Russia. The word still evokes images of conspiracy behind gray concrete blocks, while a strong military marches through the streets in a tour de force of the iron hand that rules the harsh country. The Kremlin was working hard to ensure that this stereotype, of influential and ruthless Soviet toughness, is exaggerated. Disinformation, ostentatious secret service operations and bellicose rhetoric all served this illusion.
Europe. It is an area. It is an idea. It is a culture. It is a collection of diverse people and countries. It is a work in progress. It is ever-changing, ever-twisting, shaped by its people. Europe is a complex idea. The latest edition of Poems of Liberty, a publication by The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, European Dialogue and the Free Market Foundation aims to encapsulate it through poems.
Bad leaders beget even worse successors. That is why it is important to safeguard democratic values from bad leaders in the first place.
There are private solutions, for healthcare, schools, and transport. They are popular or at least coveted. Yet, there is a catch. The state always lurks beneath the surface. Many taxi companies are owned by cronies and have a huge lobbying power. There is a fixed rate and no competition in Budapest.
As far as power goes, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán cannot complain. His party, Fidesz recently won its 4th consecutive elections, with a supermajority no less.
The war in Ukraine disrupted the illusory peace in Europe. Illusory, because Russia has always been a looming threat to the integrity of the continent, albeit in a less tangible way than a full-on war.
War is once again ravaging Europe, again in Ukraine, again instigated by Putin. The war in Ukraine has been leading news in the media, and rightly so. Never must we forget the horrors of the ongoing war, or in fact any war.
Though Fidesz supported sanctions against Russia, the government is not allowing the transfer of lethal weapons through Hungarian territory to Ukraine. The narrative that Fidesz supports peace while the opposition supports war was completely false, nevertheless it worked.
Poems. Not the coolest word to start an article with. Too often does the word conjure up images of harrowing moments in school when we had to anxiously recite some poetry not understanding why the tacky lines matter at all. Yet, trust me, they do.
Reading news in Hungary is an arduous task. If you speak the language and open your browser to learn about current affairs, you’d be hit by a dystopian reality. Only a handful of independent online outlets exist, and the situation is worse in the print media or in places outside of the capital, Budapest.