According to Bloomberg, he uses more sophisticated methods in building up his power than the Russian president. Thus, the differences between the two strong men outweigh the similarities yet. The news portal’s journalist asked Orbán loyalists and members of the civil society groups that have come under attack lately by the Hungarian government. Our summary of the report.
According to Bloomberg’s journalist, Orbán and Putin share the same goal: sovereignty. This means not allowing any foreign force (multinational companies, Western countries, NGOs) to make decisions on their nations’ behalf.
The elections are real
According to Bloomberg’s Leonid Barshidsky, there are considerable differences between the elections in Russia and Hungary. For example, in Russia, there was up to 10 million fake votes for Putin. In contrast,
in Hungary there were only some voting irregularities,
thus, no one suggested massive falsification.
In contrast, in Russia, there is no genuine political competition, and local officials pressure public employees to vote for Putin. Though there is information that this happened in Hungary as well, Bloomberg does not mention it. However, the author included the opinion of the observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In this, they wrote that the government’s and the ruling coalition’s message ubiquitously overlapped regarding anti-migration, anti-Brussels, anti-UN and anti-Soros.
Barshidsky asked Gergely Gulyas, head of ruling party Fidesz’s parliamentary faction, as well on his opinion on the similarities between Putin’s and Obán’s victory. “I’ve read articles comparing Orban and Trump with Putin and Erdogan, but it’s part of some journalistic reality” – said Gulyas.
“If they weren’t complete morons, the opposition could have beaten Orban”
– investment fund manager Viktor Zsiday concluded to Barshidsky.
The pressure on critics is softer and critical media still exists
Barshidsky managed to talk with some employees of foreign-funded NGOs like George Soros’s Helsinki Committee or Transparency International. They all agreed that they have to face increasing psychological pressure in the government media. However,
they are not in physical danger.
In contrast, their Turkish or Russian colleagues accepting, e.g. Gulen’s or Washington’s money risk harassment by police and pro-government thugs and imprisonment.
According to Barshidsky, in Russia, there are only a few online media outlets that are not under total governmental control. Though
PM Orbán’s loyalists occupied most of the Hungarian media
(TV channels, regional newspapers, radios), a not government close part of it still exists. For example, the most popular TV-channel, RTL Klub or former ally Simicska’s Hír TV.
Orbán uses a scalpel where Putin an axe
According to Bloomberg, both countries are corrupt. This means that both Putin’s and Orbán’s friends became billionaires. However, in Russia, corruption is much more widespread than it is in Hungary. This is because
in Hungary courts are still independent
“and not afraid to rub the government the wrong way.” Furthermore, low-level corruption visible to citizens is virtually non-existent compared to Russia and other post-Soviet countries. Finally, politics are still competitive, and that places a natural limit on how bold stealing can be.
Barshidsky concluded that though Orbán’s opponents expect him to move toward Putin-style methods and economic mechanisms, there is no overwhelming need for him to go full Putin. Thus,
Orbán will not become a dictator.
He can win the elections, and he is already – save Merkel – the most experienced EU-leader. Therefore, a scalpel will always be enough for him – states Barshidsky.