I grow I grow angrywith those fools arguing that Hungary is being biullied by the EU.In February 2017, at the state of the nation address, Viktor OrbÃ¡n, the prime minister of Hungary and the leader of the far-right, anti-immigrant Fidesz party, offered his vision for the country in the coming year. â€œWe shall let in true refugees: Germans, Dutch, French, and Italians, terrified politicians and journalists who here in Hungary want to find the Europe they have lost in their homelands,â€� he proclaimed.
This transformation has allowed a system of far-right culture leaders to flourish in Budapest. Coming from all over Europe and the United States, they have created a structured propaganda circuit, in the hopes of spreading their ideas far and wide.
Arktos originally began operations in India in 2010 when a Swedish businessman named Daniel Friberg absorbed a â€œtraditionalistâ€� publishing house run by American editor-in-chief John B. Morgan. Both lived in India for the first years of the companyâ€™s existence. In early 2014, both Friberg and Morgan moved to Budapest to continue to expand Arktos from within the European continent. (Morgan has since left Arktos and now works for Counter-Currents, a white-nationalist publishing house and website also partially based in Budapest.) Friberg, whose vision is central to Arktos, sees its mission as changing â€œmetapolitics,â€� a term appropriated from 20th-century Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci. In Fribergâ€™s book The Real Right Returns, he argues that multiculturalism and liberal human rightsâ€”what he calls â€œcultural Marxismâ€�â€”have been the dominant culture since the fall of Nazism, and outlines how transforming this culture space is necessary for political and social change.Peter KrÃ©ko, a Hungarian political analyst and academic researcher of populism and extremism at Indiana University Bloomington, said that the timing of Arktosâ€™s move to Budapest was no accident. In 2014, Jobbikâ€™s popularity surged, thanks to a platform that pledged to preserve Hungarian ethnic purity. That year, OrbÃ¡n was also re-elected to a second term, and Jobbik won 20 percent of the national vote and 47 seats in the parliament, while Fidesz grabbed a super-majority. The Identitarians â€œare happy that they feel that in Hungary there is a leader that represents their values. These are people with an almost medieval view on the world and they find a safe haven in Hungary,â€� KrÃ©ko told me.
It is difficult to tell where Arktosâ€™s ideas end and Jobbikâ€™s begin. For both, multiculturalism is the supreme enemy. Both believe in draconian immigration laws based on ethnic and racial preservation. The *pro-government newspaper Magyar Hirlap (which translates to Hungarian Newspaper) has published articles sympathetic to members of Fribergâ€™s circle. Gabor Vona, Jobbikâ€™s leader, wrote an introduction to Arktosâ€™s translation of 20th-century intellectual fascist Julius Evolaâ€™s A Handbook For Right-Wing Youth, a collection of Evolaâ€™s essays targeted at young people interested in the radical right. Evola, who White House chief strategist Steve Bannon quoted in a 2014 speech at the Vatican, is considered by academics as â€œpossibly the most important intellectual figure for the Radical Right in contemporary Europe.â€� Numerous Facebook posts show Friberg shaking hands with Vona and dining with Marton GyÃ¶ngyÃ¶si, another key politician in Jobbik credited with calling for all Jews in Hungary to be registered on a list.
Prior to Arktos, Friberg also had long-standing and prolific ties to far-right extremists in Sweden. As a teenager, he was heavily involved with neo-Nazi groups and, at the age of 28, helped construct and manage the online forum Nordisk.nu, a 22,000-member-strong gathering place for Scandinavian national socialists, including Anders Breivik. Friberg also served time in prison for various offenses from 1995 to 2010, including for possession of a stolen AK4 rifle (a rifle formerly used by Swedish army) and other illegal weapons.
