Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s far-right party has banned skyscrapers, wants to withdraw funding for gender studies from a university, and even criticized a Frida Kahlo exhibition for "promoting communism."
On Tuesday the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian interior minister Matteo Salvin announced they wanted to create “a pan-European anti-migrant alliance” in the run-up to next year’s European elections.
It comes after a near-constant series of moves made by the Hungarian government to prevent migrants from living in the country. Ever since last April, when Fidesz, Viktor Orban’s far-right party won a landslide victory, re-electing him for a third consecutive term and creating a supermajority that’s allowed him to amend the country’s constitution, the government has been on a tirade to try and restore what it sees as Hungary’s Christian culture.
Since then, the prevailing political powers have banned skyscrapers, in a bid to keep Budapest’s skyline “authentic,” want to withdraw funding for gender studies courses at university, citing “poor employability records,” and pro-government newspapers have even criticized a Frida Kahlo exhibition, recently opened in the capital, for “promoting communism.”
The country has been stamping out anything that might be seen as pro-migration. A new tax, which was enforced last week, is imposing a 25 percent levy on any “propaganda activity that portrays immigration in a positive light.” George Soros’s Central European University has already fallen victim to the financial pressure, as yesterday it announced it would be suspending its European Union-funded Marie Curie Research Grant on migration policy in Central and Southern Europe.
In March the The New York Times reported that eight-grade history textbooks are even being used to propel Orban’s anti-immigration rhetoric. On the back pages of one read, “It can be problematic for different cultures to coexist.”
The New York Times goes on to detail Orban’s interest in culture propagated by the country as a form of soft power: “But Mr. Orban has recognized the political power to be gained by harnessing culture, history, and civil society. He usually spends Thursdays reading books, essays, and polling data, while meeting with writers and thinkers, two of his longtime associates said. The goal is not pleasure but power, said Zoltan Illes, a former Fidesz minister.” Orban is also said to have spent several hours talking to Philip Zimbardo, the psychologist who created the Stanford Prison Experiment, about how to “energize frustrated young men who feel left behind by modern society.”