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Hungary President will not attend Moscow Victory Day parade

April 29th, 2015

Commentators both on Left and Right ponder the geopolitical implications of President Áder’s decision to stay away from the May 9 celebrations of Soviet victory in World War Two, and praise German Chancellor Merkel’s wise balancing strategy.

President Áder’s office has announced that the President of Hungary, like other European leaders, will stay away from  the Russian Victory Day parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany on May 9. Hungary will send its Russian ambassador to represent the country.

Népszabadság thinks that President Áder’s long hesitation about whether to attend the parade shows that fault lines are blurred in the region. While other countries in Europe were quick to turn down President Putin’s invitation, Hungary has established stronger ties to Russia and thus could not very easily opt out, Népszabadság remarks. The left-wing daily praises Chancellor Merkel’s wisdom for staying away from the parade itself, but visiting Moscow a day after to lay a wreath in commemoration of victims of World War Two.

In light of Hungary’s recent balancing stategy between West and East, President Áder’s decision is ambiguous, Gábor László Zord writes in Magyar Nemzet. The conservative analyst acknowledges that Hungary had to follow its NATO and EU allies and also that a country which was “Hitler’s last vassal” can hardly be the loudest cheerleader of the parade commemorating Nazi defeat – which also marked the beginning of another totalitarian regime in Hungary. Zord, however, wonders if Hungary has bowed to the pressure of the US and has abandoned its previous balanced foreign strategy in order to join the “anti-Russian Zealots” following Washington’s lead. In conclusion, Zord suggests that it would have been wiser to follow Chancellor Merkel’s strategy instead of clearly siding with anti-Russian countries.

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