More recently, Friberg has sought to obscure his violent transgressions under a cover of intellectual legitimacy. With an MBA from GÃ¶thenberg University and work experience at Wiking Mineral, a company founded by far-right political backer (and fellow Budapest resident) Patrick Brinkmann, Friberg now sports a â€œfashy haircutâ€� and suits. He prefers to mingle with coiffed intellectuals and politicians in lieu of skinheads. He has spent his far-right career repackaging eugenicist ideology by rebranding the same or similar material with words such as â€œidentitarian,â€� â€œtraditionalist,â€� or â€œarcheofuturist.â€� His partner, U.S. white nationalist Richard Spencer, has been criticized for doing the same thing by hate-watch groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.While GyÃ¶ngyÃ¶si admits to knowing Friberg, he claims he knows nothing of Fribergâ€™s criminal history. GyÃ¶ngyÃ¶si was skeptical before I read from his arrest record, and ultimately admitted that he is â€œnot particularly happy … about any criminal from any country living in Hungary.â€� But most important to GyÃ¶ngyÃ¶si is â€œthat nobody from outside imposes on Hungary some social model that is not welcome in Hungary.â€�
In Budapest, Arktos is surrounded by alt-righters who have made the trek to the increasingly illiberal Hungary. Michael Polignano, co-founder of Counter-Currents, moved to Budapest in 2016, and joined the nationalist scene. After moving to Hungary in January 2017, menâ€™s rights activist Matt Forney wrote: â€œImagine thereâ€™s no leftists. Itâ€™s easy if you try. No protests in the streets, and in front of us, only cute white girls. That world exists, and itâ€™s called Hungary.â€� Ferenc Almassy, a French nationalist, has worked as a translator for Jobbik. He helps other French nationalists new to Hungary acclimate to their haven. Popular American far-right YouTube and Twitter personality RamZPaul, who has lived in the Hungarian capital off and on since 2013, tweeted in February to nearly 35,000 followers: â€œBudapest is like Paris of the 1920s. #Hungary.â€�
In addition to Fribergâ€™s clique, other nationalists have also moved to Hungary. Although former British Nationalist Party leader Nick Griffin has claimed he is not affiliated with the â€œalt-rightâ€� ex-pat community, he has been deeply involved with a radical Christian organization called â€œThe Knights Templar International,â€� which has offices in the U.K. and Hungary. (His Twitter profile lists Budapest as one of his locations, and many articles published in March of this year commented on his plans to move there.) The Knights Templar were invited to inspect the Hungarian border in 2015 by Jobbik party member and mayor of Asotthalom, LazslÃ³ Toroczkai, and have started a resettlement campaign called â€œOperation Arkâ€� for â€œrefugeeâ€� South African Boers to relocate to rural Hungary.
But perhaps Griffin and company shouldn’t get too comfortable: on Friday, authorities expelled him from Hungary, calling him and his organization a â€œthreat to national security.â€� While it is certainly premature to think that this represents some national reckoning, perhaps the countryâ€™s far-right ex-patsâ€™ days are numbered.For now, these groups will continue to expand their vision beyond Hungaryâ€™s party politics. In January 2017, Arktosâ€™s team and Spencer officially cemented their partnership when they teamed up to create AltRight.com, a â€œone-stop shopâ€� for the emerging movement. Even Washington-based Breitbart is now rumored to be opening a Hungarian office in the near future, after acquiring the domain name Breitbart.hu. From their vantage, the possibilities of cross-border exchange look promising. In flocking to Budapest, these nationalist internationals are creating a sanctuary from which to broadcast anti-globalism across the globe.
Albright has Czech ancestry. Her father was a well-known anti-fascist who worked for the BeneÅ¡ government-in-exile in London and later became a political science professor in the US. One of his students, Condoleezza Rice, served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.
Madeleine Albright knows Eastern-Europe well. She speaks several languages, among them Serbo-Croatian. She also knows Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor OrbÃ¡n. In her new book Fascism: A Warning she paints an unflattering picture of the Hungarian leader. Albright knows authoritarianism when she sees it and she sees the rebirth of the fascist ideas with the appearance of Turkeyâ€™s Erdogan, Venezuelaâ€™s Maduro and almost a full chapter of her book deals with Hungaryâ€™s Viktor OrbÃ¡n. In a recent interview she talked about Hungaryâ€™s xenophobia: â€œfor instance, the prime example is Hungary with Viktor OrbÃ¡n, who is now talking about illiberal democracy, which is basically a way to deal with whoever is not, in his description, a Hungarian so he can go after immigrants.â€�
Albrightâ€™s book is now a best-seller and being a long-time critic of the Hungarian leader I expected that OrbÃ¡nâ€™s loyal diplomats in the United States would attack her or at least avoid her company. On the contrary, they cannot resist her star power.
Ex-Ambassador RÃ©ka SzemerkÃ©nyi, an OrbÃ¡n confidant, openly admires her and recently elbowed herself next to her at a photo op.
UN Ambassador Katalin Bogyay went one step further and distributed a â€œbest friendâ€� photo with Albright.
You may ask the question: Why do ex-Ambassador SzemerkÃ©nyi and Hungaryâ€™s UN Representative Ms. Bogyay distribute photos with one of the sharpest critics of their own government? It seems that several Hungarian diplomat have started to position themselves for the â€œafter OrbÃ¡nâ€� times and they know that a photo with Albright might come handy after the fall of his authoritarian regime.
Ms. SzemerkÃ©nyi and Ms. Bogyay can wave these photos as proof that they were always against the OrbÃ¡n Viktatorship. OrbÃ¡n is probably aware of the easily shifting loyalties of his diplomats; Hungaryâ€™s politicians turn on a dime and todayâ€™s loyal supporter may turn out to be a mortal enemy tomorrow.
So donâ€™t be surprised if in the future more Hungarian officials will try to take photos with Albright. It is an insurance policy for the â€œafter OrbÃ¡nâ€� times of Hungarian politics.