A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center had asked citizens around the globe about their opinion concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. The results from Hungary could be very useful in understanding the country’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine, and may help dispel certain myths circulating in the international media.
When asked, 79% of Hungarians have confessed to having no confidence towards Vladimir Putin in handling world affairs, while only 19% said that they do. The question is very different in nature from, for instance, whether they have sympathies towards or support the Russian politician. This is not a question about which side citizens support in the present conflict. However, the number will surprise many weaned on Western press articles regularly making the impression that the Russian president enjoys a cult-like support among ordinary Hungarians. The number is also a clear indication that Putin is not only unpopular among opposition or left-wing voters, but also among a good number of government sympathizers.
As to the trust in the Ukrainian president, Hungarians are even more skeptical towards him than towards his Russian counterpart. As many as 86% of our citizens distrust the Ukrainian leader, only 11% of those surveyed said that he would do the right thing regarding world affairs. This is the lowest among all nations surveyed and probably reflects Hungarians’ weariness of the Ukrainian government known for its serious violation of the rights of the Hungarian minority in the Transcarpathian region.
The numbers clearly show, that mistrust towards the Ukrainian government among Hungarians does not equal sympathies towards the Kremlin. As in terms of trust towards Vladimir Putin, the perceptions concerning the Ukrainian President are not divided along the lines of political allegiance. An 11% popularity means that over half of left-wing voters in Hungary would not trust Volodymyr Zelensky with handling world affairs.
The same conclusion could be drawn from numbers indicating the balance between punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine on one hand, and maintaining energy exports from the country. Hungarians seem to be world leading in thinking that being tough on Putin should not come in the way of oil and gas imports. This can be explained by either that they do not think that energy sanctions are an effective way of ending the conflict, or that the energy security of their own country must take precedent over any retaliatory action against Russia. Both positions are maintained by the Hungarian government.
Via Pew Research Center. Featured Photo: Pixabay