A Hungarian Transition that Needed a Revolution

Current Political Landscape Was Formed in the Clandestine Talks of 1989

13 April 2021

A conversation with Daniel Oross, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences about the nature of the 1989 transition in Hungary and the radical turns taken by the country since then.

Daniel Oross holds a PhD (2015) in Political Science from the Corvinus University of Budapest, Institute of Political Science. He wrote his dissertation on youth participation beyond party politics and focuses on recruitment of politicians, participatory models and political integration since 1989.

Simona Merkinaite: One of the possible explanations of the democratic backsliding, at least in Hungary, is rooted in 1989 and the nature of the transition. There was no major event, no clear moment of a break with the old regime, but rather a gradual change. This allows for a revisionist polarisation of people’s memory of 1989; one narrative states that basically, all the evils of today are due to the fact that the power just shifted from one political elite to another, and that there was no real revolution. What then is the meaning of 1989 for Hungary? 

Daniel Oross

Daniel Oross: Hungary is very specific, in the sense that the word transition rather than revolution is more suitable when describing 1989.

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