A lot has already been said about the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban in Poland. So far he has been the subject of mostly analytical and feature texts. Igor Janke wrote a book analyzing “Orbanism.”
The book provides us with a large number of interesting details concerning the life and political career of the Hungarian PM. For example, Janke describes how Orban and his colleagues openly established the opposition party Fidesz in 1988. They invited … regime media to the inaugural party conference. We also learn that Orban is not just a football fun but a buff who secretly went to the Mundial held in Korea and Japan in 2002, while in Budapest the rumors spread that he was admitted to the psychiatric hospital.
Yet Janke also analyzes the ideological aspect of the policy pursued by Orban and Fidesz. Their attempt to eliminate post-communism from the Hungarian political life is of key importance. Like in Poland, post-communism still influences the minds of a large number of politicians, officials, media people, and, what is worst, ordinary citizens. Janke proves that Orban wants Hungary to be a normal, democratic, honest country with a strong middle class.
Yet, in Author’s opinion, Fidesz intended to accomplish its goals too fast and violently between 1998 and 2002 and still commits this error, which puts of undecided voters and a number of government acts were just poorly prepared.
However, the Author suggests that aversion of Western and a part of Hungarian elites to Orban does not result from his real errors but the fear of policy promoting traditional, conservative but at the same time European values, which may mark the beginning of policy where prevailing post-modernism and lack of values are abandoned.
Analyses offered by Janke are quite reliable. Although the Author does not hide the fact that he likes this politician, he also provides and discusses critics’ arguments thoroughly and sometimes joins the voices criticizing Orban’s policy. The conclusion may be drawn after reading this book that the largest Orban’s success would be elimination of deep social discrepancies. As Janke says, Hungarians are divided into those from big cities and those from the country, liberals and conservatives, even more than Poles. Moreover, people from these groups do not speak to each other. Orban makes attempts to establish a national party and we should keep fingers crossed for him. We should also wish Hungarians they could restore their history as communists did everything, which Janke discusses extensively, to ridicule it. Orban’s achievements in this field are unquestionable but the road to “normal Hungary” dreamed by Orban is still long. Interestingly, it is Orban himelf that may be an obstacle on this road.
Igor Janke, Napastnik. Opowieść o Viktorze Orbanie, 2012, number of pages: 300.
Editor’s note: As the book has not been translated into English yet, its title has been translated by us.