Eszter Rádai

Bálint Magyar: Viktor Orbán’s post-communist mafia state, Part III

Today I will finish my summary of the lengthy interview with Bálint Magyar about the nature of the post-communist mafia state developed by Viktor Orbán in the last three years. After Magyar described its characteristics, the interviewer, Eszter Rádai, inquired about the unusual unity in the Fidesz political elite. There are no splinter groups, there are no dissenters. But, as Magyar emphasized, there is nothing terribly surprising about that. After all, in traditional mafia families there is only one thing members of the group cannot tolerate: disloyalty. It is the same with the mafia state. Once a person is inside the charmed circle, getting out is extremely difficult because punishment can be severe. Not only would he experience a loss of privileges and almost limitless possibilities for achieving a comfortable life for himself and his family, but other dangers might be in store for him. Like being accused of illegal activities and finding himself in jail.

Structure of a mafia family / Wikipedia

Although there are expressions of regret over the high rate of emigration, in fact the current political power doesn’t really mind the departure of certain people whom they consider to be troublemakers. Without them the system is more stable.

As for the poor and the downtrodden, what will happen to them? Clearly, said Magyar, the “upperworld” doesn’t care about them. “After all, they don’t vote.” On the other hand, there is an ever-growing well-to-do stratum that is the winner of the regime. Then there is another rather large group of people who are worried about their jobs: teachers, doctors, civil servants. They are unlikely to turn against the regime because they depend entirely on the goodwill of the state. Even small entrepreneurs who depend on large corporations must fall in line.

Chances for the preservation of the mafia state are pretty good because it is an admissive system. Therefore, those who think that a victory by the anti-Fidesz forces might be more likely in 2018 than in 2014 are wrong. Moreover, that kind of talk harms the prospects of winning the elections next year. Those who don’t want to live in a mafia state must organize themselves.

Some people might accuse Bálint Magyar of creating a conspiracy theory, but in 2001 when he first wrote his article on the political “upperworld” he simply described what he saw and since then he hasn’t had any reason to change his mind. Those who don’t want to accept this mafia state must first be able to understand the nature of the regime. “If we are unable to do so, our lot will not only be a lack of freedom but we will also be the objects of ridicule. And that would be unworthy of us.”