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Orban compares Hungary's EU membership to Soviet occupation

by Martin Fornusek October 23, 2023 8:34 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends a joint press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sept. 29, 2023. (Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban compared his country's EU membership to the era of the Soviet domination over the Central Eastern nation, the Associated Press reported on Oct. 23.

"Today, things pop up that remind us of the Soviet times. Yes, it happens that history repeats itself," Orban said during his speech during the commemoration of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.

"Fortunately, what once was a tragedy is now a comedy at best. Fortunately, Brussels is not Moscow. Moscow was a tragedy. Brussels is just a bad contemporary parody."

The USSR's invasion of Hungary in 1956 led to thousands of Hungarians killed and nearly a quarter of a million fleeing the country. The Soviet military maintained its presence in Hungary throughout the Cold War period, with the last troops leaving only in 1991.

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"We had to dance to the tune that Moscow whistled," Orban said in his address in the city of Veszprem.

"Brussels whistles too, but we dance as we want to, and if we don't want to, then we don't dance!"

Orban accused the EU of trying to strip Hungary of its identity and impose a model of liberal democracy that Hungarians supposedly reject, the Associated Press said.

Hungary's long-time leader has repeatedly clashed with Brussels over Budapest's rule of law issues and democratic backsliding. Orban has also been building friendly relations with authoritarian powers like Russia and China, sparking criticism from both the EU and the U.S.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has repeatedly stalled sanctions against Russia and aid for Kyiv. Less than two weeks ago, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto visited Moscow in his fifth trip to Russia since the war's start.

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