Keyser Soze in Hungary
profrv at nex.net.au
Fri Apr 30 21:12:29 PDT 1999
"Legalised corruption in the Communist days pervaded even the middle and
lower echelons of our society in the form of wage calculations based on the
expectation that practitioners of certain professions would be able to top
up their scanty earnings through tips. This was true of everyone from taxi
drivers, through petrol pump operators to doctors (though the tips there
have a grander sounding name, paraszolvencia or hálapénz, translating
literally as "gratitude money").
Under Kádár, a political position was a means of lining one's pockets, of
living the good life. Party lackeys were an elite, a caste unto themselves
and had many traits in common with today's mafia in the way they went about
their business of bleeding the state dry in creating a conspiratorial,
secretive world where everyone who counts knows everyone else."
"Never in the brief history of post-Communist democracy has the work of a
parliamentary committee attracted such a great deal of attention or
triggered such an outcry. Part of the fascination with Hungary's Oil
Committee lies not just with the general human preoccupation with the
seamier side of existence, the larger than life characters we have become
so accustomed to from the pages of countless detective novelsand with a
series of unexplained deaths, mafia retaliation hits and bombings, the oil
scandals have all the essential ingredients of any paperback thriller..."
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