On Monday and Tuesday virtually every newspaper, televisions and radio show has been replete with stories about the Simicska-Orban war. On Monday evening’s “Straight Talk”, all four interviews conducted by ATV’s Olga Kálmán were related to this subject. The following morning former SZDSZ politician and one time education minister Bálint Magyar reacted to Simicska’s allegation that Orban worked as an informer for the secret police.
Last Sunday Fidesz oligarch Lajos Simicska gave an interview to Mandiner.hu, a conservative, on-line news portal that usually reposts excerpts from other on-line and print media. In that interview, Simicska talks about his compulsory military service with Hungary’s future Prime Minister, who told Simicska he was required to write a report on him.
Gulyás: “Completely out of the question”
Deputy Fidesz caucus leader Gergely Gulyás told ATV he could not imagine that Orban was an agent, but believes that this can be confirmed because every available document about the Prime Minister has already been released. Gulyás says it is not true that documents were send to Moscow in bulk, “especially in the case of a 19 year-old solder”. Furthermore, he says the authenticity of a 1987 document according to which an unsuccessful attempt was made to recruit Orban in 1987 is “incontestable.” However, he said it was “completely out of the question” that anyone could blackmail Orbán from Moscow on the basis of such documents.
Gulyás says cases like this cause the Fidesz camp to close ranks, because “Fidesz’s leaders today cannot be attacked on moral grounds.” He believes it was not Orbán’s reputation but Simicska’s that was compromised by the events of the past few weeks.
“If someone can put aside their antagonistic feelings towards the Orbán government, then the story ends there, and is about nothing more than one man’s anger over having to pay taxes inducing him to spread lies about the Prime Minister.” said Gulyás, referring to the fact that Simicska’s media empire must pay a tax of 3-6 percent off advertising revenues.
Gulyas says that the need to protect personal date does not make possible the release of the secret agent files, but that nobody is holding the files back. “Today anybody can request all the documents pertianing to them and he will get them, and afterwards he can even make these public” said Gulyás.
(Bálint Magyar says this is not true-ed.).
The only question, according to the Fidesz MP, is “whether somebody knows they have something to hide that would prevent them from does this.”
Wittinghoff: “I nearly fell out of my chair”
It might be a coincidence, but in any event it is different to image better timing according to Tamas Wittinghoff. Shortly before the Manner interview was published, the mayor of Budaörs demanded all secret police files be made public.
“The government in power does not to anything to uncover the past. Even with its two-thirds parliamentary majority it failed to make public the secret agent files. That is why I am initiating discussions with organizations protecting the interests of political victims and with those who think it important that nealry three decades after the system change the files be released. Together we demand that something finally happen in this matter.”
On the subject of the Simicska-Orban war, Wittinghoff said “I nearly fell out of his chair. If what he says is true, then it’s totally shocking, and if it’s not true, then I don’t understand his objective, but to an outside observer this is terrible,” said the mayor, adding that “this is why it is necessary to know who worked as agent informers for the secret police, so that nobody can be blackmailed.”
Tarjányi: Copies of files were sent to Moscow
Former police commando, Peter Tarjányi believes the Moscow files exist and that there is probably something to what Simicska is saying. In the Autumn of 1990, “when it was certain that the Soviet army had to leave Hungary by June of 1991”, Tarjányi says he personally witnessed that the Russians had archived documents, for example, in connection with the Catholic Church. He says that Simicska’s claim that copies of these documents exist in Moscow is certainly true regardless of what actually took place between Simicska and Orbán.
“If someone was given a task after being recruited, then some kind of document was created.” He said that the 1987 document to which Guly’s refers purporting to prove that Orbán was not recruited could be disinformation.
“Interesting things happened in 1990” according Tarjányi, who says that not only were old documents destroyed but new ones were manufactured, or existing files modified, as well. He said that processing all the files would involve a large amount of work, and that for this reason they should concentrate primarily on those occupying leading economic and poliltical positions in Hungary today. The problem, according to Tarjányi, is that “this is the second time Simicska is talking about some kind of Russian influence over the Hungarian government.” Tarjányi believes it is in Russia’s interest for the current government to remain in power “for a long time” warning that towards this end “a secret service will employ all means in the interest of realizing Russia’s political will.”
Havas: Many files were destroyed 25 years ago
Author Henrik Havas told ATV that through January 18, 1990 an articulated lorry made two or three trips between the Csepel paper factory and the Néphadsereg (people’s army) street, and that some 40 tons of documents were destroyed. He recalled to ATV that the Minister of the Interior, Istvan Horvath, was forced to resign after SZDSZ and Fidesz representative filed an official complaint in January 1990 claiming the state security authorities was “pressuring opposition parties and organizations using the means and methods of the secret police”, even though this was forbidden by the constitution adopted in October 1989.
Havas thinks that it was very important to foreign secret services to obtain information about those people who would later “rise to positions of leadership in Hungary’s new democracy”. “Many things were either not documented, or not documented in time”, says Havas, because the Hungarian secret service “was sloppy”. However, despite ongoing roundtable discussions, they continued to monitor the opposition says Havas. He says former Prime Minister Péter Boross told him that there was enormous pressure on the part of the small shareholders and the Christian Democrats to be able to access the agent files “partly in order to remove what was uncomfortable, partly to insert” documents.
With regard to Simicska, Havas commented that it was “shocking that after a friendship spanning many decades someone could make such a statement. “This is a terrible accusation.”
Magyar: There are more files than they realize
On Tuesday morning Balint Magyar reacted to the Mandiner interview on ATV Start. He said that the destruction of documents did not only occur before the system change but during the Antall government (1990-1994) as well. He thinks the real question is why Fidesz, KDNP, MDF, and MSZP have opposed the release of all agent files for the past 25 years. He believes this has to do with the fact that a number of active politicians served as informants, and also the fact that such politicians can be blackmailed.
Magyar cannot say whether Orban was an agent or not, but he brought with him a 70-page report written about himself by a German acquaintance, and that he was certain there was copy of it in Hungary as well as numerous parts of it were prepared here. “In Hungary it is not possible to access operative reports, monitored telephone conversations, or films or photographs taken of people under observation. This is shameful” says Magyar.
Contrary to what Gulyás told ATV the previous evening, Magyar said that if somebody requests documents about himself, he is given a heavily filtered material consisting only of what they want him to receive. He complained that no body exists to determine what does and does not constitute state secrets, but that anyway “it is absurd that 25 years after the system change any material should remain confidential.”