants [renamed government servants] and for the nationalized school teachers.

    1. Allegiance or Loyalty
    “we shall strive to accomplish the goals our elected or appointed leaders order”
    2. National interest

  19. tappanch :
    The first corporations will be created for the public servants [renamed government servants] and for the nationalized school teachers.
    1. Allegiance or Loyalty
    “we shall strive to accomplish the goals our elected or appointed leaders order”
    2. National interest

    “Order, ORDER!??” Even the terminology has become totalitarian!

    I’ll order a schlitz and a schnitzel–kosher, please.

  20. I would like to call your attention that the Hungarian Spectrum’s post on Orbán’s Friday morning interview and his reference to German tanks made it in the German press. See:

    http://www.focus.de/politik/ausland/undiplomatischer-regierungschef-ungarns-premier-unterstellt-merkel-nazi-methoden_aid_994434.html

    Der ungarische Premierminister reagierte einen Tag später in seiner eigenen Radiosendung äußerst genervt und verglich Merkels Ungarnpolitik mit der von Hitler angeordneten Besetzung des Landes („Operation Margarethe“) durch deutsche Truppen im Jahr 1944. Das berichtet der ungarische Politblog „hungarianspectrum“.

  21. Orban defends his country’s interest. This is the issue.
    He does not bevave as expected, like a slave.
    Eva, I know you think that is allowed if you you are a Hungarian.
    Hungarian simply do not have the right to defent their own interest.
    Verboten!

  22. It is absolutely clear that as soon the Hungarian government even tries to defend the interest of average citizens, the opposition plays the race card. It is completely predictable and automatic.

    The jobbik is full of provocateurs whose sole mission is to portray Hungary as a fascist country as well to prevent Fidesz’s the 2/3 parliamentary majority
    The Guard also was created by Gyurcsany’s secret police by recruiting well known gang members and criminals.
    The prime exhibit is Mr. Gyongyossy who by all accounts an educated well informed person, someone who spent years in Western Europe not as a dish washer, but working for one of the world’s most reputable financial institutions. One cannot believe that an educated, well-spoken person like Mr. Gyongyossy is attracted to the primitive ideology of Jobbik.
    Even more interesting, that Mr. Gyongyossy became a member of Jobbik inner circle in a few months . And finally it is absolutely impossible that Mr. Gyongyossy infamous remark in the parliament was something else than well planned provocation, with the only purpose to embarrass Orban. That was nothing else than red meat thrown to the foreign press.
    Nothing else. It was a terrible, disgusting tasteless and first of all very dangerous act.
    It is simply inconvincible that Mr. Gyongossy did this without knowing it will cause a firestorm, he will create a quotable event that will stick with Hungary for years

  23. @ besmart. So we have another troll. Don’t feed it. His garbled thinking is not leading anywhere.

    Jobbik was clearly founded by Orbán after he lost the 2006 election. The name was civic circles or cells. And Jobbik is the very same thing.

    And claiming Orbán – a leader born only once in a century! – had found a new way to prosperity and a new understanding of statehood is just ridiculous.

  24. besmart :
    Orban defends his country’s interest. This is the issue.
    He does not bevave as expected, like a slave.
    Eva, I know you think that is allowed if you you are a Hungarian.
    Hungarian simply do not have the right to defent their own interest.
    Verboten!

    You might feel that protecting the interests of Hungary involves increasing corruption and destroying the economy as well as saying many provocative things that cause foreigners to assume that Hungary is full of radicals, but I believe that Hungarians are better off with a government that doesn’t emulate the actions of authoritarians like Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, and Robert Mugabe. Cooperating with democratic countries is not the same as behaving like a “slave”, especially since Hungary is in the EU voluntarily. Hungary will be freer and wealthier by following the path taken by countries like Holland, Sweden, Canada, and New Zealand, not by following the path taken by Belarus. If Hungary’s government wants to keep from being a “colony”, it should stay away from Russia and act more like the United Kingdom, which frequently goes against the dictates of the EU, but doesn’t turn away from democracy. History is full of countries that made the wrong ideological choices, and regretted them. Hopefully most Hungarians are wiser than you in this regard.

  25. Googly, it’s no use – you’re wasting your time on this idiot! Here’s what he wrote in another thread:

    EU is basically an illegal entity.

    And I answered:

    Eva, I think it’s time to throw this idiot out!

  26. My comment is awaiting moderation, so here is just a link to the picture in “Der SPIEGEL” of Orbán and Mrs Merkel – enjoy:

  27. Orbán just couldn’t help to use any opportunity to appear brave and heroic in the eyes of his worshippers (one wonder, what’s what he compensating so eagerly) even if it cost dearly, even if he must lie for the dramatic effect.

    In this case as we know, Chancellor Merkel already expressed her unwillingness to apply further pressure on Hungary, then our Great Hero warned her not to do that – right after.

    Brave, isn’t it?

    To the average brainwashed Fidesz-zealot it certainly came down, as Viktor saved the Nation from the Germans – single handed.

    Anyone remembers, how he’ve sent home the whole Read Army – all alone?

    Great!

    Never mind, that a few weeks prior to the event the government already made the decision, initiated and set negotiations in motion for the same goal.

    But hey, it worked, isn’t it?
    Hail to the Hero!

  28. It is simple math. If the majority of population supports the Orban government, and especially the majority or better educated population that tends to start its own businesses, then is just matter of statistics that majority of the licenses are granted to “Orban supporters”
    Is is so difficult to understand? Eva, next time come with something better!

  29. besmart :
    It is simple math. If the majority of population supports the Orban government, and especially the majority or better educated population that tends to start its own businesses, then is just matter of statistics that majority of the licenses are granted to “Orban supporters”
    Is is so difficult to understand? Eva, next time come with something better!

