Viktor Orbán and His Party Votes Against Disclosure of State Security Communist Past - 29 February 2012, Budapest

On 20 February, a day after the German government coalition and the opposition parties had jointly nominated for the presidency Joachim Gauck – who had played a major role in making the former GDR’s state security documents public – the governing majority of the Hungarian Parliament with the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had rejected an important measure proposed by the opposition.  If accepted, the bill would have facilitated public access to archives that contain relevant information regarding Communist Hungary’s state security past. 

Following this, on 25 February Prime Minister Orbán appeared on Hungarian Television’s Saturday night news program where he saw no problem in expressing – on the occasion of the Memorial Day of the Victims of Communism – his fervent desire to make the memory of Communism’s victims an integral part of public discourse in Hungary.

The sad reality is that of all the post communist countries in the EU Hungary is the only one whose Parliament has proved unable so far to come up with a legislation that could put to rest perennial concerns about state security documents. Some of the papers missing from the archives have been stolen or destroyed, others have been withheld by the Secret Service. Seventy percent of the files that had survived the 1989/90 wave of document destruction is at present being handled, and allowed limited access, by the Historic Archives of the State Security Service, while the remaining thirty percent is still being handled by the archives of the present legal successor secret services. Neither the 1995 nor the  2007/8 document investigation committees had a chance to get any information about the number of prison network informers or about the files related to this matter.

In Hungary, the overwhelming majority of the former informers remain unidentified, even though the names of those who had cooperated with the state security services could be easily read off from surviving magnetic tapes.

In 2005, the official stance of Fidesz, a party engaged in strong anti-communist propaganda to this day, was no less than that “it is the moral duty of the governing parties, to reveal and unmask in its totality and in its details the former apparatus of oppression. If the coming generation will not learn the truth then public trust and a multi-party democracy will lack the ground necessary for building both of them”, and „without these Hungary cannot take its place honorably among the free nations of Europe”. Now, however, members of parliament from Fidesz and its coalition partner, the Christian Democratic People’s Party, cast 171 votes against the measure designed to make the state security documents public.

This makes it finally obvious in the eye of the Hungarian and also the European public that in Hungary Orbán Viktor and his government continue unabashedly the well-tried and well-worn tradition of Bolshevik style dictatorship. They insist on shielding relevant documents of the former party – state’s secret services because they had made a pact with various interest groups of these secret services, wishing to protect those of their supporters who, as former functionaries, had served the party-state.


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