Happy New Year to all the readers of Hungarian Spectrum

happy new year 2015

It was seven and a half years ago that I wrote my first post for Hungarian Spectrum. Since then I have recorded momentous, horrific, uplifting, and occasionally amusing events on these pages. The 2,600 posts that have appeared read like a timeline of recent Hungarian history.

From its modest beginnings the readership of Hungarian Spectrum had been increasing slowly but steadily until this past year when, with Hungary frequently in the headlines, it experienced a growth spurt. A year ago about 1,000 people subscribed. Today we have almost 3,000 subscribers and about the same number of daily non-subscriber visitors.

I want to thank all those people who with their valuable and learned comments have contributed to the reputation of Hungarian Spectrum as a reliable, civilized blog where serious political discussions take place.

And finally, I thank all of you who in recent days expressed your appreciation of my work. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

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41 comments

  1. Thanks for all your work doing this site, Éva. We really appreciate your tireless efforts. Happy new year and best of health in 2015!

  2. Dear Éva, I also wish you, all the commenters here (and their families) and everybody in Hungary a Happy and Healthy New Year!

  3. Dear Eva, I also would like to wish you and your extended family a Happy, Healthy (and hopefully non-violance) New Year.

  4. Wishing You a Happy and healthy New year and thanking you for your valuable insight into what is happening in Hungary riht now. Looking forward with interrest to your 2015 posts.

  5. Dear Eva, thank you for your tireless work throughout all these years! I wish you all the best for the new year!

  6. Dear Eva, A very happy New Year to you!! Thank you so much for your posts. They are a great combination of information and humor!

  7. When I looked into my crystal ball to see what will transpire in 2015 the ball exhibited a sign saying “Weak or no signal”. Therefore I had to rely on my (informed) fantasy to come up with a few prophecies which are listed below. Because of the lack of signal from the future I cannot tell if something completely different will happen.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    The Szell Kalman tér in Budapest shall be renamed Moszkva tér as soon as the first installment of the Paks loan has been received.

    -ooOoo-

    The Forint shall be linked to the Rubel by a fixed exchange rate.

    -ooOoo-

    Areas outside Hungary where Hungarians constitute more than two thirds of the population shall be given status as extraterritorial Hungarian territories where all Hungarian laws and privileges shall be valid including the right to elect local governments, settle disputes and criminal cases in Hungarian courts and issue Hungarian passports. The Hungarian government shall prevail on the countries in which such territories are embedded to give the Hungarian administrative, legal and educational systems, including the authorized Hungarian schoolbooks, priority in the territories.

    -ooOoo-

    Members of the militias of the president, the prime minister and the chairman of the parliament shall participate in training courses of six months duration in Azerbaijan, North Korea and Zimbabwe, respectively, as a condition for promotion.

    -ooOoo-

    At her forthcoming visit to Hungary Angela Merkel shall be given a top model of a Hungarian made car.

    -ooOoo-

    A fee shall be paid for the transfer of a motorized vehicle by bridge, ferry or any other means across the Danube. The fee shall be paid by a token coin (a Karon) that can be bought in Tobacco shops.

    -ooOoo-

    Carrying poles vertically in streets and squares shall be prohibited. Exempt are poles carrying a Hungarian or a Transylvanian flag or both and nothing else.

    -ooOoo-

    Irrespective of any foreign cooking tradition of their persuasion all restaurants in Hungary shall offer an affordable traditional Hungarian menu of three courses with at least a triple choice for each course. The following dishes shall be compulsory among the choices.

    Soups:
    Lentil soup
    Bean soup
    Potato soup

    Main courses:
    Deep fried Camembert cheese with potato chips and cranberry sauce
    Pork cutlet stuffed with Camembert cheese and served with potato croquettes
    Juhturos sztrapacska

    Desserts:
    Turos csusza
    Turo gomboc
    Strudel with vanilla ice cream

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    I wish for a New Year that will make Eva and everybody else happy!

  8. Thank you, Eva, for your tireless work and brilliant, thought-provoking articles. Without them a lot if us would be in the dark about what’s going on in Hungary. I look forward to another year of great, informative articles, and wish you, and all your readers, a very happy new year. BUEK!

  9. I was no aware of the “anniversary,” (hell, I don’t even remember my own wedding anniversary ever), but the thanks are due all to you for providing this learned and thoughtful forum.
    Let the world know!
    Happy New Year!

