30th anniversary of Imre Nagy's reburial

The remains of Imre Nagy, former head of government and Hungarian national hero since his execution in 1956, were reburied 30 years ago. At the public ceremony marking Nagy's rehabilitation on June 16, 1989, Viktor Orbán, the incumbent prime minister, called for Soviet troops to withdraw from Hungary. Commentators take stock 30 years on.

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444 (HU) /

The martyr has been removed

The Hungarian government only recently had the statue of the reformist communist Imre Nagy quietly removed from its place in front of the Hungarian parliament building, 444 points out:

“At the end of December the statue of former prime minister Imre Nagy was taken down from its plinth on Kossuth Square in the middle of the night so that the Horthy era [from 1920 to 1944 under the authoritarian regent Miklós Horthy] could be visually resurrected outside the parliament. ... The statue of Imre Nagy created by Tamás Varga, which until then had looked towards the parliament, was moved to the foot of the Margaret Bridge outside the parliament building. It wasn't inaugurated; the workers simply left after it was erected. Yet several people laid a wreath there to mark the anniversary of the reburial of the prime minister who died a martyr's death.”

Válasz Online (HU) /

Hungarians feel betrayed

The political transition was a disappointment for Hungarians, comments philosopher Zoltán Balázs on Válasz Online:

“Since the 1990s the majority of the population has been unhappy. They felt cheated, hamstrung, and betrayed. It turned out that we were bankrupt, no longer had a János Kádár [head of the Socialist Party from 1956-1988], and that even the Russians were better off. Because they too were poor, but at least they could blow up the world if they wanted to. We looked on as Vienna grew less and less accessible, Budapest got dirtier and dirtier, and more and more algae grew in Lake Balaton. The elite is powerless and unable either verbally or physically to offer us anything good at all.”