Budapest, October 7 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Polish President Andrzej Duda will address the October 23 national holiday commemorations in Budapest, Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog said on Friday.
The organisers aim to soft-pedal state protocol during the events, and the spotlight will fall on invitees who stood up for the Hungarian cause during the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution.
Out of 13.5 billion forints (EUR 44m) budgeted for the 60th anniversary year celebrations, 7.7 billion forints were allocated for tenders, of which 4.3 billion forints have been spent, he noted.
The government has also earmarked funding for the publication of 155 books about 1956, 280 commemorative events and 52 movie scripts. So far a total of 355 municipalities have received funding for their various events, he added.
The minister said the events would also aim to present the message that Hungarians are a free people and were the first to express their desire for freedom during the era of Soviet rule.
Balog stressed that the upcoming anniversary would likely be the last round-number anniversary on which survivors of the revolution will be able to share their stories.
He revealed that Stanislaw Tillich, minister-president of Saxony, and Marek Kuchcinski, Poland’s parliamentary speaker, are scheduled to take part in a festive session of parliament on October 25.
The revolution will also be commemorated in capitals throughout the world with conferences and exhibitions.
Mária Schmidt, head of the House of Terror Museum and government commissioner in charge of the 1956 memorial year, said the anniversary would showcase the heroic accomplishments of those who “had not prepared to become heroes … but were faced with a choice … and made a decision to fight for freedom and independence”.
Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said it was a “dirty” move to try to conflate the mass migration waves of the current decade with the plight of Hungarian refugees in 1956. He said drawing parallels between the two situations demonstrated a lack of knowledge of history.