When Viktor Orbán came to power in 2010, he took over the country and rethought Hungary’s international policy. He questioned the years of diplomacy and redefined the goals that would guide Hungarian foreign policies in the next years. Also, he identified the allies needed to accomplish those goals. He had two main goals: to revitalize the economy, and to find new business allies.. He discovered in RussiaAlthough it is a strong ally, its close relationship to China has attracted the attention of experts in recent years.
Orbán’s policies on immigration and issues related to sexual identity still find wide support among Hungarians. His media monopoly, and his campaign to undermine some state institutions, have not stopped Orban from holding an important democratic mandate that has been backed by his voters. Five days before this Sunday’s elections, the average of five most recent polls gives a slight advantage of 5% to Fidesz-KDNP, Orbán’s alliance. The united opposition, led by Peter Márki Zay, had never been so close to removing Viktor Orbán from government.
Putin and Orbán’s relationship grew stronger in 2012, when the Russian leader returned to the head of state. He came back rejuvenated, presenting himself to be a defender and advocate of traditional values, particularly against gay rights, as well as a religiously distinct option to Western countries that, he stated, “are denying the moral principles to all other people.” ”. Traditional identities that are rooted in national, religious, and sexual devotion.
The friendship that emerged between Putin and Orbán was tolerated among the prime minister’s friends. Poland, a great ally of Hungary and political support of Orbán in the European Union, is awaiting the results of next Sunday’s elections to find out if it will have to come to terms with its neighbor again. Speaking to Polish public radio last Friday, ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he was upset with Orbán’s stance on Russia. “If you ask me if I’m happy, I’d say no,” Kaczynski said. “We will see what will happen after the elections and then this situation can finally be formulated. We are not content.”
With the Budapest position, the European Union’s unanimity is delayed. Orbán responds to Putin’s war in Ukraine with hesitation. Although Hungary has agreed to the Brussels sanctions on Moscow, the Hungarian leader is refusing to allow arms to be transported to Ukraine. Orbán avoids mentioning Putin by name, he has not done so since his visit to Moscow in early February, during the last weeks he has been campaigning for himself as a defender of peace, security and the guarantor of stability energy of the country. Russia is responsible for more than 60% of Hungary’s oil and gas consumption.
Widely seen as the Russian president’s closest ally, Viktor Orbán is keen to point to Hungary’s neutrality in the armed conflict in Ukraine. Orbán has refused to provide military aid to Ukraine and has not allowed lethal weapons to be shipped through Hungary. “The answer to the question whose side is Hungary on is that Hungary is on Hungary’s side,” Orbán wrote on social media last Saturday.
Although his approach has won him admiration at home, his decision not to be ambiguous and support Ukraine has provoked anger and frustration among European leaders, including the Ukrainian president. In a speech via videoconference on Friday before a summit of EU leaders, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a frank and direct call on Orbán to take a clearer stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine and support his besieged country. “I want to stop here and be honest, once and for all. You have to decide for yourself who you are with,” Zelensky said. The president of Ukraine recalled Budapest’s horrors during the 20th century. He also referred to a bronze shoe memorial on the Danube River, which pays tribute to Hungarian Jews who were executed by German-Hungarian fascists during World War II. “Listen Viktor, are you aware of what’s happening in Mariupol?” Zelensky said, referring to the Ukrainian city on the Sea of Azov that has suffered devastating Russian bombardment. “Please, if you can, go to your boardwalk. These shoes are amazing. You will be able to see how mass killing can occur again in our world today. That is what Russia is doing today.”
“Do you doubt whether to impose sanctions or not? Do you have doubts about letting the weapons pass? Do you have doubts about whether or not to trade with Russia? Now is the time to make a decision. We believe in you, we need your support,” said the Ukrainian leader.
It is imperative that the EU change its approach to Moscow because of the war. At a time when most right-wing leaders across Europe are distancing themselves from Putin, Orbán is attempting an impossible balancing act.