Recently in the spotlight

A flashback to 1990: A Russian customer at the first McDonald's in Moscow gives a thumbs up, standing alongside George Cohon, the chairman of McDonald's Canada. Photo: Rudi Blaha/Associated Press.

A great idea from Moscow: Russia to open state-funded fast food chain

Someone quickly phone Andy Vajna, aspiring Hungarian oligarch and pro-regime filmmaker. There’s a great idea coming out of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and it is sure to resonate in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Hungary as well. The Russian government has confirmed that it is pumping $13 million (or 680 million rubles) into launching a national and patriotic fast […]

by · April 12, 2015 · East
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, in Kazan, Tatarstan. Photo: Hungary's MFA.

Hungary’s foreign minister gets gushing reception in Tatarstan

The fact that Hungary’s pro-Moscow foreign policy has managed to alienate key partners like the United States, Germany and regional allies within the Visegrád Group isn’t much of a success story for Budapest. But at least Hungary’s 36 year old Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, got an admittedly warm reception in Tatarstan this week, where he inaugurated the Hungarian […]

by · April 11, 2015 · East
Musai/Muszáj demonstration in Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca, calling for greater trilingualism. Balloons represent the  colours of the Hungarian and Romanian flags. Photo: Tamás Bethlendi.

Multicultural Romania: Young Hungarians use creative protests to call for trilingual Cluj-Napoca

A group of local Hungarians and liberally-minded Romanian allies in the Transylvanian town of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) are attracting some international attention, thanks to their flash mobs and a creative use of social media that call for the municipality to replace unilingual Romanian road signs with trilingual ones, featuring Romanian, Hungarian and German. The group calls itself Musai-Muszáj (the Romanian/Hungarian word […]

by · April 10, 2015 · Diaspora
Proportion of students in Hungarian public schools, by county, who are of Roma origin. Source: MNO's map, based on data obtained from HVG.

Hungary’s demographic revolution? Roma youth comprise a third of all students in eastern Hungarian counties

Attila Z. Papp, a researcher affiliated with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Minority Studies Institute, presented research findings on significant demographic changes in Hungary that made headlines in the Hungarian media. The conservative Heti Válasz weekly magazine wrote about a “demographic revolution” and how there are now 298 schools in Hungary where Roma students form the majority of the pupil […]

by · April 9, 2015 · Focus
Mária Reményi, Miss America in 1966.

Miss California, Miss USA – via Hungary

Every Tuesday I have my morning coffee with a group of friends. We talk about politics, sports, films and other unimportant things. A couple of weeks ago, one friend mentioned a gorgeous woman he knew in the 1960s when he was a student at the University of California Berkeley. “She was beautiful. Every boy wanted to be in her class […]

by · April 8, 2015 · Diaspora
A rendering of the UK flag, referring to the rapidly growing number of Hungarians living in Britain. Hungarians now number over 300,000 in the British capital and are increasingly forming organized diaspora community associations, often through Facebook. Photo: Londoni Magyarok Közösség Facebook group.

Hungarian emigration almost doubles, as youth leave Hungary in droves

The number of Hungarians deciding to emigrate increased by 46% in 2014, compared to numbers compiled for the previous year by Hungary’s Central Statistical Office (KSH). A total of 31,500 Hungarians left Hungary for a minimum of one year, to find work elsewhere. The KSH notes that the ‘real’ number of emigrants is likely higher than this, as statisticians can […]

by · April 8, 2015 · Diaspora
Alternative Holocaust memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam.

Remembering the dead in Hungary: An example of civic engagement

It’s impossible to detach public history and collective memory from contemporary politics. How a society portrays the past is determined by current realities, contemporary values or interests, as well as the dominant, “preferred” narratives of history. But the government and public institutions don’t have a monopoly over the past ; where civic engagement is strong, grassroots organizations and local activists […]

by · April 6, 2015 · Focus
Sándor Weöres. Photo: Litera.

Sándor Weöres: The Secret Country

Let’s turn away from contemporary Hungarian politics for a moment–especially as HFP’s readers celebrate Easter and Passover–and immerse ourselves in the balmy waters of Southeast Asia, as seen through the eyes of Hungarian poet Sándor Weöres (1913-1989). As far as I could tell, this poem isn’t available anywhere on the Internet, so I am taking the liberty of typing it […]

by · April 4, 2015 · Culture
László Lengyel. Photo: MTI / László Beliczay

Interfering in personal lives of Hungarians will lead to Orbán’s demise

Political scientist László Lengyel gave an excellent interview this weekend to Hungary’s left-centre Népszava daily. The chat, with Népszava’s Tamás Bihari, began with a comparison to Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and to the king of the jungle, Shere Khan. Mr. Lengyel had previously referred to Viktor Orbán as a tiger, and as the merciless king of the jungle. “Between 2010 […]

by · April 4, 2015 · Politics
Mr. Balázs Fürjes (right) Hungarian Government Commissioner, Eugene F. Megyesy, Jr., Hungarian-American lawyer and advisor of Mr. Orbán, Ambassador Szapáry and Senator Menendez (left wearing striped tie) at the Rubik’s exhibition.

Senator Menendez – corruption charges and Hungarian friends

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges. A 61-year-old Democrat, Mr. Menendez was charged with eight counts of bribery, conspiracy, fraud, and making false statements on government documents. He is the first senator to face federal bribery charges since another New Jersey Democrat, Harrison Williams was indicted in 1980, almost a quarter century ago. Menendez has […]

by · April 3, 2015 · Politics