“Secrets revealed”: Memoirs about the financial attacks on Hungary

Many opposition politicians, especially before the deal between Orbán and Putin became public, suggested that the coming election should be declared a kind of referendum on the European Union. After all, the majority of the Hungarian electorate still supports Hungary’s membership in the Union while Orbán’s favorite target is the European Union. Well, the Orbán government is prepared. Helga Wiedermann, the right hand of György Matolcsy in the ministry of national development and again in the Hungarian National Bank, came out with her memoirs entitled Chess and Poker.

How timely! The book is not yet available in bookstores, but Magyar Nemzet has an advance reader’s copy from which the newspaper quotes extensively. The upshot of the story is that the European Commission, especially Olli Rehn, commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, is a deadly enemy of Hungary. The European Union, conspiring with leading members of the international world of finance, tried through monetary means to unseat Viktor Orbán as prime minister of Hungary. But in the end Matolcsy’s genius guided by Viktor Orbán’s superior vision triumphed against all odds.

Who is Helga Wiedermann? Mighty little can be found out about her on the Internet, which should surprise nobody. The whole Hungarian government is full of people who have no professional background for the jobs they fill. Political loyalty is what counts. I assume that Wiedermann must have had good Fidesz connections because she began her career in Matolcsy’s ministry as “political adviser.” To accommodate faithful Fidesz supporters this administration creates new positions right and left. Matolcsy either must have been terribly impressed with her political advice or received word that Wiedermann needs a more important and permanent job: she was elevated to be Matolcsy’s chief-of staff. When Matolcsy moved over to the National Bank, his trusted chief-of-staff went with him. They created a new position for her called “director general” (főigazgató). According to a blogger who seems to know a lot about the inner workings of the National Bank, Helga Wiedermann is the only person besides Matolcsy who can hire and fire at will. The same blogger calls Widermann a “professional zero,” nothing more than the person in charge of human resources.

Given this background, one must ask how Helga Wiedermann can report on minute details of Ecofin meetings attended by all the finance ministers of the European Union. How did she learn what transpired there? Clearly, only from her boss, György Matolcsy.

According to her story, Olli Rehn from the very first Ecofin meeting Matolcsy attended was a sworn enemy of Hungary at a time when the country was struggling to conquer the economic crisis. For example, at that very first meeting Olli Rehn tried “to portray Hungary in the worst possible light and claimed that the Hungarian situation was as bad as the Greek when Hungary was in fact in much better shape.” Now, that is really funny! I remember distinctly that it was not a long time ago that Viktor Orbán himself claimed that when he became prime minister Hungary was in worse shape than Greece. Well, what is the truth then? I have the feeling that by now even they cannot tell.

There was incredible pressure put on Matolcsy from day one, even from members of the European People’s Party, to extend the IMF-EU loan and introduce an austerity program. After Matolcsy categorically stated that he was unwilling to follow their advice, “he was put under incredible economic and later political pressure.” And yet he resisted.

Wiedermann then moves on to really juicy stuff. How the European Union, conspiring with the leaders of large European and American banks, tried to remove Viktor Orbán and replace him with another Fidesz leader who would not insist on levying extra taxes on banks and instead would be ready to introduce the much desired austerity program. According to the author, the decision to unseat Orbán was hatched sometime in the spring of 2011. By July 2011 there was an attack against the forint, which until then had moved together with the Polish złoty and the Czech koruna. According to Wiedermann, there was no reason for this sudden weakening of the Hungarian currency. On the contrary, the Kálmán Széll Plan had just been introduced and was well received by the markets. Moreover, in the spring of 2011 the Hungarian treasury floated a successful bond issue.

So, what happened? Why this attack on the forint? Wiedermann has the answer. In the spring of 2011 in a New York restaurant six representatives of American investment banks decided to attack the forint. Why did they conspire to do that? After all, these banks didn’t have subsidiaries in Hungary and therefore they were not directly affected by the extra levies on banks in Hungary. They acted because they realized the danger of the Hungarian example. The poor innocent Hungarian official in the ministry didn’t realize what was going on until September because until then the weakening of the forint was slow and gradual.

