About

My name is Eva S. Balogh. As a twenty-year-old university student, I left Hungary in December 1956, after the failed Hungarian revolution. In late February, I arrived in Canada without knowing a word of English. After more or less learning the language I enrolled as a student at Carleton University, Ottawa, where I received my B.A. (hon.) in 1965, majoring in history. I continued my studies at Yale University, where first I received an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies, an interdisciplinary program, and later a Ph.D. in history. I taught East European history at Yale and published a number of studies on Hungarian foreign policy and party politics between the two world wars.

150 comments

  1. This is just to express my profound admiration for Professor Balogh’s remarkably well-informed coverage, temperate but firm, of ongoing Hungarian developments from the standpoint of a professional historian: The benign and rational portion of the Hungarian populace (which, I am sure, despite the cacophony of xenophobic loathing, scape-goating and irredentist hubris currently prevailing in that sad little land, still exists) is greatly in Professor Balogh’s debt for her clear-headed and fair-minded surveillance. Her relentlessly exposing to the outside world the current Hungarian government’s unprincipled opportunism cannot but help hasten that nation’s return to sense and decency.

  2. I very much appreciated Stevan Harnad’s comments. Just yesterday I got a private letter from a Ph.D. candidate who found the blog helpful. After reading such comments I feel that writing this blog is after all not in vain. Thank you.

  3. Hi,

    I am writing from the Press Gazette, a journalism magazine in the UK, we are hoping to do a piece on press freedom in Hungary for our edition next week and I would love to be able to get Professor Balogh’s opinion on the matter, it would be great if she could get in touch with me at James.Michael.Read@gmail.com or let me know how I can contact her?

    Regards,
    James Read

  4. Dear Eva,
    may I draw your attention to my new book: Hungary between Democracy and Authoritarianism (Columbia University Press) – London edition at Hurst Publishing. A review would be welcome. PLease contact me also personally: Europ.Rundschau@aon.at

  5. Paul Lendvai :
    Dear Eva,
    may I draw your attention to my new book: Hungary between Democracy and Authoritarianism (Columbia University Press) – London edition at Hurst Publishing. A review would be welcome. PLease contact me also personally: Europ.Rundschau@aon.at

    London Calling!

    Paul!

    Am just reading yr “One Day That Shook the Communist World” – so interesting!

    Maybe Eva could review that too?

    Regards

    Charlie

  6. Dear Eva!
    I highly respect all your efforts. Your daily blog and the Charta are both very important to our Country! After I subscribed, a few days ago, you always make my day! Thank you! K.Z.

  7. A “Well balanced” mutual admiration society….This blog, the Nepszava in Hungary, the Amerikai (Magyar) Mepszava and the Galamus…is there anything to the left of these?

  8. Louis Kovach :

    A “Well balanced” mutual admiration society….This blog, the Nepszava in Hungary, the Amerikai (Magyar) Mepszava and the Galamus…is there anything to the left of these?

    Considering that there is no real left in Hungary your claim is highly misleading. There is a truly leftist (communist) party, the Hungarian Workers Party. They received about 2% of the votes. None of these publications have anything to do with the Workers Party. These newspapers, blogs are moderate left of center publications that also welcome moderate conservative views. The kinds Magyar Nemzet refuses to publish.

  9. This blog provides incredible coverage and analysis of the Orban government. Others whom I have recommended the site to say the same.

    I would be interested in reading something about the democratic, non-Socialist opposition (such as it is). Who are they, where did they come from, and (since they are such a small minority) what political tactics are they using/recommending? (I realize that Lehet Más a Politika is the only opposition party in Parliament that is democratic and non-Socialist, so we’d also have to include political forces outside Parliament.)

    But I’m also curious which major figures of the democratic opposition of 1990-2010 – politicians like Fodor, Demszky and so on – have remained in politics (or at least in public life), and what they say today. How do they account for the utter implosion of SzDSz and its democratic, Western-oriented political line? What can democratic-minded Hungarians do to regain some sort of political influence?

