Péter Szijjártó’s foreign policy ideas

As I was searching for news on Péter Szijjártó, I found the following very funny headline on a right-wing site I had never heard of before called Jónapot kívánunk (We wish you a good day): “Péter Szijjártó will meet Fico in our old capital.” Why is it so funny? Because from the eighteenth century on the Hungarian nobles complained bitterly about the Habsburgs’ insistence on having the capital in Pozsony/Pressburg, today Bratislava, instead of the traditional center of the Kingdom of Hungary before the Turkish conquest, Buda. Pozsony/Pressburg was closer to Vienna and more convenient for the kings of Hungary to visit when the diet convened, which was not too often.

This trip to Bratislava is Szijjártó’s first since he became minister of foreign affairs and trade. During his quick trip he met Miroslav Lajčák, Slovak foreign minister and deputy prime minister, and Prime Minister Robert Fico. In the evening he visited the headquarters of Fidesz’s favorite Hungarian party in Slovakia, Magyar Koalíció Pártja (KMP). Fidesz politicians judiciously avoid Béla Bugár, co-chairman of a Slovak-Hungarian party called Híd/Most, meaning bridge. This party is not considered to be a Hungarian organization because its leadership as well as its voters come from both ethnic groups.

The encounter between Lajčák and Szijjártó must have been interesting: the Hungarian minister a greenhorn and Lajčák a seasoned diplomat, graduate of both the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Just prior to meeting Szijjártó, Lajčák attended the conference organized by the Center for European Policy Analysis’s U.S.-Central Europe Strategy Forum in Washington and offered some introductory words following Victoria Nuland’s keynote address. This is the conference where the Hungarian participant, Zsolt Németh, had to withstand a barrage of criticism of Viktor Orbán’s government.

Péter Szijjártó and Miroslav Lajcák in Bratislava, October 7, 2014

Péter Szijjártó and Miroslav Lajčák in Bratislava, October 7, 2014

Szijjártó stressed the “strategic importance” of Slovak-Hungarian relations as the reason for his early visit to the Slovak capital. Mind you, “strategic importance” has become an absolutely meaningless concept in Hungary since 2010 since the Hungarian government signed perhaps 40-45 agreements of strategic importance with foreign firms. Szijjártó also pointed to “the success stories” shared by the two countries, such as cooperation in energy matters. The direct pipeline between Slovakia and Hungary is scheduled to open in January, although you may recall that before the election in April both Robert Fico and Viktor Orbán were only too glad to participate in a ceremony that gave the false impression that the pipeline was already fully functional. Most of the infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, along the Slovak-Hungarian border are still in the planning stage.

Besides all the good news Szijjártó also talked about “hot topics” that should be discussed without “taboos.” Of course, what he meant was the Slovak law that bans the country’s citizens from having dual citizenship. This amendment to the original law on citizenship was designed to counteract the Hungarian decision to offer citizenship to ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring countries.

Miroslav Lajčák found the exchange “fruitful.” The Slovak journalists were less charitable and kept asking Szijjártó all sorts of embarrassing questions. For example, about the Hungarian fiasco in Brussels yesterday and about the delay in the construction of several bridges, one on the Danube between Komárom and Komarno and others across the Ipel’/Ipoly river. Construction of these bridges was supposed to begin three years ago. In brief, not much has materialized up to now that would constitute a true success story in Slovak-Hungarian cooperation. It seems that building football stadiums is much more important than constructing bridges across a very long river that defines in large part the Slovak-Hungarian border.

The day before his departure to Bratislava Szijjártó gave a lengthy interview to Origo. Here is a man who claims that old-fashioned diplomacy is passé and that he is primarily interested in foreign trade. After all, 106 commercial attachés will soon be dispatched to all Hungarian embassies, and some embassies will have multiple commercial representatives. Yet practically all the questions addressed to Szijjártó were of a diplomatic nature. For example, what about the rather strained bilateral relations between Romania and Hungary? The answer: “I recently met the economic minister of Romania. Our personal relations are good. And naturally I am ready to have talks with the Romanian foreign minister. I believe in reasonable dialogue.”

Or what about the Visegrád Four and their diverging attitudes toward Russia? They are allies, Szijjártó asserted, which lends a certain strength to their cooperation. They hold different views, but that in no way negatively influences their relationships. “As far as the Ukrainian-Russian conflict is concerned, we must not forget that there are 200,000 Hungarians in Subcarpathia and that Russia is our third most important commercial partner.” What is happening now is injurious to Europe; speedy negotiations are in everybody’s interest.