Source: tenytar.blog.hu

Source: tenytar.blog.hu

The rest of the book is a tale of the brilliance of György Matolcsy, who managed to lift the sanctions against Hungary despite Ollie Rehn’s concerted efforts. Matolcsy had many friends among the finance ministers. Even the finance minister of Finland and Denmark sided with Hungary, although they were close allies of Rehn. A real surprise came when Great Britain and Sweden voted for lifting the sanctions. In brief, total victory for the efforts of Viktor Orbán and György Matolcsy.

The appearance of the book is well timed. This attack on the European Union and American bankers is supposed to sway Hungarian voters to support the heroic Orbán government, which stands for independence and sovereignty. The members of the “Hungarian team” are the defenders of the nation while foreigners wanted them to suffer the indignity of a draconian austerity program. These guys pull out all the stops.

103 comments

  1. Former premier Gyurcsány is the most charismatic speaker of the democratic opposition.

    He is giving his big speech right now, one day before Orban’s.

    I find it INCREDIBLE that no opposition newspapers wrote about the exact time and space of the speech in advance.

    It is quite natural that no Fidesz television, no “public” television broadcasts Gyurcsány’s speech. (It is not so natural if the “public” television broadcasts Orban’s speech tomorrow.)

    I am STUNNED that ATV, the only opposition-like television channel interrupted Gyurcsány’s live speech after two minutes or so, without any explanation.

  2. dvhr :

    BTW he is no economist, it is more correct to call him a businessman.

    I checked his credentials, His undergraduate degree was in economic history at the University of Pennsylvania after which he went to study law at Oxford. So, his economic background is slim.

    He teaches at Blackfriars Hall which is “a private hall of the University of Oxford which specializes in philosophy, theology, and faith-based studies.”

    Further down “Professor Róna is interested in the restoration of value judgement and moral sentiment in economic theory.” Whatever that means.

    http://www.bfriars.ox.ac.uk/hall_visitingresearch_scholars.php?academic_year=2010-2011

  3. Most of the points of view above are expressed on the basis of an evolved western-logic.

    The prinicpal ‘rugó’ (spring) of that mechanism is that people act in a rational fashion based on knowledge amassed during a lifetime of experience.

    The ‘works’ in the Hungarian machine are different. Its like trying to replace a part of a trabant with a part from an Opel made in 2013. It will NOT fit. And the more evolved the western model, the less the old East German or Hungarian car will allow the fitting… Even if you have sold a million Opels to Hungarians and you have a million Trabants left in the junkyards here.

    The old soviet-indoctrination is very deeply inbred here.

    Since 1989 the politicians continued to behave like they were living in the Soviet state. That meant the best you could do is to maximize your own profit while the proletariat would be taken care of by the system…

    After a slew of sytematic robberies of formerly state-owned establishments the lands to be gained had dried up. So Orbán, the evil devil, devised a most corrupt sytem of redistribution of the wealth by hook or by crook. This process had been indoctrinated in Hungarians for centuries.

    In our ‘own’ lifetimes it took place by redistributing Jewish wealth and belongings, then redistributing the aristocratic wealth, then in 1989 redistributing the communist private and state wealth and now, in 2010 a new distribution to the Orban CLAN a new order invented by a new leader who used his exisiting powers to strengthen his position using semi-legal but highly immoral tricks of the trade…

    For those still infighting in the above discussion of nearly 50 posts, just come down to earth and come see this world as a field where vultures come diving down to feed themselves.

    These vultures are evil, (‘inhuman’… ehem) or in other words as human as they can get.

    Two months left till elections that are already massively tilted anti-democratic…

    Its just a SAAAAD situation.

    Somone, just invent a good way of changing EVERYTHING including the majority of the old-hat population.

  4. tappanch :
    I am STUNNED that ATV, the only opposition-like television channel interrupted Gyurcsány’s live speech after two minutes or so, without any explanation.

