authoritarianism, autocracy, EU & Hungary, Hungary, Hungary & Russia, Illiberal Democracy is Tyranny, kleptocracy, malignant narcissism, Medieval v. Modern, New Nobility, Orban & Putin, Orban and Putin, political absolutism, Putinism, Russia, Viktor Orban, Vladimir Putin
BUDAPEST, Hungary—When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban unleashed a racist tirade during an annual address to ethnic Hungarians in Romania on July 23, in which he argued that his supporters do “not want to become peoples of mixed race,” the international community recoiled in horror at the vitriol being espoused by the leader of a NATO and European Union member state. One of Orban’s longtime advisors, Zsuzsa Hegedus, resigned after the speech, calling it a “pure Nazi text … worthy of [former Nazi leader Joseph] Goebbels.”Coakley, Amanda. “Putin’s Trojan Horse Inside the European Union: No matter what Moscow does, Hungary’s prime minister consistently carries water for the Kremlin.” Foreign Policy, August 3, 2022.
Amanda Coakley’s article also covers Orban’s deliberate development of dependence on Russia for Hungary’s energy supply. His disingenuous position within the European Union suggests he has had but one outcome in mind, i.e., to become premier in Europe’s “New Nobility” as encouraged by Vladimir Putin. At the base of the autocratic feudal-medieval bond–the same “Malignant Narcissism” that has so characterized former American President Donald Trump’s careers and politics that have turned out disasters for banks, contractors, and citizens.
In late November 2022, Ukrainian special forces arrested a suspected Russian agent at the Ukraine–Hungary border. The man had been attempting to smuggle secret information into EU member state Hungary on a flash drive that he had allegedly concealed in his anus.
The flash drive contained stolen personal information about senior figures and staff at the Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU and the Ukrainian military intelligence service GUR, as well as sensitive data on Ukrainian army bases, weapons and logistics.Bogar, Zsolt. “Is Hungary becoming Russia’s spy hub within the EU?” DW, September 12, 2022.
Orban, contrary to the European Union’s posture, appears not to mind either the presence nor success of Russia’s spies in Budapest and elsewhere in Hungary. The penetration surpasses presence in numbers as allies believe Hungary’s “IT networks and internal communications” compromised. For a four-year period, 2013-2017, Orbán’s Hungary had even eased the access of Russian spies into the rest of the EU via a “Golden Visa” program (related and recent: Szabolcs, Panyi. “Russian spy chief’s son has a Budapest address–in a property owned by an old friend of Orbán’s chief of staff.” Telex, November 14, 2022).
In the now “surrealpolitik” constructed between Hungary and Russia, business includes the following:
- Building two nuclear plant blocks in Paks financed by borrowing $10 billion from Russia;
- Building railroad cars;
- Hosting Russia’s dark International Investment Bank;
- Supporting a 15-year gas delivery contract with Gazprom that bypasses Ukraine.
For further details, see the source–Rácz, András. “Authoritarian Ties: The Case of Russia and Hungary.” The Russia File, Kennan Institute, Wilson Center, October 22, 2021. Rácz also notes where Orbán’s spine has stiffened in relation to Russian performance not up to EU standards (and some “intelligence operatives” have indeed been ejected from Hungary).
Global Security‘s remarks fit the brotherly love model of modern despotism in Hungary: “Orban played tough, which might not turn out well for him in the long run. His games were turning into a high wire act, threatening to keep Brussels off balance. At times Orban made half-hearted promises to uphold the EU’s policy toward Russia; at other times, he allowed himself to be flattered by Putin, his self-declared political role model. Or, when it came to economic interests, he allowed himself to be put under pressure (Global Security, “Hungary-Russia Relations” as quoted January 7, 2022).
