On February 18, PM Orban gave his annual state of the Union address to the Hungarian parliament and people. Under a slogan proclaiming, “Peace and Security” Orban has long been trying to convince the Hungarian public that "the West is already at war with Russia,” chastising transatlantic leadership for allegedly prolonging the conflict. So doing, Viktor aimed to shift blame for Hungary’s roof-busting inflation, hitting 26,2 % last January.
Accountability and self-reflection were expectedly absent throughout his speech. Orban sought to cast Hungary’s economic woes as a by-product of Brussels, London, and Washington’s anti-Putin sticks stating that, “The disease is called ‘sanction inflation’ and the virus is the Brussels sanctions.” He then doubled-down on his intentions to maintain economic ties with Russia and recommended the same to “the entire West.” The suffering of the Ukrainian people be damned, apparently.
The Fidesz government's declaration that it is "on the side of peace" is already infamous. In Orban’s view, this means blocking financial aid to Kyiv and curtailing arms supplies for Ukraine’s armed forces. After all, Orban steadfastly maintained that “The clash is not between the armies of good and evil, but two Slavic countries that are fighting a war.” And his solution? "Isolate" the war, as in 2008 (Georgia) or 2014 (First Invasion of Ukraine), instead of taking the conflict to a "Pan-European level." It was clear from his words that Orban does not believe that Russia poses a threat to Hungarian security. Engaged nonetheless due to its geographical location – as asserted - Hungary does not have "the luxury" of being neutral. How ironic. No one ever thought you were, Viktor.