Monday 26 January 2015

Focus on Hungary

A few days ago my attention was drawn to Hungary after comments from friends of mine (reflecting what they had seen on the BBC), that Hungary was a nasty fascist dictatorship.  I argued against this without really having any facts at my fingertips.

As if by magic, this article appeared.

I have decided to bring to your attention items that confirm the contention of the author that Hungary may well be on America's list for regime change.

"Some may see Hungary's moves - both its warming relations with Russia and support for the South Stream pipeline - as meaningless but for the United States every little country, every little leader, every little rebel group that opposes hegemony is a threat to be dealt with whether they are true rebels or are former allies like Orban who are now merely asking for some economic wiggle-room outside of IMF and Brussels dictates."

Hungary: Next Stop on the Putsch Express

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban on a visit to Lithuania (23 Nov)

Submitted by Andrew Kahn for Voice of América
(Twitter @akahnnyc)

Once is a conspiracy theory. Twice is a coincidence. Thrice gets people wondering. Four times and the polished denials begin as conspiracy theory has become neoliberal reality.

So it is in the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and former Soviet regions. Yugoslavia, Croatia, Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine. And where next? The number has gone way beyond four - the time of polished denials. To deny the conspiracy is meaningless at this point for it is not merely a conspiracy shrouded in the minds of tin-hat quacks but it is in the open for all to see; that is, whoever wishes to open their eyes to what is happening.

Were the choice words of Victoria Nuland not enough? Was the feting of John McCain by Ukrainian fascists not enough? Or the continuous duplicity in the words of any official tasked with parroting the lines of democracy devised by the most undemocratic geopolitical Machiavellis? When duplicity and hypocrisy mix in the cauldron of Washington's witches' brew being stirred in Brussels' kitchen and served at tables in Tbilisi, Kiev, Grozny, and now Budapest.

And why Budapest? Why now? Why Hungary? Perhaps George Soros sees his days being numbered and he has saved his country for last. A collusion with the elites to rule his own country. Rather ironic that the NATO operations for liberty are now knocking on the door of Mr. Soros' country. Or, perhaps, less conspiratorial - for who wants to peddle in conspiracies? - it is simply the latest salvo in the war to prolong the life of a dying United States-NATO hegemon.

One wonders whether the denizens of think tanks in Europe and the United States lay their heads down at night and count Russians and Chinese and any member of the Global South jumping over rapidly shrinking stacks of US dollars and Euros. One Russian Nationalist, Two Chinese Communists, Three Iranian Scientists. Like a drumbeat they see the alliance of Russia and China, Russia and its former allies, China and Africa, Iran and South America - the world with itself, devoid of a cowering pandering to the dictates of the post-WW2 leaders of freedom. Perhaps they see this as their eyes close on feather down pillows. They see this and they know the nightmare is nigh. A pill they need. A pill called Putsch that is branded and copyrighted with its own bold imprint on the pill - "Civil Society Democracy".

But I digress...why Hungary? Just a few years ago, Prime Minister Viktor Orban was going to become the darling of Washington. He was a right-leaning centrist of sorts whose views on immigrants would make Republican xenophobes proud but was sufficiently in agreement with the European Union and global capitalism when it came to economics and foreign policy. He was our buddy who could be counted on to serve as a bulwark against a possibly rising Russia under Vladimir Putin. But time passed and we find ourselves in the mid-20teens with the European Union in free-fall, wracked by a collapsed economy and Western European nations caught between liberal nebbishes and xenophobic rightists. And as time passed, Prime Minister Orban cleverly decided to see which way the winds were blowing and they were blowing towards the Kremlin. Center-right governments in Europe are being outflanked on their Right yet still slavishly remain within the EU paradigm - a suicide wish when farther-right populism is rightfully (if from the wrong ideological rationale) calling them out as puppets of Brussels. Public support for austerity is not that fashionable among blue-collar workers in Europe it should be noted and Orban was attuned to this.

So whether from a desire to stay in power or an actual interest in helping his right-leaning Christian-minded constituency that had been left to rot by Europe in the new post-Soviet world of liberalism, Orban decided to shift from ally of the West alone to hedging his bets between the West and Russia. Yet 2012 may have been the turning point when he left puppet status and he spurned IMF demands (more on this later) and began growing closer to President Putin who by this time had become the ultimate thorn in the side of NATO. A resurgent Russia was always being countered by the West - whether in Chechnya or Georgia - but the game had suddenly intensified with President Putin deciding that Syria would not be lost, Crimea would be re-unified with Russia and Russia would stand up once again to the West.

This move by Orban to become part of the Russian orbit - defined as any country that does not swallow any fact-free attacks on Russia - marked him for targeting. Not only was Orban talking to Russia and attempting to navigate a non-aligned course but he was supportive of the boogeyman South Stream pipeline that Russia was planning - a pipeline that would navigate territory not controlled outright by the West. For a former Communist country to put this red flag in front of the West was, of course, verboten. Nevermind that Hungary had every economic reason to be non-aligned and find economic benefit from wherever it could in the face of EU collapse. In realpolitik, non-aligned means sleeping with the enemy - the Russian Bear.

Some may see Hungary's moves - both its warming relations with Russia and support for the South Stream pipeline - as meaningless but for the United States every little country, every little leader, every little rebel group that opposes hegemony is a threat to be dealt with whether they are true rebels or are former allies like Orban who are now merely asking for some economic wiggle-room outside of IMF and Brussels dictates. And if there is really an honest questioning as to whether one country looking to have Russia as an economic partner is considered a threat one needs only to see the fate of the other Viktor - Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine.

Indeed, even before Orban's moves towards Russia, it was his steps in regards to the banking industry that first set the international world - or at least the "world" as defined by the borders of Europe and the United States - on its head.

At the end of 2011, the Hungarian Parliament voted in favor of banking changes which would place the national bank under closer control of the elected government with the vice presidents of the bank to be selected by the prime minister as opposed to appointment by the Bank's president. It should be noted clearly that this was a 293-4 vote and not merely a party-line vote dominated by Orban's Fidesz Party. When complaints are made by Hungarian opposition that Orban was taking dictatorial control remember this 293-4 number. Additionally approved at that time was a merger between the national bank and its financial regulator - essentially, Hungary had decided that the Bank would be under civilian control as opposed to an "impartial" leader which, as we recognize, is often determined not by impartiality but rather by subservience to international Capital's wishes.

It was at this time the European Central Bank (ECB) began voicing concerns about the "independence" of the Hungarian National Bank and in the previous year of 2010, Orban did not renew a previous standby loan from the IMF, "opting instead for market financing and to keep the IMF out of government economic policies"

For Western Capital, this was clearly a slap in the face and a troubling sign that Hungary under Viktor Orban would use the IMF as it suited them as opposed to other way around. Orban had decided that taxes on the banking sector as well the nationalization of private pension funds was more important than renewing IMF standby loans.

The usual key words are being bandied about by the guardians of democracy. Orban is destroying civil society, cracking down on NGOs, opposing liberal democracy and he is becoming a dictator. Of course, no small reason for this Western claptrap is Orban’s decision to spurn IMF suggestions to cut pensions and remove a tax on banks. Again, one must recall that Orban is not anti-IMF by nature – having been negotiating with the IMF – but realizes that at a certain point, manure is simply manure. As he noted in 2012 in regards to IMF loan conditions he spurned: the deal “contains everything that is not in Hungary's interests.”
ii This was followed in 2013 by the head of Hungary’s Central Bank, Gyorgy Matolcsy, writing a letter to IMF head Christine Lagarde and telling her to shutter the IMF’s Budapest office as its services were no longer needed.iii Hungary would fully repay its IMF loan with a bold “Adios” on the final check.

