RussiaOctober 27 2022, 13:29 pm

Hungarian Educational Facility at the Heart of Hungarian Anti-LGBTQ Propaganda; Russian Influence Playing Its Role

GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion has dis­cov­ered fur­ther back­ground on the role played by the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium (MCC), a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion facil­i­ty, in dis­sem­i­nat­ing Russ­ian-style anti-LGBTQ pro­pa­gan­da. A March 2022 report by the Hun­gar­i­an think-tank Polit­i­cal Cap­i­tal report explains the grow­ing impor­tance of the MCC in anti-gen­der and anti-LGBTQ mobi­liza­tion and how for­eign con­ser­v­a­tives are pre­sent­ed as “renowned for­eign experts:”

In the past few years, the anti-gen­der and anti-LGBTQI mobil­i­sa­tion was not a promi­nent top­ic for Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium, but it recent­ly seems to have gained impor­tance. This can be expect­ed to inten­si­fy in the near future, based on the grow­ing num­ber of recent­ly pub­lished books on the sub­ject and the poten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tion with Euro­pean edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions. As men­tioned ear­li­er, MCC has rela­tions with inter­na­tion­al and region­al net­works. MCC main­ly invites inter­na­tion­al actors either as guest speak­ers to its events, such as the MCC Fes­zt (e.g. Tuck­er Carl­son), MCC Budapest Sum­mit (e.g. Paul Cole­man, Sophia Kuby, Glad­den Pap­pin, Denis Prager), the lec­ture series Patri­ot­ic Talks (e.g. Jaime May­or Ore­ja, Gré­gor Pup­pinck, Luca Volon­té) and Budapest Lec­tures (e.g. Mar­i­on Maréchal Le Pen) or as guest lec­tur­ers (e.g. Francesco Giubilei64), by grant­i­ng gen­er­ous fel­low­ships. Hence, these actors are pre­sent­ed as renowned for­eign experts. MCC also pub­lish­es books on the top­ic, dis­sem­i­nat­ing them through spon­sored adver­tise­ments and launch­ing events with the authors…Marion Marechal Le Pen expressed in an inter­view that she hopes her high­er edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tion, Insti­tut des Sci­ences Sociales, Économiques et Poli­tiques (ISSEP), will build future coop­er­a­tion with Col­legium Inter­mar­i­um and MCC.

Read the rest here.

The report sum­ma­ry fur­ther explains that the MCC is one of two lead­ing Hun­gar­i­an actors mak­ing use of US con­ser­v­a­tives to sup­port its aims:

For­eign actors and net­works give the Hun­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment legit­i­ma­cy and inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion, which [the Hun­gar­i­an rul­ing paer­ty] Fidesz can then sell to its domes­tic audi­ence. In return, for­eign allies present Hun­gary as a legit­imis­ing ally to their domes­tic audi­ences. The Hun­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment has strate­gi­cal­ly estab­lished con­nec­tions with con­ser­v­a­tive US actors to boost its image in the USA and the larg­er inter­na­tion­al are­na. The lead­ing Hun­gar­i­an actors with US con­nec­tions are the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium and the Cen­ter for Fun­da­men­tal Rights.

Read the rest here.

A GIOR report yes­ter­day iden­ti­fied US aca­d­e­m­ic and MCC guest instruc­tor Peter Boghoss­ian as hav­ing giv­en a talk at an MCC facil­i­ty in Roma­nia. Boghoss­ian is a for­mer Port­land State Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor best known not for aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ments but 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. Dur­ing his talk, Boghoss­ian shared the stage with Botond Cso­ma. a Roman­ian MP whose par­ty mem­bers spon­sored anti-LGBTQ leg­is­la­tion harsh­ly crit­i­cized by Roman­ian civ­il rights groups, who linked the effort to sim­i­lar poli­cies adopt­ed by the Hun­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment. Rus­sia passed sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion in 2013, and the same crit­ics warned that the bill would “fuel Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da and dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns” and rein­state cen­sor­ship in the for­mer com­mu­nist coun­try. The Polit­i­cal Cap­i­tal Report details the con­tin­u­ing role that Rus­sia has on Hun­gar­i­an LGBTQI nar­ra­tives and policies:

Rus­sia has had a clear impact on Hun­gary’s LGBTQI nar­ra­tives and poli­cies, includ­ing pro­vid­ing a mod­el for the “gay pro­pa­gan­da law” passed under the guise of child pro­tec­tion. While direct con­nec­tions between Fidesz (and its prox­ies) and the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment were remark­ably promi­nent a few years ago, they have become less preva­lent, like­ly due to increased Hun­gar­i­an-West­ern rela­tions. The major excep­tion has been strength­en­ing the rela­tion­ship between the Hun­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment and the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church. Russ­ian media also play a key role in laud­ing PM Orban and his con­ser­v­a­tive policies.

A GIOR report on the new Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive alliance explained the role of the MCC in the Orbán gov­ern­men­t’s strug­gle to con­trol Hun­gar­i­an high­er edu­ca­tion and to cre­ate a plat­form for rightwing fig­ures. The report also detailed the poten­tial role of the Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tives in Russ­ian influ­ence operations:

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

In Sep­tem­ber, an East­ern Euro­pean media source cit­ed the Direc­tor of Polit­i­cal Cap­i­tal who explained the con­tin­u­ing role of Russ­ian influ­ence oper­a­tions in Hungary:

While many Euro­pean gov­ern­ments adopt­ed mea­sures aimed at com­bat­ting Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion, Péter Krekkó, Direc­tor of Polit­i­cal Cap­i­tal states that in Hun­gary, Krem­lin nar­ra­tives and the Hun­gar­i­an gov­ern­ment-con­trolled infor­ma­tion ecosys­tem can­not be sep­a­rat­ed: state-linked news, pro-gov­ern­ment jour­nal­ists, and Fidesz-close social media influ­encers have often cit­ed Russ­ian sources (such as RT and Sput­nik) even pri­or to the war to sup­port the Fidesz government’s anti-lib­er­al, anti-migra­tion, or anti-LGBTQ narratives.

Read the rest here.

Ear­li­er this week, we report­ed that the new Brus­sels cen­ter of the MCC will be co-direct­ed by Frank Fure­di, a Hun­gar­i­an-Cana­di­an aca­d­e­m­ic who is also a con­trib­u­tor to RT, the Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da outlet.


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