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Árpád Habony

Árpád Habony
Árpád Habony is Viktor Orbán’s unofficial “spin doctor” and a political consultant for Fidesz and its allies abroad. He has been referred to in the media as the “Steve Bannon of Hungary.”

His first known involvement with Fidesz was during the 2000 millennium celebration, where he helped transfer the Crown of Saint Stephen to the Hungarian parliament. After the 2002 Hungarian elections, he became Fidesz’s new spin doctor, replacing András Wermer. Ahead of the 2010 election, Habony worked with American political consultants Arthur Finkelstein and George Birnbaum, who recommended that Fidesz focus on “the bureaucrats" and “foreign capital” as the cause of the country’s ills after the 2008 financial crisis.

Habony developed a close enough relationship with Finkelstein and they formed a company together in 2015. Another prominent member of Fidesz, Tamás Lánczi served as the company’s director. Habony went on to play a key role in the antisemitic state campaigns against George Soros , as well as the anti-refugee campaign promoted by the Hungarian government during the summer of 2015. Despite the close connections shared by Habony and Fidesz, Hungarian government officials often emphasize that Habony does not have a relationship with the state.

During the mid-2010s, Habony sought to expand Hungary’s influence in neighboring countries. Subsequently, he bought Slovenian media companies in an attempt to support Orban’s ally, Janez Janša and attempted to do the same to support the North Macedonian VMRO-DPMNE. Habony also worked on the campaigns of Nikolas Sarkozy of France, and HDZ in Croatia.

Habony was granted a diplomatic passport by the Hungarian government in 2019, even though he does not hold a position in government. He has since become involved with various other projects of the Hungarian government, such as selling Golden Visas, and helped launch a pro-Orbán news agency, V4NA, in 2019. Recently, he has worked on the unsuccessful re-election of the Law and Justice Party in Poland in 2023, and the successful re-election of Roberto Fico in Slovakia in 2024