Let’s save in Europe what can be still saved! Part I.

This blog post is a translation of an interview by famous French writer philosopher and political thinker Renaud Camus,  made  by  the Hungarian conservative  portal Mandiner. Mr. Camus has also posted the interview on his Facebook page in French.


It’s long but it’s well worth reading. I’m going to publish it in several parts.  I’ve run the human translated Hungarian and the original French texts though Google Translate and this is an edited version, making use of my limited French reading skills and my native Hungarian.

You have invented the notion for “the Great Replacement”.  You insist that this is not a theory but it’s today’s most striking  actuality. How will you explain this phenomenon to our Hungarian readers?

The Hungarian readers don’t even know how lucky they are that they need an explanation for this! They should avoid it like the plague! This is horror! For the French, the English, the Swedes, even for the Italians now, the Great Replacement is a daily experience, it’s the bare reality: mass immigration, demographic decline, a change of people and civilization, an ethnic change, Islamization, Africanization, a genocide by replacement. There have lived people in a particular territory for centuries and, all of a sudden, there are others there in one or two generations.  This time indigenous people are not being eliminated, even though they are suffering from a lot of attacks and from crime,  but they are gradually submerged. They are being drowned, they are being erased from photos, they are being replaced.

You emphasize that the Great Replacement is not a conspiracy theory.  You said that “I’m usually blamed that I don’t clarify the the causes of the Great Replacement.  In fact I’m cautious about this indeed because I want to unite people, not to divide them”. However you also spoke of  “a cohesive beam of certain interests and taboos.” What are these interests and taboos?


This is what I call global replacementism (replacement ideology), or as “davocracy” more recently, or even “direct davocracy”: the management of the human park by Davos.  You know that little Swiss town where the world’s financial elite hold their annual Nuremberg Congress.

The Karl Marx for global replacementism is called  Frederick Winslow Taylor and  his major work, his “The Capital”,  is titled “The Principles of Scientific Management”. The interests are the same in economic terms as the two meanings of that word: in a purely economic sense, that is to say, in a financial world view, there is economics, the minimal cost, the drive to save up, having no-frills through equalization and standardization.  Cinematographically speaking, we could say  that global replacementism is “Modern times” plus “Metropolis” plus “Soylent Green”.  The hyper-rich, the financial elite disconnected from the world, want to impose a general proletarianization [on the world] through forced mixing of peoples, the grinding of human matter into an undifferentiated industrial pulp.

You often compare the Holocaust with replacementism. What do you think  the common features of these two phenomena are?

– First of all, it is industrialization, that is treating humans as matter. I don’t conflate the two things at all. The specific features of the Holocaust show up distinctly to me. However I do believe we can always compare everything to everything else, even if only to  distinguish things better. We always view the Holocaust as a crime against the Jews and of course we are right about that. But this was also a crime against man, against the humanity of man. I have had a great debate  about this topic with my friend Alain Finkielkraut who considers the Holocaust as a unique, an unparalleled horror story which nothing should be compared with.  I think on the contrary, in darker colours, that it was the epicentre of Evil, the very heart of darkness, the most appalling chapter of  history which began well before. It started probably with the Industrial Revolution and it’s not over.  Far from it! It’s about the dehumanization of man, it’s about reducing man to matter, to ashes, to lamp shades, to pasta. It’s about humans’ dwelling boxes in Asia’s megacities and elsewhere where workers pay real fortunes for rooms where they can’t even stand up only so they could be be close to their jobs where they earn barely enough to pay for their rent.  These are the successors to the barracks in Auschwitz.  They belong to the same story. We must never forget that the Ford factories in Germany were closely related to the death camps and they worked in close symbiosis with them. Hitler was a great admirer of Henry Ford, an ardent anti-Semite, whose photograph he had on his desk at the Chancery. Ford  was the man who  put Taylor’s tenets into practice in the best way. He had the brilliant idea of ​​selling his cars to the workers who had made them in order to make the manufacturer a consumer. Today’s global replacementism goes even further: It makes the consumer the product: see how the Gafa (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon)  works.

“Hungary and the other Visegrád countries are the citadel of our hopes” – you wrote in your response to my interview request. Do you think Central Europe is the last bastion in the fight against replacementism?