    It is called technical difficoulties. They said several times that they want to broadcast it but they could not get the sound to work in sync with the video. It is not that easy to broadcast live from a random location. You need to transmit the signal somehow probably via satellite. In any case they could not get it to work but they will broadcast it from tape later. That is much easier you record and send the tape in with a motorcycle messenger.

  5. Re: Gyurcsány’s speech. Klubrádió announced that at 5 o’clock they will broadcast the speech. Then in the last moment they said that because of technical difficulties it is being postponed. They didn’t tell when.

  6. Mr. Paul :

    tappanch :
    I am STUNNED that ATV, the only opposition-like television channel interrupted Gyurcsány’s live speech after two minutes or so, without any explanation.

    It is called technical difficoulties. They said several times that they want to broadcast it but they could not get the sound to work in sync with the video. It is not that easy to broadcast live from a random location. You need to transmit the signal somehow probably via satellite. In any case they could not get it to work but they will broadcast it from tape later. That is much easier you record and send the tape in with a motorcycle messenger.

    Ever the apologist!
    How about the ATV owners/leaders were threatened by Fidesz after the first few minutes of Gyurcsany’s powerful speech…?

  7. id say since ATV is the only widely available opposition channel, Fidesz sent their underground moles or Aerial flying bats to thwart the dish-to-satellite-to dish communication to ATV’s main broadacast station.

    The cloak and dagger action in high tech has GOT to be the easiest thing to intercept any singnal tough the air….

    Like its set so that the sound of Gyrucsany’s voice will automatically deconnect the ‘connection’…

    1984 – 1994 – 2004 – 2014

  8. petofi :

    How about the ATV owners/leaders were threatened by Fidesz after the first few minutes of Gyurcsany’s powerful speech…?

    I think you are not diligent enough in detecting conspiracies. Clearly it was the work of the KGB, as they quickly realized that such “powerful speech” is an existential threat to their Paks businesses. Clearly they have their best agents on this important matter and they used special high tech jammers that caused “technical difficoulties” (yeah right!) . These secret jammers were likely developed in the underground bunkers under the Kremlin, the results of decades of research by the best Russian scientists.

    This is the only logical explanation. Anyone who says otherwise is a KGB apologist.

  9. I forget to mention that the main research on the jammers made them undetectable. This was the main point of the research. Nobody can unmask these dangerous jammers through technical means due to this advanced research. We need diligent analysts like Petofi to open our eyes. They will unmask the KGB activities wherever they are.
    No conspiracy will stay hidden!

    The ATV announcer just apologized for their mistake! About five minutes ago, It wa András Bánó. Lol such an obvious KGB plant. He is clearly saying it was an ATV mistake to confuse us. Nobody will believe him. After all petofi is on the case.

  10. The CIA must have intervened, because ATV is broadcasting the speech right now (from tape as I mentioned earlier before petofi unmasked this huge conspiracy).

    There is a huge battle going on here behind the scenes clearly. The end result is devastating: the speech is being broadcast at least 40 minutes after it occured.

    I think this might have decided the election. If only the speech was broadcast 40 minutes earlier… It could have changed everything.

  11. petofi :

    Ever the apologist!
    How about the ATV owners/leaders were threatened by Fidesz after the first few minutes of Gyurcsany’s powerful speech…?

    Forgive me but that is paranoia. No, I’m sure that it was technical difficulties.

  12. The Gyurcsany speech just ended. I watched the whole thing and there were no more problems either with the sound or the video. But after came the weirdness. ATV cut to Andor Schmuck who was also giving a speech. Like immediately after Gyurcsany. Like he was reacting to Gyurcsany, It was bizarre. I recommend everyone to watch it at least with the online broadcast, from ATV homepage. That has 1 hour delay so you have plenty of time and can still watch what I was talking about earlier. I couldn’t make sense of why they keep promoting Andor Schmuck. I’m waiting for everyone else’s opinion.

  13. Eva S. Balogh :

    petofi :
    Ever the apologist!
    How about the ATV owners/leaders were threatened by Fidesz after the first few minutes of Gyurcsany’s powerful speech…?

