Why this story matters:
After the fall of Communism, most Central and Eastern European nations faced a similar dilemma -- how to deal with the tens of thousands of people who worked for and collaborated with communist authorities? Should they be banned from public life or, on the contrary, allowed into politics?
This issue was never fully addressed in Hungarian society, and many former collaborators were never outed.
For example, rumours about Kapsovar mayor and Fidesz politician Károly Szita have been going around for years -- rumours which he adamantly denied until this week.
The situation is noteworthy because members of Fidesz often attack their political opponents by exposing their role in the communist regime of the 20th century. They seem to have forgotten the inconvenient reason why so few collaborators were exposed in the nineties: in Hungary, all political factions have skeletons in their cupboards.
Details from the story:
- The newspaper Magyar Nemzet has recently published documents proving the allegations against Károly Szita. According to them, he secretly wrote reports -- under the pseudonym of Peter Krakus -- about friends and family members for State Security under communism.
- This time Szita did not deny the information but failed to confirm it either.
- Despite the scandal, he refuses to resign from his post.
- The people of Kaposvar are divided over the news. Many want Szita to resign, while others do not care about the past and are thankful to him for “doing so much for the city”.
- The newspaper that published the revealing documents has frequently been a source of embarrassment for the government. Its owner, Lajos Simicska, used to be a close friend of the PM Viktor Orban but they had a falling out three years ago.