    Look at the polls, the majority doesn’t support OV. It’s an accident of a broken electoral system that OV even got to 2/3rds. BTW, I find that the better educated *don’t* tend to back OV unless they’ve been co’opted as they understand the implications of what he’s up to. Something that very few would have signed up for.

    I guess you’ve not been co’opted as you don’t seem to understand the difference between being a slave and negotiating with partners in good faith.

  30. JGrant, unfortunately that analysis about Orban’s alleged sociopathy, psychopathy and personopathy etc is quite rubbish.
    What the author did, he got a book on some mental illnesses, copied the symptoms and used words like “extraordinarily, incredibly, completely, extremely” with them as describing Orban and some others. Without mentioning any incidents to support the claims.
    I wouldn’t take it seriously.

    I’m usually cautious with people who try to diagnose people they don’t know. Psychiatrists have several long personal chats with patients just to make a list of any possible problems (differential diagnosis), they often consult other psychiatrists as well. And they still often get it wrong! 🙂

    Orban might have some emotional or moral instability, but I think we should leave this topic to the experts.
    Anyway, as Minusio says, it doesn’t really change anything. In the case of Hitler as well: the question is not whether he was mad or not, but why did people elect him and why did people believe him?

  31. besmart :
    It is simple math. If the majority of population supports the Orban government, and especially the majority or better educated population that tends to start its own businesses, then is just matter of statistics that majority of the licenses are granted to “Orban supporters”
    Is is so difficult to understand? Eva, next time come with something better!

    Besmart,

    If the opposition will win in 2014, will you give up your views and become a liberal? Because it sounds like your world view is just following the crowd.

    You are trolling this blog because you too know that the Fidesz support was barely 50% in 2010 and it was falling since then. So here is the bad news for ya buddy. In 2014 you will be the loser minority.

    Are you getting it? My views are not determined by the numbers. I am not a sheep.

  32. cheshire cat :
    JGrant, unfortunately that analysis about Orban’s alleged sociopathy, psychopathy and personopathy etc is quite rubbish.
    Orban might have some emotional or moral instability, but I think we should leave this topic to the experts.
    Anyway, as Minusio says, it doesn’t really change anything. In the case of Hitler as well: the question is not whether he was mad or not, but why did people elect him and why did people believe him?

    While a definitive, medically grounded diagnosis indeed should be made by experts – preferably within the walls of dedicated facility – one can not ignore the fact, that Orbán’s actions predominantly the products of his – well, say “special” – personality than anything else. Furthermore, he seem less and less in controll of his own actions.

    Just look at his latest, the attack on chancellor Merkel: what reasonable explanation anyone could come up with? Not one other sane statesman would ever give such stupid response, if in full command of his mental status, believe me.
    Trying to figure out, what actually bugs him may help us to predict the probable path where his mental health takes him, and unfortunately Hungary as well.

    Otherwise – as I see it – the question just as appropriate about any other religious sect as well, why indeed the people tend to folow those who obviously fraud to begin with..?
    At the same time we should be aware, that Orbán is one of the most skillful manipulator, particularly when it comes to the simple minded. Some of the others are with him for the money and/or career, and let not to forget the dutiful masses being swept by the flood.

    A frighteningly actual reading is the Hannah Ardent Papers – about the Banality of Evil.
    Here we are – again – thank to Viktor Orbán.

  33. Spectator, I’m not saying that Orban is definitely completely sane and stable. In fact I believe that many people in his position lose their sense of reality sooner or later, because the feedback they get distorts it (=people don’t dare tell him that he’s wrong).

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t speculate on what might be wrong with him, either.
    I said the article JGrant linked to was rather rubbish, in my opinion.
    Have you read it?

    About his attack on Merkel: I still think he just hadn’t bothered to prepare properly for this part of the interview. If you are responsible for virtually everything in a country and you don’t listen to advisors, the quality of your work will drop. He comes across as quite chatty and spontaneous during these interviews, so he will put his foot in something every now and then. In this case the question he was asked was something like; “So what now, is the German cavalry coming into Hungary?” (which was a very stupid question to begin with). He must have thought his reply was witty, and the stern and categoric tone was used to suit the severity of the subject, in his mind.

    Orban’s problem is that he often seems to overestimate his abilities and to underestimate the others’ (in this case Germany’s) power and talent. Also he demonstrates a striking lack of responsibility. Whether it is already a sign of having mental problems, I can’t say.

  34. @ besmart. Try to be wise. Being smart or clever isn’t what it takes to get Hungary out of this quagmire.

    Try to describe a way to change this government in a peaceful manner. Or do you think it should be in power eternally? Or what have you learnt about democracy? And from whom?

  35. cheshire cat :
    I said the article JGrant linked to was rather rubbish, in my opinion.
    Have you read it?

    No, I haven’t.
    That’s the reason why I didn’t comment on yor opinion, by the way.

    Otherwise Orbán usually has problem with spontaneous responses, all he can surely do is to read up ready made texts, regardless how stupid the text really is. Counless examples are available, read any of his speeches, you’ll see right away, what I mean.
    However, blaming the reporter for a stupid question feels a bit too forced for this size of blunder, don’t you think? If you are up to the game of questions an answers, then do it right, or not at all.
    If someone keep flattering himself with the title ‘statesman’ at least should be able to cope with the task what the title requires, or should resign as our beloved president – the name Schmitt – did.
    In any event, he should stop these idiotic self-polishing Friday gospells, they obviously hurt more than gain anything. The man is quite shallow when it comes outside of the soccer fields, just makes himself a laughing stock, shouldn’t push it, really.

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