Although Viktor Orbán delivered his annual address (which allegedly assesses the achievements and shortfalls of the previous year) two days ago, I always like to wait to comment until the complete text is available. Since Orbán never strays from his written text, that occurs within a day or two.
In fact, neither Orbán’s nor Gyurcsány’s speech, delivered the day before, had anything to do with the past year. Instead, both signaled the beginning of the election campaign. Gyurcsány’s speech was delivered a day before Orbán’s. Sensing that Orbán’s message would be void of any vision for the future, Gyurcsány wittily compared the prime minister to Hungary’s first king. King Stephen, he said, had a vision: he wanted a Christian Hungary, he wanted his country to belong to the family of European nations, and he wanted to get a crown from the Pope. He didn’t lower the price of oats before the tribal election! Of course, Gyurcsány was alluding to the lowering of utility prices, which has a lot to do with Orbán’s allure.
For his “state of the nation” speech Orbán faced a suspiciously young crowd in the Millennial Center. As for past achievements, he was careful not to be too specific, but the little he said was mostly the figment of his imagination. Tamás Mészáros of the popular Újságíróklub on TV said last night that he is still waiting for the day when Orbán’s claims have any truth to them. He couldn’t find any in Orbán’s latest. There’s a good summary of his claims (with refutations) by Péter Uj and Zsolt Kerner in 444!.hu
Zsófia Mihancsik of Galamus initially found Orbán’s speech boring, but she reversed herself the next day after reading the transcript. She was amused by Orbán’s compulsive efforts to collect witty sayings from all over the world. Anita Vorak of Origo also came out with an article on the same subject in which she tried to find the origins of “Viktor Orbán’s recycled pieces of wisdom.”
Being a stickler for historical truth, I wasn’t too taken with the old story about Franz Joseph who kept repeating everywhere he went in Hungary that “everything is very nice, everything is very good, I’m satisfied with everything”–allegedly because these were the only sentences he knew in Hungarian. The truth is that Franz Joseph knew Hungarian very well and so did all Habsburgs in line for the throne, including Otto von Habsburg. But I think this tale about the “Kaiser” served a purpose because it is fashionable nowadays to say nasty things about the Habsburgs, who were after all the link between Hungary and the West for four hundred years. And Orbán in the same speech talked about today’s “labancok,” the socialists and the liberals. The “kuruc/labanc” dichotomy goes back to the early 18th century when the “kurucok” fought on the side of Ferenc Rákóczi while the “labancok” were traitors in the service of the Habsburgs. I wrote about this topic some time ago. So, Orbán and his followers are the “kuruc” patriots while the socialists and liberals serve foreign interests. If I were Orbán, I wouldn’t emphasize this “kuruc/labanc” distinction. After all, the word “kuruc” has been pretty much usurped by the anti-Semitic Jobbik, as in “kuruc.info.hu.”
Among Orbán’s many claims, there is one that is definitely true: he admitted that his accession to power was not a simple change of government. It was a change of political system. And thanks to God’s blessing, Fidesz and the Christian Democrats were able to participate in two such changes. One in 1989-1990 and the second in 2010. The twenty-year period that followed the first he describes as “post-communism.” The real change is the one he and Fidesz introduced in 2010. So, those of us who think that the regime change in 1989-1990 signaled the beginnings of democratic transformation in Hungary are now being told by Orbán that period is over, replaced by Viktor Orbán’s new political system. But what is this new system all about? We get no answer except that it is based on national unity, which is necessary for “building the future,” a future that remains unspecified.
Naturally the speech had its share of Biblical quotations. Given the fact that the prime minister may be one of the richest men in Hungary (Ferenc Gyurcsány estimates that just the real estate holdings in his and his wife’s names are worth 310-330 million forints) the quotation from Ezekiel 34:2-3 was amusing: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock.'”
The second Biblical quotation is applicable to Orbán’s social policy. It is the famous parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. You may recall the story of a well-to-do man who, before setting out on a long journey, called together his servants. He gave five talents to the first, two to the second, and one to the last for safekeeping . The first two servants invested the money and eventually doubled the amount they received. The third hid his talent in the ground. The master tells the third servant: “You wicked and slothful servant!… you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Indeed, Orbán’s social policy favors those who are the best off at the expense of people of modest means. However, the story has one aspect that doesn’t jibe with Viktor Orbán’s worldview. He has been steadfastly attacking those who become well-off by “speculating.” Of course, what the rich man’s two servants did was exactly that. They did not “work” for the money in the sense in which Orbán understands work. In his eyes, work means physical work, and riches coming from speculation are illegitimate as far as he is concerned. Yet he compares himself to the good servants; he has been a good steward of the nation’s wealth. He was brutally honest here: “Those who used the money best will get new chances. There is no sham egalitarianism here.” Modern Europe’s ideal of solidarity? Not for Orbán’s Hungary. Those who for one reason or another cannot compete will find themselves in a situation where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. They cannot expect help from this government, despite its fondness for talking about love, charity, and Christian values.
