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Author: Edit Zgut

God, luck and Viktor Orbán

Over the last ten years, Hungary has become a textbook example of systemic corruption and clientelism in the heart of the European Union. Yet despite the fact that EU institutions have developed a wide range of tools, they could barely curb Viktor Orbán’s regime with regards to its feudal system of corruption.
In order to understand the nature of Viktor Orbán’s regime in Hungary, it is worth reading the classic Hungarian novel Relatives by Zsigmond Móricz. Móricz tells the story about a fictional town that is a hotbed of systemic corruption and a clientelist network of provincial nobility between the wars in Hungary. After 30 years since the democratic transition, its thesis about feudal dependency applies to contemporary Hungary more than ever: “In a certain way, everybody depends on the government.”

January 28, 2020 - Edit Zgut

Central Europe is more vulnerable than it appears

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, far-right and extremist organisations in Central Europe have redirected their attention to geopolitical issues. They not only agitate against NATO and the European Union, but also share a particular sympathy towards Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Clear evidence points to direct support for groups coming from Russia or pro-Russian sources.

In April 2014, just a few weeks after Russia annexed Crimea, Tamás Gaudi-Nagy, a Hungarian lawmaker from the far-right party Jobbik, gave a speech to the Council of Europe’s General Assembly. The tone of his speech reflected his t-shirt which read “Crimea legally belongs to Russia, Transcarpathia legally belongs to Hungary”. After the “legitimate” annexation of Crimea by Russia, he argued, it was time for Hungary to take back lost territories such as Transcarpathia – a part of Ukraine that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1920.

One year later, in autumn 2015, Gaudi-Nagy made an even stranger statement during a TV debate: he claimed he was encouraged by his Russian counterparts while he was delegated to the Council of Europe to revise the border with Ukraine, hinting that Russia would back such a move. He said the time has come to change the course of history. But these performances were not the only actions by the far-right and extreme right to put pressure on Hungarian and Ukrainian authorities to aid in the secession of Transcarpathia.

October 31, 2017 - Edit Zgut Lóránt Győri Péter Krekó

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