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More on PM Orbán’s Moscow visit

February 4th, 2022

A left-wing commentator thinks that President Putin’s demand that NATO pull back from Eastern Europe (to the 1997 status quo) means the Hungarian government can no longer sit on the fence. A pro-government pundit accuses those who side with Ukraine of treason.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss thinks that following President Putin’s demand that NATO should pull out of the former Warsaw Pact countries, the Hungarian government must give up its efforts to balance between East and West. Trying to maintain good relations with an expansionist Russia, whilst remaining a member of NATO and the EU, is no longer a tenable strategy, he suggests. The left-wing pundit urges the Hungarian government to call on Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and thereby make unmistakably clear that it is part of the West and does not want to return to the Russian sphere of interest.

On Pesti Srácok, Kristóf Trombitás writes that ‘siding with Ukraine is treason’. The pro-government columnist finds it understandable that many Hungarians have strong feelings against Russia. Trombitás, however, thinks that politics should be based on contemporary realities, rather than historical grievances. He goes on to claim that Russia is no longer an imperial Communist state, but an Eastern country that protects ‘normalcy’ and conservative values from ‘all the garbage flowing from the West’. As for the geopolitical crisis, he agrees with President Putin that NATO breached its promise by overextending to Eastern Europe, and therefore Trombitás does not find it at all surprising that Russia wants to keep Ukraine, at least as a buffer country. Siding with Ukraine should be considered as treason, as such a stance jeopardizes Hungary’s interest in securing gas from Russia as well as the interests of Hungarians in Transcarpathia, who are systematically oppressed by the Ukrainian government, Trombitás concludes.

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