Recently in the spotlight

Orlai Produció's adaption of Amadeus. Photo: Bea Gergely.

Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus opens in Budapest – An HFP photo report

Bea Gergely, a Budapest-based freelance photo reporter, attended Orlai Produkció’s adaptation of Amadeus, a play by British playwright and screenwriter Sir Peter Sheffer. The play offers the audience a fictionalized version of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life. The narrative is told from the perspective of fellow composer Antonio Salieri who — as a devout Catholic and as someone who is highly envious […]

by · August 2, 2014 · Culture
Viktor Orbán. Photo: Facebook.

Orbán adopts Putinism: The West finally wakes up

Never in over four years of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s  rise to power with a supermajority have major western journals and commentators sounded the alarm bells quite so loud. In just the last 24 hours, two major outlets have written about the demise of parliamentary democracy in Hungary, in a manner that has never before been seen, not even when […]

by · August 1, 2014 · Politics
Aida at the Margaret Island Open Air Theatre: Pre-opening night photos by Bea Gergely.

The Hungarian State Opera’s production of Aida: An exclusive behind-the-scenes look

Freelance photographer Bea Gergely had the chance to peak behind the scenes, as the Hungarian State Opera prepares for a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida at the Budapest Summer Festival. The opera will be hosted at the Margaret Island Open Air Theatre (Margitszigeti Szabadtéri Színház). Ms. Gergely shared her exclusive photos with the Hungarian Free Press, giving opera aficionados an insider’s glimpse […]

by · August 1, 2014 · Culture
Miklós Szeszták

Civil servants axed at Hungarian Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Development

After terminating or “re-assigning” some 200 career diplomats, who were  not perceived as staunchly loyal to the Orbán government, Fidesz has axed 190 civil servants at Hungary’s Ministry of National Development (NFM). In June alone, NFM “lost” 179 employees. An additional 14 mid-career civil servants were removed in July. Despite the fact that after winning the April 6th elections and […]

by · July 31, 2014 · Politics
Yellow stars in Budapest remind Hungarians of the Holocaust and the houses where Jews were forced to live after June 1944.

Behind Hungary’s ‘Potemkin Village’ antisemitism flourishes

Seventy years after the murder of 600,000 Hungarian Jews, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government appointed an ambassador to Italy who declared that Jews were “agents of Satan” and has erected a monument in Budapest with the aim of denying Hungary’s role in the Shoah. It is a surreal turn of events for a government that sought to use the Holocaust […]

by · July 30, 2014 · Focus
Gellért Rajcsányi, a blogger with the pro-Fidesz Mandiner site.

Eastward gaze: Pro-Fidesz Mandiner blog notes that Tusnádfürdő offers nothing new

The pro-government (although essentially neoconservative and occasionally libertarian) Mandiner blog published an opinion piece, noting that Viktor Orbán’s infamous statements in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad represent nothing new in how the prime minister views East vs. West, certainly nothing novel in his nationalist and irredentist rhetoric or in his serial vilification of liberals, leftists and the “1968 generation.”  I should note that […]

by · July 30, 2014 · Politics
Zoltán Lovas

Electoral boycott? Prominent Hungarian journalist sees Tusnádfürdő speech as watershed

Zoltán Lovas, a prominent Hungarian journalist and activist whose name is certainly not unfamiliar to those who have followed the on-going Freedom Square protests, published a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon, in which he called for a boycott of the municipal elections scheduled for October 12th, 2014. Mr. Lovas believes that since Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s infamous speech in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad, […]

by · July 29, 2014 · Politics
Budapest's Living Memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam

Captive of the Past? A Pro-Government Historian’s Defense of the Indefensible

Mária Schmidt, a prominent Hungarian pro-government academic, wrote that “the historian cannot project the ideological schemes of his age on the past and cannot observe the past’s narratives with today’s sensibilities.” Ms. Schmidt took issue with the much-maligned “left-liberal intellectuals” who she believes are trying to insert a type of “intellectual terror” into any discussion of twentieth century Hungarian history […]

by · July 29, 2014 · Focus
Miklós Gáspár Tamás

Gáspár Miklós Tamás on Orbán’s brave new illiberal world

Gáspár Miklós Tamás, a prominent Hungarian political philosopher summarized on ATV’s Straight Talk (Egyenes Beszéd) program what key ideas form the pillars of the new regime that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced in his speech at Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad, Romania, when Mr. Orbán spoke with great enthusiasm about the final demise of liberal democracy in Hungary. The government seeks to build […]

by · July 29, 2014 · Politics
Viktor Orbán in Tusnádfürdő, Romania.

Orbán envisions authoritarian state and unchecked powers

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor is seeking to build a political system that would ensure that he has unchecked powers, according to László Majtényi, the country’s former ombudsman and privacy commissioner. Mr. Majtényi noted that Mr. Orbán’s speach in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Romania, made it official that Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister no longer sees the regime change of 1989/90 and the […]

by · July 28, 2014 · Politics