Vladimir Putin has a long-time ally in the EU: Who is Viktor Orban?

Vladimir Putin has isolated himself from most of the European leaders, the Hungarian Prime Minister is among the few if not the only leader within the bloc to still support him.

Vladimir Putin's last ally in Europe stays the course
© Mikhail Svetlov / Contributeur
Vladimir Putin's last ally in Europe stays the course

With the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has isolated himself and Russia from the democratic world. However, there is only one EU country and leader that still supports him.

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Putin's oldest ally: Viktor Orban

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is probably one of the oldest Vladimir Putin allies outside of Russia.

Last year, Orban visited Putin in Moscow in a rare in-person meeting at the Kremlin despite the rumors that the Russian President was increasingly paranoid about Covid-19 and was avoiding meeting people other than his inner circle.

Orban described the trip to Moscow as a peacekeeping mission, however, the meeting which took place at the beginning of February preceded the Ukraine War,Politico reports. Orban said:

‘Difficult times, but we are in very good company.’

The alliance between Putin and Orban is one of the longest relationships of any EU leader with the Russian President. Something which was confirmed by Orban during their last meeting together.

‘This is our 12th meeting, That’s rather rare. Those who were my fellow leaders then in the Union all have already gone. For the past 13 years working together, the two of us have the longest memory of the European Union and Russia’s relationship.’

During this meeting, Putin sat down with Orban at the now-famous big white table. Orban commented:

‘In my life, I have never sat at such a long table before’

Victor Orban's warning

According to Politico, as the war is nearing its first year anniversary, Orban called Ukraine a ‘no-man’s land’ and compared it to Afghanistan in a recent interview with The American Conservative.

It's Afghanistan now. The land of nobody.

He also warned the West that Vladimir Putin 'cannot afford' to lose the war with the upcoming elections, and that the West should understand that time is on Russia's side. He said, as phrased by the publisher:

The West needs to understand that Putin cannot afford to lose, and will not lose, because he's up for re-election next year, and he cannot run as the president who lost a war.
The West doesn't understand that time is on Russia's side in Ukraine. Russia is a huge country, and can mobilize a vast army. Ukraine is already running out of troops. When that happens, then what?

Viktor Orban's snubs President Zelenskyy

Orban is currently in his fourth consecutive term as Hungary’s leader and besides his closeness with Vladimir Putin, he has often described his animosity towards the Ukrainian President such was the case back in April when he was re-elected, Newsweek reports.

'We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight against a huge amount of opponents, and the Ukrainian president, too—we never had so many opponents at the same time.'

Most recently, during the recent visit of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to the EU Commission, Orban was the only EU leader seemingly not happy about his visit.

When Zelenskyy entered the main hall, Orban was seen pretending he is busy while later during the photo shoot, All EU leaders are seen clapping except for Orban.

According to CNBC, Hungary’s Orban has often times made EU authorities in Brussels angry.

Besides complicating internal EU matters, he has often become a roadblock for the EU support towards Ukraine by vetoing financial support for Kyiv.

Despite this, Orban says he supports peace and an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.

Sources used:

-Politico: ‘Strongmen strut their stuff as Orbán visits Putin in Russia’

-Newsweek: ‘Old Putin Ally Appears to Snub Zelensky on Camera’

-Politico: ‘Orbán is telling Ukraine to quit’

-CNBC: ‘Putin’s old EU ally Viktor Orban is once again aggravating Brussels’

Vladimir Putin may soon be betrayed by this long-time ally in Europe Vladimir Putin may soon be betrayed by this long-time ally in Europe