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Tag: Viktor Orban

Miscalibrated ambitions, or the shock of repetition

Fidesz wins a fourth term in office in Hungary following an election campaign marred by disinformation. The united opposition’s aspirations of ousting Viktor Orbán from power turned out to be nothing but false hope.

April 5, 2022 - Ferenc Laczó

Russia’s war in Ukraine: has oscillating Orbán run out of steam?

Eager to attract investment from Russia and China and prove his independence, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has pursued a foreign policy independent from Brussels. Unwilling to give up EU membership or his opposition to EU principles, he has aspired to reframe the idea of Europe into one of sovereign Christian nations. The war in Ukraine, however, may be about to put an end to his strategy.

April 1, 2022 - Victoria Harms

Hungarian parliamentary elections in the shadow of disinformation

The Hungarian parliamentary elections are in just a few days, and political polarisation amongst the two competing camps is at an all time high. Disinformation offensives – well known before the campaign as well – are intensifying across the country.

March 31, 2022 - Zea Szebeni

Reversing Orbán’s strategic mistakes and the ongoing marginalisation of Hungary

A conversation with Ferenc Laczó, assistant professor of history at Maastricht University. Interviewer: Claus Leggewie.

March 9, 2022 - Claus Leggewie Ferenc Laczó

Hungarian government embraces Russian cooperation in spite of possible war in Ukraine

In light of growing uncertainties over Ukraine, many Central and Eastern European states are now asking for further military and political support from their western allies. Despite this, Viktor Orbán recently visited Moscow to express his “respect” for Vladimir Putin and discuss cooperation in the energy and health care sectors.

February 9, 2022 - Soso Chachanidze

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

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

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

The long shadow of the dissenter: Challenges to public intellectual practices after 1989 in Hungary

The Hungarian story of how the social role of public intellectuals was undermined may help us make sense of what is happening elsewhere today. Hungary’s case highlights that the real danger to critical commentary and its functions in society arises not out of new media platforms, but out of the demise of the democratic multitude.

“In the 1970s and 80s, I met a fair number of western writers, most of them through György Konrád. In our conversations, the mystery that intrigued them the most was this one: how can opposition writers in Central Europe command such respect, play such an exceptional role in politics and in society – a role that they [the western authors] cannot dream about anymore.” Hungary’s prominent public intellectual Sándor Csoóri made this observation in 2006. At that time Csoóri, a one-time luminary of the Hungarian Narodnik tradition and of the post-1989 political universe as a whole, had been a bitter man for a decade and a half. He had been in the fulcrum of a controversy surrounding remarks he made concerning Jewish-Hungarian relations and the cleavage inscribed into them by the Holocaust.

January 2, 2019 - Gergely Romsics

A reflection of the modern populist

A review of Orbán. Europe’s New Strongman. By: Paul Lendvai. Publisher: Hurst & Company. London, United Kingdom, 2018.

At the end of November last year, a video of a meeting between Chuck Norris, the legendary Hollywood action film star, and Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, went viral. The video depicts the meeting of the two figures and includes a scene where Orbán is driving Norris (and his wife Gena O'Kelley) to visit a counter-terrorism training centre. During the drive, Orbán admits to Norris, "I am a street fighter, basically. I’m not coming from the elite. I’m coming from a small village 40 kilometres from here."

January 2, 2019 - Adam Reichardt

A clockwork orange

The media landscape in Hungary has all but collapsed, with nearly all major Hungarian online and print media in the hands of the government or pro-government forces. Only a few remaining independent sources exist, and they do so under constant threat.

There is a weekly news magazine in Hungary. It is called Figyelő. When they meet foreign colleagues, its journalists like to refer to it as the Observer (which is the English translation of the word figyelő) – it sounds dignified. On Thursdays, the day that the paper is published, everybody awaits the big story that will land on Figyelő’s front page. It was known as a reliable source of exclusive information, often prompting an official response to its stories. This was the case until the end of 2016.

September 1, 2018 - Szabolcs Vörös

Is Russia transferring its political institutions abroad?

The leaders of Russia and Hungary might have very different backgrounds, but their approach to the judiciary and media is quite similar.

July 25, 2018 - István Pósfai Kirill Shamiev

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