So, it is not true that Orbán’s speech was merely a collection of meaningless clichés. He said a lot about himself and his wonderful new world. It is in many ways a frightening vision.
That would be the sane solution but Putin won’t allow it because afterwards the western part will quickly drift toward EU/NATO.The Ukrainian nationalists have a strong anti-Russian animus just as the rest of the east-European countries.
It is a big geo-strategical/security issue for Russia so don’t expect that Putin will “let go” easily.
On the other hand, if this very nationalistic West-Ukraine were to be in EU then they may become strongly anti-EU and anti-Polish.They won’t like “EUSSR” either and they have a long history of resenting and rebelling against being dominated by the Poles.
Nationalism is nationalism only that at this moment their immediate and most pressing problem is Russia (not Poland or EU).That’s why they are now so fond of EU, it’s a tactical choice.
Maybe you’d like to comment on Eva’s link (comment no 38) – I find that describes very succinctly the way the media are handled by Fidesz now …
Will you find some apologetic words for Orbán too?
Can we be a little serious about the revolution our neighbors in Ukraine?
It is the revolution of a confused, divided and suffering nation.
Having a thorough empathy with them is a good start.
They have to learn that only hard work liberates them from oppression.
They will have to teach non-violence to their children to avoid the same murderous clashes that happen just now.
Poland by its sheer size is an important country and with time it will have a robust economy if things go as well in the future as in the last few years. And Poland doesn’t wage a war of independence against the EU. The :Polish leadership knows that its place must be solidly with the West.
THere is a parochial trial of the Jobbik sympathizer Calvinist clergyman Hegedűs, who set up Horthy’s bust at the entrance of his church, which is located close to the US embassy.
In his written defense, he calls his opponents Zionists and rabble, including the Evangelist church “Hit Gyülekezete”.
His long & arcane writing might be worth a psychological and historical analysis.
Re: on MrPaul’s claims that the Wet was not willing to give money to Ukraine
West had been ready to loan Kiev €20bn
Since you seem to be very familiar with the blogger or the blog, does Maria has a memory Problem? Interesting that she wrote at the time “However, it is surprising that the young people speaking, did not even put on their “Sunday clothes” (“Meglepő egyébként, hogy a videón nyilatkozó fiatalok többsége még csak ünneplőbe se öltözött ” ) Maybe Fidesz is faithful reader of Maria’s blog, and got the hint. I just do not understand what is her problem now?
I guess it is her who your statement applies to most ” Ask and you shall receive.”
Who’s side were you on in 2006?
The EU gave money and support to the Ukraine since the late nineties. Usual the EU set up programmers for this, such as Phare in Hungary. In the Ukraine it is called TACIS.
That link does not work for me. Do you have one that works?
Here is a new piece of election irregularity:
The “National Election Database” (Nemzeti Választási Rendszer) has collapsed.
“The EU gave money and support to the Ukraine since the late nineties.” This is a prime example of a sentence that is beyond useless without numbers. Also you can’t pay your debts in 2014 with the money that you already spent in 1999.
And so there is no misunderstanding we are talking about 2013 and 2014 a time when Ukraine has faced the possibility of defaulting on its debt. Assuming that the world economy does NOT need another major crisis we can all agree that avoiding default is a good thing. The question is if accepting Russian aid is vassalage why did the USA not offer any aid any money to make SURE that the Ukrainians will not choose to accept Russian money.
also here: http://ukrainianweek.com/News/97340
@MrPAul: Or just google the title of the FT article “West had been ready to loan Kiev €20bn”
The original Financial Times article will come up; just click on it. You’ll also see other news sites rehashing it from FT.
OK the second link now works. The first one still requires registration. I am writing based on your second link:
Anne, why was this information not public (it claims the source is an “internal document” only seen by the FT. why is this document not public)?
If it is not public, how come you are using it as an argument? And why are you not mentioning that this was not an actual offer but a distant POSSIBILITY of a future IMF loan “under tough conditions”. That the EU only promised to “fast-track”.
Also I am not sure that you really understand the difference between AID, where they are gifting you money, and a LOAN where they are offering you money that you must repay with increased interest.
From your second link: “EU officials said Russia’s bailout, including $15bn in bond buying and a gas price reduction worth at least $4bn, pushed Kiev further away from western Europe”
So when someone gives you a price reduction at least worth 4 billion dollars (per year) that sounds to me a whole lot different than a promise of a future loan (under tough conditions).
So you are actually making my point for me. The question remains the same, why did the USA not offer any AID (not loan), to Ukraine as in : gifting of money so they could avoid the default.
