Recently in the spotlight

Fighting in the town of Lysychansk.

Russia, Ukraine and mortar fire: The war in East Ukraine

Open hostilities between the Ukrainian central government and the breakaway eastern province resumed in last week, with the heaviest shelling offensive since the crisis began earlier this year. Russia’s role in this conflict continues to exacerbate the ongoing struggle by providing financing and supplies to the pro-Russian separatist groups based in the Donetsk region. The Ukrainian central government continues its […]

by · November 17, 2014 · East
Samantha Power

A warning about Hungary’s institutionalized anti-Semitism

Samantha Power is one of President Barack Obama’s closest confidants and currently U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Ms. Power, who is 44 years old, was formerly Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, and also a noted writer, she won the Pulitzer […]

by · November 15, 2014 · Antisemitism
Éva Balogh and Kim Lane Scheppele

Two interviews on Hungary worth watching: Éva Balogh and Kim Lane Scheppele

Most of HFP’s readers will be quite familiar with Éva Balogh’s Hungarian Spectrum, an excellent blog with daily updates, providing in-depth exploration and informed opinion of political, social and cultural issues in Hungary. Professor Balogh, who is also a founder of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter, very rarely misses writing her daily post (pretty much only when her electricity goes […]

by · November 15, 2014 · Politics
Levente Magyar waves embassy papers on Thursday. Photo: MTI.

Hungarian foreign policy confusion

There seems to be a distinct sense of confusion in Hungary’s foreign policy, a lack of direction and haphazard action, instead of a clear, coordinated strategy, and one which takes into consideration changing geopolitical realities and interests. On Thursday, the country’s largest daily paper of record – Népszabadság – observed that things may still get much worse in terms of […]

by · November 13, 2014 · Focus
Workfare in Hungary. Photo: MTI.

Hungary’s “workfare” program and the disregard for social justice

The New York Times published a piece on Hungary’s public works (közmunka) programs, noting that this “work-for-welfare” initiative is gaining a real foothold in Hungary. The article by Rick Lymam takes the reader to the northeastern town of Halmaj (population: 1,800) and notes that prior to the introduction of the Orbán government’s compulsory communal works program, unemployment in the village stood at […]

by · November 11, 2014 · Focus
Dávid Janiczak celebrates victory with his supporters. Photo: MTI.

The Wizard of Ózd: Jobbik wins two-thirds in working class town

On Sunday night, something of a political earthquake shook rural Hungary. After Fidesz contested the very tight results of the mayoral election in the working class town of Ózd (population: 36,000), a new vote was held this past weekend. Fidesz pumped all of its energies into winning back this town from the 27 year old Dávid Janiczak, who was Jobbik’s candidate. On the surface, Mr. […]

by · November 10, 2014 · Politics
Milán Rózsa (1988-2014)

A right-wing blogger’s reflections on gay rights activist Milán Rózsa

An entire world separated the two of us. We didn’t agree on pretty much anything. We came from different places and we were each headed in a different direction. Still, I am terribly sorry that he’s gone, and at such a young age. Our paths crossed only once. In March, he came up to me after a debate among bloggers, […]

by · November 9, 2014 · Focus
Hanna Szenes

Remembering Hannah Szenes on the 70th anniversary of her death

Hannah Szenes, who today is considered a national hero in Israel, was born into an assimilated Jewish family in Budapest, on July 17, 1921. Her original given name was Anikó.  The young Anikó’s father, Béla Szenes, was a journalist, playwright and translator. Hanna Szenes attended the Baár-Madas Protestant School. Even then, she had a passion for writing poetry. But the […]

by · November 9, 2014 · Antisemitism
Milán Rózsa (1988-2014)

The death of Milán Rózsa, Hungary’s Harvey Milk

Milán Rózsa was born just a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1988. He had no personal experience fighting for rights and freedoms, something that an earlier generation of young Hungarians had engaged in, during the last years of the Kádár regime. Yet over the past four years, Mr. Rózsa became one of the most prominent and […]

by · November 8, 2014 · Focus
Four men sit round the tax man and blow smoke in his face / C. Wellcome. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

A tale of two countries’ corrupt prime ministers

Just for once, let’s state the obvious: It is very likely that the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, not only knew everything about the US corruption charges — knew who were the accused, knew what they were accused of, knew what they actually did, and knew the evidence the US had against them, but, by far the most important […]

by · November 7, 2014 · Politics