A once-prestigious economic weekly, Figyelő, has published a double-page list of what they call “Soros-mercenaries” – people who work for organisations that receive financial support from George Soros. The moves come after Orbán claimed to have such a list and promised to pass his “Stop Soros” law targeting civil society first thing in May.
The article lists publicly available names of employees working for organisations such as
- the Hungarian Helsinki Committee,
- Transparency International,
- Amnesty International,
- lecturers at Central European University,
- the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union,
- investigative journalists from Direkt36, Átlátszó, and K-Monitor,
- a conservative think tank that opposes Orbán, but also
- a foundation to aid poor children, because they accused the government of the segregation of gypsies.
- They also listed Migration Aid and
- the founders of the movement that was promoting tactical voting and cooperation between opposition parties to strip Fidesz from its 2/3 constitutional supermajority.
- There are also individuals, founders of the long-dead liberal party, SZDSZ (against whom Orbán still seems to harbor the deepest resentment) are particularly mentioned on the list.
You don’t know if you are a Soros-mercenary…
The article closes with the chilling note that it is a hard job to list all the enemies because some people don’t know they are working for Soros. (An accusation we regularly get even here, at this blog.)
“Complete mapping is problematic because it’s not always obvious whether a person is aware of whom he is actually working for, what mission he is fulfilling.”
They make it sound like a huge secret, but they actually just collected publicly available employee names from these organisations’ websites – including a few people who have been long dead.
It doesn’t have to be ordered by Orbán himself
Although threats are an essential part of bullying, the paper’s move might as well be voluntary and proactive. Servility and going above and beyond trying to find out what Orbán wants is the fuel of neofeudalism. The article comes after PM Viktor Orbán announced that they have a 2000-strong list of enemies that he intends to deal with after the elections. After his 2/3 victory, he repeated that the first thing his new parliament would pass (on May 7) is the so-called “Stop Soros” law – a Russian-style foreign agent law that targets civil society organisations.
After his radio rant, he and his propaganda machine has started calling the opposition and civil society traitors of the nation and national security threat. Opposition is now synonymous with “enemies of the nation” and Orbán seems less and less able to tolerate even tiny and weak criticism – let alone investigative journalists that keep digging up monumental corruption cases.
Figyelő used to be a prestigious economic weekly, until it was acquired by a friend of Orbán.
UPDATE – One of the blacklisted “mercenary”, the former economic minister of a previous Orbán-government (before Orbán turned into a nationalist populist), Attila Chikán was struggling with his tears on live TV as he discussed that even his old mentor, 90-year-old economist, János Kornai had made the distasteful list.
The son of the late Péter Hanák wrote an open letter to those responsible for listing his long-dead father as enemy of the nation to please keep him on his list, he would be proud of it.
Others have started a change.org petition to mock the list and offered themselves to be listed next – so that Figyelő can fill more pages next time.