Ferenc Kumin to be Hungary’s new ambassador to Canada

Forty-three year old Ferenc Kumin, currently Consul General in New York, will become Hungary’s new ambassador in Ottawa. The Index news site reported on this, based on both government and opposition sources. We also learned that Hungary’s former spy chief, István Pásztor, will replace Mr. Kumin in New York, as the new Consul General. Mr. Pásztor, until recently, headed the Információs Hivatal–a civilian intelligence agency, which focuses on information-gathering abroad.

Ferenc Kumin

Mr. Kumin replaces Ambassador Bálint Ódor, who we understand had hoped to see his term in Canada extended by at least one year. Ambassador Ódor will be remembered for unprecedented spending in Canada on cultural events that aimed to counterbalance the negative media attention in the Canadian press on the Viktor Orbán regime. While publicly Mr. Ódor took a more measured tone than his predecessor on those critical of his government, and carefully cultivated strategic relationships within Canadian cultural, minority and business circles, his loyalty to the party currently in power was clear.

Ambassador Ódor’s visceral disdain for this publication, for our Hungarian sister publication and for our contributors personally, caused him on numerous occasions to jettison the professionalism expected of a senior diplomat for what can be aptly described as a personal vendetta. This publication reported dispassionately and fairly on Mr. Ódor’s appointment as ambassador to Canada in 2014, despite our obvious criticism of the Orbán government. Perhaps it was naive or “too Canadian” to expect that the leading diplomat representing Hungary would accept that being critical of his government’s policies makes us Hungarians who think differently, not enemies of the Hungarian nation. Mr. Ódor made known that he viewed us as the latter, whilst avoiding the type of public statements that earned his predecessor widespread scorn.

Ferenc Kumin, who will now relocate to Ottawa, served as a deputy state secretary in the Orbán government from 2012 to 2014, in charge of communications. Previously, he was heavily involved in Hungarian media, working for three years for the ATV cable news channel, as well as for Magyar Hírlap and the free daily publication Metro. He also worked as an adviser to former Hungarian President László Sólyom. While Mr. Ódor was fluent in French (a skill that very few Hungarian diplomats posted to Canada had in the past), Mr. Kumin speaks German and Italian, in addition to English.

Mr. Kumin is staunchly loyal to Viktor Orbán’s government and has taken issue with articles in our publication.

After our experiences under ambassadors László Pordány and Bálint Ódor, we are at least adequately acclimatized to the modus operandi that Hungarian diplomats import to Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *