Hungary Table of Contents
In the late 1980s, Hungary's 15,000 member Security Police was controlled by the Ministry of Interior. However, unique among Warsaw Pact countries, Hungary lacked a uniformed security police force. Such a force--the AVO--had existed but was disbanded in October 1956 (see Historical Background and Traditions , this ch.). Given the vehemence with which the public hated the AVO and associated it with the Stalinist terror, the Kadar regime saw fit not to revive it, even under a different name. Nevertheless, until the late 1980s the Security Police continued to harass and arrest those persons deemed to be political enemies.
The reform of the political system during the second half of the 1980s appeared to have also affected the Security Police. In an interview on Hungarian television in July 1989, Minister of Interior Horvath claimed that the Security Police no longer viewed the domestic opposition as political enemies, an image that had become "obsolete" in a multiparty system. He condemned previous Security Police actions, such as harassing and detaining known dissidents before national holidays as "a bad reflex action of a different type of power structure." Horvath stressed that the Security Police did have a legitimate intelligence and counterintelligence function but was not an organization "placed above the citizens."
Data as of September 1989