In a 2013 article in the New York Times, it notes, regarding the then-newly appointed National Bank Director Gyorgy Matolcsy:

There is also concern among economists that Mr. Matolcsy will seek to emulate the economic stimulus

known as quantitative easing used by the U.S. Federal Reserve or Bank of England - essentially, a way

of pumping money in the economy. That, economists warn, could prove perilous in a small country

like Hungary that cannot finance itself without foreign capital.

In essence, in the name of banking freedom and independence, the European Union, IMF and ECB were looking to keep their own monopolistic control over Hungary and perpetuate a master-servant dynamic that they promulgate and enforce with an iron fist in most of the developing and post-Soviet world. Hungary's decision to break from this was seen by the West (a grouping that should not be seen as including its stepchildren in Eastern and Central Europe) as tantamount to revolt. As the New York Times article hinted at, Hungary was looking for self-reliance and had begun to chart a course that would not lead to IMF loans or independent loans from Western European countries that it was in the process of politely spurning.

Not only was Hungary moving to economic independence - despite protestations that it was losing independence - but Hungary had made a conscious decision, as noted before, to be non-aligned in the rapidly deteriorating relations between the West and Russia. Strategically placed near Russia and within the region of an expanding NATO, this too was not to be accepted. The NATO encirclement of Russia could not be allowed to hit a roadblock with a pesky right-populist government in Hungary.

So it is that Viktor Orban has gone from reportedly praising U.S. Senator John McCain in 2008 as a "national hero in the most original sense of this expression" to John McCain now speaking of Hungary under Orban as "a nation that’s on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-Fascist dictator”.

Warming relations with Russia, taxes on banks, nationalizing pension funds, spurning the IMF, traditionalist morality…all left for Orban to do to antagonize his former allies would be to send troops to support Hezbollah or some such effrontery.

Now there is never a country or leader who tries to break free of neoliberal policies and align with the enemies of Western freedom that is not marked for regime change for lack of a more diplomatic term. So it is that the question arises as to who in Hungary would take up the mantle as the reformer who will save Hungary from running headfirst – and intentionally - down the path to an illiberal democracy. In the words of Orban himself:

“…the new state that we are building is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not deny foundational values of liberalism, as freedom, etc.. But it does not make this ideology a central element of state organization, but applies a specific, national, particular approach in its stead.”

This is the point where it gets difficult for the United States and Brussels. Finding a neoliberal apparatchik in Hungary will be a wee bit harder than it was in Ukraine. While Ukraine had neoliberals who had no qualms about using fascist muscle and US State Department funds to gain power, Hungary is not so simple. Hungary has fascists in the form of the surging Jobbik Party that is pushing Orban from the right, a Fidesz Party of which Orban is a member that is charting a self-proclaimed illiberal path, a Socialist Party that barely registers 10% support and several minor parties with minimal support.

The likely attempt at this point will be a cobbled-together coalition of Fidesz officials who will bought back to support right-leaning liberal policies that Orban once supported, “reformed for the camera” Jobbik blue collar voters, apolitical but corruption-opposing college students, random members of the nebulously-defined civil society and most valuably capitalist technocrats to round out the bit. Blue collar workers as the goon squads fighting for a dystopic utopia where civil society’s technocrats will rule with a punch to the buttocks of the workers in the name of fiscal responsibility. Welcome back IMF.

Enter the Two Vs – Zsolt Varady and Gabor Vago – one the entrepreneur and the other the technocrat-politician.

To begin with, we have Mr. Varady, the capitalist tech entrepreneur and founder of the now-defunct Hungarian social media website If his name means nothing to you, etch it in your mind as his name was quietly making the rounds in reports on Hungarian protests in early 2015.

Politically, Mr. Varady came to (im)maturity this past October in his novel lawsuit against every Hungarian political party for the crime of “creating and maintaining a tax system that compels enterprises to commit tax fraud and tax evasion”. No real complaints with the dismantling of social welfare programs following the collapse of the socialist bloc. No. Simply a lawsuit blaming political parties for forcing corporations into tax fraud and evasion. Of all the complaints that could be laid before the feet of successive Hungarian governments, Mr. Varady decided on this.

Mr. Varady noted that his purpose in filing the legal proceedings - which he notes are merely “of secondary importance {to}…the related PR” was to improve “tax-paying morale”
vii “To achieve an optimum tax system the state should be radically reformed. I cannot do that alone,” he says. “We need the support of considerable sections of society. The activities of civil society can serve the much needed umbrella for these messages.viii To paraphrase: Business doesn’t like Orban’s taxes so the working class which we will call “civil society” will serve our interests by being the democratic face for our plans to change the tax code in support of a minority.

Strike one in favor of Mr. Varady in the eyes of the West and IMF. Reform the tax code. Yet what of his political plans? Is he an idealist who wants to push a political agenda that may eventually conflict with foreign support for an Orban putsch? Well not at all. Indeed, he promotes as his next step in politicking the creation of “a website that helps people in civil society organization” which will be funded by “crowd-funding” and, here’s the kicker: “Perhaps we can also receive assistance from foreign foundations and probably émigré Hungarians will also chip in.”

One can see the wheels turning in Mr. Varady’s eyes. He of the recent “civil society” protests in Hungary. He of the white knight status who can step into the void as the bridge between all the necessary groups to bring democracy to Hungary and freedom from fascism to civil society. The strategy of street protest led by “civil society” is classic for who can oppose the desires of civil people? But keep his above comment in mind. “We” - meaning his class of neoliberal entrepreneurs seeking help from “foreign foundations” – “need the support of considerable sections of society” who will be the “umbrella for these messages”. Yes my friends, the pictures of civil society will be broadcast while the true agenda will be hidden. The goal, as Mr. Varady notes will be “new foundations” led by “teams of experts that are competent in their respective fields and are committed”
x otherwise known as malleable technocrats.

Mr. Varady will be the counterpoint to Orban. An unelected Western-friendly gentleman simply looking to aid civil society against an elected modern-day “Mussolini” as Newsweek so appellated him.
xi Mr. Varady will reverse the so-called “Putinisation of Hungary” and return ill-defined liberal democracy to the nation.

Lest anyone question Mr. Varady’s bona fides in being ready for the struggle, he has set the stage for force to be used by noting, despite lack of concrete examples, that “the Establishment” (read: the Orban government) “only understands the language of force”.

Not to be outdone by Mr. Varady is Gabor Vago, the fresh-faced but apparently politics-weary technocrat who bolted from the Politics Can Be Different (LMP) Party in early 2014 after alleged intra-party power struggles. Similar to Mr. Varady, his is a belief that politics is apparently déclassé and that a non-partisan movement is required. Anti-politics is the modus operandi of such civil society figures and one that plays perfectly into the hands of outside influences which will use the feint of anti-politics to push what ultimately becomes a purely economic-political putsch.

Many of the same talking points used by Mr. Varady were echoed by Gabor Vago in an interview with the business weekly Figyelo. Speaking of a December protest that he organized, Mr. Vago noted that the protest which included a punk concert - which he referred to as a “meta message” – was held for the purpose of promoting “a shift in the attitude of the tax authority”
xiiwhile using the protestors free-floating discontent as the muscle/street voice of the protest.