    Forgive me but that is paranoia. No, I’m sure that it was technical difficulties.

    ‘I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a conspiracy.’
    You mean, we shouldn’t be paranoid when the prime minister, alone and without any consultation, signs an agreement committing the country to billions (euros) of debt for the next
    30 (or 50) years…and, on top of every indignity, declares that the terms of said agreement should remain a SECRET for 10 years!…In light of that, ought we not to be paranoid????

  14. OT:
    Fanni Gyarmati (Radnoti Miklosne) has died. Her name probably does to mean to much to foreigners, but Hungarians (with a few exceptions) will never forget the name of the widow of one Hungary’s best poet. Mikos Radnoti was executed either by the SS or by the members of the Hungarian Arrow Cross. (Members of the Hungarian Arrow Cross admitted and were punished for the mass murders of several forced labourers who were heading home at the end of the war.) (http://nol.hu/belfold/20091031-radnoti_miklos_halala?ref=sso)

    This is one of Radnoti’s last poem:

    Letter To My Wife (English)

    Mute worlds lie in the depths, their stillness crying
    inside my head; I shout: no-one’s replying
    in war-dazed, silenced Serbia the distant,
    and you are far away. My dreams, persistent,
    are woven nightly in your voice, and during
    the day it’s in my heart still reassuring –
    and thus I keep my silence while, profoundly
    detached, the cooling bracken stirs around me.

    No longer can I guess when I will see you,
    who were once firm and sure as psalms can be – you,
    as lovely as the shadow and the light – you,
    whom I could seek out mute, deprived of sight – you,
    now with this landscape you don’t know entwined – you,
    projected to the eyes, but from the mind – you,
    once real till to the realm of dreams you fell – you,
    observed from my own puberty’s deep well – you,

    nagged jealously in my soul for a truthful
    pledge that you love me, that upon the youthful
    proud peak of life you’ll be my bride; I’m yearning
    and then, with sober consciousness returning,
    I do remember that you are my wife and
    my friend – past three wild frontiers, terrified land.
    Will autumn leave me here forgotten, aching?
    My memory’s sharper over our lovemaking;

    I once believed in miracles, forgetting
    their age; above me, bomber squadrons setting
    against the sky where I just watched the spark and
    the colour of your eyes – the blue then darkened,
    the bombs then longed to fall. I live despite the
    and I am captive. I have weighed up, item
    by painful item, all my hopes still tended –
    and will yet find you. For you, I’ve descended,

    along the highways, down the soul’s appalling
    deep chasms. I shall transmit myself through falling
    live flames or crimson coals to conquer the distance,
    if need be learn the tree bark’s tough resistance –
    the calm and might of fighting men whose power
    in danger springs from cool appraisal shower
    upon me, bringing sober strength anew,
    and I become as calm as 2 x 2.

    Ország-Land, Thomas

  15. @ Mr.Paul

    Your aim is to disrupt the ebb and flow of intelligent discourse by your constant, intrusive, nit-picking, and often off-topic commentary. I am not the first to suggest that you’re in the employ of forces wanting to do this. Stop it. I notice that you never answer any questions but try to raise topics to create dissension here. You’re a nasty piece of work. Don’t address me any more.

  16. “Mikos Radnoti was executed either by the SS or by the members of the Hungarian Arrow Cross.”

    My wife and I met Mrs. Radnoti some 8 years ago on Holan Erno Utca. She and my wife
    spoke in French. She had said that she never speaks Hungarian anymore after what the Hungarians did to her husband.

  17. petofi :
    @ Mr.Paul
    Your aim is to disrupt the ebb and flow of intelligent discourse by your constant, intrusive, nit-picking, and often off-topic commentary. I am not the first to suggest that you’re in the employ of forces wanting to do this. Stop it. I notice that you never answer any questions but try to raise topics to create dissension here. You’re a nasty piece of work. Don’t address me any more.

    I don’t think it’s worth wasting too much time with MrPaul, whatever his motives are.

