“The state has a responsibility to protect the people from the machinery of foreign propaganda.” – Tamás Soproni, vice-president, Momentum Movement
Translation of “They’ve withdrawn the tanks but gradually crept back through the gas pipelines, fake news websites, and the political elite” appearing in liberal print weekly Magyar Narancs on February 3, 2017.
The deputy president of the Momentum Movement has spoken about ways to resist Russian influence, and how Hungary’s transition from the former communist regime might be completed.
On Thursday evening the Momentum Movement drew a full house for an event to mark the day of Putin’s visit. A panel discussion with experts on the threat from Russia was followed by a “Russian-style” party. In between, Momentum’s vice-president, Tamás Soproni, gave a speech that was the first detailed presentation of Momentum’s ideas on foreign policy.
Here is the speech, which Momentum has now posted on its Facebook page:
The reality is that Russia is a lot closer than we would think. Russian units are fighting on neighbouring territory, and we should not forget that although this front line might seem distant, the Donbass is closer to us than London. Hungarians are also taking part in these battles. Hungarians are giving their lives for Ukraine’s sovereignty. But the battle is not raging only next door, the war is not being fought only next door: it is here in Hungary as well. They may have withdrawn their tanks, but they are slowly creeping back – through gas pipelines, fake news websites, and the political elite. The government may pretend to be freedom fighters, but they cannot be the true heirs to those who fought in 1956. For six years they have let the Russians pull the shackles ever tighter. And in these six years they have plunged our national standing, built up over 20 years, into hitherto unseen depths.
In the past 26 years, no one has shouldered the responsibility of completing the regime change in all areas. No one has ever undertaken to probe and investigate the fabulous wealth that some people accumulated around the change of regime. No one has ever undertaken to cleanse the secret services of cadres who began working there under communism, and maintained the best possible relations with Russian secret services. And no one has ever undertaken to open the agents’ files.
These omissions threaten our national sovereignty, since it follows that countless members of the political elite are open to blackmail, whether by interest groups at home or foreign powers. And in the hybrid warfare of the 21st century, secret knowledge represents even greater power over people. The scandals of recent years only confirm that all sides are affected. Just think of Szilárd Kiss of Fidesz, Béla Kovács of Jobbik, or Szófia Havas of the MSZP. But when is the regime change going to happen, when will we complete the regime change? It will happen when we complete it ourselves. Momentum wants to base the country’s independence on three foundations: independent energy supplies, winding up misleading foreign propaganda and replacing it with objective information, and exposing the dark past of the political elite.
Hungary’s energy dependency must be reduced. This is a national issue that should transcend individual governments. Any government that purports to uphold the national interest must pursue it. Whether this is done by looking for other sources of gas, or switching to renewable sources of energy, this objective cannot be dressed in government colours.
Fake news and foreign propaganda represent a powerful threat to Hungary. One reason for this is that, instead of critical thinking, we have placed servility and rote learning at the core of the Hungarian education system. Momentum wants to create a modern education system in Hungary, but we know this alone is not enough. We must also take up arms against the producers of fake news. For this reason, while fully respecting the limits of constitutional law, we must make it clear that freedom of speech does not apply to the deliberate dissemination of fake news and foreign propaganda. The state has a responsibility to protect the people from the machinery of foreign propaganda.
We consider it vital that we immediately and comprehensively open up the files on former agents. This is not a merely symbolic question for us: our national self-determination depends upon it. The time has come to let all the skeletons out of the cupboard at last.
Over the past 26 years, we have heard countless times that Hungary lies somewhere between East and West. This is simply not true. Hungary does not stand in the middle of a bridge, but on one side of it: the Western side. Hungary has been a part of modern Europe since the time of Saint Stephen, and it should be the aim of all responsible politicians to make sure it stays there. Hungary is part of a Europe that leads the world – politically, economically and culturally. Hungary is part of a Europe in which – a hundred years after the national tragedy of Trianon – the nation could finally begin to unite. And Hungary is part of a Europe that has shown how ever closer cooperation between nation states, and not rivalry, can make our community great in the 21st century.
Momentum aims to complete the regime change. We want to make it possible for Hungary, while guarding its national self-determination, to play its part in building together an even stronger Europe.