This paper explores the key features of Viktor Orbán’s populist rhetoric, which remained essentially the same from 1989 to the 2020s. Orbán speaks in the name of the nation as a whole, envisions dangerous enemies instead of democratic political opponents, and mobilises against an external occupying power. By systematically evoking fear, the desire for revenge, and naming the ever-present enemies, he transforms historically rooted ressentiment, grievance culture and notions of (self)victimisation in Hungarian national identity into active hate politics. With his rhetoric, he awakens the desire for an authoritarian leader who saves us from a fearful and dangerous world with dictatorial state policies. Theoretically, I analyse Orbán’s speeches and their powerful impact with the concepts of speech act theory and securitisation. The texts include Orbán’s famous speech in 1989, and his series of seasonal addresses during the last twenty years (including a secondary analysis of a database of 41 speeches).
Médiakutató Autumn-Winter 2022 pp. 59-77