Balance of Power: How George Soros Ended Up on Hungarian Election Billboards

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Democratic mega-donor George Soros — also a major patron of democracy in ex-communist eastern Europe — has become a political bogeyman in his native Hungary.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an anti-Muslim leader who’s promised to build an “illiberal democracy” modeled on Russia, has taken to demonizing Soros and the European Union as interlopers who have helped ruin the “old, magnificent Europe from before the time of multiculturalism.”

Orban’s Fidesz party has targeted Soros — a billionaire financier who was a chief donor to Barack Obama’s election bids — in a nationwide, taxpayer-funded billboard campaign that’s been criticized as anti-Semitic.

The Hungarian developments follow euroskeptic gains in last weekend’s Czech election and a warning from Poland’s human-rights commissioner that the country — the EU’s largest eastern member — is heading toward authoritarian rule.

If Orban’s call for Europeans to “take back control of their nations” from Brussels resonates, it could be a sign that ties are rapidly eroding in the former communist east.

Balance of Power: How George Soros Ended Up on Hungarian Election Billboards

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Balance of Power: How George Soros Ended Up on Hungarian Election Billboards

To contact the author of this story: Michael Winfrey in Prague at mwinfrey@bloomberg.net.