A politician resigned just because he was caught selling his country out to Russia? How much I envy Austrians!
In case you haven’t heard about it, Austrian far-right genius and vice chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache has been caught on camera enthusiastically selling out his country to a Russian oligarch’s alleged niece.
Strache offered overpriced public tenders in exchange for the “Orbanization” of the Austrian media landscape by the Russian – i.e. buying up media outlets and turning them into mouthpieces for himself – through the same front man Orbán had used. For context, this is how all the front pages of Orbán’s media empire looked like on the day of the elections, and this is what Strache wanted for himself.
In October 2016, the same front man bought and shut down Hungary’s biggest and oldest broadsheet daily. The journalists simply weren’t allowed back to their desks one day, the archives were deleted, and the paper went to Orbán’s Hungarian business alter ego shortly thereafter.
Strache implicates Orbán multiple times in the video, but it has only led to resignations in Austria. When Orbán’s cabinet minister was asked by a friendly portal about the Strache case, he could have said that such corruption never takes place in Hungary, even if it’s an absurd things to say. He could even claim that it was George Soros’s fault (no one would bat an eyelid, even the weather is his fault these days). But the minister didn’t say either of those things.
When asked about the Strache scandal, Orbán’s cabinet minister assuaged the reporter that such a thing could not happen in Hungary. Not because Hungarian ministers are not selling out the country to Russia, but because they are more cautious. He said:
“I hope there is no one among us in leading position, who would be similarly unguarded.”
And I wholeheartedly believe that this is how Fidesz politicians have reacted to the scandal that must have sent chills down their bendy little spines.
Strache implicates Orbán multiple times on the video, but there is nothing there we didn’t already know. In fact, these things are not even a scandal in Hungary. Strache’s proposed MO is an open secret in Hungary – and the proposed means of corruption are often documented – but nothing will happen about it. Not here. There is no actor left who would investigate the governing force in Hungary. With the neutralization of independent courts earlier this year Orbán’s system is complete and cannot be undone by legal means from the inside.
And that is what everyone in Putin’s political stable is aspiring for. When Strache says he will be in power for 20 years – he is regurgitating Orbán’s words. Orbán announced after the elections that he will stay in power for 20 years – and that’s because he had finished off all controls on his power. But what flies in Hungary is still a scandal in Austria. Will there ever be Budapest in Vienna?
Featured image: Viktor Orbán’s Facebook – Strache and Orbán meeting in Orbán’s palace on 6 May, 2019 in the company of assorted ministers.