  18. Petofi, what a sad story.

    This reminds me of several conversations I had over the years with Jewish people in the USA (and other countries like England or Spain) who after I told them I was a German said they didn’t mind talking to me (in English of course!) but they just could not bring it upon themselves to visit the country of their parents again …

    On the other hand there have been a few occasions where People who had to flee Germany (or whose parents fled – just in time) came back to my home town for a visit to see how well the graves were kept …

  19. A bit OT:

    For the first (and last …) time this week we’re watching the news on North Korean State TV aka M! – and they’re showing an old clip of MSZP singing the “Internationale” and of course more old clips showing Gyurcsány and Bajnaj as “communists” …

    It’s Fidesz propaganda at the lowest level – horrible, but probably effective!

    PS:

    I just counted the name “Gyurcsany Ferenc” spoken at least a hundred times …

    It’s like a mantra or a secret formula, like Sesam …

    Unbelievable!

  20. Mr. Paul tests our commitment to free speech. He sometimes has a valid observation but it is heavily outweighed by pointless reciprocation. Cut him off if he exceeds two comments per day.

  21. @ Wolfi

    As I’ve stated a couple of times, I have often wished that the Hungarians had reformed their thinking as well as the Germans had since the second world war. I don’t think those motorcycle nuts (“Give Gaz”) would fare too well if they took their anti-semitism to the heart of Berlin.

  22. It is quite interesting to see complaints about “off-topic” and then see numerous comments consisting of literally nothing else but pointless attacks on other commenters. That is offtopic.

    A new development of today:

    Gyurcsany’s party DK has decided not to appear on state television in any way for 30 days. For today’s Gyurcsany speech they did not let the camera crew enter the premises. The party said the reason for this decision was that yesterday this television reported unfairly on a cancelled campaign event. Reporters will also become “persona non grata” at DK events. This action lasts until March 15.

  23. Mr Paul, I don’t know where you live – but if you have the chance to watch the Hungarian state tv’s news, do it just once …
    And then tell us what you thought/felt about their treatment of politics!

  24. PS to Mr Paul:

    Then you might understand why DK does not want any contact with Hungarian state tv!

  25. @Petőfi, you have posted this story before about Radnoti’s widow not speaking Hungarian. I’ve met her and she never mentioned this to me. And she was speaking Hungarian …

  26. petofi :
    “Mikos Radnoti was executed either by the SS or by the members of the Hungarian Arrow Cross.”
    My wife and I met Mrs. Radnoti some 8 years ago on Holan Erno Utca. She and my wife
    spoke in French. She had said that she never speaks Hungarian anymore after what the Hungarians did to her husband.

    I know that she spoke to many Hungarian people in French only. I also think that the reason she denied many interviews are the same.
    There is still a lingering question who killed Radnoti, but in reality who pulled the trigger does not matter. It was matter of days of him dying from infections, starvation, injuries, and humiliation inflicted by the Hungarian and German fascists.

  27. HiBoM :
    @Petőfi, you have posted this story before about Radnoti’s widow not speaking Hungarian. I’ve met her and she never mentioned this to me. And she was speaking Hungarian …

    I knew someone who also spoke only French to her. I am not sure if it was simply because she enjoyed French conversations.
    Here is an article published (in Hungarian) about her on her 100th Birthday. http://www.delmagyar.hu/vilagvevo/isten_eltesse_radnoti_miklosne_gyarmati_fanni_ma_unnepli_100_szuletesnapjat/2296754/

  28. Gyurcsány mentioned two names in connection with the murder in his speech today. Both were members of the Hungarian armed forces. The murder occurred before October 15 that is before the Arrow Cross takeover.

    There was a man who spent years on finding out all the details surrounding Radnóti’s death. I just have to find out who he was because I forgot his name.

  29. @Petofi – Re : Miklos Radnoti – “She had said that she never speaks Hungarian anymore after what the Hungarians did to her husband.”

    What the Hungarians did to her husband? Maybe SOME Hungarians? Most Hungarians LOVE her husband. He is one of my favorite poets. God bless him, he had a beautiful soul. It must have been very painful for Mrs Radnoti for loosing him all those years ago in such tragic circumstances.

