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The 30th anniversary of Imre Nagy’s reburial

June 18th, 2019

The nationwide left-wing daily quotes Imre Nagy’s granddaughter who says Viktor Orbán’s role was minimal in the regime change thirty years ago. A pro-government columnist recalls that the Communist regime conducted a campaign against the young Orbán’s speech at the reburial ceremony in 1989.

The statue of Imre Nagy who was executed in 1958 for siding with the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution was unveiled in its new site on Sunday morning. It was removed from its original site near the Parliament building six months ago as part of a plan to restore the pre-1944 appearance of the square (See BudaPost, December 21, 2018). The reburial of Imre Nagy and his fellow martyrs on 16 June 1989 was a symbolic event of the regime change, at which the then 26 year old Viktor Orbán delivered a strikingly anti-Communist speech, now regarded on the government side as heralding the birth of a new, independent and free Hungary. The PM paid his tribute at Imre Nagy’s grave on Sunday.

In its headline on the anniversary, Népszava proclaims that “The Dictatorship was not Dismantled by Viktor Orbán”. Erika Gulyás quotes Imre Nagy’s granddaughter who told an opposition crowd in front of her grandfather’s statue that the government side is falsifying history when it tries to frame Viktor Orbán as the hero of 1989. At the time, she explains, today’s Prime Minister was simply an unknown young man who was chosen as a speaker at the ceremony by mere chance. Katalin Jánosi also claims that today’s ruling forces fear Imre Nagy just like the Communists did during their rule. She accuses the current government of building another party-state similar to Communist dictatorships.

In Magyar Nemzet, Dávid Megyeri recalls a series of attacks on the young Viktor Orbán because he explicitly urged the removal of Soviet troops from Hungary at a ceremony which was meant to promote national unity. He claims that those critical remarks were similar to the ones levelled nowadays against the Hungarian conservative government. Critics didn’t support their claims with any quotations from Viktor Orbán’s speech, because they knew that they would be welcomed by the majority of Hungarians, he asserts. The regime change, Megyeri concludes, was the result of that majority consensus.

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