Leftist-liberal political activist a money magnet for wealthy foreigners
So long as Hungarian activist Marton Gulyas's former channel was financed by the Common Country Foundation (Kozos Orszag Alapitvany), the foundation kept receiving foreign funding. When, however, the activist's YouTube channel called Partizan was relaunched in 2020, the foreign donors appeared there.
There is no doubt that former leftist-liberal political activist Marton Gulyas, who currently hosts his own programme on YouTube, is quite successful in lobbying for donations within the political left, the Hungarian Mandiner portal writes.The author remarks that Mr Gulyas, the former manager of Kretakor, and the founder of Human Platform, Slejm, Common Country Movement (Kozos Orszag Mozgalom, CCM) and the Partizan YouTube channel always finds a source for his system-critical political and media initiatives. Two of his organisations, the Common Country Foundation and the Partizan Foundation for the Production of System Critical Content (Partizan Rendszerkritikus Tartalomeloallitasert Alapitvany) are of special importance. The former is behind the Common Country Movement and the Slejm YouTube channel, while the latter provides the background for the Partizan YouTube channel.
The fact that the revenues of CCM, which originally dealt with issues of Roma integration, soared from a few million forints a year to tens of millions during the 2017 campaign and the 2018 parliamentary elections could be described as an instance of election-induced financial prosperity, except that this increase cannot be put down to heightened electoral sentiment and th eresulting wave of public donations, but rather the appearance of international donors. The organisations which gave donations included the Institute for Democracy LLC, the Association of Alternative Communities (Alternativ Kozossegek Egyesulete), which was supported with 145 million forints (360 thousand euros) by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations in 2019 only, and the Polgar Foundation for Equal Opportunities (Polgar Alapitvany az Eselyekert).
The Common Country Foundation received only 29,000 forints (73 euros) in 2015, 4,970,000 forints (12500 euros) a year later, and 38,354,000 forints (96.5 thousand euros) in the year before the elections. In 2017, they spent 10 million forints (25 thousand euros) donated by the US-based Institute for Democracy, 14 million forints (35 thousand euros) donated by the Soros-funded Polgar Foundation for Equal Opportunities, and only 12 million forints (30 thousand euros) came from donations by citizens. According to some calculations, this puts the public donation rate at 31 per cent. In the year of the parliamentary elections, the total income of the Common Country Foundation jumped from 38 to 91,906,000 forints (231 thousand euros), mostly covered from donations by the aforementioned Institute for Democracy, the Alternative Communities Association, financed by Soros, the Polgar Foundation for Equal Opportunities and other companies. 42 million forints (105 thousand euros) were collected from public donations, which is less than half of the total income.
It is curious, however, that as soon as Marton Gulyas’s stake ceased in the Common Country Foundation, CCM’s foreign funding dried up, the author adds. In 2019, their income was a meager 6.2 million forints (15 thousand euros), and the foreign donors disappeared into thin air. Of the organisations linked to Soros, only the Association of Alternative Communities was willing to donate money through the aforementioned channels. The year 2020 was even harder for the foundation, with only 84 thousand forints (211 euros) collected.
Just as the coffers of the Common Country Foundation ran dry, Mr Gulyas and his associates began fundraising for their new foundation, which was to become the main sponsor of Partizan, the Youtube channel launched in 2020. Thus, unlike the Slejm channel, Partizan was no longer funded by the Common Country Foundation, but by the Partizan Foundation for the Production of System Critical Content, which was set up in November 2020.
This means that as soon as another foundation started to finance Marton Gulyas’s newly-launched channel, funds ran out at the Common Country Foundation, which financed his former channel. Put simply, funds for the organisation came and went with Mr Gulyas.
How the Partizan YouTube channel was financed between its launch in May 2020 and November 2020, when the background foundation was established, is unclear, Mandiner.hu notes.
The foundation behind Partizan had a budget of 5.4 million Hungarian forints (13.5 thousand euros) according to its 2020 financial report. In the following year leading up to the new parliamentary elections, the Partizan Foundation for the Production of System-critical Content recorded a total revenue of 272 million 706 thousand forints (appr. 682 thousand euros), with nearly 80 million forints (200 thousand euros) in after-tax profit. It is a significant jump compared to 2020, one might say, but once again revenues were not driven by higher voter activity but by foreign donations coming from overseas.
In December last year, Partizan announced on its Facebook page that their foundation had been granted funding by two prestigious, invitation-based tenders. The organisation won 15 thousand dollars on the German Marshall Fund’s tender while it was awarded 200 thousand euros on The Foundation for Democracy and Pluralism’s tender.
As it turned out, one of the leaders of The Foundation for Democracy and Pluralism, whose mission is to promote civic engagement, is Daniel Sachs, who also sits on the international advisory board of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF). Soros’s OSF also appears on the donors’ list of the Washington-based German Marshall Fund.
Apart from Mr Gulyas’s company establishment – which many believe makes Partizan’s operations rather non-transparent – the donation of 98 thousand dollars flowing in from the US-based National Endowment for Democracy is not irrelevant either, as the grant was spent on their roadshow-based election campaign and Partizan’s truck used on the tour. Previously, the former political activist spoke not only about donations, but also about DatAdat, a company group with ties to Gordon Bajnai, Hungary’s former leftist-liberal prime minister.
Ex-PM Bajnai is a minority owner of the DatAdat company and is not involved in running daily business operations, according to a statement issued by the group that specialises in collecting and analysing data and profiling. (However, his former state secretary and secret service minister, Viktor Szigetvari and Adam Ficsor, are all the more actively involved.)
DatAdat also reared its head during the 2022 election campaign, throwing its weight behind the opposition rainbow coalition’s prime ministerial candidates, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony and Peter Marki-Zay, the mayor of the south Hungarian city of Hodmezovasarhely. DatAdat provided direct support to the general elections’ failed candidate, Mr Marki-Zay, who disclosed that the fundraising at Everyone’s Hungary Movement (MMM) had been carried out by DatAdat, Mandiner.hu writes.