The Hungarian prime minister visited Moscow, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on issues such as the country’s energy supply of Russian gas and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Almost all Hungarian opposition parties reacted to the meeting. They agreed that Orbán’s policies represent Russia’s interests rather than that of the European Union or European values. The opposition candidate for prime minister even quoted Orbán from 2007, when he was in the opposition, saying: “Oil may come from the East, but freedom always comes from the West.”
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translated by Júlia Tar.
“Viktor Orbán has become a puppet of Putin. This is understandable, considering that in the name of his family and friends he has amassed an immense fortune in the past 12 years, which he can only keep by making Hungary not comply with the norms of the European Union and even taking us out of the European Union,” reacted Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition candidate for prime minister, in a video commenting on the Putin-Orbán meeting, even before the joint press conference. According to Márki-Zay, the good Russian-Hungarian economic and cultural relations are not a problem; however, “As a NATO member, Hungary should testify that Putin is an aggressor, and should stand up for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
The politician also recalled that Orbán had earlier promised that his Fidesz party would not leave the European People’s Party, but he did not keep this promise. In his opinion, all Hungarians must take a stand on April 3 on whether Hungary wants to be a member of the Western Christian community.
Let’s not allow Viktor Orbán to betray Hungary’s interests, just as he betrayed the European Union. More Europe, less Putin!”,
According to Márki-Zay, Orbán tried to prove to the press after the meeting that he represented the European Union in Moscow. “But we all know that he is Moscow’s representative in the European Union. “The meeting further deepened Viktor Orbán’s isolation in the EU, as his last ally, the Polish prime minister, negotiated with the prime minister of Ukraine, which is threatened by a Russian invasion, during the Putin-Orbán meeting. To turn our country back toward the West, we need a change of government on April 3.” Finally, he quoted Orbán from 2007 when he was still an opposition politician, saying:
Oil may come from the East, but freedom always comes from the West.”
The liberal Momentum movement and its youth organization pasted over some government posters depicting opposition politicians Ferenc Gyurcsány and Péter Márki-Zay with the slogan: “Viktor Orbán dances when Vladimir Putin whistles.” Momentum activists also pasted Putin on the head of Márki-Zay instead of the face of Ferenc Gyurcsány.
Chairman of the right-wing party Jobbik posted only very briefly on his Facebook page, stating:
“Orbán went to Moscow today.
I received the newly appointed Ambassador of the Netherlands, Désirée Bonis, in my office.
➡️ We choose Europe!”
Independent MP Bernadett Szél also criticized Orbán’s trip to Moscow, writing on her Facebook page: “The claim that Hungary gets gas from Russia at a “fifth” of the price and that “cheap” Russian gas makes the overhead cuts possible is obviously not true. We buy gas from the Russians for exactly three times the price the population pays for it, so Russian gas is not cheap at all! It is also not true that the recently signed new gas contract is cheaper than the old one: KSH figures also show that the gas bill paid by Hungary has increased significantly since the contract was signed.
It is in Hungary’s interest to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, for example by insulating houses and increasing the use of renewable energy,”
Szél said, adding: “Orbán always talks about sovereignty, but this time in Moscow he showed the image of the weakest and most vulnerable Hungarian head of government ever. This is not the kind of prime minister Hungary deserves. He is not worthy to represent Hungary after April 3.”
DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány, who as prime minister used to have good relations with Putin, posted the following on his social media page:
“Vote! Europe or Moscow?”
The Hungarian satirical Two-Tailed Dog Party organized a demonstration on the day of the meeting next to the Russian embassy in Budapest under the title: “Sympathy Rally for the Eternal and Unbreakable Hungarian-Soviet Friendship.”
Sources: 24.hu, Facebook
Featured image: Vivien Cher Benko/Prime Minister’s Press Office/MTI