Balázs Orbán, the political director for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (no relation) has tellingly chosen to congratulate two of the successful candidates in the US mid-term elections. On November 9, Balázs Orbán tweeted his congratulations to J.D. Vance, the Republican Senator-elect from Ohio:
Many congratulations to @JDVance1 for being elected as Senator of Ohio! I wish you every success in this new role!
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported yesterday that Vance had been identified as part of the Global National Conservative Alliance (GNCA), a movement that generally emphasizes an isolationist US foreign policy. As noted in that post, Vance has adopted a generally isolationist position on Ukraine and backs an online video-sharing service that hosts the Russian propaganda media outlet RT. GIOR also reported earlier this week on the Christian nationalist wing of the Republican Party and its role in supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin while opposing military aid to Ukraine. Vance has also been characterized as a Christian Nationalist.
The other US politician congratulated by Orban was Florida governor Ron DeSantis. In that tweet, Orban displays himself in a photo standing next to DeSantis. GIOR reported in September that DeSantis was one of the most prominent speakers at the third US-based National Conservatism Conference, held in Miami from September 11 — September 13. Media reports at the time described DeSantis as “a national conservative lightning rod.”
Balázs Orbán is also the head of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC), a Hungarian education facility backed by the regime of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. A GIOR report on the GNCA explained the role of the MCC in the Orbán government’s struggle to control Hungarian higher education and to create a platform for rightwing figures. The report also detailed the potential role of the National Conservatives in Russian influence operations:
The MATHIAS CORVINUS COLLEGIUM, a Hungarian educational facility, is a key part of the ORBÁN government’s struggle to control Hungarian higher education and is the center of National Conservative activity in the country. This facility, funded by a massive gift of stock from the ORBÁN government, has sponsored events and teaching positions for prominent US right-wing figures. Russia has already begun to employ National Conservative themes in its influence operations which will likely find a more receptive Western audience than in the past. Hungary is particularly fertile ground for Russian exploitation of National Conservatism given the existing close relationship between Russian and Hungarian elites and an extensive pre-existing Russian influence network.
Read the full report here
The GIOR reported last week that the MCC Brussels center director Frank Furedi is a contributor to RT, the Russian propaganda outlet. We also reported on the role played by the MCC in disseminating Russian-style anti-LGBTQ propaganda and its use of foreign Western “experts” in that effort.