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Government official marks anniversary of 1956 martyr Imre Nagy’s reburial

The deeds of Imre Nagy, the martyred prime minister of Hungary's 1956 anti-Soviet uprising, carry the message that Hungary's national interests must come first, a foreign ministry official told a commemoration event on Friday.

Marking the 65th anniversary of Nagy’s execution and the 34th anniversary of his reburial at the late prime minister’s memorial statue in Budapest, Tamas Menczer, the state secretary for bilateral relations, noted that the martyrs of 1956 had not been given their last rights until decades after their executions.

The rehabilitation of Nagy and his fellow martyrs was a symbolic and cathartic event of Hungary’s change of regime in 1989, Menczer said, calling the event “the start of a new period in Hungarian political life”.

Menczer said Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speech at the ceremonial reburial held in Heroes’ Square in which he demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary and free elections was “burned into the nation’s memory”.

“We must also remember the unmarked graves, because it is those that symbolise the regime that had been incapable of doing, or — what’s even worse — refused to do the moral minimum,” the state secretary said.

Though the 1989 reburial brought closure and was a symbolic victory of the 1956 revolution, “the years that followed showed that to the leaders and representatives of the state party, the change of regime had merely been an attempt to secure their positions by transferring their powers,” Menczer said.

The change of regime brought freedom and peace to Hungarians, “but this can only be preserved if we continue to protect our sovereignty and Hungarian interests in the future, too,” he said.

“We reject all imperialist aspirations, including the concept of a united states of Europe,” Menczer said. “We are fighting for a Europe of nations, an EU comprising strong sovereign member states.”

At the end of the ceremony, Menczer and other officials laid wreaths at Nagy’s statue on behalf of the government, the president, the prime minister, the speaker of parliament, the Kuria, the chief public prosecutor’s office, the Constitutional Court and the Hungarian Armed Forces.

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