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Former PM Antall 30 Years Ago: Naive to Think Russia Gave Up on Central Europe

Júlia Tar 2022.02.28.

Three decades ago, József Antall, the first freely elected Prime Minister of Hungary after the regime change, talked about what might be expected from Russia in the future. He warned that Russia did not give up “its political role in the Central European region.”

It is a naive man who thinks that Russia has given up its political role in the Central European region,”

he started his speech, mentioning his hope of Ukraine becoming a sovereign state as well.

Antall noted that for Russia, modern military divisions are important and that they were “putting back nuclear war technology, deliberately, for years,” into the country.

Fact

József Antall was a Hungarian teacher, librarian, historian, and statesman who served as the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Hungary after the regime change, holding office from May 1990 until his death in December 1993. He was also the leader of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) from 1989.

Antall said that Russia always had big goals, already in the times of Tsarist Russia. “Let’s hope that now they are matched by democratic goals,” he said.

The American presence is necessary. […] We need NATO, we need all regional organizations, we need our security.”

Antall believed that “We can only build on security policy and foreign policy. […] Foreign policy is the security of this country, it is not a luxury, and it is not a neglect of domestic policy, economic and social policy, because it is with this foreign and security policy that we can be a stable oasis. […] This is what will give birth to our working power, and this is what will preserve Hungarian independence,” he concluded.

“The Antall government accomplished something that no one had ever done before”- Interview with Péter Antall
“The Antall government accomplished something that no one had ever done before”- Interview with Péter Antall

The years of 1989-90 are among the most important periods in 20th century Hungary, marking the end of the former communist regime and the beginning of a parliamentary democracy based on a multi-party system. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the regime change, we commemorate József Antall, who, as Hungary’s first democratically elected […]Continue reading

The full video can be watched below:

In 1992, the former Prime Minister also talked about the “Russian danger,” in another one of his speeches.

Featured image: József Antall in 1990 via Zoltán Szalay/Fortepan


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