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The umbrella organization of the veterans of the 1956 Hungarian revolution and freedom fight has condemned the US Embassy-funded billboard campaign, which uses the 1956 slogan – “Russians go home” – in the context of the current war in Ukraine.
In a statement sent to daily Magyar Nemzet, the Public Foundation of Freedom Fighters calls on the US Embassy in Hungary to “immediately and permanently cease its daily actions that violate and seek to influence Hungary’s independent political ability to act.”
“On behalf of the participants and witnesses who survived the struggles and bloody reprisals of the 1956 revolution and freedom fight, and their descendants, we reject the conflation of the revolution with the current Russian-Ukrainian war,” they write, adding that in neighboring Ukraine “we are witnessing a clash of two Eastern Slavic states, fraught with historical conflicts and territorial disputes, while in 1956, Hungarian revolutionaries and freedom fighters were the first and only ones to take up arms against the Soviet empire and the communist dictatorship, which had become internationalized, to regain the sovereignty and democratize the country.”
They argued that
the Hungarian revolution and freedom fight in 1956 was left alone. The United States of America and the West refused to provide military aid to the Hungarian patriots and made empty promises to the revolutionaries and freedom fighters who were shedding their blood on the barricades.”
“The poster campaign of the US Embassy in Hungary serves the purpose of incitement to war and seriously violates Hungary’s sovereignty because it is interference in our internal affairs,” they added.
Last week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also reacted to the billboard campaign. He said that Hungary cooperates with the government elected by the American people, and in America, ambassadors are typically political appointees, so “we have to take note that there is an ambassador who is close to the Democratic Party.” At the same time, he said,
it is unusual that this representation of American opinion is being done through street posters by the American embassy.
Moreover, even though the posters say “Russians go home,” we Hungarians have sent them home. “We have sorted this out,” and Hungarians do not need to be reminded of their own history, he added. He also said the United States had not given up its plan to “squeeze” everyone into a belligerent alliance, but we would not allow ourselves to be squeezed into a war. He pointed out that the map shows that the United States is a safer place, but the same cannot be said for the Carpathian Basin. The risks of world politics look different from Berehovo (Beregszász, Ukraine) or Budapest than from America.
Featured photo via Fortepan / Horváth József