Hungarian diplomat attempts to discredit Bálint Magyar at UC Berkeley

Bálint Magyar gave a presentation at the University of California at Berkeley entitled: Parallel System Narratives: Polish and Hungarian Regime Formations Compared. The event took place in one of the older buildings at the Wildavsky Conference Room; the place was packed, standing room only. Mr. Magyar is a sociologist and a former Hungarian Minister of Education. (See invitation here.)

In his presentation he compared the regimes of Poland’s Jarosław Kaczyński (PiS) and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán (Fidesz) and concluded that while at a first glance we may have the impression that we are dealing with similar authoritarian regimes, in reality, these are different types of autocratic regimes. Kaczyński’s regime is better described as a conservative-autocratic experiment driven by ambitions of power and ideological inclinations. Orbán’s regime can be defined as a post-communist mafia state. It is built on the twin motivations of power centralization and family accumulation of wealth. While the Hungarian regime essentially operates with no ideologies, the Polish one is more ideologically driven.

Mr. Bálint Magyar gave a presentation at the University of California at Berkeley

Magyar made a good case for his theory, he is a good English speaker and the audience clearly enjoyed his talk.

The first ten minutes of the Q and A with moderator Jason Wittenberg, a Political Science Professor was uneventful. Then a gentleman wearing a tie in the back, who I had not noticed before, introduced himself as a Hungarian diplomat called Attila. He immediately started a stump speech that SZDSZ (Mr. Magyar’s old party) had denied Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians living outside Hungary. He also called Mr. Magyar a Social Democrat. It seemed that he was reading his text from his phone. Prof. Wittenberg asked him: What was the question? Then Attila started to attack Magyar’s role in the “corrupt SZDSZ”. Magyar tried to answer, Attila interrupted again and at the end Wittenberg stopped the diplomat’s tirade. It was a strange intermezzo. The man wore a tie but did not exhibit diplomatic finesse or sophistication.

After the event I learned that his name is Attila Danku, at least that is what he told me, and he had travelled to the event from Los Angeles (over 400 miles!). His also said that he works for Mr. Tamás Széles, Consul General of Hungary in Los Angeles and used to live in the Bay Area.

Attila Danku, a Hungarian diplomat attempted to discredit Mr. Magyar at Berkeley

State University lectures in the US are open to the public and I was surprised that the Orbán Government found Mr. Magyar’s lecture so threatening that they decided to shadow him in California. Of course, diplomats may ask a question or make a comment, but it is impolite to waste time in a Q and A with political stump speeches. And it is unacceptable to interrupt, embarrass or try to discredit for political purposes an invited speaker.

It is my understanding that during the Kádár regime in the 1980s Mr. Magyar endured harassment from the Communist authorities and even lost his job. Déjà vu. Now, almost 40 years later Mr. Magyar is harassed by the Orbán regime’s diplomats even here in California.

This incident is a fine demonstration of just how authoritarian regimes operate. It could make a case study in the curriculum since Magyar’s seminar was presented by the Center of Right-Wing Studies.

György Lázár


  1. Avatar Stranded in Sopron says:

    A bunch of thugs in ill-fitting suits attempting to silence democracy, the Orbanist fascist regime doesn`t tolerate public dissent at home or abroad.

  2. Anyone who works as a diplomat for this criminal regime is a despicable, nauseating human being. Some are youthful like Dankó or might talk a nice talk, but they are the confidence tricksters who try to mislead people outside Hungary. Shame on Dankó and shame on every MFA scoundrel.

  3. Hilarious descriptions of the current situation in Poland! It’s a shame you haven’t read Private Eye over the years (UK satirical magazine), because your musings read like the spoof articles it accredited to Gordon Brown.

    Anyway, you really need to learn more about the illiberal regime that ruled Poland pre-2015. Pure economic colonialism and mercantilism. Thomas Picketty sums up Eastern Europe well as “foreign owned countries”

    Post-war France had “les trente glorieuses” of high economic growth, despite appalling wars and near revolution, while retaining a vibrant French-owned economy. The French economy restructured dramatically and the population became urban instead of rural.

    Poland in contrast has had healthy but unremarkable growth since 1989. The economy is overwhelmingly foreign-owned. In the period 2005-2015 EUR 125 billion was repatriated out of Poland by foreign-owned companies – roughly what was put into Poland in terms of EU funding. 2/3 of Polish exports are by foreign-owned companies.