As for the United States, all unjust criticism must be rejected and Hungary must make clear its point of view. “General government control of the Hungarian civil sphere is without any foundation.” I call attention to a slight change in wording. Szijjártó here is talking about “general control,” which strictly speaking is true. The control is not general. Only those NGOs that are critical of the government are intimidated and harassed. Where does Barack Obama get his information about Hungary? “I have no idea, but those who talked to him didn’t tell the truth.”

And finally, the journalist pointed out that very few important foreign politicians have visited Hungary lately and asked Szijjártó whether that might mean that Hungary has been isolated in the last four and a half years. Szijjártó found such an accusation laughable. He said that he spent four years “right next to the prime minister and therefore I could see in what high esteem the prime minister is held  abroad.” So, all is well. Hungarians don’t have to worry. Their prime minister is Mr. Popularity among the leading politicians of the world.

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42 comments

  1. “what about the rather strained bilateral relations between Romania and Hungary? The answer: “I recently met the economic minister of Romania. Our personal relations are good. And naturally I am ready to have talks with the Romanian foreign minister. I believe in reasonable dialogue.”

    Well, Orban met Basescu few days ago in a “private meeting” in Bucharest.
    According to Basescu the purpose of the meeting was to talk about “the way some Hungarian politicians approach subjects which are related to the Romania’s Constitution” and “in general, even the risks of the good HU-RO relationship”.

    The relation is hardly a good one.It has deteriorated greatly since 2010 and now it is centimeters away from blowing up. One one hand Fidesz people make all sorts of provocative declarations and “political gestures” when they visit Romania while on the other hand the Romanian political class, in its entirety and deliberately, refrains from saying anything at all in reply. That’s because the political class knows that if they were to do such thing the would trigger a wave of nationalism and that won’t fit well into the EU&US framework.However it is also clear that this “pattern of interaction” can not go on forever.

    The relation is close to the boiling point and I am skeptical that Basescu has managed this time to convince Orban to change the rhetoric.

  2. Orbán & Co. must have studied Orwell’s 1984. Somebody in Hungary should write a new Dictionary Hungarian Newspeak – Orbán Newspeak and Plain Hungarian – Orbán Newspeak and Plain Hungarian.

  3. @ Ovidiu

    Most interesting.

    You may wish to contribute a longer commentary on the difference between London’s handling of the Scottish devolution and Bucharest’s response to the call for autonomy in Seklerland.

    I would also appreciate your view on what these attitudes reveal about the political cultures and democratic realities in these two countries.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. @tappanch I like the black humor, but the main problem with this ad is that it doesn’t give a convincing case to vote for MSZP.

    It was a similar case four years ago before the elections, when MSZP billboards popped up in my neighborhood saying simply “Fidesz government = mass layoffs”. This one makes pretty much the same point, but in a more humorous way. (Not that they’re wrong, mind you, but I’d like to hear why we should vote for them, not only what’s wrong with the other guys.)

  5. “”He said that he spent four years “right next to the prime minister and therefore I could see in what high esteem the prime minister is held abroad.””

    Yes, in places like Belarus and Uzbekistan.
    Poodle Pete didn’t answer the question- how many visits has the regime hosted from EU PMs in the last 4 years?

  6. btw origo.hu is becoming a mouthpiece of sorts for the government…the articles which appear there are often ridiculous and not a bit propagandistic.

    This interview was titled: Sziijarto sent a a hard message to ISIS (portrait picture taken from below to exude greatness).

    There was a great article which “explained” the Navracsics story to the masses (by a Nézőpont analyst-propagandist), ie “it’s too complicated for the avarage joes, so it’s not important”.

    Another one evoked the Olaszliszka lynching stating that catching of gipsies to Hungarians does not work, anywhere, the chasm between the two cultures is gigantic. And so on and on.

    Magyarr/Deutsche Telekom is like a poodle, desperately wants to be liked by the gazdi.

  7. The latest scandal is that chief fidesznik “Mr 20%” Kosa’s wife owns an expensive real estate in Budapest.

    1. Their combined salaries cannot explain the hitherto secret house.
    2. He has “forgotten” to mention it in the mandatory, yearly asset disclosure for MPs for many years.

