An interesting duality can be observed in the Hungarian public opinion concerning the country’s foreign affairs. Although Hungarians had a pro-Western attitude for decades, yet among the internationally most determining political personalities, Vladimir Putin is leading the list. According to Hungarians Putin is more sympathetic than Angela Merkel, or Donald Trump for that matter. He reached to the skies and became the second most popular public figure in the eyes of the Hungarians. Only the Pope is more popular than him. The lord of the Kreml is sympathetic for 44% of the Hungarian adults, according to the poll of Medián this year. Angela Merkel won the sympathy of only 38%.
HERE you can read about the meeting of Angela Merkel and Viktor Orbán.
So the question of Péter Krekó in one of his analysis is legitimate. Are Hungarians pro-Russian? He concludes that the image of Russia significantly changed since the ‘Tovarisi konyec’ posters in 1989. According to the Tárki publication, the more general the questions are in a poll between East and West, the more Hungarians gravitate towards the latter. But concerning the concrete persons of international political life, the tendency has been the opposite for the past few years now – can be read on Hvg.hu.
According to the 2016 sampling of Globsec and Political Capital, Hungarians placed Russia the third, just behind Germany and Austria in the list of those countries whom Hungary should maintain a close relationship with. Moscow preceded the UK, the USA, Poland and France.
If you are interested in gastronomy as well, you can read our article about the Hungarian chef, who made Putin’s breakfast.
The sympathy index of the USA and Russia has shifted during the last decade. In a scale of up to a 100, the index of the former fell from 73 to only 54, and the index of the latter rose from 36 to 48. Although the negative historical events and the conflicts of the past few years should have had the opposite effect on the sympathy index of Russia.
According to a research from the past year (Pew Research), out of the 23 countries of the Western civilisation, it is Hungary – after Greece – who finds the politics of Russia the least threatening to themselves. Two-thirds of the public opinion in Hungary thinks that the strong economic relationship with Russia is more important than a foreign affair quarrel with it.
Among the Visegrád Group, Putin’s popularity is the highest in Hungary. According to Krekó, the Hungarian public opinion resonates to the message spread by the Kreml, which claims that Putin is a strong leader of our age, and unlike the weak European leaders such as Merkel, he stands against migration and terrorism with a steady hand.
The study draws the attention to the fact that 51% of Fidesz voters, following the party’s politics, have gone as far as to rather have Russia as its close ally than the USA, which was only favoured by 39% of pro-government voters.
The new relationship between Hungary and Russia started in 2010 by Viktor Orbán. The interesting change is that during Fidesz’s first government between 1998 and 2002, the Hungarian public opinion harshly despised the politics of the Russians, but during the third season of the Fidesz cabinet, people seem to accept the decisions of the Kreml with unprecedented appreciation.