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Tag: Hungary

Budapest, Beijing, Brussels and beyond: a conversation on Viktor Orbán’s China policy

As China explores new strategic opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán seeks his own advantages from the partnership. Despite the many limitations and lack of public support for closer Sino-Hungarian ties, threatening Brussels with the Chinese dragon yields some results.

July 20, 2021 - Meghan Poff

Education on prejudice today and during the interwar period

How far along have we really come in tackling discrimination and ‘othering’ since the interwar period?

June 30, 2021 - Sára Bagdi

Hungary’s friends in need

When the first three cases of COVID-19 were registered in Hungary in March 2020, the government instituted a state of emergency and imposed restrictions that could still be in place this summer. At that time the Hungarian authorities almost immediately followed other countries in their fight against the virus; first by purchasing, independent of the EU, personal protection gear and later, non-EU approved vaccines.

Hungary has used the pandemic to convince the European Union and its own citizens that in difficult situations there is no point counting on EU institutions. Only partners from the East (mainly China and Russia) are reliable. These are real friends indeed. The sequence of priority (China being first) is not accidental either. It was from China that Hungary received an almost uninterrupted supply of personal protective gear. Deliveries, which arrived on board WizzAir planes (Hungary’s low-cost airline), were welcomed by senior officials at Budapest’s airport, including the minister of foreign affairs, Péter Szijjártó.

June 23, 2021 - Dominik Héjj

Billboards, bureaucracy, Budapest. Foreign students in the Hungarian capital

Prejudice against foreigners runs deep in Hungarian society and this will require complex, large scale changes in order to solve. This includes bureaucratic reform, civil campaigns and better language and cultural education.

June 22, 2021 - Márton Munding

A country of grumblers? Hungarian values and how to misunderstand them

Are Hungarians ill-fated and determined to be incapable of overcoming their historical baggage? Some seem to think so, including some sociologists. Yet, it is worth remembering that political trajectories do not follow pre-drawn patterns, so we should look at the circumstances which can hold societies back in their democratisation.

Something is rotten in Hungary and the international media coverage seems quite keen on pointing this out. However, it offers very little explanation for why it is happening. International interest in Hungarian politics has increased, especially since the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election in 2016 – which illustrated how serious the far-right shift of mainstream politics has become. Yet, Hungary had already been under the illiberal supermajority for six years, and by then it was well past all the major battles in which its democratic institutions had faced.

November 17, 2020 - Réka Kinga Papp

A timeline, interrupted

The politics of today’s populist leaders is nearly always the eternal return to the past. 1989, however, represents a normative stop they would prefer to skip.

The past does not exist. It is what one makes of it. From a purely axiological point of view, every one of us is constructed of different pasts and we have different memories at our disposal. The non-existence of the past as a tangible point of reference is a subject of individual or collective creation and interpretation; it is the founding assumption of any sociological research devoted to mnemonic subjects.

November 17, 2020 - Mateusz Mazzini

“Either you are with us, or against us”: has the Hungarian media fallen into complete obscurity?

The recent turmoil at the news outlet Index is yet another example of how the government led by Viktor Orbán has been changing the media landscape in Hungary.

August 26, 2020 - Eter Glurjidze Soso Dzamukashvili

Volcanic vintage. The historic Hungarian wines of Lake Balaton

Writers and artists have long been attracted to the strange and romantic landscape of Badacsony, with its sharp volcanic hills overlooking smooth Lake Balaton. Stories about the wines from vineyards around Lake Balaton in west central Hungary go back over 2,000 years.

The fourteenth-century Hungarian King Charles Robert once travelled to Veszprém on the north shore of Lake Balaton to visit a bishop. Before dinner, the king noticed a gigantic cup in the monastery treasury. “The monks used to drink from it long ago,” the bishop told him. As they sat down to eat, the king asked that the cup be placed at their table. The bishop announced that none of the canons at the table could possibly drain the massive tankard, with the possible exception of the formidable Father Eusebius. The king challenged Eusebius to take the cup and uphold the honour of the house, but the father declined and held his ground despite the needling and beseeching of the assemblage.

July 7, 2020 - Eric Bryan

A bridge that nobody crosses: history and myth regarding 1918–20 in Hungary and Romania 

An interview with historians Marius Turda and Ferenc Laczó. Interviewers: Csaba Tibor Tóth and Gáspár Papp.

June 25, 2020 - Csaba Tibor Tóth Ferenc Laczó Gáspár Papp Marius Turda

Foreign interference in the Zakarpattia region of Ukraine: The 2019 elections and beyond

The complex history of the Zakarpattia region explains the current geopolitical and cross-cultural dynamics of the region, as well as the persistent interest that neighbours Hungary and Russia have shown for it.

May 6, 2020 - 'Harry Nedelcu Dmytro Panchuk Myroslava Lendel

New illiberalism and the old Hungarian alphabet

The history of the politics of scripts in modern central Europe is characterised by the gradual limitation of their number. The re-emerging Rovás and Glagolitic scriptures could be used to foster regional revisionism and tension.

April 30, 2020 - Tomasz Kamusella

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

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