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Bálint Madlovics, and Bálint Magyar. “Kacyński’s Poland and Orban’s Hungary.” Journal of Right-Wing Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 4 July 2023,


This paper discusses the regimes of Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland (2015–) and Viktor Orbán in Hungary (2010–) from the perspective of a curious paradox: they are very different in functioning but adhere to right-wing ideological frames that are very similar. First, we argue for a dual-level approach to understanding the formal and informal nature of these regimes, and we identify Poland as a conservative autocratic attempt and Hungary as an established patronal autocracy. After a comparative analysis of the two systems, we analyze the regimes’ common ideological frames and explain how legitimacy panels fit the purposes of an ideology-driven regime (Poland) and an ideology-applying one (Hungary). Finally, the analysis is used to explain the divergent responses of the Polish and the Hungarian regimes to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, which also brought the mutual relations of the two de-democratizing countries in the European Union to a breaking point.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.