Mr. Vago, when asked about the next step replied: “Emphasis should gradually shift onto building communities…With time those micro communities can form a network.”
xiii Perhaps based on his former political background, Mr. Vago was less circumspect than Mr. Varady in terms of speaking of the need for “power”. When queried regarding this issue he answered: “True, a change would require power. But that will only become a relevant question later.” When asked “When” he replied: “Perhaps within a year, perhaps in three or seven years’ time. One has to wait until the opportune moment.”xiv

As noted before, the amalgam protest movement requires technocrats and as Mr. Vago noted, without using the word “technocrat”:

Any change of elites would require the participation of experts. We need the support of people who took part in the transition [from Communism to the multi-party system] but not necessarily as politicians. People who have proved their talent in whatever field and think that the present regime is not viable. People who think their integrity puts them at a disadvantage and wish to turn Hungary into a country where you can be honest and competitive at the same time. Building from grass roots does not mean that we only organize ourselves in student clubs and romkocsma (alternative art pubs). We wish to approach people in all walks of life, ranging from top managers to unskilled rural workers.

In the same interview he was questioned as to how these groups will be coordinated:

Q: During the demonstrations against the Internet tax you were pleased to have involved young people who had been unaffected by politics until then. But only a few weeks on, only a fraction of those young people took to the streets. How can you involve people in long-term processes that hardly have any affinity to politics?

A: We need to identify the opinion leaders in existing groups and train them how to run such communities. Once we have won those opinion leaders, they will bring along their friends and the friends of friends. Demonstrations as such are not our ultimate goal, instead, to shape a democratic political community throughout Hungary.

In essence, there will be a politico-technocrat elite overseeing the organization and release into society of nebulously-defined “opinion leaders” who will train people to run civil society “communities”. In theory it sounds wonderful – civil society having its rights. Yet rhetoric aside, the track record of Western-backed democratic upheavals needs to be viewed. The picture, as we know, is not too pretty of a sight whether in Georgia, Ukraine or elsewhere in the region.

Hungary is next in line for “democratic change” brought by the winds of the United States’ National Endowment for Democracy mixed with a touch of destabilization tactics from the CANVAS playbook of Srda Popovic.

The question as to whether Hungary will meet the wrath of Washington and Brussels is not so much “if”, but “when”.

Once is conspiracy theory. Twice is coincidence. And now it has become reality. 


Watch for any time John McCain gets involved in an argument with a country. Expect trouble.

McCain sparks US-Hungary diplomatic row over Orban
Hungary has summoned the top US diplomat in Budapest after Senator John McCain described Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a "neo-fascist dictator".


3 December, 2014

The Hungarian government rejected the remarks, which it said were totally unacceptable.

Sen McCain was speaking in the US Senate on Tuesday before a vote on the appointment of a former TV soap opera producer as ambassador to Hungary.
Colleen Bell was "totally unqualified" for such a role, Sen McCain said.
The Republican senator had been unimpressed with Ms Bell this year when he questioned her during her confirmation hearing about what she planned to do differently from her predecessor as ambassador to Budapest.
She was widely seen as giving a faltering performance.
Colleen Bell (file pic)
Sen McCain described Colleen Bell as "totally unqualified" for the Budapest post

The former The Bold and The Beautiful producer, he said on Tuesday, was a political appointee who had contributed $800,000 (£510,000; €650,000) to President Barack Obama's last election campaign.
However, it was his next comments that most riled the Hungarian government and prompted Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto to summon US charge d'affaires Andre Goodfriend.
"I am not against political appointees," the senator said. "I understand how the game is played, but here we are, a nation (Hungary) on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator, getting in bed with (Russian President) Vladimir Putin, and we're going to send the producer of The Bold and The Beautiful as our ambassador."
Mr Orban has in recent months adopted closer relations with Russia, opposing EU and US sanctions imposed on key officials in Moscow because of the conflict in Ukraine. He has also advocated turning Hungary into an "illiberal democracy".
The foreign ministry state secretary in Budapest said Hungary rejected Sen McCain's remarks, both about Mr Orban and relations with the government in Moscow.
Mr Szijjarto added that voters had three times backed the ruling Fidesz party's vision of "how they imagine the future of the country".

Thousands of Hungarians took to the streets in October to protest against the government's proposed tax on internet data usage, ultimately forcing ministers to shelve the plans.

More recent coverage of Hungary from the Saker

Return of the Magyars: Hungary’s President Calls Out the US as Morally and Financially Bankrupt

13 September, 2014

Note from The Saker: amongst my many blind spots and list of topics I know practically nothing about there is, to my great shame, the topic of Hungarian politics. Therefore please address your comments, criticisms and reactions (and thanks!!!) to American Kulak but not to me. I am most definitely the least qualified to say anything at all about this.

Cheers and enjoy!

The Saker
Return of the Magyars: Hungary’s President Calls Out the US as Morally and Financially Bankrupt

by American Kulak

With so many developments in Ukraine and now a renewed US war on Syria with the Islamic State as the pretext, it has been easy to overlook important developments in the struggle to restore sovereign nations in Europe. As described in my last guest post here at the Vineyard, Scottish independence vote on Thursday, September 18 has forced Anglo-American mainstream media to cover the topic of ‘separatism’ as a wave spreading from the Scottish Highlands to Spain’s Catalonia. Many mainstream media outlets have repeated ridiculous propaganda about NATO or the EU coming apart and the economic sky falling from a Scottish ‘Yes’ vote (James Bond film reference deliberate in that sentence). Some of the usual Russophobic voices have started whining about ‘pro-Kremlin bloggers’ trolling Washington and London on Twitter with humorous captions supporting Scotland’s independence [], or the positive statements Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond has made about Vladimir Putin. []

A Short Disclaimer Regarding Hungary

Today’s topic is the next target for the Empire’s Two Minutes Hate propaganda in Europe (besides Marie Le Pen and the National Front of France): the ancient nation of Hungary and her proud president, Viktor Orban. Let me start by saying that as an American citizen and independent blogger, I have no financial or blood ties to Hungary, nor is my intent to defend all of Budapest’s policies. My purpose in this post is to examine why the Empire increasingly views the Hungarian government with disdain and has sent out its usual NGO and media mouthpieces to trash President Viktor Orban personally and attack his ‘Putinist’ pro-Russian worldview. In doing so I approach this post from the perspective of someone who is a neophyte to Hungarian politics, but not to the overall games the European Union plays to keep its member nations as vassals to what Saker calls the ‘Anglo-Zionist’ Empire.

Why is Budapest Emerging as a Key Russian Ally Within the European Union?

A Millennium of Hungarian History and Its Relevance to Novorossiya

The Hungarians, for those Saker readers who may not be familiar with their history, are descended from the same great migrations out of central Asia in the first millennium AD as the Bulgars, with Russian scholars believing the Magyars came out of a southern Urals homeland east of the Volga steppe. Driven by ancient enemies known as the Pechenegs who alternated between warring with the Orthodox Christian Eastern Roman Empire and serving as mercenaries of Byzantium, the Hungarians settled in the Danube River and Carpathian basins. Their language, like that of the Finns, is non-Indo European and easily exceeds Finnish and Basque as the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language on the European continent. Only a few decades after Prince Vladimir baptized the Kievan Rus in 987, the first Christian monarch of the Magyars Saint Stephen I converted the traditional seven Hungarian tribes to Christianity in the early 10th century. Under Stephen’s successful reign prior to the Great Schism of 1054 between Rome and Constantinople, Hungary prospered as the major trading route between the Germanic Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantines. Stephen’s younger sister married a Venetian prince who at that time was a key ally of Byzantium, while Stephen’s wife was a Bavarian princess. []

The historic parallels between Hungary and Rus did not stop with Stephen and the Second Rome, but continued in the 13th century. During those turbulent decades the Mongol Tartars, who subjugated nearly all of Russia, were turned back by Hungarian knights and their Holy Roman Empire allies. Unfortunately, wars in the following two centuries with the Poles and German kingdoms and dynastic struggles weakened the Hungarians, until they succumbed to the Ottoman Turkish advances and were forced into alliance with the Catholic Hapsburgs. This also led to the counter-reformation in the Hungarian lands, with negative consequences for Protestants and Orthodox Christians alike. In 1686 after the Turks decisive defeat by the Polish-led armies at the Battle of Vienna the future Hungarian capital of Buda was liberated from the Ottoman yoke, and the last Ottoman raid from Crimea into Hungary was recorded in 1717. After the 1708 Battle of Trenscen the Hungarians were fully absorbed into the Papist Hapsburg Empire which became known as Austro-Hungary. During World War I the Hungarians suffered huge casualties fighting the Serbs and Russians on behalf of their Hapsburg emperor.