  10. Louis Kovach :

    A “Well balanced” mutual admiration society….This blog, the Nepszava in Hungary, the Amerikai (Magyar) Mepszava and the Galamus…is there anything to the left of these?

    And one more things. The people who are involved in the publications you mention are the representatives of the conscience of the nation who risk their livelihood in defense of Hungarian democracy.

  11. Louis Kovach :
    A “Well balanced” mutual admiration society….This blog, the Nepszava in Hungary, the Amerikai (Magyar) Mepszava and the Galamus…is there anything to the left of these?

    Kovach, It is easy to publish things that support an anti-government in power. It is very easy to praise an authoritarian ruler. THe hard part is to go against injustice. It just happens that you are not a liberal, and from your post it is also clear that you are not fan of democracy that is the foundation of any western democracy, so it is clear that you find all and everyone who fights for the basic values objectionable. In your posts you defended neo-nazi efforts and nazi writers, you questioned basic democratic processes. Your opposing opinion to any publication should serve as an endorsement to said media.

  12. Chris S. :

    I would be interested in reading something about the democratic, non-Socialist opposition (such as it is). Who are they, where did they come from, and (since they are such a small minority) what political tactics are they using/recommending? (I realize that Lehet Más a Politika is the only opposition party in Parliament that is democratic and non-Socialist, so we’d also have to include political forces outside Parliament.)

    But I’m also curious which major figures of the democratic opposition of 1990-2010 – politicians like Fodor, Demszky and so on – have remained in politics (or at least in public life), and what they say today. How do they account for the utter implosion of SzDSz and its democratic, Western-oriented political line? What can democratic-minded Hungarians do to regain some sort of political influence?

    That’s a great idea. I will definitely devote a post to the subject especially since Gábor Fodor and Gábor Kuncze lately made some noises indicating return to politics.

    Thank you for the compliment.

  13. Dr. Balogh: “And one more things. The people who are involved in the publications you mention are the representatives of the conscience of the nation who risk their livelihood in defense of Hungarian democracy.”

    Yes, like Bartus who could not see an intelligent face during his visit to Hungary. Good example of the “conscience of the nation”!

  14. Louis Kovach :
    To Chris S. : You may want to look into Pozsgay’s new publication also.

    Former member of the politburo and now adviser to Orban…

  15. Louis, would you mind explaining me what the “left” is? Because you seem to use it like a swearword. What is it? Critics of the FIDESZ government are en bloc left? And while you are at it also explain me please what’s wrong with “left”?

  16. Eva, apologies for jumping in on this thread. There are some stories doing the rounds where people are shouting “three cheers for Hungary kicking out Monsanto!” (e.g. here.)

    My first reaction has been alarm that people so vociferously opposed to a company have failed to look past that to the politics behind it. But I’m not sure where this Monsanto policy comes from – is it something new as the government has started combining right wing and Hungary-only policies, or is it something more established that can’t be pinned on Fidesz or any other party?

    Another link…

    My initial response was: ” ‘Good for hungary’ over Monsanto? Trans: “good for the BNP/EDL for smashing up Tesco! Well done those blackshirts!”

    I fear I may have over-reacted! But the blindness on some left / localism types in the UK to the political reality there worries me. I wonder if you have any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    dan

  17. Louis Kovach: To the left of this? How could anything be more extreme than a blog which praises communist criminals such as Kadar, Gurcsany and other animals? Have you people lost your brains? Wake up for God’s sake! You are supporting mass murderers here!

  18. Dear Eva Balogh

    I am looking for an old article of yours. It should have been on the Hungarian Spectrum, but it somehow disappeared from there. The link was http://esbalogh.typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/2008/09/extreme-right-new-right-radical-right-in-hungary.html

    Could you be so kind as to mail it to me at the address shafirmchl@yahoo.com or michael.shafir@ubbcluj.ro.