  30. latefor :
    @Petofi – Re : Miklos Radnoti – “She had said that she never speaks Hungarian anymore after what the Hungarians did to her husband.”
    What the Hungarians did to her husband? Maybe SOME Hungarians? Most Hungarians LOVE her husband. He is one of my favorite poets. God bless him, he had a beautiful soul. It must have been very painful for Mrs Radnoti for loosing him all those years ago in such tragic circumstances.

    Faulty as my memory sometimes is, what I quoted was word-for-word. I was struck by her sadness and anger.

  31. Istvan: “But it doesn’t mean many Hungarians like the feeling of being on the low end of the EU or seeing our pretty country cousins lured into the prostitution industry aimed largely at foreign tourists.”

    Haha. This is what you believe is the consequence of Hungary being in the EU? The EU is sending money to Hungary which Hungary should use to RAISE its average standard of living. That the money ends up in projects that do not raise the average standard of living but in the pockets of OV and Company is NOT what it is intended for. It is Hungarians who are responsible for this sorry state of affairs with respect to EU money. But irrespective of the money from the EU, OV has now had the chance to prove what he can do for his subjects during the past four years. If you believe that the average standard of living has declined in the past four years, which is not difficult to detect, please do not relate it to the EU but to the decisions of that bright man called Viktor Orban who believes that Hungary has to move back in time, to less complex forms of society and economy. Who welcomes every forint depreciation which reduces income of Hungarians and makes it more and more likely that the average Hungarian will have to try to make some income from foreign tourists that come for drinks and girls. OV makes shady deals with other autocrats, and prevents investments that could widen the middle class and the educational level again, because this could threaten his autocratic rule. In the end he claims this is for Hungary’s sovereignty, which people want to believe in their desperation, but this sovereignty means nothing else than widespread poverty as Fidesz has not presented anything implying an increase in the standard of living but only ideas how to survive on a subsistence level. When people eventually wake up, it will be brutal.

  32. tappanch, Mr. Paul,

    yep, it is called “technical difficulties”. Just like at square Marcius 15, where the public security cameras (which could have showed how many people were present) surprize-surprize repeatedly year after year went down exactly when Milla organized the demonstrations — due to technical issues. Otherwise all during the year the cameras were functioning OK, somehow only in those couple of hours they did not work. What are the odds?

    ATV is a valve, a fig leaf that exists to prove to the EU and foreigners that Hungary has a pluralistic media landscape. “Look there is ATV, there is still Klubradio, there is Elet es Irodalom, it is a bloody lie that Fidesz controls the media” and the superficial foreigners are OK with that, I mean who would check the situation in depth, too messy, complicated. Hungarians can even blog, whoa.

    But these mini media outlets like ATV should not go to far. This rule has to kept in mind at all times. Promoting Gyurcsany for too long is a no go. That’s all. They should have known.

    Even if Russia there is always one small station where more things can be discussed (of course it is also owned by some trustworthy oligarch). But it is always just one small station which is shut down before it gets too problematic. Then a new one opens and there is always one, in a a country of 100m.

  33. “andy – old vs the new” : I agree with much of what you say, v interesting, I think.

    As for this book, I think it was written by Matolcsy, who has recently asked Olli Rehn to resign from the job he is already leaving in a month. 🙂 Strange how brave they are now!

    If what she is saying is true, and Rehn was trying his best to stop Matolcsy’s and Orban’s suicidal economic policies to continue and prevent them from switching off the economic engines of the country, then he was doing his job quite responsibly.
    That aside, Rehn’s agenda was to try out the economic governance (that can sanction member states for not keeping fiscal discipline) for real, to demonstrate to the world that it works and is not just there as another useless thick book on the shelf in Brussels, I seem to remember.

    I also seem to remember the idea that the EU (partly because of the pressure from the US) wanted to remove Orban at some point. That’s when the first Peace March was organized and it was precisely that demonstration that made Merkel cautious and worried that anything like that could backfire. I don’t think it should be dismissed just because Rona also mentioned it.