    Poland – and other Eastern European countries – are foreign owned in many senses.

    Donald Tusk’s early career was funded by Germany’s CDU. Unethical in the extreme, but it paid dividends. Tusk continued the policy of the original post-Communists of having no social security net at all. It was commonplace that if you lost your job, your kids were taken into care.

    An Oliver Twist economy and Poles were supposed to be happy! But it was designed to keep the supply of cheap foreign labour flowing into Germany and other Western countries.

    The demographic timebomb – people talked about why Poles had stopped having children. Much discussion ensued – then someone spotted that Polish women were giving birth … as long as they had emigrated to Britain.

    Tusk’s post-Communists were then voted out and the “populists” introduced child benefit in a scheme identical to postwar Britain – for second and subsequent children. The birth rate has gone up 11%.

    State-owned companies which were on the point of bankruptcy suddenly started posting record profits. Why? The Liberals were wedded to the idea of taking bribes from foreign companies to drive state-owned commercial companies into bankruptcy. National airline LOT was a classic example of creative thinking. A financial scam was set up (Amber Gold) to create funding for a budget airline OLT whose sole goal was to bankrupt LOT (and itself in the process). The shell would then be bought up by LOT’s Star Alliance partner Lufthansa or possibly Air Berlin. Air Berlin lent OLT money and lost it – precipitating Air Berlin’s own bankruptcy!! Ha ha! Poland’s chemical sector was going down the same route, ditto coal. All unsaveable … apparently.

    2 words about the great land grab. Half of Romania’s agricultural land is in the hands of corporate “farmers” – mostly companies like Allianz insurance. The same was lined up for Poland. And you don’t need EU corruption for this to happen – Ukraine now features enormous estates of half a million hectares.

    We’re witnessing a return to feudalism and the Slaves – sorry Slavs – are supposed to rejoice! What’s wrong with the miserable peasants?

    And now Western Europe wants to sow social distress by introducing utterly foreign cohorts of people into the East. Poland is happy taking in 1.5 million Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians. It even takes in a quota of Indians under a bilateral deal with India. But forcing foreigners into Poland is a serious mistake. Even the Germans have refused to take their share of migrants under the relocation scheme. So has France!

    But those countries are not foreign-owned …

    Moving on to the judiciary …
    We need Poland’s judiciary to be free of Communist-era corruption. When you have highly political judges acting against the democratic system in favor of vested interests, you must act.
    It’s a ridiculous state of affairs to have a Communist Party husband-and-wife team heading the Constitutional Tribunal and Supreme Court!! Not simultaneously, of course, we had Mr Rzeplinski at the CT as an interregnum – he who infamously stymied aninvetigation into the Communist era murder of troublesome priest Fr Popieluszko and incidentally was an employee of Soros’ Human Rights Watch front organization!.

    And they evicted 55,000 low end tenants in Warsaw alone as part of the EU’s biggest property scandal.

    Justice has to be defended against those who pervert it. In Poland’s case, old Communist judges.

    Let’s take an example of how corrupt justice works.
    The head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau in the Tusk years was a man I might have bumped into years ago at an anti-Communist demonstration at Warsaw University! Spring 88. Mariusz Kaminski. He spotted that Tusk’s government had massively overpaid a close supporter in relation to a highway contract. Essentially, the traffic density study was faked. Kaminski cleverly notified this to the European Commission as illegal state aid. EUR 400m is now being repaid to the Polish government! In the meantime, in an unrelated case, Kaminski failed to secure the conviction of a Liberal politician in a corruption case. The case was deemed entrapment and Kaminski was outrageously sentenced to 5 years in prison … in revenge for rocking the boat over the highway contract!! See how it works?
    Equally, the property scandal – it’s rooted in the Communist seizure of private property. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, it was made possible by corrupt judges turning a blind eye to abuses. Infamously, the husband of the Liberal Mayor of Warsaw made EUR 20m profit on a Holocaust asset to which he had no claim at all. But City Hall and the judge were friendly, and the developer paid cash quick – so it was all done “in good faith”.
    And how much is the property scandal worth? Difficult to say – perhaps EUR 10 billion. I repeat billion.
    Seen in this light, Poland’s political struggle is similar to that of Latin America – a foreign superpower (US/EU) leveraging a corrupt elite …