    I do not think that either the chief prosecutor or the Hungarian IRS will investigate, since they are de facto Fidesz party vehicles.

    http://rtl.hu/rtlklub/hirek/draga-lakas-kosa-felesegenek-neven

    This real estate scandal comes after Rogan’s, his deputy’s, Szijjarto’s etc. recently.

  8. According to Median, Fidesz is still very popular and stable, people still almost adore Fidesz and Jobbik’s coming up (21%), while MSZP is declining, with the rest being irrelevant.

    Altogether 71% of the voters would vote for Fidesz or Jobbik.

    The left is finished, Jobbik is getting more and more popular, its voters enthusiastic and is seen as the clean alternative of pros. The Russians invested well.

    As to the funny campaign video of Ágnes Kunhalmi, it is uniformly deemed an idiotic failure similar to the Falus bucket challenge…

  9. @lower “The left is finished, Jobbik is getting more and more popular, its voters enthusiastic and is seen as the clean alternative of pros. The Russians invested well.

    As to the funny campaign video of Ágnes Kunhalmi, it is uniformly deemed an idiotic failure similar to the Falus bucket challenge.”

    First of all, pronouncements as “the left is finished” are meaningless categories. Normally, with time, public opinions change and often swing in entirely different direction. .That is the nature of politics. Unless Orbán introduces a ruthless dictatorship in Hungary the pendulum will swing back sooner or later, especially if the economic situation isn’t improving.

    As for the campaign ad. Only committed Fidesz/Jobbik people can compare it to the Falus video.

  10. I beg to differ. I think it is a typically abysmal effort. The woman is standing in front of a camera reciting a written text in a depressingly wooden manner. It is soulless. There is no passion or sincerity, the qualities needed to win over those whose instinct is to resist. Why can’t the MSZP find someone capable of talking to a camera and sounding like they mean what they say?

  11. @Eva “But it is not really about MSZP.”

    Ok, then why don’t they make a video that gives us a reason to vote for them? Instead of just “please go out and vote,” which sounds simply vaguely civic-minded.

    I think this ad is funny and memorable in a good way, unlike the Falus video. It’s just not very effective politically. And that slogan at the end – “last chance”? I feel they just don’t get it.

    Meanwhile, Fidesz constantly communicate reasons why people should vote for them, whether these are actually true or not. I’d like to see that from the opposition too.

  12. @HiBoM, seriously? She might not be a soul singer, but it is hardly soulless and she looked sincere to me.

  13. @Buddy, it is clear from the context that she is appealing here to anti-Fidesz voters. But perhaps it would have been a good idea to add: vote for the democratic opposition.

  14. We’ll probably hear more about this – amazing(ly stupid, Mr. Szijjarto …):

    “The United States is Hungary’s friend and “we pay attention to the voice of friends,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in interviews to two dailies on Wednesday.

    In interviews to Nepszabadsag and Napi Gazdasag, the new foreign and trade minister reacted to questions concerning recent criticism from American officials.

    Asked about comments by Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, Szijjarto told Napi Gazdasag: “Whoever told them that there are general government restrictions in Hungary and pressure put on civil organisations is not telling the truth to them and are misleading them.””
    http://www.politics.hu/20141008/us-is-hungarys-friend-says-szijjarto/
    Of course, other NGOs like CÖF which is really a GONGO (Government organised NGO – nice acronym I also found on pol.hu …) are treated differently from Ökotars !

  15. For those who know German. It is the description of what happened in Berlin during the screening of a Hungarian documentary entitled “Verdict in Hungary.” It is about the infamous serial murders of Gypsies and the trial that followed. The Hungarian government couldn’t refrain from intervening and sent Gergely Prőhle, assistant undersecretary of Balog’s ministry and the Hungarian ambassador in Berlin to the movie theater where they caused quite an uproar.

    http://blog.ostpol.de/2014/10/ungarische-diplomaten-trolle/

  16. Just to give credit where relevant:

    arpad haboni mentioned this in a comment on the last article – for those who missed it, the Hungarian link:
    http://444.hu/2014/10/07/egy-berlini-moziban-trollkodtak-a-magyar-kormany-emberei/

    And Marcel gave the German link – I read it, it’s funny in a way how Pröhle reacted – like a “Pawlowian dog”.