–  I think you mean anti-racism, don’t you? The resistance to replacement? Yes, I think that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have been vaccinated by the horrors of the Communist occupation, of this totalitarianism, against this other totalitarianism, this coming totalitarianism which is already prevalent in Western Europe,  replacementism. To paraphrase Marx, we may say that a specter haunts Europe, it’s the specter of  replacementism. It’s  Western Europe and Brussels where its grip is the strongest. These countries, which used to be the free world, a deafening repression comes down on the opponents to global replacementism, on those who, like me, are driven from everywhere and they become undead. Freedom has turned in her bed. She has changed sides and blocks. If the Iron Curtain reinstall, God forbid,  then Western Europe’s dissidents will risk their lives to “go to the East”. I have more and more friends who  keep telling me that they are looking for an apartment in Budapest. And I recommend only half-jokingly that France should apply for a membership in the Visegrád alliance.
To be continued

Please raze Soros’ university to the ground and salt its earth

The uncanny howling about Soros’ CEU university hasn’t subsided since last Wednesday.  The “whole world” protests against “Orbán’s grave attack against Hungary’s most prominent university”. Open letters, interviews, newspaper articles, a copious amount of media reports on a few thousand strong demonstration in Budapest, a long (and growing) queue of politicians, including Christian Democrat ones!, condemn Hungary because of the attack on… whatever. You know the drill.

According to this German article, “Hungary says no to science”.   Now let’s have a quick look at that what we should actually say “no” to.  I found a list of some theses which were submitted (and accepted!) at CEU last year.  All of them are written in English and they can be read in full at the provided links.  Please decide for yourself if they are scientific works or if you agree with me that they are left-liberal political pamphlets.

1. Dispossession and futurelessness : at the confluence of marxism and queer theory 

The thesis compares the work of  Lee Edelman, the eminent figure of queer theory with the work of Hungarian Communist philosopher György Lukács.

2. Playing with identity : a study on the Budapest BDSM community

The thesis analyses the narratives of Sado-Masochists, with special regard to the role of games.

3. Blasphemy as tool for institutional critique

Through a number of cases, the thesis presents how blasphemy plays a role in post-Soviet art.

4. In the name of the mother : media discourse, nationalist ideology and the politics of reproduction in post-socialist Macedonia

This thesis reveals how media spreads nationalist ideology in Macedonia with the help of traditional sex roles and “the typification of the female body”.

5. Polish exceptionalism : hate speech laws between supra-national standards and national politics

This thesis examines why Polish  hate speech laws are substandard to international ones and why Polish criminal law does not provide protection for victims of hate speech motivated by bias on grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.

6. Becoming and being : the experiences of young feminist men in Iceland

This thesis reviews life experiences of young Icelandic feminist males.

7. Qu(e)’erying the Qur’an : how non-heterosexual Muslims in London articulate sexual citizenship narratives

“This thesis aims to situate the phenomenon of “homonationalism” into lived experience in order to lay bare the contextual specificities of queer Muslim subjectivites in London, UK and to examine the local refigurations of power that informants enact therein. Through fieldwork at an inclusive Mosque in London, and interviews with queeridentifying Muslims, this ethnographic approach is dedicated to analyzing how those considered inauthentic in homonationalist imaginaries, and who are often elided in critical discourses of homonationalism itself, articulate narratives of sexual citizenship that challenge the regulatory codes of a universalizing script of homonormative sexuality, and how they make these pleas for belonging through a parallel reconstitution of Muslim normativities. ”

8. Migration in the Mediterranean : the smuggler as scapegoat

According to the thesis, even though illegal migration has been going on for decades,  human traffickers have been made scapegoats recently.

9. Constructing identity through the Hungarian “migration” discourse

The abstract is  gibberish  like “On the other hand, the feeling of instability aided the ontological insecuritization process, which was utilized to establish a situation where everyday routines were not working and the ontological insecuritization became possible”, but I guess the thesis argues that Orbán’s government uses the threat of the illegal migrants to Hungary to strengthen racism and xenophobia among Hungarians.

10. Anti-liberalism and antisemitism in dualist Hungary

The thesis presents anti-liberalism and anti-Semitism through the case of Kárpátalja (Transcarpathia) .

