Orban’s landslide victory shows the “dramatic level of manipulation of the Hungarian society by a group of powerful businessmen and politicians” as well as the pro-Russian discourse gaining ground in the past 12 years, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society said to Hungarian weekly 168 Óra.
Any free election gives legitimacy to political leaders, but Orban’s policies had lost any legitimacy a long time ago because of the immoral, often illegal, methods used in cementing his power, he argued.
Asked about Orban’s victory speech in which he named Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy as one of his opponents, Marius Dragomir said that with this, Orban simply and openly expressed his support for the Russian war. “I truly hope that many political leaders will not forget or forgive him,” he said.
Dragomir thinks Orban’s landslide victory will have a dramatic impact on the EU and probably the rest of the world. First, the unity of the European project is being undermined by the rise of a mafia regime within the EU.
Second, the close relation between the Hungarian state and the Russian authorities will raise serious security concerns in many European countries. Many Europeans will not feel comfortable having a country supportive of the Russian regime in the union. This will lead to tensions in the EU, and many countries will probably want to get rid of Orban’s Hungary.
Third, Dragomir thinks that the Orban government will play a key role in the escalation of the war across many borders. His alliance with Putin will lead to many problems within the EU and NATO, with tragic consequences.
Marius Dragomir puts the blame firmly on EU leaders for allowing the dismantling of rule of law in Hungary. In 2010, they failed to take steps against the first signs of Orban’s autocracy. “Looking back, I think they were simply naïve. They thought that the EU has all the mechanisms to protect the union against authoritarian tendencies and that economic dependency will dissuade any kind of Orbans from building the type of autocracy that he built. They were wrong and they kept feeding his project,” he argued.
He thinks Hungary needs EU funds, and Orban probably thinks he can continue to play EU leaders. Dragomir hopes the EU leaders will stop playing his game. “Orbán has no place in Europe, as he himself has said it. It is now the right time for Europe to isolate him and his oligarchs for good,” he said.
Read the full interview (in Hungarian) here.