A prominent of-Fidesz “security analyst”, György Nógrádi gave a public talk in Karcag last Thursday. The tone should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of public discourse and the mental state of the country.
Nógrádi is a deeply established figure in international relations and security studies (broadly speaking) in Hungarian academia. The Professor is an ever-present expert and talking head, basking in attention.
Often putting his reputation behind conspiracy theories and Fidesz’ latest talking points, Nógrádi seems to be well-rewarded. He is everywhere, experting on brainwave weapons and border walls. On TV, at Fidesz forums, teaching and performing all the time – and I’m pretty sure he is not the pro bono kinda guy.
He is also a somewhat …colorful character.
He never fails to drop hints that he is extremely well-connected, and the non-Fidesz media is trying to keep up with his board memberships and lucrative appointments in many places, including state companies and prestige projects. He is regularly mocked by the non-Fidesz media for being an expert on everything and then some – not that this mocking could ever hurt him. He is regularly busted for lying, but that’s a boon in the post-truth era he champions.
He visibly enjoys his wealth and never fails to drop hints about his very high connections in the “I just came from the XXX embassy and after this I am on my way to consult the YYY government” fashion.
He once claimed on his CV that he had been consulting the Austrian government and the Austrian ministers of defense (each and every one of them since 2001) – too bad the Austrian government never heard of that. And that’s just one fib of many.
He also can’t resist the lure of academic credentials and collects them like Soviet generals collected buttons. A “typo” on his CV claimed that he was a member of the presidency of the Swedish Academy of Defense – a claim that the Swedes denied, in fact they have never heard of him. Being a deputy rector of a non-existent Austrian university also proved to be an oddly inaccurate “typo” on his official CV.
The former member of the Austrian Freedom Party, Rüdiger Stix, who is meant to become the president of this fine establishment (the moment it pops into existence) has been outed by the Austrian media for buying his PhD in Budapest, under the supervision of, that’s right, Professor Nógrádi. The list goes on, and to be fair, he seems a bit too much even for Fidesz.
But he is still everywhere. If you are on a diet of Fidesz media (which is hard to avoid), Professor Nógrádi is The Expert That Ends All Experts. And this is how he ended up in Karcag, where the above video was recorded, at the invitation of the local Bourgeois Circle (Orbán’s informal, personal background, independent even from Fidesz).
The video starts with lengthy bragging about how much he is employed under Fidesz – and he is. The Fidesz media loves to invite him because he is full of anti-migrant scaremogering, the communication staple of Fidesz propaganda since 2015.
Then he tells the audience about his recent holiday in Zanzibar, how the luxury of his 8-room hotel suite contrasted with the poverty of the locals and concludes that “there isn’t a European who couldn’t bring back a pretty woman from there“, giving unsolicited insight into his mind and setting the tone for more nastiness to come.
At one point during the talk he flashed the trademark Fidesz humor and joked that he would happily take in a refugee if she were, for instance, a Ukrainian beauty queen – talking about the wife of murdered Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, who had recently appeared at a beauty pageant after years of hiding.
“I always say that I would take a refugee in, and I think everyone would agree with me. A Russian opposition member has been murdered two-three years ago in Moscow, and his girlfriend was the Ukrainian beauty queen. … I would take her in for two-three weeks, and I think my friends would take over after me…”
By which he meant that other kinds of refugees can do all that to themselves.
Then he added…
“…but I mean this as a joke, and if it is published on Index tomorrow, I will protest.”
The only consequence that befell him for this was that someone from the non-Fidesz media indeed wrote about it. There will be no public outcry, let alone something that may hurt the professor on any level. These kinds of jokes go uncontested, unchallenged, and they are now part of the public discourse. Alongside kindergartners accusing each other of being migrant, Soros, or liberal. Whatever that means…