11. Hope of failure : subverting disgust, shame and the abject in feminist performances with menstrual blood

Er… check out the link if you really do want to know more details about this particular piece of progressive train of thought.


Darth Soros

I think the list speaks volumes indeed. Metaphorically speaking, Soros’ university in Budapest should be razed to the ground and sowed with salt.  Mr. Orbán, please do so!



This is the first part of a five part post dealing with Czech republic: sections on Poland, Slovakia and very briefly on Hungary (see next paragraph) follow and then a short round-up and some personal notes. Also, let me just point out that this post is very much related to Leto’s August issue on Hungary’s Parliament which I did not see until well into my post. I will deal with Hungary in a few lines as Leto has done a far more competent job than I, but I suggest you read the all the posts together. In many ways my posts could have been a massive comment to Leto’s offering rather than a new post.

Czech Republic

Let’s look at other nations in Central Europe – Mittel-Europa if you will – in alphabetical order. Often forgotten is the velvet divorce of 1993 when Czechoslovakia split, totally amicably into 2 sovereign nations. This has had the following legacy. First two sovereign nations that are smaller and therefore more inclined to underline their sovereignty, over and above the natural tendency of those other nations gnawed out of existence by the Hapsburg, Russian (or Soviet) and Prusso-Germanic empires to reassert their identity, national sovereignty and communal validity. The last time they did this was the Dubcek, Svoboda inspired ‘spring’of 1968 when the nations were still the joined Czechoslovakia. Czechs and Slovaks are working more and more together. The languages are similar.

I have a daughter and family in Bratislava and one grandson at Prague uni.. He tells me in some conversations the language difference is like British English to USA English, in other topics more like Portuguese to Italian and very occasionally like French to Rumanian. These two nations compete in a good healthy fashion, yet cooperate and the cooperation is facilitated by the Visegrad alliance. The annual chair changes each July and is currently Poland.  Visegrad provides more information on the cooperation, notably nuclear energy, fiscal reserves, defence and security cohesion, research and development sharing through the IVF.  This regional cooperation works very well and the links to other regions – Nordic (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) and Benelux (Belgium, Nederland, Luxembourg) is reaping more benefit than individual interactions with Brussels, according to many sources in the V4 and all without the sovereignty drain or regulation encumbrance. There are also many who view the Czech and Slovak economies (except the somewhat trailing eastern Slovak Kosice and Presov region) as being a more advanced market economy with a competitive manufacturing and engineering services base than either Poland or Hungary. These views have rapidly modified and improved over the years as most ‘think-tanks’ of the 1990-2005 period reckoned on at least a twenty year hiatus to complete moves to a market economy and genuine popular democracy. It has been shown to be otherwise. In the current political aura of friction and for historic reasons mentioned above Czech republic has asked the democracy question and demanded discussion on the deficit and accountability of the EU regularly since 2009. President Klaus who asked the questions first now runs the Klaus Institute which has become a focal point for groups who believe the EU to be dysfunctional and/or anti-democratic –  but this could never be considered a very extreme or angry group, although Verhofstadt calls them fascists.

Here is Vaclav Klaus asking reasonable questions of EU Parliament:

Listen to the derision from the bigots in the Parliament and here is his only defence from the Parliament floor:

How is the Czech Republic governed?  Well, as in most of Europe and even in the UK now since 2010 a coalition, often but not always multi-party, is the norm. This often means quite weak government perpetually hinging policy on party compromise. The Czech system has a Senate of popularly elected 81 seats, very much modelled on the US with 6 year terms and 1/3 for re-election every 2 years. The senate is not popular, election turnout is almost derisory and there is talk of doing away with it, or at least reducing it to 3 members for each of 14 provinces – 42 members. It is after all very largely an amendment chamber and only has the right to initiate legislation that is directly related to the constitution. The deputies chamber consists of 200 seats, and a term of 4 years. Since the 2013 scandals power is now a coalition between the CSSD – a social democrat party with 50 seats, a completely new and fairly populist party, but centrist called ANO11 with 47 seats and a nationalist party – KDU-SL with 14 seats, thus a small majority of 111. CSSD leader, a fairly anodyne pro-EU guy called Sobotka, is the PM but his party is outnumbered in the coalition and the Czech president Zeman who has dissolution powers is moving more and more into the ANO11 posture. So CSSD under some populist pressure. Czech issues and accords with the EU Accords a) There is one abiding EU accord and that is agreement, especially from Sobotka on the formation of an EU army. He sees on conflict with NATO and is probably supporting the EU army, without UK not a very strong force, as an encouragement to NATO to increase anti-Russia vigilance and security. No EU army can be effective for a decade.


