And pretty much everything that is not football or stuffing the cronies with public money.
Today, a sad video was posted on the Facebook page of an Eastern Hungarian NGO. The passengers of the train between Debrecen and Tiszalök were asked to help push starting the train. This is the face of forceful Orbánism he would rather not have you see.
Infrastructure investment is roaring only when it can be done through loyalist cronies.
Any infrastructure procurement that can’t be skimmed heavily is neglected and trains are apparently such a low-margin skimming opportunity. They have to be bought and none of the cronies manufacture them. Of course, such a deal is still a juicy one to steal when you get the chance, but not as juicy as charging billions for a single layer of asphalt and calling it road infrastructure development. Those are the fat deals cronies excel in and the EU loves to fund.
The civilians who posted the video were mentioned here earlier. They have provoked the government’s ire when their activist outran a regular train in a snail costume – trying to bring attention to the fact that the railway line in their region is so outdated, trains have to crawl at 10-20 km/hr to avoid catastrophes. They were branded “Soros mercenaries” for their audacity and accused of wanting the faster trains only to bring evil migrants into their town. (Not a joke, between 2015 and 2020 we were hate-fearing migration because the government spent all our money on anti-migrant hate propaganda.)
Meanwhile, the tragic state of regional infrastructure cuts people off from opportunities, jobs, and generally compounds the troubles that come with living in the countryside, a thing Orbánism forcefully promotes. As the state fails to maintain the things it insists on doing itself, like the railway infrastructure, private operators are also banned.
The state doesn’t do it, but it doesn’t allow private operators to do it either. To protect people, you see.
When the activists looked up the number of car sharing rides on the same route as the disastrously slow and continuously breaking down railway line, they found that people pay as much as 3% of the national railways’ profit for shared car rides just on that route.
If a private railway operator would see that number they would do everything in their power to lure those passengers back to ride the trains – enact passenger-friendly schedules, make the trains faster, and even make the trains run in the first place – but the state can’t be bothered. Attacking civilians who complain rather than fixing the issue is the essence of populist autocracy: communication and corruption replace governance and all is well. For the autocrat and his cronies, not to anyone else.