The political director for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has announced that an educational facility associated with the Orban government is about to open in Brussels. According to the tweet from Balázs Orbán, the Brussels center of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) will be co-directed by Frank Furedi, a Hungarian-Canadian academic and emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent:
October 22, 2022 @MCC_Budapest is about to reach a major milestone and open its Brussels center under the leadership of @Furedibyte & Prof. Werner Patzelt! It is our goal for Hungary to become an intellectual powerhouse, in which MCC plays a key role.
According to a bio: Furedi is:
…a sociologist and social commentator. Since the late 1990s, he has been widely cited about his views on why Western societies find it so difficult to engage with risk and uncertainty. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology.
Furedi is also deeply immersed in US-style “culture war” themes, warning about the danger of “woke capitalism” and so-called university trigger warnings. He is also listed as an author for the Russian propaganda media operation RT (formerly Russia Today), where he has published multiple articles on similar themes, such as “Trans ideology has no place in children’s groups like the Girl Guides” and “How the woke’s war on words took over 2021.” In another RP. piece titled “The sinister legacy of January 6”, Furedi accuses “those in positions of power” of using the January 6 US Capitol insurrection “to develop a culture of fear.”
A recent Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) report identified a new and developing alliance between US conservatives and European nationalists. This alliance, operating under the rubric of “National Conservatism,” is a potential means for Russia to exert covert influence in Europe and the US, using Hungary as a platform. The GIOR report identified the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) as a private Hungarian residential college funded by a massive donation of pubic funds and serving as a centerpiece for National Conservative efforts.
In July 2021, we reported that actors linked to Russian disinformation operations were targeting American far-right audiences on alternative online platforms employing culture-war themes. In January, the GIOR reported on a speech by Russian President Vladamir Putin that closely mirrored right-wing themes that dominate the so-called “culture wars” in the US. In September, we reported that a Dutch political party extremist figure with ties to Russia had spoken at this year’s opening of the MCC.