  •  The lack of democracy, accountability and the usual checks and balances between the legislative, executive and judiciary. Appointment and anointment must stop. Czech republic suggested a Senate for the EU with popularly elected equal representation by member with the mandate of safeguarding states’ rights and providing legislative oversight. The model was the US Senate which in turn had been adopted by Czech republic. ‘Not needed’, Senate or any other mechanism was the EU’s obdurate dogmatic reply.
  • Perpetual hassling to join the Euro. The EU wants Czech republic to sacrifice the Koruna, about 28 to the euro. The EU also tried to manoeuvre V3 (Slovakia is in the eurozone) into the 5 year rule. This was a new rule of 2010 that said members must move to the Euro unless treaty-exempted within 5 years of joining. The case went to ECJ and V3 won. Next the lever being used was how well neighbour Slovakia had done but Slovakia is now in gentle, but accelerating retraction, so that argument has fallen away. The latest much more subtle and nasty lever is reducing EU funding. There are several interconnected aspects to this reduction. First all the tendering and contract procedures have been prolonged, especially on hanging projects where delays render structures and implementations from previous tasks useless and only their redoing at local cost permits the project to continue. Second the EU will now only subsidize jointly funded projects. Every euro must be met with at least one Koruna, sometimes the ratio is 1 Euro to 2 Koruna and of course the EU sets the exchange rate. Some of these necessary projects where delay costs massively are in a 1:3 euro to Koruna ratio and the Koruna is 40, not 28 to the euro. This is nothing more than gouging.  More on the funding lever. To give an idea of the projects the EU originally agreed to, but now sabotage for their own imperial will. I suppose in Prague they speak of EU defenestration. The situation would be far worse if direct funding from the Norway and Switzerland special EU deal was not there. Czech use these funds to avert infra-structure disaster –  One major incident is the Prague ring road completion of which leaving unprotected, no fund to pour concrete over metal enfilades before winter. The other is the deliberate delay on the main import/export goods route from Prague to Breslau – Wroclaw in Poland.
  • Migration quotas. Now here there is a clear resistance to the imposition of a quota as a result of a non-existent EU policy of discouragement, border control, registration and standard asylum processes. Czech republic has very strongly critical views of EU migration policy failure. Criticism is responded to with more and more aggression from Brussels.

Few facts on Czech republic: Population of 11 million people, 88% declare no religion: 10% Catholicism. High income economy – 67% of EU average. Energy exporter and a high quality techno-manufacturing economy with a very strong private sector.

The Legacy of Totalitarianism Today

The View East

Last week I spent a few days in Prague, where I was attending an International Conference ‘The Legacy of Totalitarianism Today’ (Dědictví Totality Dnes). The conference was organised by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience in association with several of their partner organisations, and hosted by the Senate of the Czech Parliament. In addition to two full days of conference presentations and discussion, two linked film showings were offered at European House (Evropský dům): Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn (2007) and a special screening of The Soviet Story (2008) followed by a great Q and A session with Director Edvīns Šnore. You can read more about The Soviet Story (and order copies!) at the official website here.

It's always nice to have a reason to visit beautiful Prague! Photo ©‎ Kelly Hignett. It’s always nice to have a reason to visit beautiful Prague! Photo ©‎ Kelly Hignett.

A particular highlight for me was the invitation to attend the presentation of the…

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Orbán and Horthy

Orban is a rare political leader in Europe. He is quite popular, but he is in a balancing act. To his left are the Europeanists, who see all his actions as a repudiation of liberal democracy. On the right is a fascist party that won 20 percent in the last election. Between these two forces, Hungary could tear itself apart. It is in precisely this situation that Weimar Germany failed. Caught between left and right, the center was too weak to hold. Orban is trying to do what Horthy did: strengthen his power over the state and the state’s power over society. He is attacked from the left for violating the principles of liberal democracy and Europe. He is attacked from the right for remaining a tool of the European Union and the Jews. The left believes he is secretly of the right and his protestations are simply a cover. The right believes he is secretly a Europeanist and that his protestations are simply a cover.