  10. Dear Éva and all the readers and commenters: I began reading HS a few years ago in my search to understand Hungary and it’s history. This is an amazing ride! –and I thank Éva and all of you for your thoughts, stories, and analyses. A Happy New Year to all.

  11. An excellent new year to you Dr. Balogh, and thanks for the food for thought you’ve been putting on our screens day after day, and the way you interact with us.

    BUÉK of course to all the regular commenters, thanks to them as well for maintaining, in spite of (or perhaps thanks to) the diversity of the links that tie us to Hungary, and our divergent opinions sometimes, the hope that this great country may actually do better. And yes, I’m extending the greetings to the trolls – for a short while.

  12. Thanks so much for your work Éva, your work is invaluable. A lifeline to the truth in dangerous seas! I never miss a single post. Happy New Year!

  13. Instead of self-aggrandizement and useless pleasantries, we should focus on the issues.

    There is a real danger that Obama, the appeaser that he is, was secretly reaching out to Russia all along. This is not something made up, but the reality:

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-12-31/inside-obamas-secret-outreach-to-russia

    “Leading the charge has been Secretary of State John Kerry. This fall, Kerry even proposed going to Moscow and meeting with Putin directly. The negotiations over Kerry’s trip got to the point of scheduling, but ultimately were scuttled because there was little prospect of demonstrable progress.

    In a separate attempt at outreach, the White House turned to an old friend of Putin’s for help. The White House called on former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to discuss having him call Putin directly, according to two officials. ”

    So Obama is not only allowing Kerry to cozy up to Lavrov, he is “calling on Kissinger to call Putin”. What is this if not a clear sign that Obama wants to appease? What is Obama’s next move?? Throwing in the towel on Ukraine? If Obama is not prepared for any sacrifice, financial or military, then the Ukraine will collapse sooner or later. Only a strong US financial and military commitment can save Ukraine and protect western culture from a madmen like Putin.

  14. Thomas, thanks.

    Obama and his people are complete amateurs (oh my, Kerry, he is a total amateur if ever there was one, even Lavrov’s poodle would eat him for breakfast). They know that they can’t have a deal with Iran, North-Korea, that they will lose out politically in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, China is getting more assertive by the day, so they look where they can always cut a deal.

    Russia is pragmatic, Putin will deal — which just like with Orban means that the other party has to accept his terms. The Russians are much smarter than Obama and his people are, who are gone in 2 years anyway. The Russian foreign service/siloviki guard is infinitely better organized, disciplined and experienced than this Democratic bunch. But just as it was said, most western people want compromise, they can’t stand pressure, they hate conflicts, they want resolution, because they really have no ideology and values which would give them comfort in such times (but remember W or Chaney who didn’t lose much sleep about their decisions). The Democrats just like the European left wing emptied out ideologically and they lack values to adhere to. I’m not surprised that Obama wants “to deal”, instead of standing firm.

    Garri Kasparov has this to say:

    “NY Times op-ed has over 1000 words about how to make a nice deal with Putin and none of those 1000 words is “Crimea”. Disgusting.”

    I have to agree.

  15. Happy New Year Eva! And thank you, thank you for your daily contribution to my understanding of my life here in Hungary.

  16. Dear Eva, a happy new year to you too. Thanks for the your invaluable information on politics in Hungary

  17. I have noticed that Google news brings mostly favourable comments about the present-day government of Hungary. Could they perhaps be in cahoots with Orbán & Co for purely financial reasons?

  18. Erwin: yes, the government – through Friends of Hungary or Századvég or similar entities – could pay google to rank certain pages higher than others and in addition it is a legitimate job to massage the code of an internet home page so that it gets raked higher, so experts will do that too.

    Savvy dictatorships will use all means available to them, including those provided by Google.

  19. @Erwin. In the past, Hungarian Spectrum regularly appeared on Google Alert. Then one nice day, about two months ago, we were dropped. Since then I registered HS again. Nothing has happened since.

  20. Dr Balogh it is quite recently that I started to visit H’S, but it has already become my favourite source on Hungary. I have not been following the events in the country for more than three decades, except the years around 1989. I thought things have gone in the right grooves. So wrong! VO’s reign echoed even to the nordic countries. It fills me with deep concern. Thanks for your efforts to inform us of hungarian issues. Wish you a good year and good health and inspiration from Stockholm.