  34. Yes, I think it is very plausible that Matolcsy wrote this book.

    I mean I do not think he does too much in his office, Widermann manages the day to day issues, the rate is set by a commission and the voting is anyway done via phone instructions from the Prime Minister’s office.

    Matolcsy has time, and he loves to write and his ideas are exactly made up of hair brained theories.

    He, in his views, a genius who is not understood and is under siege by the Anglo-Saxon, Brusselite global financial oligarchy.

    Yep, that will be our Gyuri.

  35. @chesire cat: The EU cannot remove leaders of countries at a whim. The only such “removal” that comes to my mind was Berlusconi’s case, but the only reason the EU could “remove” him was because Italy was on the brink of financial collapse and needed the EU to come to the rescue. Yes, in extreme cases like that the EU may be able to exert such an influence that leads to the removal of a political leader.

    Now, Matolcsy’s book (or whoever wrote it for him) seems to claim that NY bankers were conspiring to attack the forint… so that the EU could remove Orban? So, the EU was conspiring with the banks in New York to CREATE an economic collapse so that they can intervene? Now, this is way too far-fetched.

    There was a speculative attack on the forint; one that largely feeds itself once speculators start to think that a currency is weak. This was during the Greek crises when investor were especially jittery, and shortly after Koka and Orban started to talk about Hungary being similar to Greece, which was not sending a very reassuring message.

  36. @chesire cat: Not to mention that EU leaders had better things to do at that time than plotting Hungary’s economic demise (so that they can remove Orban). They actually had to work pretty hard putting out fires in Greece,Italy, Spain, to save the Euro.

  37. vacsora :
    ATV is a valve, a fig leaf that exists to prove to the EU and foreigners that Hungary has a pluralistic media landscape. “Look there is ATV, there is still Klubradio, there is Elet es Irodalom, it is a bloody lie that Fidesz controls the media” and the superficial foreigners are OK with that, I mean who would check the situation in depth, too messy, complicated. Hungarians can even blog, whoa.
    But these mini media outlets like ATV should not go to far. This rule has to kept in mind at all times. Promoting Gyurcsany for too long is a no go. That’s all. They should have known.

    A paranoid delusion can explain many things. It can explain Why ATV sabotaged it’s very own broadcast? Why ATV announcers repeatedly lied about this? Why did they apologize and say it was ATV’s fault? Well of course it was Gyurcsany’s speech it was just too powerful… ATV the Orban controlled figleaf was ordered to sabotage itself. A paranoid delusion can explain all this.

    But it can NOT explain why the Gyurcsany speech was broadcast 40 minutes later as I reported it earlier in the comments. So tell me WHY, oh WHY did they broadcast the speech then IN FULL, in a better time slot, without any “technical problems”? They went to all this trouble, all this sabotage, arm-twisting, cloak and dagger and secret service action? Only to broadcast it in a better time slot, when more people were watching? This is a delusional theory that does not make sense even within itself. Even with assumptions like: Orban created / controls ATV and maintains it as a figleaf to fool foreigners and can give orders for self-sabotage any time, it STILL does not make any sense, because the speech was broadcast after all. This paranoid delusion is so off the charts and so insane that even with giving it the benefit of the doubt it still manages to contradict itself.

    Because the final fact is that the Gyurcsany speech was broadcast on ATV shortly after it was performed.

    “@chesire cat: The EU cannot remove leaders of countries at a whim. The only such “removal” that comes to my mind was Berlusconi’s case, but the only reason the EU could “remove” him was because Italy was on the brink of financial collapse and needed the EU to come to the rescue. Yes, in extreme cases like that the EU may be able to exert such an influence that leads to the removal of a political leader.”

    In Italy it was Mario Monti who became prime minister, so it was not just amout removal of Berlusconi but the placement of somebody else. I think there was such removal/replacement in Greece as well. These removals were both around 2011 November. So during that time it was not all that uncommon.

