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Hungarian opposition calls on Viktor Orbán to cancel meeting with Vladimir Putin

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Hungary/Russia – The next meeting between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled for 1 February in Moscow. Due to the growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the leaders of the Hungarian united opposition have called on the head of the Hungarian government not to visit the Kremlin.

A summit contrary to Hungarian national interests? 

They have explained in a statement that

such a friendly meeting between Viktor Orbán and President Putin [would be] particularly harmful and contrary to [Hungary’s] national interests”, as it would tend to show that “the NATO and EU member states are not united in rejecting Putin’s proposals”,

and this “indirectly encourages the Russian president to further aggravate the current tense situation”.

Russia wants to restore the Soviet sphere of influence 

Last December, Russian leaders presented two related draft proposals for security in Europe, but

their aim is actually to restore a modernized version of the old Soviet sphere of influence, essentially in the form of a new Brezhnev doctrine. 

Moscow is trying to drive a wedge into transatlantic cooperation by proposing that Russia and the United States conclude an agreement on European security, but without consulting Europe. To accept this proposal would mean leaving our region, including our country, completely defenceless and vulnerable to Russian blackmail and expansionist ambitions.

Hungarian opposition “dismayed” by government’s attitude 

The United for Hungary alliance [the opposition’s common electoral bloc, ed.] welcomes the clear rejection by U.S. and NATO leaders of the Russian leadership’s absurd proposals that fundamentally threaten our security and sovereignty. We expected the same from the Hungarian government, and 

we are dismayed that, while it has shown itself to be so sensitive and touchy over our sovereignty in other cases, it has not rejected the Russian proposal at all and has not made it clear that Moscow has no right to decide how and by what means we wish to guarantee our security.

Furthermore, it would be in Hungary’s basic interest to actively defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, not only in words but also in deeds. It is likewise in the interest of the Hungarians living in Transcarpathia [a Western region of Ukraine that formerly belonged to Hungary], whose lives would be directly endangered by a new escalation”, they go on to say in their statement. They then conclude:

It is therefore necessary to cancel Viktor Orbán’s visit to Moscow and, together with our allies, to say no to Russia’s ultimatums.”