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III. i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 371 2016.12.07. 15:47 i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 372 2016.12.07. 15:47 Márton Kozák Western Social Development with an Eastern Set of Values? A quarter of a century after the symbolic event of separating from the communist system, the reburial of the 1956 revolution’s martyred prime minister, Imre Nagy, exotic politicians started visiting Budapest. First, the prime minister of Kazakhstan made a strategic deal with Viktor Orbán, who aimed to please the Azeri dictator with the release of an Azerbaijani citizen responsible for the axe murder of a sleeping Armenian soldier, followed by the Turkmen president’s welcome visit to the Hungarian capital. According to Freedom House’s newest report on the democratic standing of post-communist countries, Turkmenistan is 6.93, Kazakhstan 6.61, and Azerbaijan 6.68 on a scale where 7 is the worst possible value.1 Hungary’s well-maintained and contained relations with these three Islamic postcommunist states provides a useful perspective on the remarks of Harvard University economist János Kornai: Hungary is the first and so far the only country, of those that stepped onto the democratic path in 1989–90, to follow the will of the majority and step off the path toward the West, thus moving it from the group of post-communist democracies to the camp of post-communist autocracies.2 In the 1980s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the foreseeable future, no one would have predicted this outcome for the most Westernized country in the Eastern Bloc. The relatively free inhabitants of the happiest barracks in the Eastern Bloc saw the future in the brilliant historical analysis of Jenő Szűcs: with Eastern and Central Europe, Hungary included, the Russian bear has appropriated, what he has no relation to, what is not i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 373 2016.12.07. 15:47 374 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE his. The region pressed between the Elbe–Leitha line and Russia has conformed to the patterns of the West since the Middle Ages. Its social structure , culture, religion, and traditions, albeit with constraints, have essentially followed the Western model, its borders marked by Catholicism and Gothicism. The Western nature of the region, for the world on this side of the Iron Curtain, was exemplified by Hungary: leading European politicians from Helmut Kohl to Margaret Thatcher visited it then as often as Central Asian dictators do today. Western Institutions, Eastern Values: Our Place in the World’s Values Since Hungary lost its sovereignty in the sixteenth century—its actions were controlled by the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburgs, the shock caused by the Treaty of Trianon followed by the strict limitation of the Soviet invasion—there was little precedent as to how the country would behave without external limitations. The moment of truth arrived after the collapse of the Soviet empire. An internationally coordinated survey demonstrated, with the characteristic objectivity of the social sciences, where Hungary’s place in the world is, and why.3 The graph, in the form of a map of values, is so antithetic to the view of Hungary as the bastion of Western civilization in the East, that researchers did not believe their eyes. The results of a World Value Survey (WVS) that used harmonized questionnaires and uniform methods to determine values, carried out in dozens of countries between 2005 and 2009 (data collection for Hungary was carried out by the TÁRKI Social Research Institute in March 2009), do not in the least support the conclusions of the survey leader: According to the results of our research, Hungary—no doubt—is on the map of world values, where its history and cultural heritage places it. Our value structure roughly fits in among the Western Christian cultures, our choices and preferences make us similar to the Western Christian world. However, our value choices demonstrate that in many respects we are at the edge of this group of cultures, as a closed, introverted society. i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 374 2016.12.07. 15:47 375 Western Social Development with an Eastern Set of Values? The above statement can be understood only if the countries are categorized into separate cultural groups prior to the information being collected, and we qualify the societies based on which religion they practice, whether they use squatting backhouses, or on how many kisses they exchange when they...


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