Greetings, dear readers. I am so excited to introduce to you my very special guest blogger today, the talented indie writer Maurice G. Miller. Please make Maurice feel right at home by saying hello in the comments below.
Take it away, Maurice…
Welcome to the “Hungary Eyes” Blog Tour with Maurice G. Miller
First, I would like to thank my gracious host for giving me the privilege to guest blog here on the fourth stop of my weeklong tour. Also, a debt of gratitude to 4 Wills Publishing for organizing all this. The tour runs today through October 14th. If you are interested in continuing with me on the tour stops (and I know you will), just click here for the dates and locations, and don’t forget to bookmark the page. Thanks!
Moving away from the book and my writing for a day, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the current conditions in Hungary, 25 years after the time period that the events in ‘The Budapest Experiment’ took place. It is amazing to me to watch the current resurgence of Russia, and Putin’s vision of a restored Soviet Union. During the recent season premiere, in an interview with 60 Minutes, Putin identified the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s and early 90’s as one of the great tragedies in Russian history. This, combined with the recent Middle East refugee crisis that has plagued Hungary, makes for some interesting situations. Below is a revised excerpt from my very first blog post ever in April of 2015. Please be sure to leave comments/questions/feedback at the end of the post, they are much appreciated.
Political Tug of War – Hungary Revisited
Looking through world headlines these days, you can’t help but take notice of all that is going on with Russia on the world stage. For me, an interesting sidebar to these global events are stories on the role that Hungary could potentially play in Russia’s plans.
The setting of my soon to be released fiction novel, “The Budapest Experiment”, takes place in Hungary in the year 1991. Having spent some time there in the early nineties, I have always held an interest in the progress of Hungary’s democracy, economy, and people. This is what prompted me to choose this topic for my first blog ever. Heavy subject matter, I agree, but I hope you find it to be interesting.
Region in Crisis
The annexation of Crimea and the support of rebel forces in eastern Ukraine have resulted in serious economic sanctions against Russia from the US, Western Europe, and other nations in 2014. Additional sanctions in 2015 seem inevitable. This, combined with falling oil prices, have done some serious damage to the Russian economy. Many are predicting a renewal of the Cold War, and every day there are stories of Russia flexing its military muscle, in one capacity or another, at different locations around the globe. On top of this, the recent assassination of Boris Nemstov, leader of a political opposition group against Putin’s policies, adds more fuel to the fire.
Recent assaults in the Ukraine cities of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Mariupol are evidence that the alleged Russian backed rebel movement is gaining momentum. Securing critical border locations and transportation routes between Ukraine and Russia would allow for covert movements of military resources between the two countries. I am certainly no expert in the area of global political, and military strategies, but it would not be surprising for me to see the rebels slowly gain more control of Ukrainian territory. Perhaps by the end of 2015 going so far as to make a move on Odessa, a major Ukrainian seaport on the northern shores of the Black Sea with key trade routes to Eastern and Western Europe. The big question is will the US and its allies have to become involved in some military capacity to stop the rebel advances, increasing tensions with Russia, and putting the world on the brink?
What’s Hungary Got To Do With It?
Much like the protagonist in my fiction novel, my first trip to Hungary was in January of 1991. It was fourteen months after the fall of the Berlin wall and the perceived end of the Cold War that had been going on for decades. I remember it as a time of great excitement, hope, and anticipation, as Russia and the former Soviet Bloc countries in Eastern/Central Europe were transitioning from Communism to Democracy, and from state to market economies. Hungary and Poland were at the forefront of this transition, with business laws in place to encourage foreign direct investment, privatization, and repatriation of profits.
As we look at Hungary 25 years later, there is an interesting dynamic going on with the current ruling Fidesz party and the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Some experts feel the Hungarian government is shifting allegiances more toward Russia and away from the European Union. The country’s key geographical location in Central Europe could be a vital piece in the political strategy puzzle that Vladimir Putin may be trying to put together. While this may seem like a far-fetched idea, citizens of Hungary are concerned about this, evidenced by large demonstrations in Budapest recently. This dynamic was reinforced by a cordial meeting between Putin and Orban on February 17, 2015, where an agreement was reached over natural gas supplies and routes. Putin’s meeting was sandwiched in between the reportedly, not so friendly, meetings with European Union (EU) leaders the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Poland’s Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz. As all three of these meetings were taking place, Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest in protest, fears of a return to a Communist way of life living in the hearts of many.
