Half of Hungarian population considers Orbán's meeting with Putin in China unacceptable

November 07. 2023. – 09:09 AM


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A slight majority of polled Hungarians, 52 percent consider it unacceptable or somewhat unacceptable that the Hungarian Prime Minister recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in China, the daily paper Népszava has said of the results of a Publicus survey commissioned by them.

Only 35 percent thought the meeting was acceptable, while 12 percent did not answer. The survey is representative of the Hungarian adult population in terms of age, gender and education level. Another question asked in the survey was whose interest it was in to have the meeting: 32 percent said Viktor Orbán, 33 said both parties, while 19 percent believe it was in Vladimir Putin's interest, since a meeting with the leader of Hungary, a member of the Western alliance adds legitimacy to Russia, the aggressor in the war with Ukraine. The paper said that pro-government voters were few and far between among the latter group of respondents.

During his meeting with Putin, Viktor Orbán spoke of military operations, but avoided the official term used for the war in Russia: special military operation. In a related question from Publicus, 36 percent of respondents thought this was a deliberate pro-Russian statement from the Hungarian PM, while 23 percent said he was just being diplomatic. Only 9 percent thought that the choice of words was irrelevant and a mere 1 percent said that Orbán's choice of words was accidental. 17 percent did not provide an answer.

42 percent chose not to answer the question about who may have initiated the meeting. 39 percent thought Hungary was the initiator and 19 percent believed it was Russia. The surveyors also asked about the Swedish accession to NATO. 35 percent of Hungarians believe their government is trying to please Russia and Turkey by delaying the ratification, while 25 percent said this was a matter for the government to decide on its own. The latter group is mainly comprised of Fidesz voters.

The Orbán-Putin meeting was criticised by the Estonian Prime Minister and the Lithuanian Head of State, while the Prime Minister of Luxembourg said that what Orbán did with Putin amounted to giving Ukrainians the middle finger. The Hungarian government claimed that the Putin-Orbán meeting was not significant.

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