When I spoke with Gyöngyösi, he voiced his admiration for Evola. Jobbik’s resistance to immigration, he said, is limited to people from “Africa or the Middle East,” because they do not share the same “cultural values” as Hungarians, as opposed to the “Austrians or Polish or American people who come to our country and who share the same civilization, the same religion, or the same values or way of life.” But despite Jobbik’s ideological overlap with the Arktos scene, Gyöngyösi denied that it has any influence over the party.
Prior to Arktos, Friberg also had long-standing and prolific ties to far-right extremists in Sweden. As a teenager, he was heavily involved with neo-Nazi groups and, at the age of 28, helped construct and manage the online forum Nordisk.nu, a 22,000-member-strong gathering place for Scandinavian national socialists, including Anders Breivik. Friberg also served time in prison for various offenses from 1995 to 2010, including for possession of a stolen AK4 rifle (a rifle formerly used by Swedish army) and other illegal weapons.
More recently, Friberg has sought to obscure his violent transgressions under a cover of intellectual legitimacy. With an MBA from Göthenberg University and work experience at Wiking Mineral, a company founded by far-right political backer (and fellow Budapest resident) Patrick Brinkmann, Friberg now sports a “fashy haircut” and suits. He prefers to mingle with coiffed intellectuals and politicians in lieu of skinheads. He has spent his far-right career repackaging eugenicist ideology by rebranding the same or similar material with words such as “identitarian,” “traditionalist,” or “archeofuturist.” His partner, U.S. white nationalist Richard Spencer, has been criticized for doing the same thing by hate-watch groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.
While Gyöngyösi admits to knowing Friberg, he claims he knows nothing of Friberg’s criminal history. Gyöngyösi was skeptical before I read from his arrest record, and ultimately admitted that he is “not particularly happy ... about any criminal from any country living in Hungary.” But most important to Gyöngyösi is “that nobody from outside imposes on Hungary some social model that is not welcome in Hungary.”
In Budapest, Arktos is surrounded by alt-righters who have made the trek to the increasingly illiberal Hungary. Michael Polignano, co-founder of Counter-Currents, moved to Budapest in 2016, and joined the nationalist scene. After moving to Hungary in January 2017, men’s rights activist Matt Forney wrote: “Imagine there’s no leftists. It’s easy if you try. No protests in the streets, and in front of us, only cute white girls. That world exists, and it’s called Hungary.” Ferenc Almassy, a French nationalist, has worked as a translator for Jobbik. He helps other French nationalists new to Hungary acclimate to their haven. Popular American far-right YouTube and Twitter personality RamZPaul, who has lived in the Hungarian capital off and on since 2013, tweeted in February to nearly 35,000 followers: “Budapest is like Paris of the 1920s. #Hungary.”