How Viktor Orban changed his opinion after Biden’s visit


The arrival of US President Joe Biden on February 20, 2023, in Kyiv had its consequences not only for Ukraine: confirmation of world support and a new $500 million military aid package but also for the leader of Hungary. How? Viktor Orban, a dissident of European politics, as he calls himself, was not invited to the Bucharest summit of the leaders of all Eastern European countries in Warsaw, although Hungary took part in the event. The Prime Minister did not like the first bells of being ignored and he began to change his own information policy. So, let’s take a look at the new message and remember his views in 2022.

US President Joe Biden. Source:

The transformation begins

Let’s turn to Orban’s last tweet of February 23, 2023.

The biggest victory for Ukraine is that Orban admitted that Russia will no longer win because the support of other countries is already too strong. But back in January 2023, he talked about the fact that Russia always wins and can pose a territorial threat to EU countries.

A frank conversation

In January 2023, Viktor Orban held a round table for journalists from different countries in his office and answered all questions. Journalist the American Conservative (ed. — the publication of the conservatives was founded in 2002 as an opposition media that did not support the war in Iraq) — Rod Dreher prepared a concise report of the conversation and the main thoughts of the prime minister.

Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary. Source:

I invite Viktor Orban to the world of odious thoughts:

  1. Ukraine is the new Afghanistan.
  2. The Russians fight poorly at first, and then they will strike hard. But he emphasized that he hopes for a quick victory for Russia.
  3. European leaders are simply afraid of the USA, so they support Ukraine and the war.
  4. Tactical nuclear weapons may be used on the battlefield. WARNING! Orban does not rule out that it is Ukraine.
  5. Suggested that Europe return to its Christian roots in order to be able to cope with future problems.
  6. It cannot be ruled out that NATO troops are fighting the Russians in Ukraine.

Although Orban’s information doctrine is changing now, we should not forget his position, which he defended even a month ago.

How to understand the politics of Viktor Orban. Expert’s opinion

It is sometimes extremely difficult to understand Orban’s public actions and his real position, so we turned to Maksym Kyiak, the leading international expert on the ANTS network.

Maksym Kyiak, the leading international expert on the ANTS network.

Maksym, Orban says that he is «the leader of a country that stands on the right side of history», although he tries to sit on two chairs. So, whose side is he on?

Orban often positions himself as a mediator between Brussels and Moscow, East and West on the one hand. And on the other hand, as the opposite of the political establishment of Brussels. He justifies this position with the supposed «national interests of Hungary», but, in fact, he is latently on the side of the aggressor country, Russia. Viktor Orban, effectively blackmailing EU countries, is blocking the strengthening of sanctions against the Kremlin. Every time, European officials have to start long discussions with Budapest. As a result, Orban and the team agree to another sanctions package, but on the condition that Brussels does not cut funding to Budapest and turn a blind eye to the facts of corruption in the country. He plays the role of Putin’s Trojan horse in Europe, diligently spreading the Kremlin’s messages. In particular, the one that should stop providing weapons to Ukraine and that it should make concessions to the Kremlin. During the negotiations with the president of Azerbaijan, Orban claimed that his country borders the German-speaking in the west, and the Russians in the east, deliberately bypassing Ukraine.

Why do Hungarians support Orban’s pro-Russian narratives?

He used Russia’s war against Ukraine in the last election for his own political purposes. After all, in fact, he claimed that «if you, Hungarians, do not want a war like in Ukraine, then vote for me.» Orban’s party positioned itself as the only political force capable of ensuring peace for the country’s population. At the same time, the mass media controlled by him formed the opinion that the arrival of the opposition could lead to the involvement of the inhabitants of Hungary in the Ukrainian-Russian war. According to official data, more than 90% of Hungarians abroad voted specifically for Orban and his party during the last election. Orban also skillfully uses the imperial phantom pains of the Hungarians, exploiting the nationalist map, including pedaling the issue of the Hungarians of Transcarpathia. At the same time, the civil society in Hungary is still weak. Moreover, Orban’s entourage uses a significant share of public organizations as pockets and is loyal to the regime.

Orban skillfully manipulates not only fears but also religious values. They have something in common with Patriarch Kirill, who consecrates weapons.

Exactly. In Hungary, the church does not remain aloof either. For more than 20 years of his tenure, Hungary has turned into a full-fledged espionage hub for the Russians. Thus, cooperation has been established between the Russian Orthodox Church and the current Hungarian leadership on a mutually beneficial basis. Thanks to Viktor Orban, millions of dollars are laid in the state budget for the construction of Russian Orthodox churches. It is significant that Orban signed the decree on the allocation of funds (about $9 million) for religious buildings of the Russian Orthodox Church in Hungary a day before the visit of the Russian president to Budapest in February 2017. Putin visited the Hungarian capital again the same year in August. And on the same day, the Prime Minister of Hungary additionally allocated 1.2 million US dollars directed to the Budapest-Hungarian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. For the authorities of Hungary, the Russian Orthodox Church serves as a convenient and effective means of demonstrating loyalty to the Kremlin.

As early as January 2023, Orban believed and expected the victory of Russia, and already in February surrendered positions. Isn’t this a paradox?

Today, Orban’s Hungary is a true paradox state. On the one hand, its leader is taking openly hostile steps toward Ukraine. And, on the other hand, he posts a photo with Volodymyr Zelensky, where he claims that he has «always been on the side of peace,» without mentioning Russia as an aggressor.


It is a good sign for Ukraine that such politicians as Viktor Orban are already beginning to publicly talk about the future defeat of Russia. It must be remembered that the current situation in Ukraine, military actions at the front, and political statements of various actors in the political process in different countries are events that intersect but do not condition each other. Therefore, Viktor Orban’s statements and the change in his rhetoric can be interpreted as the final recognition of Ukraine’s success, which, however, will still need to be formalized by the final defeat of the Russian Federation forces in Ukraine and the return of Ukraine to the borders of 1991.

Viktoria Riepka

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