In defense of Hungary

A recent copy of that highbrow epigone of German journalism, Die Zeit, carried a piece called "Hungary is lost."  It is as good an example as any of the hopeless left-wing morass that German media have fallen into recently.

Hungary has been in the news for its opposition to European Union policies, especially over migration, and its efforts to preserve its own unique culture and nationhood, so it's not a popular state within the European Union establishments.

The Zeit piece starts out claiming to be an introduction to the idea that Hungarian democracy is being "systematically destroyed" by "hate, racism and right-wing gangsterism," which have become the "state's rationale."  Curiously, the English translation of the same sentence is rendered with the relatively anodyne "the institutions, the legal system and the social fabric are nothing but a pile of rubble," perhaps indicating that the editors were aware that they were going too far.

There is no evidence of any even-handedness in the body of the long article, full as it is, loaded with barely disguised innuendo, slander, and outright lies about the country.  The lie that no independent press is tolerated is exposed by the author's own admission that opposition media freely exist in Hungary.

What is never mentioned for obvious reasons is that Orbán's Fidesz party has a serious political challenge, not from the left, but from the right-wing Jobbik party, which has polled second in recent elections.  And so, Orbán is declared a "Fuehrer" who rules by "fear, hate and verbal aggression" and engages in "fascistoid hate campaigns" not seen since the 1930s, while the Hungarian people are slandered as the "most hate-filled in the EU."

A particularly slanderous bent is reserved by the anonymous author for the Hungarian economy, which is booming by any objective criterion.  According to Zeit's writer or writers, four million of the 10 million Hungarians live in abject poverty, while the highest level of poverty measured by Eurostat is less than 15%, and thus, the claim is that Hungary is beneath the average for the E.U.  That would be news if it were true, and it's not.

Moreover, the unemployment rate has collapsed under Orbán from 11.94% in 2012 to 3.6% now.  Overall, Hungary has been hugely successful economically, and with an average salary of $1,148/per month today — a vast improvement from the dismal days of communism — it is on its way to prosperity.

Much of the venom of the author, who is identified as a former Central European University (CEU) employee, which means a George Soros hire, is reserved for Orbán's anti-immigration stand and the Hungarians' alleged anti-Semitism.  On the former, the author has little to say except to inform us with a straight face that "refugees are systematically starved to death in distant internment camps."  This would certainly be news to even the most unhinged migrant acolyte and is, as a matter of fact, a bald-faced lie.  As for the Hungarians' supposed anti-Semitism, which we are told on faith afflicts fully 30% of the population, there is no accusation that is more deliberately fraudulent than this.

Soros is, of course, a familiar figure in America recently analyzed perceptively by Stefan Kanfer in the City Journal.  Having made a killing in the market by financial machinations, fair or foul (he was convicted for insider trading by the French), he began investing heavily in his Open Society Foundation in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.  Initially, he funded some worthwhile causes and individuals, but eventually, he settled where he is now as the main financier of hard-left causes.  Those familiar with Soros's ideology are well aware that the long-term goal of the man "who fancied himself as some kind of god" has always been the "eradication of national sovereignty" and "open borders and global governance."  In spending billions to achieve these goals, his main enemies have always been the United States, which he has called "the main obstacle to a stable and just world order" and Israel.  Regarding the latter, Soros has funded all manner of anti-Israeli and barely disguised anti-Semitic causes such as BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) as well as multiple subversive Palestinian causes.  He has also, as a matter of course, funded the who's-who of the left, including Hillary Clinton, Black Lives Matter, pro-immigration groups, and anti-Catholic activists, to mention just a few of them.

So what is it that Die Zeit finds so objectionable in Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to resort to such obvious slander and lies to demonize him?  Perhaps we should let Orbán speak for himself.  He believes that no country should be made to take migrants against its will, which is the current policy of Angela Merkel, Jean-Claude Juncker, and other E.U. leaders.  That's especially since it has become quite clear that many of the Muslim immigrants refuse to accept European norms and integrate. After all, as voting in the recent Turkish referendum showed that 63% of German Turks voted for Islamist dictator Recit Tayyip Erdogan. He has also said that the Hungarians have lived in their part of Europe for a thousand years and would like to stay there another thousand years. What exactly is wrong with that?

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (  He can be reached at