January 20, 2020

It is well known that Hungarian Prime Minister is one of the most consistent advocates of Vladimir Putin among European leaders. He does not meet any other politician more often than Putin: nine meetings in the recent six years. Putin pays visits to Budapest almost every year. Viktor Orban does not hide his loyalty to Russia. He constantly makes statements about need to make relations with Russia better and calls for cancellation of anti-Russian sanctions.

Loyalty of Hungarian Prime Minister to Russia can be easily explained: Kremlin does large investments in Hungarian economy. It is increasing of Russian oil export and interest in finishing and running of new power-generating units of nuclear plant “Paksi” and other high-priced economic interests.

During the recent visit of the Russian leader to Budapest Viktor Orban took the chance to demonstrate his loyalty and concernment for closer relations with Russia. He told about the plan to join the Turkish Stream gas pipeline (meaning 15 km part of land, where Russian pipeline can be built). Justifying Putin’s policy of building pipelines in the detour of Ukraine, Orban selfishly said that Budapest should join the Turkish Stream pipeline as soon as it is possible: “We do not want to be dependent on transit, and if gas is transported from Russia through Ukraine only, it is inappropriate”.

He also played up to Putin during discussion of national minorities’ issue in Ukraine, stating that “Hungarian minorities are being illegally discriminated”. However, Orban mentioned that there is no need to mix Hungarian-Russian and Hungarian-Ukrainian relations (“We stand up for our national interests”) and expressed the hope for positive dialogue with official Kiev in future. As the result of Budapest meeting there were numerous assurances of support and friendship between Hungary and Russia, several economic and social agreements were signed.

Such Orban’s loyalty to Russia, supposedly based on economic pragmatism, his passion to obtain cancellation of sanctions against Russia just highlights his confrontation position towards EU policy. However, Hungarian President completely declined all criticism, calling EU pretension as “double standard policy”. Probably he has arguments for that, taking into account economic policy of Germany towards Russia and its support of Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is absolutely political project of setting up the addiction of the EU countries to the export of Russian gaz.

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