Hungarians in North America condemn Putin’s visit to Budapest

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his delegation arrived to Budapest on one of three identical planes, which left from separate locations at separate times. Putin’s Iljushin-96 presidential aircraft was escorted by Hungarian fighter planes in Hungary’s airspace – truly a presidential welcome.

The security measures were extremely tight, almost unprecedented. Budapest’s streets were empty, police lined the intersections. No anti-Putin demonstrators were allowed close to the motorcade. Several different routes were secured from Ferenc Liszt International Airport to downtown, one of which was picked by the Russian president’s security chief after the planes had touched down.

Hungarian Police lined the streets, no anti-Putin demonstrators were allowed close to Putin’s motorcade.

Viktor Orbán’s friendship with President Putin, the ex-KGB agent turned authoritarian Russian president shocked Hungarians in North America. I have yet to meet a Hungarian-Canadian or Hungarian-American who welcomes this new closeness, a virtual Hungarian-Russian alliance. In a rare show of unity most Hungarian Americans and Canadians object Orbán’s pro-Russian turn and his “love affair” with the Russian president.

Russian President Putin was warmly welcomed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest

Several organizations claim to represent Hungarian Canadians and Americans yet none of them protested Putin’s Budapest visit The Hungarian American Coalition has a new leadership: Andrea Lauer Rice is the new president and Agnes Virga in the chairman. The two women are mum, not one word about the Putin visit.

The American Hungarian Federation is led by Frank Koszorus, a staunch anti-Communist who is proud that his father fought against the Soviet Union in Horthy’s pro-Hitler army. Yet, not one word from him about Mr. Putin, the onetime communist secret service agent. In Canada, Hungarian Diaspora Council leaders, Anna Szenthe and Tibor Ábrahám have not raised their voice either.

All these organizations receive direct or indirect support from the Orbán government, they do not publish their finances and publicly never criticize Budapest. Who do they represent?

According to Stratfor, Mr. Putin singled out Hungary’s willing Eurosceptic PM Viktor Orbán to break the West’s unity. With Europe increasingly divided and the Trump administration in Washington less adversarial toward Moscow, Hungary is wasting no time building close ties with Russia. Moscow fully intends “to seize the opportunity” and build a beachhead in Hungary against the West. (Read the Stratfor analysis here.)

There is one Hungarian-American group that openly expressed its disappointment with Hungary’s new closeness to Putin. 82-year old Béla Lipták, a prominent 56-er and founder of the Hungarian Lobby internet group demonstrated against Mr. Putin’s growing influence. I generally disagree with Mr. Lipták and his lobbying activities but this issue is an exception. I have a feeling that the majority of Hungarians in North America are solidly behind him.

Béla Lipták, founder of the Hungarian Lobby demonstrated against Putin in New York.

We do not want close political ties between Putin’s Russia and Hungary and condemn the pro-Putin adventurism of the Orbán government and their North-American surrogates who pose as leaders of the Hungarian community.

György Lázár

6 Comments

  1. To quote a classic: “It’s economy, stupid”.

  2. “There is one Hungarian-American group that openly expressed its disappointment with Hungary’s new closeness to Putin.”

    This is not quite accurate. Many within this particular North American fan-club for Orbán, are also very upset with Lipták’s maverick move, and continue to be active supporters of the pro-Russian Orbán autocracy. The 3 percent of North American Hungarians who are active in some kind of diaspora organizing, are in their eighties, are inseparable from Orbán’s “illiberal” fantasies, and are kept on life support by Hungarian taxpayers’ money. The rest of the diaspora tries to have as little to do with these birds, born into the proverbial “Turul’s nest”. Unfortunately, the 97% is voiceless, disorganized, and prefers to eat cake (or palacsinta), like silent majorities everywhere around the world.

  3. “The American Hungarian Federation is led by Frank Koszorus, a staunch anti-Communist who is proud that his father fought against the Soviet Union in Horthy’s pro-Hitler army.” – why spread Fake News? Shouldn’t we liberals be better than UKIP, Jobbik, or your Breitbart? Koszorus has never said any such thing. His pride comes from the fact his father moved his battalion against pro-Nazi forces, saving hundreds of thousands of Jews in Budapest.

    This also gave away his battalion positions to the Soviets. As a student of Hungarian history, I understand Hungary is in a precarious situation with Russia on her doorstep. I am deeply disturbed by not only Hungary’s warmness toward Putin, but how how easily Putin used gullible Americans and gave rise to Trump.

    There is plenty of issues to criticize and debate. Ad Hominem attacks and belittling a true hero of the Holocaust is not one. Show some journalistic integrity.

  4. I would add that AHF has been a vocal and strong supporter of NATO. On its own, and as a member of the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) which includes organizations from states particularly concerned with Russian aggression (Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland), AHF has voiced consistent concern over Russia and the need for a strong NATO to check Russia.

  5. Bryan D
    You have to do better as a student of history, e.g. the Koszorus myth case.
    Apart from the fact that no Jews were saved, here’s what Hungarian historian Karsai wrote: http://nol.hu/velemeny/koszorus-es-a-pesti-zsidok-1472857

    Re the period when Koszorus was “saving” the Jews, i.e. ” on July 6 to 8th from the so called VI Deporting Zone five trains with deportees were started from Budakalsz, three from Monor … At this time several thousand Jews were deported from Óbuda, Békásmegyer, Kispest, Újpest and towns close to the capital, altogether 23 909. According to the report of police colonel major Làszlò Ferenczy 29556 Jews were deported from other parts of the country, primarily from the a Dunántúl between July 4th and 6th… “.

    You should also know about the intensive fascist whitewashing and history falsification being carried out by Orbàn regime.
    Sorry, but I have to give you an F.

  6. We do not want close political ties between Putin’s Russia and Hungary

    Who do you think Hungary cares about what you and “you” as in plural want?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *