Budapest, January 21 (MTI) – The head of Budapest’s Corvinus University has dismissed an appeal by the co-ruling Christian Democrats to remove a statue of Karl Marx from the university’s entrance hall.
Zsolt Rostovanyi said in an open letter that reforms at the university and changing its communist-era name of Karl Marx University of Economics earlier had “clearly demonstrated a radical change in direction”. The statue, however, is part of the university’s history, he said.
Its removal had been proposed in the early 1990s, but the university’s leadership concluded at the time that “removing the statue would not change the past”.
Rostovanyi said that Marx was controversial and that his ideas, especially their later interpretations, had paved the way for 20th-century dictatorships. But Marx’s works are on the curricula of leading universities in the western world, and dozens of streets and squares are named after him, he added.
Rostovanyi also referred to a recent study on place names by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and quoted it as saying that Marx’s achievement is universally appreciated.
The Alliance of Young Christian Democrats (IKSZ) on Monday demanded the removal of a statue in a demonstration at the university.
“It is unacceptable that Marx, who openly espoused anti-Semitic and racist views, should have a statue in Hungary,” Milan Palfalvi, the deputy head of the organisation, told a news conference held in front of the building.