    Professor Michael Shafir, Emeritus
    Doctoral School for International Relations and Security Studies
    Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

  19. I am very impressed with this blog and grateful for the efforts of its’ creator. There is so little information and news relating to Hungary in English. I find much of the news about my family’s ancestral homeland depressing these days but I find myself turning to this site regularly and learning a great deal. I have to add that it is a little sad that there seems to be no source of English news coming from serious Hungarian sources or news organizations. It might benefit Hungary to do a better job of relating to the rest of the world if there were. In any case thanks!

  20. I`m grateful for you regular comments on Hungarian politics. Could you be kind and also make some comments on the new land law which is debated in the parliament?

  21. Tuula Koponen :

    I`m grateful for you regular comments on Hungarian politics. Could you be kind and also make some comments on the new land law which is debated in the parliament?

    I was planning to write about the land law yesterday but the European Commission and Matolcsy intervened!

  22. CarlosD :

    I have to add that it is a little sad that there seems to be no source of English news coming from serious Hungarian sources or news organizations. It might benefit Hungary to do a better job of relating to the rest of the world if there were. In any case thanks!

    Let me suggest a few sites to you. If you scroll down practically to the end of the homepage of Hungarian Spectrum you will find links to English-language publications dealing with Hungary.

    For financial and economic news I suggest Portfolio and for politics in general Hungary Around the Clock and Politics.hu

  23. Eva, have you considered adding buttons to allow easy posting of your blog entries on Facebook and other social sites?

  24. Eva S. Balogh :

    Louis Kovach :
    A “Well balanced” mutual admiration society….This blog, the Nepszava in Hungary, the Amerikai (Magyar) Mepszava and the Galamus…is there anything to the left of these?

    And one more things. The people who are involved in the publications you mention are the representatives of the conscience of the nation who risk their livelihood in defense of Hungarian democracy.

    Professor, surely you can’t be serious. The very fact that these newspapers exist and keep spouting bile at the government (without deterring themselves with facts) is proof of the unfounded nature of claims that press freedom is in danger. No, it is not. They are not the conscience, they are the leftist press, just as other papers are the right-wing press. But the most dangerous kind are the journalists and commentaters who claim independence while being seriously indoctrinated. As someone with your personal and professional background, I would think you would reach deeper in research than Népszava, which is incredibly low standard.

  25. I managed to find out what I did wrong. Now everybody can send the link to Facebook. I hope you will. Thank you again for calling my attention to this feature.

  26. Eva S. Balogh :
    I managed to find out what I did wrong.

    For a minute I was hoping this was your answer to me.
    Too bad you are not joking. I bet you are even convinced you are helping the poor Hungarians. Take a look at how ideas & methods employed by the Hungarian government are being adopted at the EU level in fighting the crisis that’s been caused by uncotrolled financial institutions and an absolute fatih in market self-regulation. And waht you are calling ‘Matolcsy’s poison’ is imposed upon Hungary by the EU and the IMF demands, by the way…

  27. Oh yes, all politicians and economic policy makers are imitating György Matolcsy. Wake up and because otherwise the awakening will be a rude one when your favorite regime collapses because of its wrong economic policies and undemocratic governance.

  28. Great blog. This short video (100 sec) should entertain many readers here: a hilarious subtitled HirTV interview with Orbán about resemblance to Obama. See youtu.be/vEGP1jKhvzc

  29. Dear Eva, I realised just how much I value your blog when it suddenly disappeared this last week! Welcome back, and it’s good to know you survived the storm unscathed. I haven’t commented here before, but I am British and have been living in Hungary for 30 years now – so 7 years under communism. Your insights are invaluable – long may you have the energy to keep going with your blog!

  30. Dear MM, How awfully nice. Believe me, I’m happy to be back too. I missed the blog, I missed the news from Hungary and from the whole world, and I missed the commenters whom by now I consider friends.

