December 6, 2022

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Orban in the Kremlin: did not go to Moscow like the rest

Status: 02/01/2022 05:25 am

Regular visits to the Kremlin: The routine of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Arban, even in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine. The opposition mocks him as “Putin Pinscher” – and loudly asks whose interests it serves.

Wolfgang Vichtl, by ARD Studio Vienna

Gone are the days when Victor Orban made emotional speeches against Soviet troops in Hungary. It was 1989, a turning point, and the withdrawal of unpopular Soviet troops from Hungary had already begun. Orban later became a friend of the Kremlin: in 2010 he was re-elected Prime Minister of Hungary twelve years ago.

Wolfgang Victor
ARD Studio Vienna

Urban and Russian President Vladimir Putin are now best friends, as well as Orban Putin’s lawyer and lawyer – in the EU, but in the so-called “V 4” Visegrád group that Brussels considers unruly: Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and less pro-Russian poles. Orban showed solidarity with Russia at a meeting of European right-wing populists in Madrid last weekend. Sanctions against Russia? He likes to criticize.

Did not visit Moscow like the others

Unfortunately, anti-Russian politics have become “civilized” in Western Europe, as Orban has repeatedly said, for example when Putin was a state guest in Budapest five years ago. Regular meetings between the two are completely normal – at least Orban sees it this way: “Every year there was a Hungarian-Russian summit, not during an epidemic. We talk about bilateral goals. I – well said: Hungary always has clear goals,” he said. Said on state radio in a speech last Friday.

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However, this year is not every year: the crisis in Ukraine is growing. There is talk of an immediate war. Hungary is a NATO member, shares several kilometers of border with Ukraine and, like neighboring Romania, is in need of NATO troops when stationed. Orban has not yet commented on this. First he flies to Moscow.

Everything for the nuclear power plant construction project

Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Sigardo is trying to divert attention from the Ukraine affair. He says Hungary should not become the “prey” of an “east-west conflict.” He speaks of “hysteria” and that Hungary does not want a new “Cold War”.

Foreign Minister Szijjártó told Russian news agency TASS that he was involved in the construction of two new Russian reactors at the Moscow box nuclear power plant – a project five years behind schedule. Cost: Ten billion euros, funded by the Russian state bank. It is also about further gas supplies from Russia to Hungary, although a new long-term agreement was signed only in October, via a pipeline across the Black Sea into Ukraine.

Hungary’s opposition mocks Arban

Peter Margi-J – the joint opposition candidate for the Hungarian election – in early April – is skeptical of Orban’s agenda. He wonders: “I would love to know why Hungary needs more natural gas in such a short period of time. Mostly it’s about Russian interests, not Hungarian interests.”

Opposition demands: Urban should cancel trip – he will not. As for Arban, this is a tight grip between the loyal NATO member and a strategic alliance with Putin. This is a problem in the growing election campaign for the nationalist populist organ. That is why he hastened to make it clear – he is very campaigning – that it is about Hungary, only and exclusively, in the Kremlin: “Hungary is a sovereign country. We always have the interests of the nation in mind and meet in foreign policy. President.”

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Opposition parties are teasing. Attila Mesterházy, a former party leader of the Hungarian Socialists, says he should not be angry if Orban continues to call him “Putin Pinscher” in the EU if he does not cancel the trip.

Russia’s Trojan horse in the EU?

New nuclear reactors, more gas, Hungarian-Russian joint research projects in space, license for Hungary to produce corona vaccine Sputnik: Critics in Hungary say that Hungary is gradually becoming more and more dependent on Russia. So they see Hungary as a kind of Trojan horse for Russia – in the EU. This is in line with Urban’s anti-Brussels approach – and in the West Balkans.

Orban is also a welcome guest at the Friends of Russia Club. Milorad Dodik, a right-wing populist leader in the Serbian region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is one of them – and relies on his friend Orban. The same is true of Serbia’s pro – Russian President Alexander Vuci.

Geopolitics is played out in southeastern Europe. The European Union, including NATO, is competing: primarily from Russia, but also from China. Orban is therefore welcomed as like-minded; And as acting head of government of an EU and NATO country.

Alternatively, Urban Russia could use its assistance: financial assistance, especially as there is a risk of withdrawal of EU funds. Because the election will take place in Hungary on April 3 – this is the first time in a long time that the opposition will have a chance.