Viktor Orban has likened the bloc’s domineering tactics to his country’s four decades under Soviet control
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has marked the anniversary of his country’s failed 1956 uprising against the USSR by accusing the European Union of seeking Soviet-like dominance in trying to strip Budapest of its identity.
“Today, things pop up that remind us of the Soviet times,” Orban said in a speech on Monday in the western Hungarian city of Veszprem. “Yes, it happens that history repeats itself. Fortunately, what once was tragedy is now a comedy at best. Fortunately, Brussels is not Moscow. Moscow was a tragedy. Brussels is just a bad contemporary parody.”
Orban said Brussels has tried to impose a model of liberal democracy that the Hungarian people have rejected. He added that although the EU’s domineering methods harken back to the Soviet era, the bloc is not able to rule with an iron fist.
“We had to dance to the tune that Moscow whistled,” Orban said of Hungary’s four decades under Soviet control. “Brussels whistles too, but we dance as we want to, and if we don’t want to, then we don’t dance.”
Hungary’s October 23 holiday commemorates the start of a 1956 revolution, which was crushed by Soviet troops after just 12 days. Orban typically gives a speech to supporters on the holiday and has previously used it to make comparisons between Soviet oppression and EU tactics. Last year, he predicted that the bloc would end up like the Soviet Union.
Orban has clashed with the EU on anti-Russia sanctions, illegal immigration, and LGBTQ “propaganda,” among other issues. Just last week, he roiled Western allies by meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing. He has called for seeking a negotiated end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and has argued that sanctions against Moscow have made citizens of EU countries poorer.
The PM suggested in Monday’s speech that Hungarians have a different view of freedom than their Western allies. “For Westerners, freedom means escape — get rid of yourself, get rid of what you were born into, change nation, change gender, change identity.” He added that for Hungarians, freedom is a “life instinct,” and they’re not willing to give up their identity. “The thought of not being a man, a Christian and a Hungarian is like tearing our hearts apart.”