Mr. Orbán’s Bobby Fischer madness

In 1992 chess genius Bobby Fischer was warned against playing a $5-million match in Yugoslavia. The United States had prohibited all commercial dealings in the war-torn country, the tournament was illegal, and Mr. Fischer was cited for participating in the chess match with Boris Spassky.

The erratic Mr. Fischer, 49 years old at the time, was known for bizarre behavior. He held a press conference in Belgrade where he viciously attacked the United States, and waving the government’s letter, he told journalists that it was a useless “piece of scrap paper”; later he spat on it.

1992: Bobby Fischer vs. Boris Spassky Belgrade.

1992: Bobby Fischer vs. Boris Spassky in Belgrade.

A similarly bizarre incident took place recently in Budapest – without the spit.

The United States has banned several Hungarian citizens, among them government officials, from entering the US. The US Embassy explains that “these individuals have been found ineligible to enter the United States as the result of credible information that those individuals are either engaging in or benefiting from corruption.”

The Hungarian Government immediately demanded the evidence forming the basis of the allegations. When the US Embassy provided a document, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán went on radio and stated that it was but “a scrap of paper” with no stamp or signature, containing an “unstructured collection of accusations we heard from the opposition during the past four years.”

Levente Magyar theatrically waves the infamous "scrap of power" detailing America's concerns with the Orbán government, Photo: MTI.

Levente Magyar theatrically waves the infamous “scrap of paper” detailing America’s concerns with the Orbán government, Photo: MTI.

Mr. Levente Magyar undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade took it one step further and staged a press conference in front of the Hungarian Parliament building. He theatrically waved the document, declaring that this “scrap of paper” cannot be taken seriously.

The issue is not the travel ban anymore. The question many of us ask: Have Hungarian government officials lost their marbles? Do they seriously think that organizing spectacles will solve the Orbán government’s institutionalized corruption problem?

Feisty Mr. Orbán thrives on controversy and loves a fight. I have a feeling that he has already lost this battle.

György Lázár

One Comment


    If the EU passively tolerates this cynical, brazen abuse, then it is not only the mindless Hungarian voters but the brainless EU that deserves everything that will soon be coming to them, as the cancer of unchecked lawmaker lawlessness metastasizes:

    @tappanch on Hungarian Spectrum
    November 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    “The Orban government submitted an omnibus bill on Friday, which eliminates major provisions of the 2007 “sunshine” law.

    “If adopted, the government can legally give taxpayers’ money to [Fidesz] party affiliated organizations from January 1.

    “In bidding processes, the losing tenders will be destroyed, so it will be impossible to compare them with the winners in the future – this [illegal] practice was already used in the tobacco store and agricultural land scandals.

    “According to the new bill, an official can give public money to himself, his wife or children – the vestiges of the “conflict of interest” stumbling blocks are also eliminated.”

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