Now we add to this the fact that Hungary must make decisions concerning Ukraine. Orban knows that Hungary is not in a position to make decisions by itself. He has therefore made a range of statements, including condemning Russia, opposing sanctions and proposing that the Ukrainian region directly east of Hungary, and once Hungarian, be granted more autonomy. In the end, these statements are unimportant. They do not affect the international system but allow him to balance a bit.

Orban knows what Horthy did as well. Hungary, going up against both Germany and Russia, needs to be very subtle. Hungary is already facing Germany’s policy toward liberal integration within the European Union, which fundamentally contradicts Hungary’s concept of an independent state economy. Hungary is already facing Germany’s policies that undermine Hungary’s economic and social well-being. Orban’s strategy is to create an economy with maximum distance from Europe without breaking with it, and one in which the state exerts its power. This is not what the Germans want to see.

Now, Hungary is also facing a Germany that is not in a position to support Hungary against Russia. He is potentially facing a Russia that will return to Hungary’s eastern border. He is also faced with a growing domestic right wing and a declining but vocal left. It is much like Horthy’s problem. Domestically, he has strong support and powerful institutions. He can exercise power domestically. But Hungary has only 9 million people, and external forces can easily overwhelm it. His room for maneuvering is limited.

I think Orban anticipated this as he saw the European Union flounder earlier in the decade. He saw the fragmentation and the rise of bitterness on all sides. He constructed a regime that appalled the left, which thought that without Orban, it would all return to the way it was before, rather than realizing that it might open the door to the further right. He constructed a regime that would limit the right’s sense of exclusion without giving it real power.

Russia’s re-emergence followed from this. Here, Orban has no neat solution. Even if Hungary were to join a Polish-Romanian alliance, he would have no confidence that this could block Russian power. For that to happen, a major power must lend its support. With Germany out of the game, that leaves the United States. But if the United States enters the fray, it will not happen soon, and it will be even later before its role is decisive. Therefore he must be flexible. And the more international flexibility he must show, the more internal pressures there will be.

For Horthy, the international pressure finally overwhelmed him, and the German occupation led to a catastrophe that unleashed the right, devastated the Jews and led to a Russian invasion and occupation that lasted half a century. But how many lives did Horthy save by collaborating with Germany? He bought time, if nothing else.

Hungarian history is marked by heroic disasters. The liberal revolutions that failed across Europe in 1848 and failed in Hungary in 1956 were glorious and pointless. Horthy was unwilling to make pointless gestures. The international situation at the moment is far from defined, and the threat to Hungary is unclear, but Orban clearly has no desire to make heroic gestures. Internally he is increasing his power constantly, and that gives him freedom to act internationally. But the one thing he will not grant is clarity. Clarity ties you down, and Hungary has learned to keep its options open.

Orban isn’t Horthy by any means, but their situations are similar. Hungary is a country of enormous cultivation and fury. It is surrounded by disappointments that can become dangers. Europe is not what it promised it would be. Russia is not what Europeans expected it to be. Within and without the country, the best Orban can do is balance, and those who balance survive but are frequently reviled. What Hungary could be in 2005 is not the Hungary it can be today. Any Hungarian leader who wished to avoid disaster would have to face this. Indeed, Europeans across the continent are facing the fact that the world they expected to live in is gone and what has replaced it, inside and outside of their countries, is different and dangerous.

by George Friedman, the Chairman of Stratfor.  The full article can be read here.


I don’t agree with everything Friedman writes but certainly it’s a very interesting analysis on Hungary’s situation.

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Surprise at surprise

“Hungary delivers economic surprise on the positive side” is becoming a unsurprising headline. The Central Statistical Office (KSH) has revealed today that Hungary’s economy grew by 3.5 percents  in January-March on a year-to-year basis:


Hungary’s GDP

So everybody is very surprised yet again…

The analysts’ expectations two days ago

…  just like everybody was surprised at the -0.1% inflation rate announced a few days ago (0.3% was “the consensus of the market”).


