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A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Union is trying to maintain a united front against Moscow. But some EU countries maintain an ambiguous position vis-à-vis Russia, notably Viktor Orban’s Hungary and Bulgaria.
Viktor Orban already had close ties with Vladimir Putin before the war – so much so that he is suspected of being Putin’s Trojan horse in Europe. Since the invasion of Ukraine, which he has lip service condemned after everyone else, Viktor Orban has refused to send arms to Kiev, and he even accuses Westerners of being go-getters. war: “If we want to live in peace in our country, we have only one choice: to stay out of the war. It will not be easy, because we are members of NATO and the European Union , and there, everyone is for the war. The Hungarian government does not consider realistic the idea that Russia would be a threat to the security of Hungary or Europe.
Many Hungarians agree with this displayed neutrality. It must be said that when the war broke out a year ago, Hungary was in the middle of the campaign for the legislative elections. Very cleverly, Orban presented himself as the defender of the people who would prevent Hungary from being drawn into the conflict. This idea was hammered from morning to night by the Prime Minister’s media empire, which controls the public media but also 500 private media. This convinced the Hungarians. They are terrified by this war which is taking place in the neighboring country
Bulgaria is not only part of the European Union and NATO, but also wants to continue its European integration by soon adopting the euro. Politicians and senior civil servants are even sanctioned there by the United States. These are sanctions under the American Magntisky law, which takes its name from the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, killed in a Moscow prison in 2009 while fighting against the corruption of the Russian political system. Among those sanctioned, we find the former Minister of Finance, a former Minister of Energy, former directors of the Bulgarian nuclear power plant in Kozloduy. But, even more interesting is the case of Nikolay Malinov. This former left-wing MP and currently president of a pro-Russian NGO has been accused of espionage by the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office.
It is on the political scene that this conflict between pro-Russians and pro-Westerns is most pronounced. Bulgaria has been in political crisis since 2021, with the formation of a single government lasting just six months. The fifth legislative in two years will take place in April. Many political parties, ranging from the Socialist Party to the extreme right, are also pro-Russian and oppose “Bulgaria being involved in the war in Ukraine”, by supplying munitions produced in the factories. Bulgarian, as well as armament.
This article is originally published on francetvinfo.fr