After WWI the key document many Hungarian nationalists to this day regard with bitterness, the Treaty of Trianon [], was signed in 1920 which cost Hungary 71% of its territory and 66% of its pre-war population -- an even more punitive outcome than the Allied diktats imposed on the Germans in the punitive Treaty of Versailles produced by the same victors. This lost territory included the TransCarpathian region which is today in far southwestern Ukraine, where the Hapsburgs had kept thousands of ethnic Rusyns in concentration camps for returning to Orthodox Christianity or refusing to convert to Papism during the First World War. It is from this territory that ethnic Rusyn and ethnic Hungarian community leaders have issued a joint statement in both languages about their desire to achieve the full autonomy within Ukraine they were promised in 1991 and denied since then by Kiev. In the same early August statement viewable with English subtitles on the Anti-Maidan YouTube channel, the Hungarian and Russian-speaking Rusyn leaders denounced Kiev’s war against Novorossiya and mentioned Rusyn/Hungarian solidarity based on a 1,000 years of peaceful coexistence. This statement was carried on Hungarian television and is viewable here: []. More background on the Rusyns undergoing Hapsburg and other persecutions from a pro-Rusyn/Russian perspective can be found here: [].

It’s no accident, that on the heavily Empire-manipulated platform of Wikipedia, the Rusyns are covered under ‘Peoples of Ukraine’ despite the fact that they are spread across borders with Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, and that the Rusyn autonomy or separatist movement dating back to 1991 is dismissed as a Kremlin project []. In short, regardless of Hungary’s willingness to sell the Kiev regime hundreds of T-72 battle tanks to replace catastrophic Ukrainian losses of armor in recent months, Kiev views Hungarian nationalism with suspicion. The Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and Galicia Nazis (correctly in my opinion) suspect alongside their Anglo-American globalist patrons that if Ukraine completely implodes Trans-Carpathia could secede like Novorossiya, but with Hungarian rather than Russian sponsorship.

The worst nightmare of the Kiev junta is not only losing Kharkov, Zaporozhe and Odessa regions to Novorossiya, but facing a simultaneous NAF and Russian-allied uprising in the guerrilla-friendly Carpathians backed by Hungarian guns and fighters. Even a peaceful, anti-war and anti-oligarchic Hungarian/Rusyn Maidan would have to be crushed by the Kiev Nazis using brutal methods Washington and Brussels would have trouble excusing or imposing a news blackout over.

One other point is relevant to the paragraph above. Under the notorious 1938 Munich agreement between Nazi Germany and her allies and the Western powers, Hungary made territorial gains at the expense of Czechoslovakia, which was completely carved up between Nazi Germany, Hungary, the pro-Nazi Slovak regime of the time, and the sainted ‘Christ between two thieves’ Poles. This included Carpatho-Ruthenia, which became western Ukraine after the War. The Nazis cultivated the fascist Arrow Cross Party as allies, and had no interest in any maintaining Czech-granted autonomy for any Russophilic peoples as they plotted to invade the Soviet Union. [].

The Hungarians participated in Operation Barbarossa and fought alongside their uneasy Romanian and German allies until the Soviets smashed the Axis lines near Stalingrad in November 1942. The Hungarians like the Bulgarians sought to switch sides as soon as it was obvious Nazi Germany was doomed in mid-1943 but a fascist puppet regime was installed to keep Hungary in the war. The Arrow Cross Nazi puppet state collapsed under Red Army guns in early 1945. In October and November of 1956 a Hungarian uprising against the Soviets was crushed by Red Army tanks sent by Nikita Khrushchev. This uprising had been inspired by broadcasts into Hungary by Radio Free Europe, but the Eisenhower Administration did very little to help the Hungarian freedom fighters besides raise token protests. Washington notably refused to cancel US grain shipments to the Soviet Union at that time and hosted Khrushchev (as pointed out in a recent column by Patrick J. Buchanan) within months of the Soviets killing thousands of Hungarians. The anniversary of the October 23rd uprising became a national holiday in 1989 when Communist regimes across the Warsaw Pact collapsed. Among the young Hungarian activists celebrating their country’s return to the West was a then 26-year-old co-founder of the Hungarian Alliance of Young Democrats, Viktor Orban. []

Why President Viktor Orban is Viewed as a Traitor to the Atlanticists and the Empire

James S. Denton is listed as the publisher and editor of World Affairs on his bio. World Affairs is the magazine of Freedom House, one of the many taxpayer-funded NGOs that has been in the business of regime change in Eastern Europe and Eurasia since the CIA and State Department decided to ‘outsource’ these propaganda functions during the mid-1980s. Interestingly enough, despite Hungarian President Viktor Orban’s alleged turn towards ‘Putinism’ Mr. Denton still lists himself as a former adviser to then Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary here: []. Presumably Denton was an advisor to Orban in 1998 when the democratic, anti-Communist reformer became the second youngest Prime Minister in Hungarian history. With a generally positive world economy during the years from 1998 to 2002 Orban’s government was able to cut taxes, abolish university tuition for qualified students, and expand maternity benefits, while attracting German industry with low-cost Hungarian labor. Most importantly to the Empire, in 1999 Hungary joined NATO along with Poland and the Czech Republic over Russia’s objections. That same year Hungary was forced to participate in the war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by participating in a trade embargo against Belgrade.

In recognition of Orban’s loyal efforts on behalf of NATO in 2002 he was awarded the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute’s Freedom Award and awards from the ‘New Atlantic Initiative’ and Germany’s ‘Förderpreis Soziale Marktwirtschaft’. Orban was clearly accepted by the trans-Atlantic elites. But everything started to change in 2010 when his Fidesz returned to power after six years in opposition. Suddenly Orban’s party had a two thirds majority, enough to change the Hungarian constitution, and Orban became a ‘European Hugo Chavez’ in the words of the German Green party politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit -- ironically, a former 1968 radical whose younger self would’ve appreciated Red Chavismo. This started a wave of propaganda against the Hungarian government alleging that it was crushing the opposition, restricting a free press, in short demonizing Fidesz as the Hungarian version of United Russia and Orban as the Hungarian Putin.

