Hungary’s Orban Causes Row with Russia

  • The Russian response was provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry's official representative, Maria Zakharova.
  • Prime Minister Orban compared the Nazi and Soviet occupations.
  • Hungary was a close ally of the Third Reich.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued as statement pertaining to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s comments. Namely, statements by Prime Minister Orban about the Red Army grossly distort the historical truth, while it was Hungary that was an ally of Adolf Hitler during the Second World War.

Viktor Orbán is a Hungarian politician who has been Prime Minister of Hungary since 2010. Orbán’s social conservatism, national conservatism, soft Euroscepticism and advocacy of what he describes as an “illiberal state” have attracted significant international attention and criticism.

The fascist regime committed mass crimes in the occupied territories. The Russian response was provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official representative, Maria Zakharova. “Such statements flagrantly distort the historical truth and the events of World War II, the results of which were formalized in the decisions of the Nuremberg Trials,” she said.

Furthermore, the Russian populous also had a reaction to the comments. Prime Minister Orban spoke at the unveiling of a statue of former American President George H.W. Bush at Budapest’s Liberty Square. The Prime Minister remarked that “on one side of the square stands the memorial to the victims of the German occupation, and on the other the memorial to the victims of the Soviet.”

However, the monument is in the memory of the 80,000 Red Army soldiers who died during the liberation of the Hungarian capital. Even though there was an occupation of the Soviets, the monument is actually pertaining to the saving of many Hungarians in that particular instance, and carries a historic value.

Moreover, Zakharova recalled that on June 27, 1941, Hungary proactively joined the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union, and “marked” in the occupied territories with mass crimes against the civilian population, as well as Soviet prisoners of war. She stressed that Hungary was a close ally of the Third Reich, and took an active part in the partition of Czechoslovakia and Hitler’s aggression against Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, the Red army, “having saved the peoples of Europe from the ‘brown plague,’ brought them peace and freedom.” Zakharova added that Russia will strongly oppose such falsifications against the background of the desire of “some States” to distort the facts about the key role of the Soviet Union in the victory over fascism, and to blur the historical responsibility of individual capitals for the crimes of “Nazi henchmen.”

Since 1991, Hungarian-Russian relations have improved constantly. This improvement has increased in part due to the election of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2010 and the announcement of his foreign relations plan, the “Eastern Opening Policy.”

Earlier, on October 24, the Russian foreign Ministry reacted to the words of the head of the operational command “North” of NATO forces in Europe, German Lieutenant General Joerg Vollmer. He accused Russia of trying to divide NATO and Sweden, and noted that, given the common history of the Alliance countries, they do not consider Russia an enemy.

Maria Zakharova advised German generals to “know history better,” and remember that Russia is an opponent of fascism and Nazism.

It is interesting that a NATO commander is not making such statements towards Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It should be fairly balanced, both Russia and Turkey are a concern to Western Europe and democracy, Even though both nations have different visions and agendas, Putin and Erdogan favor dictatorship.

It is plausible that the comments were not appropriate. Nevertheless, Hungary has two sides. One side favors Russia, and the other prefers the EU.

It is not surprising and the tensions will continue to rise. In the future, there could be changes within Europe and the geopolitical influence. The EU continues to be in the difficult position.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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