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Welcoming Putin

February 18th, 2015

In welcoming Vladimir Putin’s visit to Hungary on Tuesday a pro-government columnist praises the Russian President for what he considers the restoration of Russia’s greatness. The leading left-wing daily contends that in the current geopolitical situation, Hungary should not try to strengthen ties with Russia.

Magyar Hírlap’s Zsolt Bayer praises President Putin for restoring the strength of Russia. The pro-government columnist adds that because of the haunting memory of Hungary’s Soviet Republic in 1919 and Moscow’s decision to send in tanks to suppress the 1956 Hungarian revolution, he is still fearsome of Russia to a certain extent. Nonetheless, Bayer is confident that without Vladimir Putin’s determination, Russia would by now be sold out to the US and would have abandoned its traditional culture in order to become similar to Western consumer societies. As for Putin’s Hungarian critics, Bayer notes that the same people who now uncritically follow Western powers were in the past the most vocal supporters of the Soviet Union.

This visit is more important for Putin than for Orbán,” Népszabadság writes in a front page editorial. The leading left-wing daily suspects that President Putin wants to strengthen Hungary’s image as a Russian ally after recent efforts by the Orbán government to distance Hungary for Moscow. Népszabadság contends that Hungary would in normal times need to maintain good ties with Russia for pragmatic reasons, but because of Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, the Hungarian government should send clear messages instead of trying to balance between Moscow and its critics.

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