@MrPaul: Europe, US to offer financial aid to Ukraine, says EU official
The son and wife of the vice chairman of the NAV (Hungarian IRS) have business dealings with the Chinese black marketeers.
@MrPaul: Re aid vs. loan… as soon a s a country gets an IMF loan, it avoids default. They didn’t need “gift” money to avoid it; an IMF loan would have done it, too.
And, as for the “gift” from the Russians… do you think that comes with no strings attached? In your dreams.
Mr. Paul, I am sitting in my home watching the events unfold. I am good, thanks.
But I do think that there is a similarity with 1956, or even with 1848. Not necessarily as a matter of international law, but as regards the feeling of the people.
I am not sure everyday terms such as “murder” are helpful in an extra-legal, state of emergency situation. Or in a revolution, because this is what it is.
Also, in 1956 people were not exactly preoccupied with government debt or current account balance. Why should Ukrainians be now? The Hungarians did not like their government in 1956 and later the fact that Russian tanks came to Hungary (as if it was the most natural things that foreign soldiers would decide the fate of a nation). Putin is probably smarter, and he does not send tanks (at least not until the Olympics are still ongoing), only “expert advisors”.
I am not sure what would be “good” for Ukraine, as if this can even be decided by anybody. It is a vast, complex country with complex interests. Therefore any rational-sounding argument that according to you or others they should do or should have done this or that because of that reason is moot. People are not acting rationally when they are staging a revolution. They are feeling passionately about something and want to realize that.
To quote a classic: “When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters however . . . the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.”
I am just saying that Ukrainians are going through a difficult phase and since Hungary has been there before, they deserve our sympathy.
“$15 billion aid to Ukraine not a ‘gift’, Russia expects a 5% return.”
PS: Russia Today is junk news, but they generally quote their boss accurately.
The anti-government Svoboda party and other organizations have several thousand armed, masked men on Maidan square in Kiev. Several hundred of them are equipped with expensive, level IV bulletproof vests as well.
Football hooligans, skinheads and ultra nationalists are the core force.
The Svoboda-party is an ultra-nationalist party and it has been the core force since it started.
Eva has to disable the function of Embeds from her toolbox. An alternative is that you remove http://www.youtube.com from the address. Make a note “to see this video add http://www.youtube.com” prior to the address.
The Syrian opposition has democracy-loving liberals, but Jihadists became the dominant force opposing the nasty government.
The Ukrainian opposition has democracy-loving liberals, but Nazis became the dominant force opposing the nasty government.
“government agencies and municipalities spent several billion forints on the new infrastructure for the election. The exact amount and the name of the firms were not disclosed, and the acquisition was encrypted because of the national security risks.” hahahaha I would love to know what could constitute national security risk by stating who got the money. Maybe Orban was worried that finally the people start to riot when they heard who their money went to (again).
“új választási infrastruktúrára több milliárd forintot költöttek a kormányzati szervek és az önkormányzatok. A pontos összeget és a beszállításokat végző cégek nevét azonban nem hozták nyilvánosságra, a beszerzést a nemzetbiztonsági kockázatok miatt titkosították.
Daily piece of good news to everyone:
Greece posts first current account surplus since 1948 thanks to tourism.
Breaking news: Orban is packing to move into the presidential palace of Kiev, on the way to the Kremlin.
Objective: Ukro-Hungro-Russro Tsarist Monarchy
A large Fradi team is accompanying him.
tappanch, do you think democracy loving liberals would go out and burn stuff and shoot back when the police shoots at them? No, they would rather have their cappuccino with just the right amount of foam. There are not many liberals to begin with.
In fact, the people who were taking up arms in 1956 were not intellectuals either. Sure there were other very important events like the establishment of the workers’ councils etc., but shooting is usually done by nationalists. Liberal people will not do that. I don’t think any army in the world has many of those people.
It is a myth that there comes a revolution and then they all live happily ever after, ie. they introduce Western style democracy and thing will be jolly good.
It did not happen in Hungary and will certainly not happen in Ukraine or Egypt. But that is no reason to accept living under a dictatorship or in vassal state forever. Maybe one out of x countries, it does works, perhaps in Tunisia out of the Arab-spring countries. History is very interesting, maybe these events will be the inspiration later for something which will then really turn around the situation for the better.
Official government announcement !!
“Hungary is at the threshold of a great era of prosperity”
Syria is at the threshold of a great era of prosperity
Ukraine is at the threshold of a great era of prosperity
North Korea is at the threshold of a great era of prosperity…
“BRUSSELS — The European Union and the United States are working on a plan for significant short-term financial assistance for Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was quoted on Sunday as saying.
She said the package might not only consist of money but could also contain “guarantees” or help on investment or shoring up the currency, though she did not elaborate.
