The Political Director for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has tweeted his congratulations to the far-right political coalition elected to lead the Italian government. The tweet from Balázs Orbán (no relation) suggests a possible future attempt to build a European coalition seeking to end sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine:
September 26, 2022 PM Orbán has sent letters to @GiorgiaMeloni, @matteosalvinimi, @berlusconi congratulating them on the election results. “I look forward to our future cooperation to preserve peace in our countries & in Europe, to restart the European economy and to ease the energy crisis.
Orban himself also took the opportunity to criticize the EU sanctions:
Far-right Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, used the results of the Italian election to criticise the EU sanctions against Russia, saying they had driven up energy prices. He said the sanctions had “backfired”, adding that angry voters were ousting governments in Europe as a result.
For its part, Russia welcomed the Italian election result, the Tass news agency spokesman commenting, “We are ready to welcome any political force able to show itself more constructive in relations with Russia.”
In February, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) published a report on the new and developing alliance between US conservatives and European nationalists, a potential means for Russia to exert covert influence in Europe and the US, using Hungary as a platform. As that report noted:
This report has examined Hungary’s central role in the National Conservatism alliance, and the country is a particularly fertile opportunity for Russia exploitation of that alliance. For example, it is no secret that the ORBÁN government and Hungarian elites enjoy a uniquely close relationship with Russia within the EU. The German Council on Foreign Relations reports that the Russian influence in Hungary is mediated mainly by “dirty business” interests.
Red the full report here.
The GIOR also reported last week on a Dutch far-right populist political party that posted “A petition for affordable energy in the EU.” seeking an end to EU sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. As we reported, the petition was posted by the Forum for Democracy International, headed by John Laughland, a British national and conspiracy theorist with close ties to Russia. Forum for Democracy International just tweeted their own congratulations to the new Italian coalition:
#FVD and its leader @thierrybaudet are delighted to congratulate Fratelli d’Italia and the party leader @GiorgiaMeloni on their magnificent election victory.