Orbán presents the Zelensky handshake slightly differently than the official photos

February 10. 2023. – 01:00 PM



Copied to clipboard

Viktor Orbán shook hands with Volodymyr Zelensky. Such an act should not be newsworthy, it is commonplace in diplomatic circles: the leader of one country shaking hands with the leader of another.

But since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Orbán has been fond of sending messages to the Ukrainian president, usually through his own government media; he even used his 2022 election victory speech to call out to the president of the country which has been under Russian military occupation, saying that even he hadn't been able to stop another two-thirds victory which was so big, it could be seen from the Moon.

Zelensky also sent a message to Orbán on account of the Hungarian government trying to appear neutral in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict by incessantly chanting the words peace and ceasefire: "You must decide once and for all who you are with (...) Listen, Viktor, do you know what is going on at Mariupol? Please, go to the quayside, (in Budapest) look at those shoes, and you'll see that genocide is once again happening in the world. And this is what Russia is doing," he said.

Hungary's unwillingness to stand in solidarity with EU countries that support Ukraine is best illustrated by the fact that on Thursday, after Zelensky's speech, there were a few people who did not applaud the Ukrainian president, one of them being Viktor Orbán himself.

It was after all of this, that the handshake took place. And this is where the difference in how everybody presented it comes in.

For example, Viktor Orbán posted this photo on Facebook, which was probably taken by one of his own staff members:

Source: Viktor Orbán's Facebook page
Source: Viktor Orbán's Facebook page

From the picture, the prime minister's followers might have thought that Zelensky was almost cowering in front of Orbán, bowing his head and not daring to look at him. Péter Hoppál, the newly-appointed ministerial commissioner did board that train when he commented: 'Body language! Read on, you libbies!" – he wrote in a comment.

But the official photos of the European Council show a slightly different context:

Source: European Council
Source: European Council

Two equal parties are shaking hands in the photo, there is no sign of humiliation, and Zelensky seems to be the more committed of the two politicians.

In another official photo, the Ukrainian president seems to be taking issue with something, judging by the way he leans in towards Orbán:

Source: European Council
Source: European Council

But there are also pictures of the two of them in good spirits. As is usual in any meeting between two politicians.

Source: European Council
Source: European Council

A photojournalist will generally try to present events objectively, as far as possible through a camera. Whichever way you look at it, including the experience and position of the person in the situation is inevitable.

Depending on where the photo is published, the pictures are selected by the person and their crew, or by the photo editors in a newspaper. When selecting a photo – just like when taking it, first and foremost, serious press ethics must be taken into account. Secondly, the selection of images must be adapted to the style of the newspaper and/or the message.

And the photos seem to show that Viktor Orbán has a particular message to convey to his followers through the photo he shared.

It has been reported that during the meeting, Zelensky invited Viktor Orbán to visit Kyiv.

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!