    Btw, wasn’t Pröhle just in Vienna in a meeting of the extreme right wing “Identitarianists”? This guy goes everywhere …

  17. It isn’t just me that finds the Kunhalmi video embarrassing. The Vastagbőr blog on Átlátszó describes it as “Minden idők legrosszabb kampányvideója” (the worst campaign video of all time.). Imagine if someone knocked on your front door and talked to you in the way Kunhalmi talks on that video… she is talking AT you, not TO anyone. You would slam the door in her face. At least, I would

  18. This so called campaign video with Kunhalmi is a clear symptom of MSZP’s decline into complete shambles. It is talking at people and like some haughty schoolmarm telling them to go and vote. I.e.: if the Fidesz wins, it will be the electorate’s fault, not the useless left’s fault or their patent inability to make a proper appeal to the electorate with clear ideas which could engender support. Very pitiful, indeed!

  19. @tappanch:

    Merkel admires Orban. Orban is a dictator, so he is free. People want to be free and this is why they admire dictators, at least they, the dictators were successful in this.

    It’s another matter that most people couldn’t really live with freedom, it causes anxiety for a lot of people, but that’s running ahead of ourselves. We admire people who are freer than us.

    Merkel is no different.

    Forget Merkel, she will keep paying via the EU and keep Orban in power for ever.

    Orban and the right wing realized long ago what you haven’t: that one could never count on the West, it will never help and will maintain jolly good relationships with any dictators when that suits them, so you might as well occupy that position yourself.

    There is no help, there is only total indifference (kudos to the Norwegians though) coupled with some subsidies.

    Orban used this wisdom and he is getting filthy rich and keeps his power.

  20. The MSZP campaign video is ruthless exploitation of children nothing else and it is universally condemned within Hungary by both the left and right wing press.

    When you use children and attempt (badly) to run a hate campaign with children how do you expect that to be sympatethic to the voters? The fact that tappanch thinks it was an effective campaign video makes me sad. Alternative reality.

  21. Proletar this is one of those painful moments when reality hits. It was nice building an alternative reality which said, Orban is not taken seriously by anyone. The alternative reality builders said, nobody will meet with him nobody will negotiate with him. The problem is the pain is when this fake reality is shattered.

    When Merkel the most powerful EU politician is meeting Orban it is a big blow to those who want to continue building this story about nobody meeting with Orban.

    There are many narratives that are similar in nature.

    Some people are very interested in harming the US-Hungary relationship and completely ignore and underreport any positive developments in the relationship of these two countries. Positive events like Honeywell one of the biggest US companies making a huge investment in Hungary a few days ago don’t even get mentioned in some places.

  22. @JGrant. Well, if the anti-Orbán forces remain at home it will be their fault that Fidesz remains in power. Sorry, but this is the truth. Who says that the democratic forces are perfect? No one. Most of the time we choose the lesser evil. One must be a responsible citizen and vote. Staying at home is voting for Fidesz.

  23. prof Balogh, I would disagree with the idea that normally the pendulum swings back. It may, but it may not. Are NY and Texas normal? Or California? There is no amount of crisis which could change these one party states to vote for the other party. Rain or shine, in Mexico or Japan the very same party has been in government, except for a few years, for 70 years. Once people realize that they are conservative (don’t like gipsies, foreigners, gays etc.) as opposed to liberal and want protection from capitalism and a strong state intervention (as opposed to more competition) and that this is a combination that is on political offer, they will never go back to a more liberal and more capitalistic (conformist) left-wing. The left will live on, for sure, only it will be a Peyer-like pseudo ideology, which will act as a pseudo-oppositon, which is the case already. The possibility that perhaps in 50 years the left wing can gain a majority (but not one that would be enough to change the basic law) is not really relevant to me.

  24. Re Merkel and Orbán:

    Let’s wait until “their meeting” is in the news. I wonder how many minutes/seconds long their contact was …

    In Milan there is a meeting of all the heads of the EU.

    The only thing I found right now is from Mrs. Merkel’s official page:

    http://www.bundeskanzlerin.de/Webs/BKin/DE/AngelaMerkel/Terminkalender/kalender_node.html

    Konferenz zur Jugendbeschäftigung

    Am Mittwochnachmittag nimmt die Bundeskanzlerin in Mailand an der zweiten Folgekonferenz zur Jugendbeschäftigung teil. Der Europäische Rat hatte auf seiner Sitzung am 30. August die italienische Initiative dafür ausdrücklich begrüßt.Zunächst treffen sich die Chefs der nationalen öffentlichen Arbeitsverwaltungen. Daran schließt sich ein Arbeitsmittagessen der Arbeitsministerinnen und Arbeitsminister mit den Chefs der Arbeitsverwaltungen an. Am Nachmittag findet dann die Plenarsitzung der EU-Staats- und Regierungschefs statt. Darüber hinaus werden auch die Präsidenten der Europäischen Kommission und des Europäischen Rates teilnehmen.

