No European leader is as autonomous or free to speak their mind as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, political scientist Tamás Lánczi told public radio in an interview on Sunday.
Commenting on Orbán’s speech on Saturday assessing the state of the nation over the past year, Lanczi said the prime minister had made a persuasive argument about the higher aims and opportunities that derive from taking the side of peace in the Ukraine-Russia war. Orbán identified the risks associated with the war escalating and broadening to include other nations, as well as economic dangers such as inflation, he said.
No one else in Europe has such autonomy or freedom to put forward the arguments that Orban is making, Lanczi insisted. Other leaders may privately share Orbán’s position, but they cannot say so openly because they are not strong enough politically, he added. Lánczi insisted that forces wanted to paint Hungary into Russia’s corner and to alienate Hungary from the Western world “and to exclude us from certain Western forums”.
He noted that Orbán made it clear that he supported Hungary’s NATO membership but rejected attempts to turn NATO into a “weapon of war”. Hungary is a member “and a good ally” of a defence alliance and, under Orban’s leadership, wants to stay clear of offensive operations, he added. The political scientist also spoke of “constant pressure” on Hungary from parts of the western European press which “will always give us a bad name”, and he warned of campaigns that sought to depict Hungary as a country that lacked press freedom and had “a problem with the rule of law”. “We must prepare ourselves for this,” he said.
Lánczi said Hungary’s last general election saw “Western interests pumping almost 4 billion forints into the opposition” in hopes of securing political change in Hungary favourable to them. He said Orban was under no illusion that he could count on Hungary’s opposition, which, he added, did the West’s bidding and expected it to support the war. He said the opposition knew that “the vast majority” of Hungarians was on the side of peace, but statements were being made that showed that the opposition was “fundamentally pro-war”.
Meanwhile, Lánczi said Orbán had made it clear that the government, notwithstanding current economic difficulties, would not abandon its strategic goals of full employment and support for families. No harm should come to the broad middle classes, he said, adding that pensioners were another important part of society which would receive government protections.