  38. Mr. Paul :
    In Italy it was Mario Monti who became prime minister, so it was not just amout removal of Berlusconi but the placement of somebody else. I think there was such removal/replacement in Greece as well. These removals were both around 2011 November. So during that time it was not all that uncommon.

    The examples of Greece and Italy seem fairly irrelevant to me: Hungary is not a member of the eurozone, and did not experience any kind of governance crisis in 2010 or 2011. Anything else?

  39. petofi :
    @ Petrovics
    “..the extraordinary costs of institutional ignorance, cultural misunderstanding, and unrealistic expectations.”
    Hogwash.
    What derailed advance on reform were the peoples’ ingrained distrust of bureaucracy and government; and the usual habit of ‘beating the system’–much as in Hungary even today.
    In other words, when a people–Hungarians are an ideal example–are used to disagreeing
    and psychically incapable of accommodation, than democracy will never work. Ex-communist
    states have a political culture of ‘get yours while you can’, period.

    Petofi. Thanks for this. I hope you have a little time to continue this discussion, as I am a psychologist and have a question about your insight “psychically incapable of accommodation.” Early on, after the changes, at first Ambassador Palmer, and later others, asked me in puzzlement, “Why can’t these Hungarians slowly build. They almost all want to make a quick killing.” As a western trained psychologist, given your own views, my response may have missed the mark –it made sense to me, made sense to Palmer, but may have been in error. Given my experience from returning to Hungary since 1969, I answered by alluding to the movie “Time Stands Still.” “The populace has lost 40 years,” I said. “They may be seeking the quick, successful business deal so as to make up for this loss.” Was I mistaken? Much thanks. L

  40. Petrovics #45, I can answer your question:

    Akos Kertesz wrote a sharp diagnosis. Everything was there.

    The anti-intellectualism of most people, west of Vienna explains it.

    Lies rules, truth have no chance.

    Since Ferenc Deak, there has not been an honest leaders.

    The population is not divided between lies and truth, but between different lies.

    Nobody can perform well in any jobs in this atmosphere.

    The great thinkers of Hungary have not changed the general anti-intellectualism.

    Who subscribes Karoly Rassay, Bajcsy-Zsilinszki, Anna Kethly, Istvan Bibo, Tamas Csapody. Janos Gyurgyak, Janos Kis, Andras Kovacs, Laszlo Bito, or our Eva Balogh?

  41. An and Paul: of course all this about “removing” Orban is only speculation as it was back then. Yes, Italy and Greece had technocratic governments “arranged” to save the euro from collapsing. In Italy’s case, the new prime minister was Mario Monti, Italy’s EU Commissioner.

    What I heard at the time (I don’t remember where, but not from Peter Rona!) is that Hungary was an entirely different case. The pressure came from the States as the US didn’t want a mini Putin-style autocracy in the EU (a NATO member) and it risking being a role model to other E-European member states. The US favoured Bajnai, the EU Laszlo Andor, the current commissioner, but the US didn’t really mind who. It probably leaked, Orban organized the Peace March and the volume of Orban’s support put them (mainly the Germans) off.
    What I heard afterwards is that the decision eventually was to let Hungarians sort out themselves – they can vote Orban out of government now, or they can end up in an economic freefall and crash or near-crash etc.

    This is entirely speculative, of course. What is definitely true is that there was a discussion about Hungary in the German parliament at the time, because their opposition demanded more straightforward pressure on Orban – members of Merkel’s government, however, argued that it would be counterproductive, look at how many people went out in support of him, we can’t afford hundreds of thousands demonstrating against the EU in member states in such vulnerable times etc.
    Oh, well, anyway, whatever was going to happen, if anything, it didn’t happen 😀

    But again: whoever wrote this book, from the sheer amount of “Olli Rehn continuously attacked Hungary and Matolcsy, because he is evil and he wants poor Hungary bad”, it seems that at least some EU politicians were trying to do their best to stop this manic government from causing more economic harm, some so much that there is now a need to write a book about it!, so I’m a bit impressed. 🙂

  42. Wolfi, I can’t watch MTV but the way you describe their news full of anti-Gyurcsany propaganda… it sounds really bad!

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