As Hungary remembers the victims of Communism on 25 February, a conservative columnist complains that former communist officials have been the main beneficiaries of the transition to democracy.
The spectre of Communism still haunts us, Miklós Ugró contends in Magyar Nemzet. Although Communism as an ideology has lost all its credibility and appeal, Hungary is still not reconciled with its past, the pro-government commentator believes. The democratic revolution of 1989-1990 swept away the former Communist regime, but its officials successfully reinvented themselves as true democrats and had a certain leverage on the democratic transition by infiltrating the new democratic institutions and mobilizing their social capital. Initiatives which attempted the full disclosure of the names of Communist officials and of the secret service staff of the Kádár regime have foundered on privacy considerations, the author continues. Historical justice would also require that victims should be compensated from the private assets of former Communist officials, rather than from public funds, but “we should not copy their methods”, Ugró concludes.