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Putin's Mini-Me
Hungarian PM: Just Say No to Liberal Democracy

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, let his true colors shine over the weekend in a speech in a Hungarian-speaking part of Romania. The FT:

“The hottest intellectual topic of today is understanding systems which are non-western, non-liberal, which are not liberal democracies, perhaps which are not even democracies, and they still make some nations successful,” Mr Orbán said. He added that Singapore, China, India, Russia and Turkey were “stars” in this respect. […]

In the past four years, and looking towards the next four, Mr Orbán said: “We are making ourselves independent of and free from western European dogma and ideology.”

The video of the speech, far from being leaked, was actually posted on the Hungarian government’s website.

While it’s convenient to have more proof that troubling things are afoot in Hungary (especially proof provided by such an official source), regular readers should not be terribly surprised. Charles Gati was on the case in our pages in late 2011. Our own Francis Fukuyama was asking questions about Orbán in January 2012 (and got a furious reply from the Hungarian government for his trouble). And we have done our best to point out when Orbán and his supporters have crossed various lines since in our daily coverage.

With Hungary’s leader increasingly sounding like Putin’s Mini-Me, it’s clear that the totalitarian temptation is alive and well in Eastern Europe. That’s something EU leaders should worry about, especially as parties sympathetic to hard-line Hungarians gain power in the union’s parliament.

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  • Breif2

    Orbán has successfully demonstrated that democracy is problematic.

  • Duperray

    Let’s be factual: 60years ago, all the West was happily Liberal, Freedom visible, enthusiastic growth accepted by all. For sure some corruption existed, but not to a level enough to screw populations. Political freedom was granted by constitutions and materially available in newspapers.
    What is present Democracy status in same states?
    * We are in a real democracy only few minutes per decade, just when we vote.
    * Is there by then, political offering sufficient to identify at least a candidate’s program fitting 80% of our expectations? NO !!
    * Would elected politician make its words? Very barely, 10% of is already a success.
    * What does he/she do? Uses elected power to grab self money, provides positions to political friends in order to nullify potential internal competition, makes as much as possible mediatic noise to be re-elected. When forced to make a decision by external events, it falls into its Party ideologic addictments

    ** How does it work: Image, real time reports from anywhere in the world, TV channels comments altogether make an unprecedented, tremendously powerful convincing tool to fashion public opinion. We do not have to criticize technical progress, but their usage. As TV “on-air time” costs a fortune, only 1-2 political parties have money enough to sustain week-long media campaign, thence reducing political offering from 1-2 fossilized Parties (US, UK, France, Germany,…) which “offering meal” is always the same untasty mixture of “old motos” spiced with superficial bla-bla about the subject which excites medias just now.
    Nevertheless, apparently competing each others, parties are allied to maintain this system’s “statu quo” !

    WE ARE NO LONGER UN DEMOCRACY, we are in Perversed democracy, ie close to Ideological Totalitarism, as many dominant political orientations want now to forbid others to speak and debate (see Global Warming, religions, immigration and so on..).
    By the way, other systems are not better…alas !

    • Dan

      Good thing here in America we are a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy!

      • Breif2

        “If you can keep it.”

  • Enemy Leopard

    I’m perplexed. Many of the commenters here have assured me that there are no fascists in Europe – or that they don’t have power anywhere – or that they’re all really freedom fighters. Or something. Are you sure that this “Hungary” is a real country?

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