  21. Dear Dr. Balogh,
    I am regular reader of your blog.
    Before I found this blog I knew very little about Hungary. And thnx to you it has changed.
    I admire your blog and your work from two reasons.
    First, its like watching David against Goliash match…I believe mafia mucho regime once dissapear as fever heat. You win this match and become forever famous in global politics and journalism….:-) Seriously….Thnx to your love to Hungary..amazing
    Secondly ..and this is just my personal please to you…could you please dedicate one article to summarize way how you work? How you store your notes, knowhow, todo, ideas..how you are able almost each day to produce such high quality articles? I think you can inspire people not only in the world of politics but aswell in their selfmanagement…Specially I am interested in your system of storing notes and data. I am using files in windows but never really find something when I need it…:-) All the best and wish you a health and happiness in 2015:-) Ron

  22. @Wolfi

    re Kissinger

    I read the interview. I don’t know what might have disturbed you: he’s an intelligent man
    answering honestly, so it seemed to me. I suppose what might be disturbing is the West’s
    actions in Ukraine and how it has been presented.

  23. Re comments by Thomas and Jan: There will be no reproachment with the Russian Federation and the USA government over the Ukraine in relation to the annexation of the Crimea for the next two years of the Obama administration. It would be simply politically impossible for the Democrats, the Republicans would eat them alive. Since Putin has declared the Crimea to be for ever part of Russia he is in a politically
    difficult situation to even create some type of automous co-ruled province with the Ukraine. The Republican Party is going to run its next election campaign on rebuilding the US military and increasing global respect for the USA based on our military power.

    The Republicans with majorities in both the House and Senate could easily block any moves to soften any US response to Russian agression. Assuming Ms Clinton becomes the Democrat standard bearer in the next presidential elections it is more than likely our foreign policy will become agressively anti-Russian even under continued Democrat rule. The Bloomberg article also noted this issue which Thimas neglected to mention.

    I would also add that Thomas neglected this part of the Bloomberg article too: “I don’t think that anybody at this point is under the impression that a wholesale reset of our relationship is possible at this time, but we might as well test out what they are actually willing to do,” a senior administration official told me (the author of the article) “Our theory of this all along has been, let’s see what’s there. Regardless of the likelihood of success.” I don’t doubt the CIA/NSA would like cooperation in killing off Islamic State terrorists, but is that likely right now?

    Putin has to be politically destroyed and that is the bottom line for our foreign policy for the moment. Putin has trapped himself in relation to the Crimea and it’s a good thing too.

  24. I spent 3 months in Hungary last year and became very interested in social and political issues and the country in general! Your blog gives me wonderful insights for which I’d like to thank you. Happy New Year!

  25. Liberal intellectual Oliver Stone (the Hollywood director) has said that :

    the US was most likely responsible for the massacre in Ukraine and the CIA fingerprints were on the operations. He said the west is controlling the media in the same way to the 2003 media reports about the existence of WMD s in Iraq. Which were used as pretext for the invasion there.

    Stone also added:

    “Create enough chaos, as the CIA did in Iran ‘53, Chile ‘73, and countless other coups, and the legitimate Government can be toppled. It’s America’s soft power technique called ‘Regime Change 101.’

    The truth is not being aired in the West. It’s a surreal perversion of history that’s going on once again, as in Bush pre-Iraq ‘WMD’ campaign. But I believe the truth will finally come out in the West, I hope, in time to stop further insanity.”

    Do you believe him? And if his goal is not to inform the public about the truth, then what reason does he have to say this?

  26. In case anyone wonders about our latest KGB troll – here’s what Bloomberg wrote about Stone:
    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-12-31/oliver-stone-patron-saint-of-truthiness
    “According to Stone’s rambling Facebook post, he has recently been in Moscow to interview Yanukovych, who lives in self-imposed exile in Russia, for a “new English language documentary produced by Ukrainians” (the Ukrainians being, presumably, supporters of Yanukovych — people with enough plundered wealth to produce a million documentaries).

    Stone reportedly wanted to do a film on Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he met briefly this year, but it looks as though that didn’t work out and he got Yanukovych as a consolation prize. After talking to him for four hours, Stone became convinced that “CIA fingerprints” were all over the sniper shootings of protesters, cops and random bystanders around Kiev’s central square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, last February, just before Yanukovych agreed to an early election — and abruptly fled the capital.”

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