To be fair, Orban did not take the German and Anglo-American/Atlanticist criticism lying down. He denounced German TV propaganda against Hungary, reminding Merkel about Nazi occupation of his country during WWII, and refused to back off the anti-EU rhetoric he had cleverly promoted since at least 2006. Orban’s critics doubled down on their shrill rhetoric accusing him of destroying democracy and minority rights in Hungary, signing sweetheart nuclear energy and gas deals with Russia, and pandering to the ultra-nationalist if not fascist Jobbik party which has won 20% of the vote and made anti-Jewish statements. The same Jobbik party the Empire’s propaganda shills like Jamie Kirchick of the neocon propaganda-staffel ‘Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ alleges is part of a vast Putinist conspiracy to bring right wing parties to power across Europe using covert Kremlin cash. []

Orban’s ‘Infamous’ ‘Illiberal’ Speech of July 26, 2014 and Why the Empire (Correctly) Sees It as Treason Against the ‘New World Order’

Which brings us to the present controversies -- not only over Orban’s stubborn refusal together with the Austrians to support more sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, but above all over Orban’s speech this summer denouncing the USA’s dominance of Europe and the EU’s subservience to a declining American Empire. To the Atlanticist elites who had long condemned Orban as an aspiring dictator -- the ‘Mussolini of Hungary’ as the shriveling circulation Newsweek dubbed him -- Orban had declared war on democracy. []

For Charles Gati, a Senior Research Professor of European and Eurasian Studies at Johns Hopkins University [], the sense of betrayal was personal: Orban had been one of his brightest young students in the heady days after the fall of Communism in Hungary. For Orban to describe the United States as a malign cultural and economic influence on Europe was a slap to the face to Gati and others like Freedom House’s James S. Denton who had groomed Orban to be a reliable satrap of benevolent US hegemony. Gati’s op-ed for the same AEI that had once given Orban its Freedom Award was titled, “Putin’s Mini-Me: The Mask is Off”. [] In his American Interest piece Gati quotes Orbán telling a room in Washington back in 1998: “whatever I know about contemporary politics and history I’ve learned from Professor Gati.” Gati accused his former pupil of issuing an “incoherent” rant against the USA that made no sense in the original Hungarian or when translated into English, full of anti-American “clichés”. Nearly all Western media outlets that covered Orban’s speech delivered to a group of peaceful Hungarian nationalists at a ‘right-wing’ youth summer camp in late July concurred. No one apparently wanted to quote the speech or take it seriously as a patriotic cry from the heart against the decadence and decline of the Western civilization Orban had embraced as a young man.

The Essence of ‘Orbanism’ -- Disillusionment with the West and the Search for a Eurasian Future

So, what exactly did Orban say in Kotscse near Lake Balaton, that was so shocking the press-titutes were terrified to quote it at any length? Here are the most important excerpts, in my opinion, as translated by The Budapest Beacon and preserved here: []. Orban starts by referring to the defining moment of Hungarian politics, the change or Die Wende of 1989, saying for too long Hungarians have clung to the recent past rather than addressed the 21st century future:

My speech today is not connected to the elections. Our acting president introduced us as regime changers, and did it by recalling the regime change. This represents well that for our generation the regime change is the generational experience to which we compare everything, against which we measure everything, from where we start to define everything that happens around us. It seems natural, although it is rather a disadvantage for us, not an advantage.
As speeches go, this is hardly controversial stuff. But what follows is what has angered Washington’s propagandists of unshakable Western hegemony and unending Anglo-American dominance:

I would suggest to shortly remind ourselves that in the 20th Century there have been three major world-regime changes. At the end of World War I, at the end of World War II, and in 1990. The common points in these were – I might have mentioned this here once – that when the changes manifested it was clear for all of us that we are going to live in a different world overnight. Let’s say it was very clear here after Trianon [the previously mentioned Hungarian ‘Versailles diktat’ of 1920 that cut off Budapest from ancient lands - AK], just as it was in Budapest after World War II as well. If the people looked around and saw the invading Soviet troops they knew that a new world was about to begin. In ’90 when we succeeded in breaking and displacing the communists, it was clear after the first parliamentary elections that a new world had arrived for us: the wall in Berlin collapsed, elections were held and this is another future.

Now I must quote Orban at length, for he gets to the essence of his statement -- ‘the West’ as a unitary entity led by the USA with a [soon to be Scotland-less] United Kingdom sidekick looks washed up, and it’s Davos-attending Western politicians and tycoons themselves who are saying so. Orban also -- shock, horror -- dismisses the so-called ‘economic recovery’ in the United States since 2008 as the middle class destroying, Federal Reserve-pumped up and fake stats fraud that it is:

The statement intended to be the basic point of my talk here is that the changes in the world nowadays have the similar value and weight. We can identify its manifestation – that point when it became clear – as the financial crisis of 2008 or rather the Western financial crisis. And the importance of this change is less obvious because people sense it in a different way as the previous three. It was unclear in 2008 during the huge Western financial collapse that we are going to live in a different world from now on. The shift is not that sharp as in the case of the three previous world regime changes and it somehow slowly resolved in our minds, as the fog sets on the land. If we look around and analyze the things happening around us, for six years this has been a different world from the one we lived in. And if we project the processes for the future – which always has a risk – it is a reasonable intellectual exercise, and we see well that the changes will only have a bigger impact.

Well, Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen, for the sake of illustrating the deepness of this change, without any particular order, I assembled a few sentences, ideas from the Western World, as well as one or two from the Eastern World, too, that are stunning. If we assessed them through the lens of the pre-2008 liberal worldview, we would be shocked. Yet if we do not view it that way but understand from these sentences how long a way we have gone in terms of public speech, topics and their articulations in these last six years, then these sentences to be quoted will help us understand how profound the change is that is taking place in the world today.

Very briefly: In America, the President of the US has made numerous and repeated statements regarding how America has been engulfed by cynicism, and the task for American society and the American government is to declare war on cynicism originating from the financial sector. Before 2008, such a statement would have resulted in exclusion from gentlemanlike international discourse, additionally because of the characteristics of the financial system, it would probably have even been tainted with as being sinister, making any utterance of such sentences extremely perilous. Contrary to this, these ideas constantly appear in the American press as of late. The US president says that if a hardworking American constantly has to choose between career and family, that America will lose its place in the world economy. Or the President openly speaks about economic patriotism. He [Obama] says such sentences that would still earn beating and stoning in today’s provincial Hungarian public life. For example, he openly speaks about how companies employing foreigners should pay their fair share in taxes. Or he openly speaks about how companies employing Americans should be supported before anyone else. These are all voices, ideas and sentences that would have been unimaginable six or eight years earlier.

To proceed further, according to a well-recognized analyst, the strength of American “soft power” is deteriorating, because liberal values today incorporate corruption, sex and violence and with this liberal values discredit America and American modernization [This is the so-called ‘cliche’ that Gati found so intolerable, which appears self-evident to the Kulak and millions of other Christian and traditionalist Americans - AK]. Also, the Open Society Foundation [funded by George Soros - AK] published a study not long ago analyzing Western Europe. In this, we could read a sentence which says that Western Europe was so preoccupied with solving the situation of immigrants that it forgot about white working class. Or the British prime minister said that as a consequence of the changes happening in Europe, many became freeloaders on the back of the welfare systems. One of the richest Americans, who was one of the first investors in the company Amazon stated that we are living in a society that is less and less capitalist and more and more feudal, and if the economic system does not reform itself then middle class will disappear, and, as he puts it, “the rich will be attacked by pitchforks”. Therefore, he [Orban is referring to the German-born billionaire investor Nick Hanauer’s article published in Politico here: -AK] thinks a middle-up economic model is needed instead of a top-down model. It is not my intention to interpret these sentences, simply to cite them here in order to show the novelty of these ideas that were impossible to talk about only six years ago.

