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Opposing views on gas imports from Russia

March 11th, 2022

A left-wing commentator proposes that Hungarians cut back their consumption of natural gas, to reduce the country’s dependence on Russian supplies. A pro-government columnist accuses the left of betraying the national interest on this issue.

On Wednesday, PM Viktor Orbán reiterated his decision not to follow the United States in cutting oil and gas imports from Russia. He argued that such a step would impose unbearable burdens on Hungarians since Hungary depends on Russian supplies for 85 percent of its gas consumption and 65 percent of its crude oil needs.

In Népszava, István Marnitz lambasts the government for leaving Hungary at the mercy of Russian energy supplies, although it has been repeatedly warned of the dangers of just such unilateral exposure. He suggests that Hungary should cut back gas consumption (‘without jeopardizing consumers’ comfort’) and increase the use of renewable energy sources. He ends his comment by calling on readers to vote for the opposition in three weeks’ time, lest ‘we become servants of the Moscow dealer’.

Magyar Nemzet’s Tamás Pilhál, by way of contrast, sees the opposition as simply subservient to the United States, by wanting to conform to its policies even when they are not required to do so. Scrapping energy imports from Russia, he argues, would have unavoidable catastrophic consequences on Hungarian households. He calls opposition front-runner Péter Márki-Zay ‘an American hoover salesman’ who cannot accept that Hungary is maintaining pragmatic and mutually advantageous relations with Russia.


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