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Opposing views about whether Hungary is pro-Russian

July 7th, 2023

In a series of opinion pieces, two pundits clash over the stance of the Hungarian government on the war in Ukraine and the feelings of the population about Ukraine and Russia.

On Index, Róbert Puzsér an independent columnist who is known for his strong criticism of both the government and the opposition wrote three weeks ago that a majority of Hungarians ‘subscribe to a worldview dictated by Russia’. That mood, he suggested, is fuelled by the government’s negative propaganda against Ukraine which is dictated by its anti-western sentiments. If Ukraine wins the war, he explained, it would mean that people should learn to better trust the West.

In his reply on the same website, Attila Demkó, senior security analyst at the government-funded Mathias Corvinus Collegium think tank rejects the idea the Hungarians are pro-Russian. They have been disillusioned by the West, he suggests and many, especially on the right, are prone to accept Russian narratives, he admits, but in smaller proportions than among Slovaks or Bulgarians.

Reacting to these remarks, Róbert Puzsér quotes data showing that more Hungarians regard Russia as a strategic partner (27 versus 17 percent) than the United States. It is in this context, he writes that Hungary is the only country in the region refusing to support Ukraine.

Index reproduces a final argument by Demkó from the latter’s Facebook page, where the analyst remarks that Hungary is in the midst of an unprecedentedly large-scale humanitarian program of support to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees.

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