Or, similarly from America, the number of unemployed youth has drastically risen [Mr. Orban clearly doesn’t buy the ‘cooked’ US unemployment numbers contrasted with the real 16-20% unemployment figures compiled by John Williams published at - AK], and in the case of the most promising career options, children from families with affluent families receive a far greater advantage – this is said in the homeland of social mobility [a reference by Orban, perhaps, to the millions of Hungarians who emigrated to the USA prior to and after WWII - AK]. Or to cite something else: another respected analyst said that the internet, understood by the liberal world as the greatest symbol of freedom for many long years, is being colonized by big corporations. His statement suggests that the big question is whether great capitalist companies, meaning international corporations, would be successful in doing away with the neutrality of the internet. Going forward, to quote a development that is both dear and unexpected for us, the English prime minister, who awkwardly avoids his party being identified as Christian Democratic, stands up in before the public stating that Christianity is a core principle of British values, and despite multiculturalism, Great Britain is a Christian country in heart, and this is a fact to be proud of.

Besides suggesting the USA is a power in cultural and economic decline, Orban added blasphemy to heresy by suggesting Hungary could learn much from the rising BRIC nations, plus the Hungarians old Ottoman overlords the Turks who have modernized their economy under the authoritarian and double-dealing (between Iran, Russia, and China on one side and NATO and the Sunni Persian Gulf states on the other) Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

Everyone was only talking about competition in the world economy. Globalization on the international scale made it necessary to do a lot of talking, writing and analysis about it, and this phenomenon is known in details. We can more or less know why a major economic interest group, for example the European Union, is competitive, or why it is losing its competitiveness. However, according to many, and I belong to them, today this is not the principal question. It remains an important question. As long as people live off money and economy, this will remain an important question. Yet there is an even more important race. I would articulate this as a race to invent a state that is most capable of making a nation successful. As the state is nothing else but a method of organizing a community, a community that in our case sometimes coincides with our country’s borders, sometimes not, but I will get back to that, the defining aspect of today’s world can be articulated as a race to figure out a way of organizing communities, a state that is most capable of making a nation competitive. This is why, Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen a trending topic in thinking is understanding systems that are not Western, not liberal, not liberal democracies, maybe not even democracies, and yet making nations successful. Today, the stars of international analyses are Singapore, China, India, Turkey, Russia. And I believe that our political community rightly anticipated this challenge, and if we think back on what we did in the last four years, and what we are going to do in the following four years, than it really can be interpreted from this angle. We are searching for and we are doing our best to find – parting ways with Western European dogmas, making ourselves independent from them – the form of organizing a community, that is capable of making us competitive in this great world-race.

By great world race and dismissing mere economic competition as the only deciding factor of the 21st century, Orban was hinting strongly that the first duty of any Hungarian government is the preservation of the Hungarian peoples, wherever they may live. Because some Jobbik members who may indeed be fascists speak this way, as do the Ukrainian Nazis who imagine the Cossacks of Rostov or Krasnodar oblasts don’t realize that they are Ukrainians, it’s easy to label such ideas ‘fascist’. But Hungary, as many observers of its demographics have pointed out, is a nation experiencing or facing severe graying and population decline.

Clearly when Orban says ‘competitive in this great world-race’ he means preserving the Hungarians as a people rather than seeing them slowly replaced by peoples from the Middle East [North Africa, the Levant and Turkish Kurdistan all seem primed for population explosions and lengthy unrest in the years to come- AK] or elsewhere during this century. Just in case there was any confusion about what Orban meant, his reference to the ‘white working class’ of Great Britain should make it clear: the purpose of a sovereign nation is the health and long-term well-being of the majority population of that nation, not globalist ‘values’ or economic growth divorced from human needs. While I am personally not a fan of Alexandr Dugin, one most acknowledge this is much closer to Duginism and Eurasianism than Orban’s old Atlanticist, pro-EU positions. Orban’s use of the phrase ‘non-liberal state’ is in fact, almost pure Duginism, perhaps taken straight from the pages of Dugin’s book The 4th Political Theory by an Orban speechwriter. In the book, Dugin contends that after three centuries liberalism dating to the acts of tolerance that ended Europe’s bloody 30 Years Wars and restored the British crown after Cromwell’s revolt, liberalism has exhausted itself. [You can watch English subtitles of Dugin summarizing his book in less than ten minutes, and describing how many European languages it has been translated into here:]

Orban Vows to Resist the Empire’s Colored Revolution and ‘NGO-istan’ Tactics

Consequently, what is happening today in Hungary can interpreted as an attempt of the respective political leadership to harmonize relationship between the interests and achievement of individuals – that needs to be acknowledged – with interests and achievements of the community, and the nation. Meaning, that Hungarian nation is not a simple sum of individuals, but a community that needs to be organized, strengthened and developed, and in this sense, the new state that we are building is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not deny foundational values of liberalism, as freedom, etc.. But it does not make this ideology a central element of state organization but applies a specific, national, particular approach in its stead.

Is Orban a Eurasianist?

Like Dugin, like Igor Strelkov, and like Vladimir Putin, Orban calls out a fifth column in his country. These are, of course, the same Rockefeller and Fortune 500 funded foundations, think tanks, and NGOs that cultivated Central European politicans like... former AEI employee and husband to the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum Radek Sikorski. [] And former Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, who has called the EU the 4th Reich (German Continental economic dominance under Washington’s tutelage 

[]. And of course, the AEI and Johns Hopkins ‘educated’ Viktor Orban, who now defies the EU.

Whereas Sikorski was caught on tape bitterly telling a fellow Polish politician when he thought no one was listening that Poland has sexually serviced the US and received nothing in return; Orban has turned on his former handlers and now calls them out for what they are -- foreign agents of influence and globalist occupiers of his country:

Now, Hungarian NGO landscape shows a very particular image. Ideally a civil politician as opposed to professional is an individual who is organizing bottom-up, financially independent and the nature of his work is voluntary. If we look at civil organizations in Hungary, the one that appears before public, now debates around the Norwegian Fund brought this on the surface, then what I will see is that we have to deal with paid political activists here. And these political activists are moreover political activists paid by foreigners. Activists paid by definite political circles of interest. It is hard to imagine that these circles have a social agenda. It is more likely that they would like to exercise influence through this system of instruments on Hungarian public life. It is vital, therefore, that if we would like to reorganize our nation state instead of the liberal state, that we should make it clear, that these are not civilians coming against us, opposing us, but political activists attempting to promote foreign interests. Therefore it is very apt that a committee was being formed in the Hungarian parliament that deals with constant monitoring, recording and publishing foreign attempts to gain influence, so that all of us here, you as well will be aware of who are the characters behind the masks.

Since this piece has been exceptionally lengthy even by the Vineyard’s standards, I will leave the Saker and his readers with Orban’s conclusion for his compatriots who happen to live outside Hungary’s present borders -- in what is a clear message to Kiev, Bucharest and ultimately Washington that national identity won’t be crushed under EUro-globalism:

Now the only question that remains, honorable ladies and gentlemen, and it is a question that I am not entitled to answer, that in times like this, when anything could happen, should we be afraid, or should we instead be hopeful? Because the present order of the world is not exactly to our taste, that this future, although it is uncertain, it could even cause huge trouble, it also holds opportunities and developments for our Hungarian nation. So instead of seclusion, fear and withdrawal I recommend courage, prospective thinking, rational, but brave action to the Hungarian communities in the Carpathian basin [the old Rusyn lands - AK] but also throughout the world. As anything can happen, it can easily happen that our time will come. Thank you for your honorific attention.