Orban has recently come under scrutiny for returning the country toward centralized systems in public education and administration. Political corruption in the government has also been made to be a point of contention. The US recently denied six Hungarian diplomats entry into the country based on outstanding corruption charges. Orban is now faced with a political tug of war and the challenge of straddling the fence, trying to balance relations with both Russia and the EU. Hungary has been part of the EU since 2004. Will Hungary be the first EU country to defect and join instead the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)? Will the EEU expand their integration to include military and political union?
Hungary ‘On the Fence’ – Blog Update
Anyone that is keeping track of world news lately is aware of Hungary’s dilemma in the middle of the overwhelming refugee crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians and other Middle Easterners fleeing their war torn countries trying to make their way to asylum in Western Europe, look to choose the most expeditious route that goes through Hungary. In response, the Hungarian government has detained thousands of these refugees in camps and has built a fence to secure its border with Serbia, preventing refugees from passing through. Emergency legislation was passed allowing border patrols to use force as an additional means to keep the refugees out. The Hungarians are now building a similar fence along the border with Croatia.
As Russia is now running military air strikes against ISIS in Syria, and some claim against rebels/enemies of Syrian President Assad, it will be interesting to observe the unfolding of events in the months and years to come.
What will Hungary, the Middle East, Eastern/Central Europe, the former Soviet Bloc countries, and Russia look like 25 years from now?
On the next tour stop, some background on my initiation into the world of self-publishing.
In celebration of the blog tour, the Kindle version of The Budapest Experiment is available for download for just $.99 thru October 14th. Just click on the Amazon page link below.
Maurice has been involved in the creative arts since his teenage years. Having worked and played in rock/blues bands for most of his adult life, the artistic role models that he came to admire were those authors, musicians, and philosophers that wrote the books, poetry, lyrics, and music that touched and moved the souls of generations. Counted among his favorites authors are J.D. Salinger, Earnest Hemingway, Dante Alighieri, and Kahlil Gibran. Deciding to take a break from the music career, he has rededicated his creative energies toward writing.
Then there is the “business geek” side of him. With an MBA degree, and having started several ventures, he has an obsession for creating new business ideas, digging into data analytics, and dissecting statistics. This passion for entrepreneurship is reflected prominently in his writing style.
Maurice’s debut fictional novel, “The Budapest Experiment”, an international thriller, was released on May 25, 2015 and is available now on Amazon.
Lots more can be found, including book info, social media contacts, and blog posts, at: http://www.mauricegmiller.com
Web Site: http://www.mauricegmiller.com
Amazon Page: http://smarturl.it/budapestexp
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mauricegmiller @mauricegmiller
Google +: http://bit.ly/1N1Jmdv
The Budapest Experiment – Synopsis
At what price would you sell your soul…?
This captivating thriller weaves business, politics, seduction, power, and religion all into a compelling tale of international intrigue.
Set in 1991, during the dawn of the Post-Communist era in Hungary, this novel chronicles the exploits of Michael, an adventurous but struggling American entrepreneur.
During this period of tumultuous political, economic, and social change, the Russian Mob is taking advantage of the ensuing turmoil to entrench itself deeper into the business landscape of the former Soviet Bloc countries.
Navigating through the streets of Budapest, Michael immediately senses an air of mysticism and lurking danger. After a few successes and trials, a series of business dealings leads him to a consulting position with the ‘Organization’.
Seduced by their women, money, and power, Michael becomes entangled in the web of Mob culture. Digging into his conscience, he encounters a spirit ravaged with feelings of guilt and betrayal, but a rapidly growing bank account serves as the means to justify his actions.
Pondering his future, Michael wonders if he can balance this extreme Budapest lifestyle with his ‘ordinary’ family life back home. After padding his wallet for the past several months, would the Organization let him just walk away, or would there be consequences?
This book is intended for mature audiences.