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PM Orbán attends Gorbachev’s funeral

September 6th, 2022

A pro-government and a left-wing commentator agree that PM Orbán made the right decision to honour Mikhail Gorbachev by attending his funeral, while other Western leaders failed to do so.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zsolt Bayer likens Mikhail Gorbachev’s fate to the life of the Brazilian ‘Man of the Hole’, the indigenous man who lived his life alone until his death last week in the rainforest after his tribe were poisoned by settlers. The pro-government commentator suggests that the West lured Mikhail Gorbachev over to their side in the Cold War by offering him and his people ‘toxic sugar’ – which led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Bayer finds it a shame that with the sole exception of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Western leaders did not even bother to attend his funeral and honour him for his bold decision not to use violence to save the Soviet Union.

In Népszava, Gábor Horváth acknowledges that PM Orbán’s decision to attend the funeral was an important gesture to honour Gorbachev’s historical achievements, which made possible the peaceful transition from Communism. The left-wing commentator also thinks that it is a shame that other regional politicians ‘who would not live in sovereign countries today without Gorbachev’ refrained from paying their respects to the last Soviet leader, due to narrow-minded political considerations related to the Ukraine war. Horváth, however, suggests that PM Orbán’s gesture would have been even better if he had invited Socialist Party politicians who negotiated with Gorbachev in the late 1980s, rather than taking Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch and conservative historian Mária Schmidt with him. Horváth also speculates that PM Orbán used the opportunity to rub elbows with representatives of the current Russian regime.

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