An excellent article from Ilargi of Automatic Earth. Please read!  Pay particular attention to the video within the article

Hungary Says The IMF And EU Want To Make It A Colony Of Slaves

Raul Ilargi Meijer

18 September, 2012

Banner demonstration Budapest, September 4, 1012

After publishing Hungary Throws Out Monsanto AND The IMF 10 days ago, I've been keeping an eye on what goes down along the twin Buda and Pest shores of the Danube river.

That's how I came upon a video from Johnny Miller for PressTV, which is sort of Iran's version of Russia Today and Al Jazeera, news channels that find their niche and viability "behind the biases" of western media, in much the same way that the Automatic Earth and numerous other websites do. Of course, there is no lack of people who declare exactly those alternative voices to be biased, but wherever the truth may lie, fact is that many readers and viewers in the west are fed up with, and no longer trust, their traditional media, let alone their political systems. Hungary may prove to be an excellent example of why that is and how it all plays out.

Now, first, let me state once again that I don't know much about Hungary, and I happenstance upon the things I view and read about it with the eyes of an innocent child. I do have a long history, however, of not believing a word I read at first glance - or The Automatic Earth would not exist. Which is why, when I picked up on the ideas US and European media hold up as undeniable truths about Hungarian PM Victor Orbán and his Fidesz party, what a vile and crazy man he basically is, I questioned them off the bat. It's obvious he's made enemies of Monsanto and the entire GMO industry, as well as the IMF/EU/ECB troika, and therefore western media have plenty incentives to paint him off as a lunatic.

And also, let me repeat that he may well be a bully himself, like he is being bullied by the troika, the seed industry and the media they control. All I said was, certainly in light of the fact that I know little about him, I did - and do - tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, for the moment, because of his refusal to kowtow before those who act as if they rule the entire planet.

I urge you to please watch the video, 20 minutes or so, but I'll write down some key points below.

Since the fall of Communism, Hungary has been doing everything the Western institutions have asked, privatizing and selling off state assets, which resulted in heavy debts and low living standards. Now, the new government is hitting back by raising taxes on foreign companies and trying to protect its domestic market. However, it has been criticized by the EU, IMF and the Western media. Hungarians have also taken to the streets of Budapest and the Western media is championing the views of the protesters and damning the government. On this week's INFocus we will tell the real story of why the new Hungarian government is becoming a new bogeyman of the West and how fake protests can be started under foreign influence.

The opening quote is poignant: A destitute Hungarian mother of a young boy says this about the IMF and EU involvement in Hungary:

The problem of the poor can be solved by killing them but it is not allowed. This is a holocaust without a gas chamber. There is no future here.

In January 2012, there were protests in the streets of Budapest against government policies with regards to press freedom. The organizers called themselves "One Million For Press Freedom". But only 40.000 show up. Still, the protests got extensive coverage in the west. One of the organizers now admits that maybe they were used for western propaganda, which aimed at depicting the government as a dictatorship. He is interviewed without any semblance of fear of government retaliation, which leaves one wondering what exactly he was protesting, especially since later he says he was protesting higher education laws.

According to Hungarian economist Imre Boros, the Orbán government declared that foreign banks and corporations, who hardly paid any taxes at all before, would have to pay more. 13 foreign multinationals and 5 major global banks then went to the to EU to complain about the new taxes, and the financial markets attacked the Hungarian economy. Plus, rumors are being spread about anti-semitism and lack of freedom for the press, rumors which Boros says are simply not true ("Everybody writes here whatever they wish").

At the same time of the anti-government protests, there was another rally in support of the government, and against the EU and IMF policies. This protest, rather than 40.000, numbered in the hundreds of thousands (500.000), and was mainly ignored by the west.

TV host and Fidesz founder Zsolt Bayer: What is a dictatorship? Is that when a country doesn't serve the interests of the EU and IMF? Is that a dictatorship? He says the pro-government demonstration saved the Orbán government, because nobody dares resist a half a million people in the streets.

The socialist government that preceded Orbán was praised by the likes of visiting Tony Blair in 2006, executed EU/IMF policies and had the police beat up on demonstrators, one of whom was Attila Lavai, who we first see beaten up in 2006 and then interviewed by PressTV in 2012.

By the way, in a lovely side story, and don't even try to tell me you could have made this up yourself, if you allow me to veer off track for a moment, the PM at the time, Ferenc Gyurcsány, was in the news last week:

[Former] Hungarian Prime Minister Ends Hunger Strike For Voters Rights

The former prime minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsány, has ended a week-long hunger strike that he said was aimed at ensuring free and fair elections. Gyurscany has expressed concerns over plans by the government to overhaul the election system in the young democracy of this European Union nation.

In front of the neo-ghotic parliament building of Budapest, several tents emerged this week. Some carried slogans referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's government as a "regime". Former Prime Minister Gyurcsány and three fellow politicians were camping in two small green-colored army tents, without food.

Gyurcsány, who leads the leftist Democratic Coalition, told BosNewsLife that he was on a week-long hunger strike to protest against government plans to introduce voter registration ahead of the 2014 parliamentary elections. He views that as another attempt by the center-right government to intimidate voters.

Yet, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party has denied wrongdoing. It says registration is needed in part to keep track of the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Hungarians living in neighboring countries, who have obtained citizenship. Under a recent law they also have the right to vote, a move the opposition claims is aimed at boosting support for the ruling Fidesz party.

However, opposition leader Gyurcsány, himself is not without controversy. He was forced to resign as prime minister in 2009 after a recording emerged in which he admitted to have lied "night and day" about the status of the economy to win reelection.

The former Communist youth leader-turned politician acknowledged to BosNewsLife that this speech will "probably follow" him the rest of his life. He has also said he is not seeking to become prime minister, again.

It is stories like that which make life worth living. I'm sure you can all just imagine George W. Bush or Gordon Brown in a tent without food for a week in front of their parliament buildings. About the issue itself: As far as I know, it is quite common in democracies to have voters register. Since Hungary looks to add voting rights for 1 million Hungarians who live abroad, and apparently until now had no such rights, it all doesn't look that crazy or bad or anything, not from where I'm sitting. Back to the video:

TV host Bayer: "When are we going to be good guys? If we sell them the remaining energy sector and privatize everything? That's the conditions of the loan. Let's sell the energy sector, let's sell public transport. So if we are willing to behave like a colony, we get a loan, that we will never be able to pay back. Thanks, but I don't want this"

Economist Boros then says that after the "Russian Consensus", what the IMF has attempted to do - often successfully - in the former Eastern Bloc is what Naomi Klein describes in The Shock Doctrine. It's called "Reform", and it means privatization, which in turn means selling key assets to global big players (it also means cutting jobs, salaries, pensions, benefits, health care and so forth). Hungary MP Márton Gyöngyösi says privatization has been disastrous for Hungary.

Mihály Varga, the minister in charge of the talks with the IMF, when asked: "Are you going to stand up to the IMF?", responds: "Absolutely".

But, as PressTV notes, the same government threw out the IMF last year, "and now, they're back".

"Out in the country side, it's easy to see the changes in Hungary since signing up to IMF and EU enforced policies. Hungarians used to be intensely proud of their agriculture; the soil here is very fertile, and great for growing fruit and vegetables. SInce 2004, when Hungary joined the EU, the EU forced Hungary to stop subsidies to agriculture, therefore devastating the industries. Now Hungary imports a lot of fruits and veg, rather than growing it themselves. Obviously, a lot of jobs lost as well. A lot of Hungarians simply cannot believe how that policy could possibly have been good for the country."

