Victor Sebestye


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Victor Sebestyen (born 1956) is a historian of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Communism. Victor was born in Budapest. He was a child when his family left Hungary as refugees. As a journalist, he has worked for numerous British newspapers, including The London Evening Standard, The Times, and The Daily Mail. He has contributed to many American publications, including The New York Times. 

He reported widely from Eastern Europe when Communism collapsed, and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. He covered the wars in former Yugoslavia and the breakup of the Soviet Union. At The London Evening Standard, he was a foreign editor, media editor, and chief leader writer. He was an associate editor at Newsweek.

His first book, Twelve Days (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2006, Pant‍heon 2006), was an acclaimed history of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. It was translated into 12 languages. His second, Revolution 1989 (W&N 2009, Pant‍heon 2009), was a highly praised account of the fall of the Soviet empire. 

In 2017 he published Lenin the Dictator, a full-scale biography of the founder of the first Communist state, which was shortlisted for the Longford Prize in the UK, the Plutarch Award, and the PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for biography in the US.

He has been a speaker at universities, literary festivals, and conferences throughout Europe and the United States. He sat on T‍the Advisory Council of T‍the UK based in Wilton Park, the think tank and discussion forum for international affairs. His latest book, Budapest - Between East and West, was published in June 2022.

In his quest for power, he promised people anything and everything. He offered simple solutions to complex problems. He lied unashamedly. He identified a scapegoat he could later label 'enemies of the people.' He justified himself on the basis that winning meant everything: the ends justified the means. ... Lenin was the godfather of what commentators a century after his time call 'post-truth politics.'

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