Unlike past EU aid promises, the package would not depend on Ukraine reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, Ashton was quoted as saying.”
So months of violence later they are still just “working on a plan”. The first one that can be taken seriously which is not dependent on some distant future negotiations. But one that can actually be taken seriously by Ukraine. I say this is a step forward but if they had this plan ready a year ago instead of still working on it today, the situation would be much different. But I am happy that they are working on a plan now. It at least gives an option to the Ukranians, there will be SOMETHING that they can accept. An option from the west too, if they so chose.
Thank you for this tappanch, it was an eye opener. Now I know that the situation is much more complex than I anything could imagine. Anyone who is interested in this topic should read the tappanch link on atlatszo.
While the Hungarian FM “follows with deep concern the crisis in Ukraine”, the Polish FM Radek Sikorski is on his way to Kyiv on behalf of the EU.
I guess the Visegrád Four will have to be renamed the Visegrád Three-and-a-half.
Addendum: the Polish FM will be accompanied by the German and French FMs.
Re: atlatszo link: Nazis escalating the violence? How surprising. They strive on conflict situations like this.
thrive on, I meant
All that would be needed for justice and democracy to triumph in Hungary would be free and fair elections, media freedom and freedom of information. No need for free flow of blood.
The whole world is permeable to information today, because of the web, and hence I believe that Orban can be unseated by that inexorable flow of information. What’s needed is a concerted effort by all democrats, domestic and global. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but…
Article from the Hircsarda
OLIGARCHS HELD PUBLIC HEARINGS
February 19th 2014
Lajos Simicska assured the crowd of retired people in the Korosladany municipality building:
the KÖZGÉP very likely will win even more public tenders.
“Orginally we thought others can win too, but then we decided rather not” – cleared up the misunderstandings Zsolt Nyerges, who was also present.
Some from the audience were curious if there will be more utility price cuts during the next government cycle. Answering the question, Lajos Simicska said: “We have no clue, but frankly we don’t care.”
After the the short two minute meeting we were told that during some summer festivals we will be allowed to cut utility prices at designated places.
According to Nepszabadsag:
Today’s government meeting, it was decided not to set up the German occupation memorial on Liberty Square. The justification: the statue would be divisive before the election.
It was also discussed that the monument should be set up no later then May 31.
I have to quote another commenter and ask: “Was there a fly on the wall?” – he meant that it is good to know the exact source with these types of information.
It is good to think about how Népszabadság knows what it claims to know:
Are official government meetings wiretapped? How does Népszabadság even purports to know what was said and what wasn’t. Do they have a Népszabadság reporter who is “sleeping with the enemy” a la “House of Cards” the popular political series?
We need our resident conspiracy theorists to get on this case, and get on it hard.
The explanation that Fidesz leaked this out to Csuhaj without any sort of scandalous background is just far too boring.
Yes but that’s so boring. Guess we have to wait and see.
Who cares?! Do you have anything to say about the two-faced solution? I mean that “it would be divisive before the election”. Do you think it wold be divisive? How about after the election? DO you agree wit the monument to begin with? Now, that is something to discuss.
Mr Paul is not here to give answers, that’s rather obvious …
Diverting and other tactics from the book of logical fallacies aka “Kindergarden Logic” is his specialty.
Please try to avoid at least the most obvious logical fallacies as described here:
Wolfi, stop with the stupidity please.
I clicked on your link JUST on the 1% chance that you are actually serious. OF COURSE “Diverting” is not listed there. Just stop with making stuff up as you go along. Have some decency.
Re the Ukraine:
Of course we’ve all got it wrong – at least if you believe a site that I accidentally found (Please believe me I wasn’t looking for something like this …).
Please visit this site only if you have strong nerves and a robust stomach – or you’ll throw up!
Just to explain where the name of the site comes from:
“Der Stürmer” was the main German Nazi newspaper . so you’ve been warned!
Orban postponed the March 19 dedication of the Nazi eagle memorial today.
It will be set up after the April 6 election. but probably before May 31.
They working on the new version, we have to have some compassion – it takes more time.
Orban is just a gambler and a bully who panics if met resolutely.
probably never….the gambler lost this one
Hmm.. I missed the whole point, I couldn’t insert the image.
Anyway, the new version will depict Orbán as the Reich-Eagle, but instead of a swastika he’s gripping a soccer-ball. (Actually standing on it in order to reach the whole height of the bird, but psssst, don’t tell anyone, they shouldn’t notice it. That’s the idea, anyhow.)
I’m sure the monument will be erected, they’ll just wait till after the elections (if Fidesz or Fidesz-Jobbik wins). Maybe they will make small modifications on the design to claim that they “tried to appease” the critics, but they just can’t be appeased (they will play the same game – “pavatanc,” the pecock dance – Orban played with the constitution, the media law, etc.)
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