  25. @KTP: re Honeywell. Perhaps because a 10m EUR investment is not really a huge news. At least it wasn’t five years ago. In those days about 100m was the threshold to make it newsworthy.

    Note that given normal depreciation a high-tech company like Honeywell needs to invest that much every 5-7 years just to keep its existing Hungarian exposure at the same level, although as I see this is an incremental investments. Important as this is, it is not a huge piece I am afraid and not a huge stamp of approval on Orban.

    By the way since the Gyurcsany-obtained Mercedes-Benz investment has there been any similar sized (but lets just cut the amount in half to EUR 400m) new investors in Hungary?

  26. @ Eva

    “Staying at home is voting for Fidesz.”

    Really?

    And voting is a vote for who?

    Best I know, the Hungarian elections are no longer monitored; so voting in Hungary is just playing a fool’s game…

  27. Thanks, poki and this reminds me of something totally OT re Mrs Merkel:

    Our Ex-Chancellor Kohl told a journalist who was supposed to write his autobiography (but they couldn’t work it out somehow)many bad things about other politicians like :

    Merkel, that little communist girl, doesn’t even know how to eat using a knife and a fork …

    The Spiegel reported on this.

  28. Zoli,

    “The left will live on, for sure, only it will be a Peyer-like pseudo ideology, which will act as a pseudo-oppositon, which is the case already.”

    What is your definition of “the left”?

    If you are Hungarian, then your thinking will probably run along the lines of:
    “Huh? MSZP. Obviously”.
    When you fall into that trap, then you will also believe Fidesz are a “Conservative” party.
    And you believe the present debate in Hungary is between “right” and “left”.
    Wrong, massively wrong, on all three counts.

    You are seriously telling me in the towns and villages where the regime controls people are debating the tenets of Marx and Adam Smith?

    How politics has developed in Hungary cannot be defined within the normal paradigms of “right versus left” or “Christian democrats” versus “Social democrats”.
    In Hungary you have what is called in the “developing world” “Big Man” politics.

    Think of the cult of Mugabe, Castro, Putin and you can likewise think of the cult of Orban.
    *His* Mafia is stronger and more prepared to use intimidation more readily than his opponents, that is the beginning and end of politics in Zimbabwe, Cuba, Russia and Hungary.

    Vote Fidesz or your livestock will mysteriously disappear.
    Vote Fidesz if you don’t want your village school to be closed.
    Vote Fidesz if you don’t want you and your relatives to be denied employment opportunities.
    Vote for Fidesz or you’ll be sorry.

    That’s about as far as political theory presently goes in Orbanistan.

  29. Quite interesting debate. So if you do something (explain people it is them who have to vote), it is no use. If you don’t, that is actually clever because OV is toooooo clever. And everything is doomed anyway, as it was already found out many decades ago when writing the text that is used as the Hungarian anthem. All those people who *know* already what all will not work because OV is too smart, the West naive, the “left” dead, the Hungarian voters idiotic sheep, the Hungarian voters uncurable supporters of strong leaders (which nevertheless pretend to oppose “dirty business” so that it has to be accomplished through stromen, even if these same voters refuse to think about practical issues that might prevent such dirty business) and because nothing can be done about it anyway, say that OV is the best choice in current circumstances. Otherwise the effort at least – given this widespread “wisdom” of nothing can be done – could be appreciated. It is more practical than this lecturing about what everything has not yet been understood about the extra-wicked Hungarian system (which is never really challenged because of the extra-wise “nothing can be done about it”, that’s clever).

