In a commentary published in six languages, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) looks at why Hungarian Prime Minister Orban speaks out against the war in Ukraine while ordering his media to spread pro-Russian disinformation.
He identifies two main reasons for this two-faced strategy: maximizing votes in the upcoming Hungarian elections and not offending the Kremlin. As he argues, Orban speaks out against Russia’s attack on Ukraine to reassure some voters who fear further escalation of the conflict. He also satisfies his EU colleagues with supporting the EU position on the war.
Meanwhile, the government-controlled media in Hungary have been falsely reporting that the opposition would send soldiers and weapons to Ukraine, Dragomir continues, adding that the pro-government media are also spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda with the aim of not alienating Orban’s pro-Russian supporters.
The second reason Marius Dragomir identifies is Orban’s loyalty to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He points to the friendly relations Orban has built with Putin, and how he built the Hungarian media capture after the Russian blueprint.
“The war in Ukraine is a difficult test for Orban, who is doing everything in his power to get re-elected without alienating anti-war Hungarian voters or upsetting the Kremlin,” the article concludes.