Matt Forney (now at Terror House Mag) is a manosphere/conservative writer who moved to Eastern Europe a couple of years ago. He had excellent coverage of Hungary and Orban’s politics at his Medium blog, which he unfortunately deleted.
However, you can still check out his excellent post 3 Depressing Realities About Living In Eastern Europe at Return of Kings.
Here I am reprinting his comment to my article about migrating to Eastern Europe, which almost qualifies as in article in its own right.
I can offer my two cents having lived in Eastern Europe for the past two years, first primarily in Hungary and now in Georgia (is Georgia Eastern Europe? part of it is geographically in Europe and it has historic connections to Europe through Christianity and the Russian Empire/USSR, but the culture here has a noticeably heavy Turkish/Iranian influence).
Hungary is very much a mixed bag. Budapest is the only city of consequence there: the next largest city, Debrecen, has a population of 200,000. I’ve never been there, but I’ve been to Győr and Miskolc, which are slightly smaller, and they’re basically glorified villages. In terms of infrastructure, services, and English fluency, Budapest is the only game in town. I’d consider settling down in Győr if I married a Hungarian girl only because it’s an hour from Budapest by train (and about an hour from Vienna).
Upsides: Budapest is very livable, though not as nice as Polish cities. Good transportation infrastructure, with an extensive metro, trams, trolleybuses, and buses (though if you live in the city center, you can reach everything on foot easily). Good train and bus connections to nearby cities and Budapest’s airport has a lot of direct international flights. No Uber, but they have Taxify. Good nightlife and restaurants. English fluency is more or less universal among people under 45 (the only time I had issues is when I went to the post office). Postal service is reliable, more so than private couriers. Good shopping options: you have European brands like Tesco, Spar etc. Weather is mild: because it’s in the middle of a bunch of mountain ranges, you get warmer winters and cooler summers than surrounding countries, and little snow. Nice infrastructure, at least in the center. Lots of things to do: museums, festivals, etc. Less overt Americanization than other E.U. countries: there are only a handful of American brands (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and I think there’s a Subway down by Blaha Lujza ter). Low cost of living for an E.U. country. Easy to get residence.
Downsides: TOURISTS everywhere. Outside of winter, downtown Budapest is clogged with tourists, mainly British stag partiers on $20 Ryanair flights. They’re loud, obnoxious, and impossible to avoid. Constant construction: two summers ago, I was woken up at six am on the dot by crews working on the sewer lines outside my house. Questionable cabling quality in the inner city: I regularly got disconnected from the Internet when I did YouTube streams or downloaded large Steam games. Lazy private couriers: ordering packages from DHL or other services is a massive pain in the ass. A preponderance of German-style “inspection shelf” toilets (if you’ve been to Germany, you know what these monstrosities are like). Also, poz is creeping in fast. The women in Hungary are getting fatter and there are tattoo parlors every other block (including, bizarrely enough, the hybrid tattoo parlor/bar or tattoo parlor/cafe, because nothing beats a vegan panini while some fat guy draws a butterfly on your ass). The Hungarian language is insanely difficult to learn; I’ve had an easier time with Russian and Ukrainian, despite them using an entirely different script. Hungarians themselves are cliquish and difficult to befriend; I’m lucky in that I had a social circle before I moved to Budapest. Gypsies are dangerous and annoying, but they’re also easy to avoid. Big homeless problem, particularly in the city center, though from what I understand the government is finally doing something about them.
Upsides: Excellent infrastructure, at least in Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań, and Przemyśl. Very fast and modern trains, trams, metro, buses etc. Warsaw’s airport is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. Better roads than the U.S. English fluency is high in the big cities. Better Internet, postal delivery, private couriers than Hungary. Cleaner. Good selection of European shopping brands. Cost of living is the highest in Eastern Europe but still significantly lower than the U.S. or Western Europe. The Polish population is more distributed so there are a number of smaller cities like Poznań that have pretty good infrastructure and amenities. Poles are still kind of impressed with Americans but that’s fading fast.
Downsides: Poz is more advanced than anywhere else in Eastern Europe; the Poles really really want to be like their American cousins. When I was in Warsaw two months ago, bluehairs and tattoos were everywhere. A lot of overt Catholicism, but also a lot of overt homosexuality. Women are getting fat and obsessing over their careers. Warsaw is an ugly city; most of it was leveled in World War II, so it was rebuilt in an American/Soviet style and is thus very spread out and architecturally unappealing. Krakow is as full of American tourists as Budapest is full of Brits, while Poznań has a lot of German expats. American brands are everywhere: McDonald’s, Subway etc.
Avoid. Belgrade is run-down and depressing, with crumbling buildings and dirty streets. Infrastructure is terrible: I took a train from Budapest to Belgrade and it took nine hours (for the record, the two cities are less than three hours apart by car) due to the shoddy rails. More expensive than Budapest (WTF?). I’m told Novi Sad has a better quality of life, but Novi Sad is also very small, so take that for what you will. The food in Serbia is really good: I love ćevapi and pljeskavica. People there are cliquish, though there’s surprisingly little anti-Americanism (aside from a huge installation at the parliament building blaming the Clintons for stealing Kosovo and defending Albanian war criminals); when I was there, there were a lot of people hocking Trump and Putin T-shirts. Women are less pozzed than in Hungary or Poland, but there are a shocking number of lesbians (their prime minister is a lesbian, for crying out loud).
Only been through here briefly a few times, in Banská Bystrica and Donovaly. Seemed like a more conservative and less developed Poland, with crappier roads and less English fluency.
Upsides: really attractive women. Cheap.
Downsides: bad infrastructure, not as bad as Serbia’s (at least Ukrainian trains run on time), but still pretty bad. The desirable cities like Lviv are flooded with tourists, particularly weird sex pests from both the West and the Middle East, so the women are less open to getting hit on by foreigners every day. Water is not drinkable due to heavy metal contamination. Sucky Internet. Food is of questionable quality. Nightlife and restaurants questionable. Cities are unappealing: Lviv has a nice city center, but the place falls apart when you leave it. Mukachevo has a waterfront that the city has allowed to turn into a disgusting swamp. People are constantly trying to rip you off. English fluency is spotty.
Upsides: cheaper than Ukraine, but with a quality of life comparable to Hungary and approaching Poland in some respects. People are generally honest (though you need to watch out for Middle Eastern-style haggling culture, which is influential here). Good selection of European brands like Spar and Carrefour. Little in the way of Americanization or poz (I’ve seen maybe six bluehairs in five months, no tattoos). Easier to import goods from the U.S. Easy in general to do things like open bank accounts and start businesses. Good nightlife mainly focused around hipster-type bars. Women are more chaste than any other country I’ve been to. Minimal amount of Western tourists; mostly Russians and Iranians. Good food. Very easy to get residency. Nice infrastructure in the city center. Unlike in other parts of Europe, cashiers bag your groceries for you and you don’t have to pay to use the bathroom.
Downsides: shopping selection is inferior to E.U. countries. English fluency is spotty in Tbilisi and nonexistent elsewhere. Public transportation is lacking: the metro is reliable but only has two lines, there are no trams, and everything shuts down at midnight. Postal service is a sick joke; banks won’t even mail ATM cards to people because it’s that unreliable. People are friendly to foreigners (and super-impressed with Americans) but can be dense in a way that only Ukrainians even begin to approach. The Georgian language is almost impossible to learn: it sounds like a hybrid of Hungarian, Arabic, and Russian, and it has its own unique script on top of that. Outside the city center, the architecture is a combo of typical Soviet drudgery and modern American suburbanization.