    As for news in Hungary, the only good thing is that most likely not much has happened during the long weekend, although I received a short note a few minutes ago from a journalist friend in Hungary who wrote: “awful things are happening here concerning the election laws.” What a cheerful welcome!

  31. As a long-term resident (inmate?) of this crazy country, what is most welcome is the immense background knowledge with which you elucidate the country’s present woes. I stumbled across your blog by chance but it has made a huge difference to understanding (or attempting to) the developments here. Being able to read the local press in Hungarian is of little help considering its immense bias.

  32. Ms. Balogh blog is one the most important source of information on the situation in Hungary. She posts well written and balanced reports on the events of everyday Hungarian politics. I recommend this blog to all of my English speaking friends if and when they would like to educate themselves on situation in my native country.

  33. To György Kakuk. Thank you very much for the recommendations. I admired the articles he wrote lately on American politics and on international relations in general.

  34. London Calling!

    F. Lonky

    “…….Take a look at how ideas & methods employed by the Hungarian government are being adopted at the EU level in fighting the crisis that’s been caused by uncotrolled financial institutions and an absolute fatih in market self-regulation. And waht you are calling ‘Matolcsy’s poison’ is imposed upon Hungary by the EU and the IMF demands, by the way…”</i?

    You must be joking! You are seriously deluded – Are you on the same planet as me?

    Are you on drugs even?

    Total bullshit of course – not worthy of dignifying it with a response – so I won't!

    Just can't believe it though! Matolcsy's fairytales as an ideology!

    Goodness! No hope for Hungary with people like this.

    I'm incredulous!

    Don't insult us English through implication either – the sheer temerity.

    Regards

    Charlie

  35. Dear Ms. Balogh, After a brief testing period I have started my own blog which I would like to recommend to you. There you can find my articles old and new as well. So far time permits blogging only in Hungarian but I hope this could change in the near future. A happy 2013 to you. Gyorgy Kakuk
    http://rodmuvi.wordpress.com/

  36. Dear Ms. Balogh,
    Your writing and analysis is exceptional and I am happy to see that it is getting the wider coverage it deserves. I look forward to your regular and highly informative reports.
    kind regards
    as,

  37. Allan Siegel (@dunablue) :

    Dear Ms. Balogh,
    Your writing and analysis is exceptional and I am happy to see that it is getting the wider coverage it deserves. I look forward to your regular and highly informative reports.
    kind regards
    as,

    Dear Allan, thank you for the compliments. Those who comment on Spectrum greatly contribute to the quality of the blog. I’m very lucky in this respect.

  38. Eva,

    Just wanted to give you a heads up about something I find disturbing going on in the education system here. From what I’ve been told, the education minister has declared that no foreign languages may be taught in grades 1 through 4. It’s been banned. While that may not sound like much, those are the best years for children to start learning a foreign language. One of the appealing features of the private kindergarten my girlfriend runs is that it’s a bilingual Hungarian/English school. She half joking thinks this is a long-term strategy to prevent Hungarians from leaving the country by making it harder for them to learn foreign languages.

    As an American living here, it’s hard for me to get my head around the fact that a single person can cause something like this to take effect. No legislation, no conferences, no public input, no voting. As you may know, starting this month, the public schools have become nationalized, and all control is now in the hands of the national government. Until now, it was administered at the local level.

    No word yet on any pushback to this plan. Not sure when this will actually take effect. But my girlfriend is quite upset about it, and is talking with colleagues and others about what, if anything, can be done.

  39. Hi Eva,

    I just wanted to mention that a plan is being circulated for people in Hungary (and hopefully, Europe) to turn off their lights between 7:45 pm and 8 pm on the evening of January 27th (Holocaust Remembrance Day), in solidarity with the Italian parliamentarians who will be turning off the lights at the Colosseum in protest against the neo-fascist party Jobbik.

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