BUDAPEST – The list was spread across two pages, white type on a black background.
There, plain for all to see in a prominent pro-government magazine, were the names of 200 academics, journalists, human rights advocates and others.
They were the “mercenaries” of Hungarian American financier George Soros, the accompanying article explained. And this was an enemies list.
At once it was a relic from a darker time in Hungary’s history and a modern-day symbol of just how far the country has veered toward a rebirth of autocracy under Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The prime minister has spared little effort in vilifying Soros. Orban has made the Jewish philanthropist the heart of numerous government smear campaigns, countless xenophobic speeches and several pieces of punitive legislation. Before Hungary voted last month, he vowed “revenge” against Soros and his allies for their role in a supposed plot to flood the country with Muslim refugees.
On Tuesday, Soros announced that he is moving the headquarters of his Open Society Foundations from Budapest to Berlin because of an “increasingly repressive” environment in Hungary.