  4. The same strategy was employed by the Hungarian Embassy for years in Canada, whenever any critic of the Orbán regime gave a public lecture anywhere in Canada. The hit man was always the Embassy’s 1st Secy, Lajos Oláh, and each time he succeeded in making a fool of himself and the government he represented. Perhaps learning from these mistakes, the Embassy sent a more sedate rep, Mr. Péter Orosz, when Dr. Magyar spoke at Concordia University on September 11. He was polite and to the point. He raised a question, rather than try to deliver a mini-lecture or to disparage the reputation of Dr. Magyar. There was no disruption by the local consul either, nor some of the people who represented the local Hungarian diaspora, and are fans of the current government. It seems, that after a series of scandalous disruptions, the Orbán government’s reps in Canada have recognized, that it is counterproductive to make fools of themselves in front of learned audiences. Hungary’s reps in America may be a bit slow to catch on.

  5. Talking about the Orban mafia state:
    A small inn owner in a Hungarian village agreed to offer his 4 – 5 rooms for a week long rest to children of the very few refugees granted assylum by the Hungarian government.
    Some viligers slashes his tires and he received life threats.

    PM Orban found “nothing objectionable to people expressing their opinion loud and forceful”.

    Does this mean that there will be nothing objectionable if someone threatened to shoot this Orban character, expressing opinion in the same way?

  6. Magyar works at Berkeley. Berkeley has been in the news for banning free speech for conservative speakers. Magyar’s speech was in line with the anti conservative attitude of the university, that does not necessarily reflects the truth.

  7. @ Martaburka

    “Magyar works at Berkeley.”

    Dr. Magyar works in Hungary, and is spending a couple of months in New York as a research scholar at the NYC. You should spend some time mulling over your role as a nameless troll who comes here to spread falsehoods on behalf of an autocratic mafia state.

    @ Dave

    Now that you polished up your favorite poles, i.e. the ones who are making a mockery of the rule of law, justice and freedom of the press, how about learning to keep your comments to at least a length that is respectful of conventional norms ? We all like polish sausage at the Hungarian Free Press, but not when it’s dumped out of a giant container.

  8. This confirms he works for the Hungarian government.

  9. SZDSZ, Bálint Magyar’s party was so “successful” that it didn’t even reach the 5% threshold to get into the Hungarian parliament.

    The title of this article should correctly read as “Failed ex minister of education attempts to discredit abroad the democratically elected Hungarian government” or alternatively “The self-proclaimed Hungarianfreepress attempts to discredit Hungarian diplomat who fails to comply with the Soros narrative”

  10. “Your comment is awaiting moderation”.


    Hungarian “FREE” press. 😉


    Dispatching a government grunt to Berkeley (!) to troll his critics!

    Orbanistan has all the makings of a paranoid police state, but without even the sense to keep the attempted thought control within the captive family…

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  13. Magyar is a disbelieving politician in hungary. That’s the point.

  14. The correct spelling of name for this annoying bed-bug is Attila Danku…
    He is Investment & Trade Commissioner, Diplomat for Hungary in Los Angeles.
    Originally he was Manufacturing Project Manager at Coloplast – a firm from Denmark – until August 2010. Even by the startpoint of ‘captured state adventure’ Orbans, he started to work in the Orban’s dirty off-shore business organizing National Research & Development and Innovation Office (Hungary) in 2012. Afterthat he was sent to the USA and worked for several firms as business development consultant in Palo Alto and San Francisco. Mid of 2017 he was sent back to Budapest and since this time he is employed by the Ministry of Foreing Affairs and Trade. In August 2017 he was sent to San Francisco to the Hungarian Consulat as Investment and Trade Comissioner. He is not an experienced diplomat, rather than a miserable young ‘dickhead’ , who must read the ‘downloaded’ tirade from his mobile phone…sad dog!

  15. Avatar No commie for sure says:

    Thank you Dave for this narrative. Very informative. Not easy to get through as you can witness by reading comments of those like Observer who adds NOTHING constructive to the conversation. Thanks again.

  16. Magyar Bálint a modernkori Magyarország legnagyobb bűnbandájának (SZDSZ) volt a tagja, egymaga felelős az oktatás szétveréséért.

  17. Peter Ch: We’ve got buddy, but here is not anybody speaking Hungarian, you loser (te kis lúzer…) that is disrespectfulness. BTW it is only your scum reading about Balint Magyar and his work as Minister of Education in Hungary…

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