“Vladimir Putin sent out Christmas and New Year wishes to foreign heads of state and government”, kremlin.ru wrote today. The only EU leader who made it to the greetings list was the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, known for his differing opinion regarding the EU sanctions against Russia and the ongoing war in Ukraine. That is the issue that the Russian state-owned domestic news agency, Ria Novosti dissected in their article analysing the reasons why Orbán and the Hungarians were not anti-Russian.
According to kremlin.ru, “Vladimir Putin sent Christmas and New Year greetings to Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán, stressing that, despite the complicated international environment, relations between the countries continue to move in a positive direction. The President of Russia also affirmed his intention to continue working together on current bilateral issues”, the President’s official website said.
Based on RTL Klub, a Hungarian commercial TV channel, the following heads and prime ministers of states received a greeting from Putin: Abkhazia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, South Ossetia, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Vietnam, India, China, Cuba, China, Nicaragua, Serbia, Syria, and Turkey. Orbán was the only EU leader Putin wished a happy new year. Among the NATO member countries, only Orbán and Erdogan (Turkey) made it to Putin’s holiday greetings list.
Vladimir Putin also sent congratulatory messages to former heads of foreign states and governments, in particular, Silvio Berlusconi, Robert Kocharyan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Serzh Sargsyan and Gerhard Schröder, the website reported.
According to index.hu, the Russian state-owned domestic news agency, Ria Novosti, published an article in which they were speculating on why Orbán and the Hungarians were not anti-Russian. They started discussing the matter by dissecting Orbán’s latest statement, in which he claimed that Ukraine could only fight until the USA supported Kyiv with money and arms. Therefore, provided Washington wanted peace, there would be peace. MEP Guy Verhofstadt said that Orbán was a traitor because of that sentence. Ukraine argued Orbán wanted their defeat, but he should convince the Russians to finish their aggression. That is the only way to attain peace, they added.
The Hungarian prime minister’s words resonated with the Russians. Ria Novosti said Orbán should have taken the side of Washington, referring to the Soviet intervention in 1956 in the Ukrainian conflict, as an example. But instead, Hungarians are one of the most Russian-friendly nations of the EU. They said Russia expected Budapest to become a capital of Russophobia like Warsaw or Tallinn.
Orbán did not change, they believe. He is a national conservative, anticommunist and Christian politician.
Ria Novosti also highlighted that Orbán and his government followed national interests and defied even countries more powerful than Hungary. The paper suggested Russia should have sought an alliance with countries showing self-respect. “There is the Hungarian nationalism and the narrow nationalism. Big difference, one must understand”, they added.
Source: index.hu, kremlin.ru