  30. D7 Democrat,

    Sorry to say but those who oppose Fidesz or got disillusioned with it, can and unfortunately will vote for Jobbik. There is an alternative and so there is democracy. Jobbik has a new domesticated image now. It is without the negative baggage of corruption a la Kosa, Szijjarto, Simicska (or Orban, but his strohmen take a lot of heat off of him) and its mafia-like, bullying tactics. This is Jobbik’s new image at least. Jobbik is of course remains the same bully when it comes to liberals or what can be deemed as liberal by it. The point is though that for most people there seems to be an alternative to Fidesz. This is not the case in Zimbabwe or Russia or Cuba, where for different reasons there’s no alternative really. In a way Jobbik is special, it is not like the pseudo parties Putin uses, but it is not totally independent of Fidesz either, let’s leave the Russians for the moment. Jobbik is somewhere in between. That said, Jobbik from zero reached almost half the size of Fidesz, which is at the top of its game. This is no small feat. Jobbik was a loughable fringe party and unfortunately now it’s a mainstream entity, with Vona smiling with undergroundish highschool kids who are crazy about coolness and its female politicians appearing in Elle magazine.

    While I agree that people won’t argue referring to Smith or Marx, they will want to settle with a party which (a) radically opposes capitalism and competition both of which brought to most voters destruction (this is how the over 50 generations overwhelmingly feel) and at the same time (b) goes against what such party brands as liberalism. It doesn’t matter that for a political scientist the terms left or liberalism have special meanings, the point is that the politicians and the voters have the same understanding. For almost everyone liberal is just a synonym for or a symbol of everything bad, tantamount to the figure of the Jew. The terms leftist or communist (as the leftists of all denominations are still called seriously without sarcasm all over rural Hungary) have more diffuse connotations, but the bottom line is that they are also just “bad and uncool people with whom we do not associate”. With these in mind, people will not want to vote for or even associate with self-described leftists for the foreseeable future. If they don’t like Fidesz they will vote for another party which they like and consider right wing. They just don’t consider parties which don’t describe themselves right wing. Plus for the majority at least there are no such negative connotations in connection with the terms right wing or even fascist, even if this latter probably still somewhat controversial at present. But with illiberal democracy out in the open, there can be an “honest debate” about that as well. Perhaps what I wanted to say was that there is a genuine popular backing behind the Fidesz/Jobbik power structure. People really dislike what they understand as leftwing and liberal or western oriented (that is mostly those politicians who define themselves as such) and I don’t see that changing any times soon. To the contrary should the economy get worse (which I think is likely), the right wing will get stronger, it always does.

  31. @Kirsten: “So if you do something (explain people it is them who have to vote), it is no use. If you don’t, that is actually clever because OV is toooooo clever. And everything is doomed anyway, as it was already found out many decades ago when writing the text that is used as the Hungarian anthem.”

    I simply cannot understand this doomsday attitude. Self-fulfilling prophecy. The worst anyone can do. That’s why Hungarians end up with Orbáns whom they cannot get rid of.

  32. @Zoli -“radically opposes capitalism and competition both of which brought to most voters destruction (this is how the over 50 generations overwhelmingly feel)”

    It is worse than that.

    Those who ‘oppose’ include the younger generations and also include the educated/successful, as studies about Jobbik’s supporters have shown.
    Furthermore, the phenomenon is not restricted only to Hungary but there is general disappointment in the Eastern-European countries with the functioning of the liberal democracy.This is partly due to the economic crisis and partly due to deeper causes which the economic crisis merely helped surface.

    At the beginning of the post-communist transition people believed that liberal-democracy was good because they hoped/expected that would live as good as those in the West. It did not happen but rather the economies of their countries disintegrated (deindustrialization), they lost their jobs, and their countries economies (that which was left : services, banks, resources) were taken over by foreigners and ‘multinational’ companies.

    There is a sense of collective failure, of failure of the country- and this feeling affects even those who have had personal success.Even if you in particular have succeeded your country has failed and you can see that the young leave, or want to leave, the country.There is a sense of collective failure which can turn into hate of the West and everything it stands for (political economy but also cultural-political features).
    More or less the same happened in Russia (in a faster tempo) and ended by bringing Putin into power.The huge support that Putin has enjoyed, and still enjoys, in Russia is real not propaganda.

    Orban has capitalized on this historic evolution to get into power but Hungary does not have Russia’s resources to be able to simply sell them and then afford to do whatever it wants, stupid or not.
    In order to survive Hungary (and rest of Est-EU countries) needs a competitive economy and that in turn requires foreign investment.Only God knows how is that need going to be harmonized with the desire to build again a “national economy” (which implies central control and protectionism).

    On the longer term what will make or break Orban’s “illiberal regime” is the economic sustainability of the regime not the cultural-ideologic issues.

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