Putin a welcome guest in Budapest?

Vladimir Putin visited Budapest on Thursday. His talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán focussed on the controversial expansion of Hungary's only nuclear power plant in Paks, Russian oil and gas deliveries to Hungary and anti-Russian sentiment in the EU. The Hungarian media take widely diverging views of the Russian president's visit.

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Heti Válasz (HU) /

How can Orbán roll out the red carpet?

Russia is a warmonger and sower of discord that Hungary should avoid at all cost, the conservative weekly Heti Válasz warns:

“To this day it remains unfathomable how Hungary, which has been dogged by hopeless fights against superior powers [the Ottomans, the Habsburgs, the Soviet Union] throughout its history, can cooperate with this Russia that has so humiliated Ukraine. ... Ukraine, our immediate neighbour, is on the brink of economic collapse. ... The nationalist upsurges brought about by the Russian military offensive jeopardise the rights of the Hungarian minority living in western Ukraine. Against this backdrop it should be in our national interest to distance ourselves as much as possible from Russian policies that seek to divide both Nato and the EU. But instead we're rolling out the red carpet for Putin.”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

Putin is not Stalin

Vladimir Putin's opponents still display the same anti-Soviet reflexes in their reactions to the Russian leader, the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap criticises:

“The bitter hatred directed at Russia by its critics may have been understandable in 1983, or even at the end of the 1980s. Today it is no longer comprehensible. Critics see little difference between today's Russia and the barbaric Soviet-Russian-Bolshevik party state. Russian patriot Vladimir Putin is put on a par with the mass murderer Joseph Stalin, with Nikita Khrushchev, who banged his shoe on the table at the United Nations, with the malicious and simpleminded Leonid Brezhnev, and the wily Yuri Andropov. Such mean-spirited criticism of Putin belongs in the same category as the malicious falsehoods about Viktor Orbán being a dictator.”