Zsolt Németh took a 1956-style approach to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, writing “Ruszkik haza! Legyen béke! (Russians go home! Let there be peace!”) Below the post he commented “peace is in the interest of the entire world!”Continue reading
The “…war launched by Russia (…) cannot be defended, or explained, at all,” reads Katalin Novák’s Facebook post. The President-elect shared the section of her election speech on Thursday evening. She is the second politician from Fidesz circles who has openly criticized Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.
Novák’s words should not have come as surprise, as she said these exact words in her election speech a week ago. This part of her speech, however, went somewhat unnoticed by many at the time. Her decision to repost this sentence a week later, as if to highlight it, is certainly telling.
It is no wonder that her decision to condemn Russian aggression with a statement written in the colors of the Ukrainian flag has attracted attention.
Novák is no longer a Fidesz politician, since her presidential term begins in May, a position which requires party political neutrality, but her long history with Fidesz is well-known. However, her latest move was not in line with Fidesz’s main messages concerning the Ukrainian war. The Orbán government, of which she was a loyal member for years and in Fidesz she recently held the position of vice-president, while adhering to its NATO commitments, has run a policy it describes as “strategic calm.” Critics have associated the policy with neutrality, a controversial one considering that the majority of the international community openly backs Ukraine.
Azonnali notes that a significant number of comments to Novák’s post were written by Hungarians claiming that Russia has no choice but to invade Ukraine, and that “other causes” of the war should be looked after.
Zsolt Németh, a Fidesz representative and one of the governing party’s founders, also took to Facebook on Thursday to denounce Russian aggression and call for peace. Sharing the famous 1956 slogan, “Russians go home!” Németh’s statement took a clearly harsher stance against Vladimir Putin. Like Novák, he received many highly critical comments from Fidesz voters.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Máthé/MTI