A Dutch far-right extremist political party is reporting that a conspiracy theorist with close ties to Russia spoke at the academic year opening of a Hungarian education facility associated with the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. According to the Forum for Democracy International Twitter feed:
On 16 september FVD International director John Laughland spoke at the opening ceremony to mark the start of the new academic year at the Mathias Corvinus College in Budapest.
Dutch media recently described Laughland and his ties to Russia as follows:
September 14, 2022 [FVD party head] Baudet appointed The Brit John Laughland as director of FVD International. That is the international branch of the party, established to forge ties with like-minded parties and organizations abroad. The 59-year-old Laughland is originally a Eurosceptic conservative who obtained his PhD in philosophy at the University of Oxford. Until 2008, he was the European director of the Eurosceptic think tank European Foundation. In addition to being a critic of the EU, he presented himself as a fierce opponent of NATO, which would have violated international law with the intervention in Kosovo in 1999. Between 2008 and 2018, Laughland was research director at a Russia-funded think tank in Paris. During that period he spoke alongside the Russian foreign minister at the United Nations, was a regular guest in Moscow and is still a regular commentator on state broadcaster RT. Laughland called corona a fiction and claimed that the European Union is an invention of the CIA Laughland is known for his extreme positions. Recently he called Ukraine, Bosnia, Kosovo and corona “a fiction” and previously claimed that the European Union is an invention of the CIA to subjugate Europe. EU institutions would also make the Nazis’ ideas salonfähig. At a recent FVD China symposium in Nieuwegein, Baudet said that he and Laughland have “the same ideas about everything”. The Forum leader wrote part of his dissertation The Attack on the Nation-State, which came out in 2012, “with him and with him,” Baudet said earlier. Laughland had been paid with Russian money for years. The two have known each other for fifteen years.
Read the rest here.
A GIOR report on the new National Conservative alliance explained the role of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium in the Orbán government’s struggle to control Hungarian higher education and to create a platform for rightwing figures:
The MATHIAS CORVINUS COLLEGIUM, a Hungarian educational facility, is a key part of the ORBÁN government’s struggle to control Hungarian higher education and is the center of National Conservative activity in the country. This facility, funded by a massive gift of stock from the ORBÁN government, has sponsored events and teaching positions for prominent US right-wing figures. Russia has already begun to employ National Conservative themes in its influence operations which will likely find a more receptive Western audience than in the past. Hungary is particularly fertile ground for Russian exploitation of National Conservatism given the existing close relationship between Russian and Hungarian elites and an extensive pre-existing Russian influence network.
Read the full report here.
The FVD itself has demonstrated increasing sympathy for Russian positions. For example, the FVD recently called the murder of the daughter of Russian ultranationalist and Putin loyalist Alexander Dugin “also an attack on FvD members” and “everyone in Europe who refuses to go along with the narrative of the established media.”
Also speaking at the MCC opening was US philosopher Peter Boghossian, described in the GIOR report as:
…best known as a “radical atheist” and for his 2018 role in the so-called “Grievance Studies” or “Sokal Squared” hoax. As part of the hoax, BOGHOSSIAN and two colleagues submitted fake papers to various specialized academic journals to discredit gender and critical race studies.
In April 2021, Boghossian appeared on the far-right Epoch TV YouTube show, where he defended Viktor Orbán’s decision to defund university gender studies. In February 2022, the MCC reported that Boghossian was a guest instructor at the MCC. The MCC is headed by Balázs Orbán, Viktor Orbán’s political director (no relation), and Boghossian has lavished praise on Balázs Orbán’s new book, The Hungarian Way of Strategy.
The MCC recently announced its plans to open a branch in Brussels.
GIOR reported in March 2002 on the relationship between a British philosopher. FVD leader Thierry Baudet, and the national conservative alliance.