To put this in context, here are the latest data for the CEE countries:


GDP growth in some Central and Eastern European EU-member countries



Besides Hungary’s T-bond yields also plummeted  today:   For example, the average 10-year bond yield dropped  by 56 bps to 4.79%, with a big (4.4) bid-to-cover ration,  from 5.35%  two weeks ago. That’s a new historic low in Hungary!   Practically this means the financial market price Hungary’s bonds in the “investment grade” category  but the credit rating agencies don’t bother: they keep rating Hungary in the “junk” category.


Update: today’s data is that the construction industry output grew by 34.2% on a yearly basis!

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Flashmob in the centre of Budapest

by dance house folks.

Watch the homeless guy dancing! 🙂

Europe is not entirely sick.

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Veto avoided

Hungary wouldn’t have signed the political part of Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU if  Ukraine had scrapped its language law indeed which allows the national minorities to use their mother tongue

said PM Orbán today on a press conference held about the EU summit on Ukraine held in Brussels yesterday and today.

He also said that “suspending Russia’s contract for the upgrade of Hungary’s nuclear power station in Paks has not  been mentioned at the summit  and it’s not going to be mentioned at all.”

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Orthodox vs. unorthodox, Part Two

Earlier I compared EU/IMF  bad boy Hungary’s economic performance since 2010 to  EU/IMF good boy Portugal.   Now I’m doing the very same comparison between  EU/IMF bad boy Hungary and   EU/IMF good boy Rumania.  Like I tried to point it out then, the previous comparison had its limitations and it wasn’t absolutely conclusive (yet).  This one isn’t going to be “perfect” either.

The population of Rumania  is  about twice that of Hungary’s (20 millions vs. 10 millions) and its present day area is twice as big, too (238,000 square km vs. 93,000 square km).  They are neighbouring countries and both are peripheral to the core economies of Europe.  Neither country belongs to the  Euro zone. Hungary’s currency is called the Hungarian Forint and Rumania’s currency is called the Rumanian Lei.    Rumania belongs to Eastern Europe culturally (though Transylvania may be considered Central Europe due to its history), that is Rumania is the cultural realm of Orthodox (Byzantine) Christianity. Hungary belongs to Central Europe culturally, that is Hungary’s culture is based on Western Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant!)  Rumania’s GDP per capita was  6200 EUR (8500 USD) in 2012 and Hungary’s was  9800 EUR (13400 USD).    Here are a lot more data to compare.

Both countries had Communist dictatorships until 1990. Though Hungary’s was a lot more lax  one than the totalitarian dictatorship Rumania had.  Hungary’s transition to democracy was a negotiated, peaceful one, while Rumania’s dictatorship ended with bloodshed, a revolution which was sparked by the courage of an ethnic Transylvanian Hungarian Protestant priest, László Tőkés.  So there are a lot of similarities and differences between the two countries.

Another difference is that Rumania, just like Portugal did, as I wrote in the first part, chose to follow the EU/IMF economic recipes in 2010 and Hungary chose to rebel against them.

So let’s see the same data  again, let’s see  how those economic figures, and  with special regard to  the ones important for people’s everyday life, have changed in good boy Rumania and in bad boy Hungary since 2010.    First let’s review some basic major figures which are somewhat indicative of how these economies were doing in 2010 and how they are doing now:

Annual GDP growth

Kudos to Rumania, their GDP growth is more robust than Hungary’s

What about the public debt to GDP ratio?

Government debt

Hungary’s public debt seems to have become stagnant, Rumania’s seem to be on the rise. However Rumania’s debt is way much lower than Hungary’s!

A positive trade balance means you sell more than  you buy.  A negative one, like the US has with China, means you get indebted.

Balance of trade

Unlike Hungary which has been having record high trade balance surpluses, Rumania runs a big trade balance deficit.

Now let’s see those figure again which directly affect people’s lives.    As far the the inflation rate figures go, I think it’s all right to call it a draw.

 Inflation rate

Unemployment rate is something which really affects people. Unemployment at a young age and long term unemployment are especially devastating. The situation in both  countries seems to be similar to me.  Well, it’s not particularly good.

Youth unemployment rate

Long term unemployment seems to get somewhat worse in Rumania and it seems to have improved somewhat in Hungary.

