Hungarians’ perspective on Orbán’s meeting with Putin

November 7,2023 572
Hungarians’ perspective on Orbán’s meeting with Putin

According to a recent survey conducted by the Publicus Institute and commissioned by the Hungarian opposition publication Népszava, over 50% of Hungary’s citizens disapprove of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“A survey by the Publicus Institute shows that 91% of respondents heard that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing. Those who do not like it are much more than those who do not see anything wrong with the fact that while European leaders are avoiding the Russian president who attacked Ukraine, the Hungarian prime minister is negotiating with him,” the journalists write.

Orbán’s meeting with Putin is considered acceptable by 35% of Hungarians. 52% have the opposite opinion. At the same time, 13% could not answer this question. “Political preferences largely determine the attitude to this issue,” the journalists note.

In addition, survey participants were asked about the primary stakeholders in the meeting. Out of the respondents, 32% asserted that it primarily served the interests of Viktor Orbán, citing the significance of amicable relations with Russia due to energy resource supplies. Meanwhile, 33% believed both parties had a mutual interest in the meeting. Only 19% opined that it leaned more towards Putin, as the Hungarian government, a member of Western alliances, acknowledged and legitimized Russia, often seen as a military aggressor.

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, met with the President of Russia in China on October 17. Later, at the European Union summit, the Hungarian politician said he did not plan to apologize for this and considered his actions correct. Orbán is known for his scandalous statements, anti-European views, as well as his attachment to Russia. In May, he said that Ukraine was not capable of winning the war.

Further, Orbán repeated the theses of Russian propaganda not once. The Prime Minister of Hungary stated that the West would allegedly “fight to the last Ukrainian soldier” and called for negotiations with Moscow. The Hungarian prime minister also said that “Ukraine practically lost its sovereignty a long time ago,” and Kyiv “has run out of means” for waging war.

Cover: Maxim Shipenkov/ AFP via Getty Images