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Opposing takes on the PM’s 23 October speech

October 25th, 2023

A pro-government pundit and a liberal analyst both identify Mr Orbán’s words about the European Union as the core message of his address on the 67th anniversary of the 1956 revolution.

In his speech on 23 October in Veszprém, Viktor Orbán said Hungary’s position within the European Union is radically different to its subjugation in the Soviet empire. Moscow’s orders, he added, could not be resisted, while now Hungary is not obliged to dance to Brussel’s tune.

In Népszava, Miklós Hargitai finds it absurd of the Prime Minister to lambast the European Union on the anniversary of the revolution. He argues that Hungary’s freedom fighters rebelled against Soviet occupation and dreamt about joining western societies based on the rule of law. He deems it particularly contradictory that Mr Orbán made those remarks just a few days after meeting Russian President Putin (see BudaPost, October 21). Hargitay sees the real difference between Moscow in the 1950s and Brussels today in the fate of the two Prime Ministers.  Imre Nagy was executed for standing up to Moscow, he reminds his readers.

In Magyar Nemzet, political analyst Zoltán Kiszelly commends Mr Orbán for ‘transposing into the present’ the desire for freedom that fuelled the revolution in 1956. He pinpoints as the most important message of the Prime Minister’s speech the stark distinction he drew between Moscow under communism and Brussels in our days. ‘Both represent a threat to Hungary’s freedom’, Kiszelly writes, but in different ways, and therefore Hungary’s reactions must be different. In 1956 Hungarians had to choose armed revolt, while this time, they must express their choice through the European elections next year, he suggests.

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