Putin’s realpolitik, plain old mafia leverage, came through for Russia this past year. From The Guardian—
Hungarians voted in general elections just weeks after the invasion, in April, and it seems reasonable to assume that the war next door had an influence on the result. Given the climate of fear that the devastating “special military operation” created, Hungarians voted to keep Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in power rather than risk an untested six-party coalition. This assumption also underlies Orbán’s response, which is to stay out of the conflict to the point of being “exempted”, a position that has been condemned as a betrayal by Hungary’s western allies. Hungary refuses to allow arms shipments destined for Kyiv to transit Hungarian territory and blocks the extension of EU sanctions against Russia to the energy sector. This latter stance is intended to enable an already controversial Russian-Hungarian project to build a nuclear power plant on the Danube (Paks II) to go ahead unaltered.Dalos, György. “Orban says Hungary is ‘exempt’ from the conflict: tell that to his friend in Moscow.” The Guardian, October 29, 2022.
György also notes the “similarities between the two leaders: authoritarian posturing and illiberalism underlying their respective concepts of the state.”
Since then, Orbán has been accused of fostering resentment. Tensions flared in 2018 over a video that apparently showed diplomats illegally issuing Hungarian passports to people in Transcarpathia. Later, in 2019, Hungary was accused of trying to influence the outcome of elections in the region, and blocked Ukraine’s NATO membership negotiations over the row. |
Today, from the Donbas to Kosovo, events are again proving the potency of nationalist narratives over lost territory and peoples separated by the claimed injustices of history. Yet, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the simple fact that many Hungarians have negative views of both Russians and Ukrainians is pertinent.Nattrass, William. “Hungary’s ‘pro-Russia’ stance was inevitable.” Politico, September 15, 2022.
The wholly reactionary New Nobility (a member of which Orban might wish to be counted) rather like the old, appears fascinated by its own super-duper bloodline and culture, enough so to demonize hosts beyond their own boundaries, engage in passportization, and when possibility arises, redraw maps by way of wars driven by the conviction of racially-based cultural supremacy.
Comparing Orban to Putin might once have been hyperbole. But when Fidesz seems determined to expel a high-quality educational institution from the country on the grounds of political views of its funder, it is hyperbole no longer.
The attack on CEU, furthermore, is not happening in isolation. It is part of a broader effort to squeeze out “Soros and the powers that symbolize him,” to use Orban’s own words.Rohac, Dalibor. “Hungary Is Turning Into Russia: On the CEU, Orban Mimics Putin.” Foreign Affairs, April 12, 2017.
America’s Anti-Defamation League has classified the demonizing of George Soros as expressive of anti-Semitism, a return to the rhetoric of Jew as Globalist. In fact and far back in the day, George and his father, Tivador, used social camouflage to survive the Holocaust while providing other Jews with forged papers for escape. Their resistance would continue against Stalin and Communist Russia, and so through George Soros it has been sustained through the Cold War and throughout Russia journey into kleptocracy and, on this day, politically absolute tyranny.
ADL. “The Antisemitism Lurking Behind George Soros Conspiracy Theories.” October 11, 2018.
Bogar, Zsolt. “Is Hungary becoming Russia’s spy hub within the EU?” DW, September 12, 2022.
Coakley, Amanda. “Putin’s Trojan Horse Inside the European Union: No matter what Moscow does, Hungary’s prime minister consistently carries water for the Kremlin.” Foreign Policy, August 3, 2022.
Dalos, György. “Orban says Hungary is ‘exempt’ from the conflict: tell that to his friend in Moscow.” The Guardian, October 29, 2022.
Global Security. “Hungary-Russia Relations”.
Nattrass, William. “Hungary’s ‘pro-Russia’ stance was inevitable.” Politico, September 15, 2022.
Oppenheim, James S. “FTAC: A Short Note on the Demonizing of George Soros.” BackChannels, August 8, 2020.
Rácz, András. “Authoritarian Ties: The Case of Russia and Hungary.” The Russia File, Kennan Institute, Wilson Center, October 22, 2021.
Rohac, Dalibor. “Hungary Is Turning Into Russia: On the CEU, Orban Mimics Putin.” Foreign Affairs, April 12, 2017.
Szabolcs, Panyi. “Russian spy chief’s son has a Budapest address–in a property owned by an old friend of Orbán’s chief of staff.” Telex, November 14, 2022.