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PM Orbán’s October 23 address

October 25th, 2022

A pro-government columnist agrees with the Prime Minister that the West betrayed Hungary in 1956, while a liberal author believes Mr Orbán would have been better advised to dwell at more at length on the role of the Soviet Union in crushing the revolution.

In his 23 October address delivered in the town of Zalaegerszeg, Prime Minister Orbán pledged that the government will defend Hungary’s economic stability and help families despite the ‘migration invasion from the South, the war in the East and the economic crisis in the West’. He also said ‘we should take no notice of those who shoot at Hungary from the shadows, or from their hunter’s perch in Brussels’. PM Orbán said Hungarian interests can only be defended by Hungarians, claiming that the country had a chance to regain its independence in 1956, had ‘the West not betrayed us’.

Magyar Hírlap’s László Petrin finds it timely to remind Hungarians that in 1956, their country was betrayed by the West. The conservative lawyer writes that courageous Hungarian freedom fighters were left on their own by the US, which reassured the Soviet Union that it would not interfere and did not consider the Hungarian revolutionaries as its allies. Petrin claims that had it not been for the US’ betrayal, the Soviet Union would have withdrawn its troops from Hungary in 1956. He concludes by suggesting that the current EU and US leadership are even more unfriendly towards Hungary than the West was in 1956 because back then, ‘at least they were not attacking us’.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Szentesi Zöldi also reads the famous note by the then US ambassador to Moscow as reassuring the Soviet government that it had a free hand in Hungary. He recalls, that meanwhile, the US-owned Radio Free Europe continued to encourage Hungarians to fight the Russian invaders. As long as those wounds are not healed, Szentesi Zöldi writes, sending critical messages makes no sense.

In an interview with Népszava, Andrea Virág, Director of the liberal Republikon Institute finds it peculiar that the Prime Minister only mentioned the Ukraine war in a passing remark, although she finds great similarities between the current plight of the neighbouring country and that of Hungary in 1956. She reads the Prime Minister’s words about the ‘betrayal of Hungary’ by the West as designed to carry ‘a clear message’.

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