Long term unemployment rateThe overall unemployment rate seems to be comparable, and stagnant, in both countries.

Unemployment rate

And what about the wages and the income tax which also directly affect people? The wages are rising in both countries.


The dynamics of the wage change looks pretty much the same to me.

Rumania introduced a flat rate 16% personal income tax much earlier than Hungary. So now this is the same in both countries.

Personal income tax rate

Let’s see the construction output as in the previous post:

Construction output

This looks to be the same, too.

Unfortunately tradingeconomics.com doesn’t have data on the foreign direct investments in Rumania.

The corporate tax rates are identical in both countries:

Corporate tax rate

The comparison with Rumania seems to produce a lot less clear picture than the comparison with Portugal. Rumania is doing better in some respect and Hungary does in some other.  I think it’ll be well worth doing some more comparison, probably also along some other lines, in a year or so.

EU is soft copy of Soviet Union

This blog entry is a translation of a radio interview, broadcast in Lánchíd Rádió,  with an extraordinary anti-Communist Russian man, Vladimir Bukovsky.  He was a leading member of the anti-Soviet dissident movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s,  he is a writer, a neurophysiologist and a political activist who spent twelve years in Soviet prisons, forced labour camps and forced-treatment psychiatric hospitals used by the Soviet dictatorship  as special prisons.  Eventually he was exchanged for a Chilean Communist in 1976 and now he lives in the UK.  Please read up on him on Wikipedia. So here goes the interview:

Vladimir Bukovsky

Q: You’ve been awarded the Petőfi Prize for your struggle for the freedom of Central European peoples. Do you think this freedom has been realized, two decades after the fall of the Soviet empire?

A:  This depends on which European country you mean because the situation differs in each. Some countries are free, some are less so.  Of course, Russia and Belarus are in the worst situation.  These haven’t changed much. Actually they’ve gone backwards, they are trying to restore the Soviet regime. The Baltic states are better examples [for achieving freedom] and the situation varies greatly in Eastern Europe, too.  Poland is very different and Bulgaria, too.  Unfortunately the Soviet regime should have been ended much more decidedly and it should have been condemned more. Things have slowed down. The old nomenklatura has survived and it still has a big influence. They are still in control  to some extent.  This hinders restoring things which works with differing efficiency in various countries anyway.  It’s a tragedy common to all countries that making Communists accountable [for their sins] hasn’t succeeded properly.

Q:  So do you think there should be a procedure for that like the Nuremberg trials for the Nazi?

A: Yes, that’s what we would have neededThis has become much more troublesome by now. It could have been done perfectly well in 1991 or 1992 and then the old nomenklatura could not have returned. However this didn’t happen, things have slowed down, then the Communists returned to power, they slowed things down even though these countries would have needed quick refurbishing. This is why it is very tragic and very bad what happened and how.

Q: You likened the European Union to the Soviet Union in an earlier speech. Do you think Brussels is similar to Moscow?

A: It’s a copy, a soft copy of the Soviet regime.  They don’t have Gulags yet but the structures are very similar. And their philosophies are similar, too: neither is democratic, both is controlled from the above and the leadership is not elected. We [citizens] don’t elect the European Commission. We do elect the members of the European Parliament but this has much less power then the management. Each MEP has 6 minutes to speak a year. This is ridiculous, they’ve got no power.  So both unions are undemocratic, governed from the above by a non-elected body, the nomenklatura, which cannot be sacked. They are expensive to keep and they spend an awfully lot of money on themselves, thriftlessly and absolutely nonsensically. This “crazy bureaucracy” comes up with things which have nothing to do with reality. Several policies are ridiculous.  For example, a few years ago the European Commission banned hunting horses and zebras for food… but where in hell are there zebras in Europe? So why cannot you hunt them? Do they think of a continent packed with zebras or what? This is similar madness as if it was an idea of the Soviet bureaucracy.

Q: However today, in the 21st century European Union, there are no labour camps for those who think differently from the mainstream. There are no mass murders, there is no forced psychiatric treatment like the one you were subjected to in the Soviet Union in the 1970’s.