Zsolt Bayer again: "In the past twenty years, all our industry has disappeared. We got our world class agriculture impoverished by the West. We are a small country, these 10 million people are only a market for the West. We are not needed for anything else. The EU has no future because the EU has no ethos. It is all about money. Nothing else".

"My most important message for the East, for Africa and South America, all nations, is that you are obliged to save yourselves. Those who give up their customs, their culture, if they give up everything they won't be a nation anymore."

The mother of a young boy: "I think we will be a pothole of the EU, a transit country. We will be a colony, slaves again.

The IMF and EU are no less vampire squids than Goldman Sachs is. If anything they're more dangerous, since they can make people believe that they are somehow democratic institutions, and have their best interests in mind. People may have reservations about what is happening in Budapest, but I have to say that the more I read about Victor Orbán and his government, the more I tend to sympathize with what they are trying to accomplish, and the more I understand what they are up against.

I get the feeling that if we in the West treat him with suspicion, and believe the stories our media feed us about him as a monster, the more we leave the only country I know with the courage to stand up for itself in the face of the most brutal of bullies, alone in its quest. Which happens to be a quest many of us feel a strong connection with. The stories aim to confuse us about that, and they largely seem to accomplish what they're aimed at so far. And that is a shame.

Hungary and Orbán, partly because of the wide coverage of the small demonstrations against him, and, though for totally different reasons, partly because of the mass demonstrations in his support, which received no coverage, is now back at the table with the EU and IMF. Whose intention it is to make him an offer he can't refuse. If he doesn't accept, they'll declare financial war against him. And his people. Until they all give in. This happens in our name. While many of us would want to have our name, our beliefs and convictions, to be with the other side, his side. As long as we don't make that choice, and do it openly and loudly, we will remain the de facto schoolyard bullies. And we don't get a free pass from that just because we don't do or say anything.

Reuters ran a large piece yesterday on the Hungarian situation, in which Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs appear to be on an uncomfortably wobbly trail between the default western picture of their country and the search for a sort of balance in reporting. As for how successful they are, you be the judge.

Hungarians impatiently await promised "fairy tale"

For Hungarians queuing up to work abroad, the government's promise to achieve a "fairy tale" of national prosperity soon is precisely that - more a fantasy than a realistic possibility. At least 300,000 Hungarians work in western Europe, according to government estimates, apparently unpersuaded that conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban's go-it-alone and often unpredictable policies can solve the nation's problems.

Those still in Hungary are convinced neither by Orban's unconventional style of economics and politics, which has led to conflict at home and abroad, nor by a weak opposition. An Ipsos opinion poll last month showed 53 percent of voters - or 4.2 million people - had no party preference whatsoever.

Fiercely independent, Orban has upset at one time or another the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the government of Armenia and - at least indirectly - NATO. With the domestic opposition he remains constantly at loggerheads. [..]

Orban's government, which does not face national elections for another 1-1/2 years, is trying to press home a message that its policies will bear fruit soon. "The Hungarian fairy tale or the Hungarian example will be a successful one in a year's time," Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy said earlier this year.

A message that Hungary will emerge as a strong nation from the crisis engulfing most of Europe is hard to sell to voters. On the face of it, Orban has avoided many of the problems that are besetting countries across the EU. The government, dominated by his Fidesz party, has a two-thirds parliamentary majority following a landslide election victory two years ago and is among the most stable in the EU.

While others struggle to control huge budget deficits, Hungary's is due to remain this year below the EU ceiling set at 3% of total annual economic output.

Orban, who was also premier from 1998-2002, has achieved this without the outright austerity measures that have toppled a number of EU governments, and has even cut personal income tax. He has funded this with measures such as a windfall tax on the financial, energy, telecom and retail sectors, and an effective re-nationalization of private pension funds.

But Hungary's economy, largely geared to exporting to western Europe since the fall of communism more than 20 years ago, has slid into recession as demand falls in the euro zone.

Orban's policies such as the extra taxes have undermined investors' confidence and he faces tough talks with the IMF and EU this autumn about a loan deal that would help to cut the country's high borrowing costs.

Combative as ever, he said Hungary needed the loan "to protect itself from the sickness weighing on Europe". "We can only achieve success if we boost our autonomy, and make our own decisions, in other words if we boost Hungary's room for maneuver," he told parliament last week, making clear he wants a deal with international lenders on his own terms.[..]

With a firm hand, Orban has solidified the power of Fidesz - which began as a radical student group before shifting over the years to the right - in ways that critics say have eroded democratic checks and balances.

The government has consistently rejected such charges, but the passing of a media law which critics say could be used to curb press freedom provoked a dispute with the European Commission.

Curbs on the Constitutional Court's jurisdiction have also proved contentious, while tens of thousands of Hungarians rallied in January to call for the removal of the man they called the "Viktator" after the constitution had been rewritten.

A few weeks later a pro-government rally attracted 100,000 people, showing Orban remains popular among his core supporters.

Changes to the central bank law caused another row with the EU and IMF, which said it hurt the Hungarian National Bank's independence. Amendments resolved the standoff only after it had held up the talks on IMF/EU financing for months.

The Reuters writers then mention a recent international incident which involves a murder case in Budapest 8 years ago, once more, of course(?), used to discredit Orbán:

Under Orban, Hungary has even become involved in disputes as far away as the south Caucasus where tensions are high between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Last month, Hungary stirred a storm when it sent home an Azeri soldier who had murdered an Armenian officer with an axe during NATO training in Budapest in 2004.

The soldier, Ramil Safarov, was pardoned and celebrated as a hero when he got home. Armenia instantly broke diplomatic ties with Hungary, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was "deeply concerned" by the pardon.

Orban has defended the decision, saying it was in line with international law. He even said that Hungary acted knowing the move could spark a diplomatic backlash.

"His ways may be risky and you can't always know where it leads," said one source familiar with Orban's thinking, who wished to remain unnamed. "But even if you do not agree with him, within his own logical framework he has a well-grounded answer to each question."

Despite government denials, opposition parties say it let Safarov return to Azerbaijan in the hope of economic favors in return from the energy producer. The Socialists, who beat Orban in the elections of 2002 and 2006, have called on him to resign over the decision, but they remain electorally weak.

I've seen a number of conflicting reports on the case (is Orbán terribly naive, did the Azeris pay Hungary a billion dollars), and I find it hard to call. But I don't think that if a foreign national kills another foreign national on their soil, many countries would insist on keeping the killer in their prison system indefinitely at all cost. Also, Armenians have been living in Hungary for 1000 years or more. And along the same lines that in Hungary, like across eastern Europe as a whole, there's a long and ugly history of anti-semitism, I'm sure Armenians have had tough times in the country as well through history. But I haven't so far found any convincing arguments that for either people, or the Roma for that matter, it's Victor Orbán who's responsible for increasing hatred or tensions. Given the way he's consistently being pictured as a crazed dictator, and given his fights on multiple fronts against Hungary's potential colonizers, let's just say I have my doubts. But I'm open to being educated.

What I'm interested in for now is not politics, but finance, even if the two seem intricately intertwined. Any country, and its leaders, that dares resist the ever more suffocating global powers of the IMF, the EU/ECB, and the banking system and multinationals (think Monsanto) they serve, quite simply looks of interest to me. There are schemes and policies being executed in our names that we shouldn't wish to sign off on, by power hungry people hiding behind the veils of global corporations and über-government institutions, and the victims of these policies are real people, just like we are. If anything, that's what Hungary teaches us.

Finally, this is the BBC's version of Hungary - from 2012

Hungary on the Rack - the incorrect BBC Hard Talk

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