Dossier: Focus on Hungary

Dossier: Focus on Hungary

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In the beginning of April, the Hungarian President János Áder signed into force certain amendments to the Higher Education Act which in their particular formulation are obviously directed against the renowned Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest. We discussed with President Michael Ignatieff the implications of the new legislation on the university and its future prospects.

About: The Heinrich Böll Foundation has been compiling a dossier containing articles on the situation in Hungary since the right-wing government came to power in April 2010. The dossier is understood as forum for critical voices from Hungary. Their contributions reflect the socio-political changes in Hungary referring to current trends as well as long-term developments. (Teaser-Foto: Gabriella Csoszo)

Zsófia Deák, Editor of the dossier (zsofia.deak@cz.boell.org)

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During the 1956 uprising, the coat of arms named after the Stalinist dictator Mátyás Rákosi was cut out of the national flag by revolutionaries - the ground for a workshop arranged by the artists Katharina Roters and József Szolnoki.

Ágnes Heller
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Ágnes Heller is one of the most prominent philosophers of our time. We talked with her about her experiences during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, about the crisis in Europe and its future, and about coping with the past.

Memorial in Budapest
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What purposes does the remembrance of 1956 serve in Hungary today? A commentary about Hungarian politics of memory.

Demonstration in Budapest, 1956
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In October 1956, Hungarian citizens staged a popular uprising to protest against the repressive policies of the Communist Party and against the country’s occupation by the Soviet Army. On 11 November 1956, Soviet forces quashed the last pockets of armed resistance in the capital city.

Newest Publication

The study analyses the Hungarian Government’s rhetoric and policy measures with regard to refugee, asylum and migration issues and  shows how democratic opposition parties, the far-right, and civil society actors have responded to the Government’s anti-refugee policies.

Videos: 1956 - The Hungarian Uprising

The official commemorations
The official commemorations of the 1956 uprising provide a window onto the state rituals and the symbolic politics of the right-wing government. Cultural anthropologist Gergely Pulay gives a commentary on the events that took place on 22-23 October, 2016 in Budapest.

Lessons for today
What is the relevance of 1956 for younger generations? We asked a slammer, a historian and university students to share their views.

The forgotten narrative
Why was 1956 more than just a freedom struggle against Soviet occupation? Historian Márkus Keller and '56er' András Bíró explain the role of Workers' Councils and forgotten dimensions of the revolution.

1956 from a feminist perspective
Women rarely appear as agents in their own right in official and lay narratives. We asked feminist scholar Andrea Pető to highlight women's role and motivations for taking part in the uprising.

Further articles on Hungary

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Two years ago, the Hungarian government began to criminalise asylum seekers and migrants with clear political motivations. Within a few months, their initial verbal aggression and hate campaign targeting refugees had developed into actual legislative amendments which violated refugees’ rights.

A blue badge saying "#I stand with CEU"
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The attack on CEU is one in a series of attempts to eliminate the so-called enemies of illiberal democracy. The government has manufactured a fear-inducing narrative by inventing an imaginary enemy threatening the people of Hungary.

Orbán's weekend-home
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It is becoming increasingly difficult to access public interest data in Hungary. Not only does Mayor Lőrinc Mészáros fund Hungary’s propaganda machinery, he is also believed to manage the secret wealth of the Orbán family.

Demonstration for Freedom of Education
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Europe seems to face a more immediate threat than Le Pen. It comes from a central European country whose governing party belongs to the most mainstream European party, the European People’s Party, Hungary.

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A new opposition party established in Hungary: Momentum Movement, a youth party formed by mostly 25-to-35-year-old university graduates. Is it merely a moment or the inception of a long-lasting political force in Hungary?

Further Publications

The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the launch of a hybrid war against Ukraine was Russia’s answer to the revolution triggered by Euromaidan. In order to explain the differing reactions of individual Visegrad countries, the offices of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Prague and Warsaw asked their partner organisations to systematically analyse how these countries have dealt with the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung has commissioned the second volume of a study to examine the political choices of the Hungarian youth. The scope of this study has been extended to include the political involvement and attitudes of that part of the Hungarian youth who already are emigrating or are planning to soon move abroad.

Agents of Change

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The programme "Europe for Citizens" aims to make the European Union, its institutions, committees, workings, and representatives, more visible and comprehensible to Europe's citizens.

Further articles

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Academics in the field of gender studies do not normally experience a high level of public interest in their work, yet in recent months things have taken a turn in Hungary.

April 2017, protests against the closure of the Central European University in Budapest
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If Hungarian President János Áder signs the law, it will most probably have serious consequences for Hungary’s diplomatic relations. No less importantly, it will mark the beginning of the end of an independent academic sector in the country.

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Thousands of people are protesting against the close down of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. It is a political battle about “foreign influences” and pro or anti EU, US or Russia sentiments.

I stand with CEU
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The Hungarian government trys to shut down the renowned Central European University. This is an attack on academic freedom in Europe.

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Balázs Tóth is head of the Law Enforcement Program at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a public benefit human rights organisation that provides legal help to refugees, detainees and victims of law enforcement violence. Kristóf Szombati met with Balázs, who has been working for the organisation since 2004, to discuss the challenges faced by civil society organisations in Hungary.

Green MEP Benedek Jávor

During his visit to Prague in November 2016, Hungarian Green MEP Benedek Jávor gave an interview to EurActiv.cz on the latest development around the controversial project of Hungarian nuclear power plant Paks II.

A group of protester with a banner Greenpeace in Hungary
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An underreported aspect of Viktor Orbán’s rule is the harm Fidesz is doing to the environment. Due to urban development projects all over Budapest, thousands of healthy trees are in danger of being cut down.

 2016 Hungarian Referendum. Posters of the government in Zichyújfalu, Hungary
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What comes after the failed referendum in Hungary? Political scientist Bulcsú Hunyadi about Orbáns objectives and about Hungarians who are tired of the migration topic.

Last edition of the Népszabadság
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Hungary’s largest left-wing political daily, Népszabadság, has shut down unexpectedly, and it is more than likely that this development is linked to the governing Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Independent journalists are not giving up, however, despite the ruling party’s tightening grip on the media.

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán
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Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán and his ruling party Fidesz failed with their referendum to obstruct the EU’s effort to impose an obligatory quota scheme for the resettlement of refugees. However, they could benefit from this defeat in domestic policies. A commentary.

Further Publications

cover political orientations

Nearly 25 years have passed since the collapse of communism in Hungary. Has this period allowed for the emergence of a new generation of democrats? Empirical findings from Andrea Szabó.

enthusiastic consumers non committed democrats

Political socialization has been an absolute failure in the new Hungarian democracy. Facts and figures from "Political Capital - Policy Research & Consulting Institute" in co-operation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung.