Hungary: From “Goulash Communism” to Pluralistic Democracy
This chapter examines the problems and the dangers of extremism in Hungary. To assess the danger, it examines five areas: the problem of momentum; transformation; the "majority as victim" syndrome; the status of minorities; laws and legality; and the treatment of refugees. Hungary refutes the often-made argument that former communists are brought back to power because people in the postcommunist states find the pain of "shock therapy" unbearable. The reasons for the defeat of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (HDF) government, however, can inform people about the nature of the momentum in Hungary and the problems of sustaining it. There is a duality in Hungary's approach to minorities. The policy at its most cynical level was summed up by Jozsef Torgyan. He declared that Hungary should give more rights to minorities so that it could demand more rights for ethnic Hungarians in neighboring states.