A: Not yet.  Yes, like I said, this is a soft version of the Soviet Union. But they are working on it. You’ve got Europol, for example, which is tasked to police people in 32 crime categories. Out of these two, racism and xenophobia, aren’t crimes in any of the member states.  So Europol can arrest one for being racist and xenophobic while there’s no legal definition for these. If you are labelled “racist” then you may go to prison and this is bound to happen. Are they going to utilize psychiatry?  It’s very likely. I doubt they’d ever build a Gulag. There isn’t enough room for that, where could they do that in Europe?  Even the Scottish Shetland Islands aren’t big enough for this. So I think abuse with psychiatry will be more likely. There exists already “counselling”  that, if you are deemed not to be tolerant enough with other races or other sexual orientations, you are sent to. There exists such a thing already in Great Britain and you, Hungarians are going to have such a thing, too. If there is something in an EU country then there’s going to be such a thing in the rest, too. Then there are “culturally sensitive therapists”.  If you are not sensitive enough to certain minority issues then you are sent to a therapist who awakens your sensitivity.  What do you say about that?

Q:  You have mentioned the Europol which you consider as a good example for the standardization concepts of the EU. You  had the opportunity to see KGB documents where it was revealed how the Soviet Union influenced Western politics, both ideologically and materially.  That empire has ceased to exist. Do you think there would be something or some persons in the background now, too, driving these standardization efforts?

A:  Standardization belongs to the very essence of the European Union.  It was conceptualized that things must be made uniform before the EU was born.  That’s evident. This was not KGB influence, that was an own policy [of the EU]. But the Russian influence is very strong today, through economic ties, especially through the oil and gas supply.  They use this as a political weapon, as blackmail. Then you’ve got the expanding Russian business presence in the West. That’s also quite strong. Most Russian businesses are controlled by the KGB.  So if such “private sector businesses” get into a country then that means KGB got there, too.   Then they start working to accumulate [political] influence.  Their influence is very strong these days, much stronger than anyone would have expected after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s not ideological influence anymore.  There used to be such things as “left wing, Socialist  ideas” and so on. That’s gone. Today’s Russia is not controlled ideologically. It’s devilishly corrupt. This corrupt business-making keeps spreading, that’s the worst part.

Q: When you talk about ideological dictatorship in the EU, do you mean that leftist thinking has penetrated the European conservative parties, too?

A: Yes, the conservative parties have to accept this. Once you started aligning yourself to the [European] Union, you have to do as the EU says. Let’s think of the latest controversial decision [in the UK] concerning the marriage of homosexuals. This is now allowed  in the UK [ed: in fact only in England and Wales], Cameron introduced it, a conservative politician, who pushed it through the Parliament.  He is conservative but the initiative is typically  a leftist one. And why? Because he wants to suit the EU. Conservative or not, you must do what the EU wants.

Q:  The [second] Orbán government started working three years ago. There has been an awfully lot of criticisms about their political and economic policies. Does this signal the Hungarian government goes against the mainstream thinking?

A:  I think criticizing a government is normal in a democracy. There’s nothing wrong with that if people are dissatisfied then they criticize. That’s how democracy works. But in the case of Hungary, and especially in the case of Viktor Orbán, there is international pressure.  It’s not the Hungarians who criticize him for certain things but international organizations, institutions express their annoyance at him because he behaves uncontrollably, he seems to be uncontrollable. I know this very well since I’ve been accused  of being uncontrollable in all my life.  I always wanted to be that. If they don’t like this, that’s their problem. So I think there is an undeniable international campaign against Viktor Orbán.  That’s been like that ever since he took office. They  are looking for topics where they can arm-twist him and they’ve just started it again, I think. I’m not particularly surprised. He doesn’t have an easy job.

Q:  You mentioned concerning the [European] Union that its fall is approaching. But I’d like to have a more optimistic end to this conversation: what do you think needs to be done in order to change the European situation and to achieve freedom?

A:  I think the first step is to break up the European Union because the EU is the very cause of the lack of freedom and oppression. It has to be dismantled. We must return to the Common Market [also known as European Economic Community]. The EEC worked well, there was nothing wrong with it. It all went downhill when they decided they’d create a state in place of the market.  The best thing would be if we could turn back to 1985, the times of the Common Market.  To build a unified state, that’s just craziness. It’s a real Soviet project. It sounds exactly like the Soviet Union.

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