RussiaFebruary 20 2023, 4:45 am

Orban Defends Controversial Child Protection Law; Comments Mirror Vladimir Putin on the Subject

On Feb­ru­ary 12, 2022, Hun­gar­i­an Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orbán deliv­ered his annu­al state of the nation speech in Budapest, where he kicked off his re-elec­tion cam­paign for 2023. Media cov­er­age of the speech focused main­ly on his promise to keep rela­tions with Rus­sia in a break with the EU over Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine.

Far less cov­ered were Orban’s com­ments on Hun­gary’s con­tro­ver­sial child pro­tec­tion law, which bans LGBTQ con­tent from schools and media aimed at minors. Orbán jus­ti­fied the law by say­ing that there is no excuse for pedophil­ia, that chil­dren are sacred and invi­o­lable and that it is the job of adults to pro­tect chil­dren at all costs. He was refer­ring to a recent scan­dal involv­ing an LGBTQ activist teach­ing assis­tant who was open­ly brag­ging about hav­ing a sex­u­al rela­tion­ship with a 15-year-old child.

The Prime Min­is­ter stressed that “we are not inter­est­ed in the fact that the world has gone mad, we are not inter­est­ed in the dis­gust­ing fads that some peo­ple indulge in, we are not inter­est­ed in the excus­es and expla­na­tions Brus­sels gives for the inex­plic­a­ble.” He said that this is Hun­gary, and this is where the strictest child pro­tec­tion sys­tem in Europe must be. The Prime Min­is­ter said that the leg­is­la­tion is in place and the miss­ing pieces will be found, but even the most deter­mined gov­ern­ment can­not suc­ceed on its own. It will take every­one, par­ents, grand­par­ents, moth­ers and fathers, teach­ers and edu­ca­tors, because “gen­der pro­pa­gan­da is not some sil­ly mess­ing about, not some rain­bow bab­ble, but the great­est threat to our chil­dren,” he stat­ed. He stat­ed that “we want our chil­dren to be left alone because enough is enough” and that such things have no place in Hun­gary, and espe­cial­ly not in our schools. “We are count­ing on all Hun­gar­i­an peo­ple of good con­science so that we can do this job togeth­er once and for all in 2023,” he said.

Human rights groups and EU insti­tu­tions have wide­ly crit­i­cized the child pro­tec­tion law as dis­crim­i­na­to­ry and vio­lat­ing inter­na­tion­al stan­dards. The law intro­duces pro­vi­sions into var­i­ous acts that would estab­lish admin­is­tra­tive sanc­tions for licensed pro­fes­sion­als or insti­tu­tions that vio­late it, threat­en­ing the right to edu­ca­tion and health infor­ma­tion under inter­na­tion­al law.


GIOR Analy­sis

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has long been known for his desire to become the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive (GNCA) alliance described in a GIOR report as follows:

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin has expressed an inter­est in Rus­sia becom­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new glob­al con­ser­v­a­tive alliance, and Euro­pean far-right lead­ers have tak­en pro-Russ­ian posi­tions based on a sim­i­lar ide­ol­o­gy. Hun­gary is at the cen­ter of a devel­op­ing alliance between Euro­pean far-right nation­al­ists and Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives that Rus­sia could poten­tial­ly exploit for use in infor­ma­tion war­fare. This alliance oper­ates under the rubric of “Nation­al Con­ser­vatism,” cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions and rep­re­sent­ing a poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal change for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment away from long-held Rea­gan-era philosophies.

Read the full report here.

Oppo­si­tion to “gen­der ide­ol­o­gy” is a cen­tral issue for the GNCA and the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed in Octo­ber 2022 on the role played by the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium (MCC), a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion facil­i­ty sup­port­ed by the Orban gov­ern­ment, in dis­sem­i­nat­ing Russ­ian-style anti-LGBTQ propaganda.

We also report­ed in Octo­ber 2022 that Putin had once again deliv­ered a speech in which he exten­sive­ly ref­er­enced so-called “cul­ture war” themes com­mon­ly espoused by rightwing/conservative West­ern ele­ments. In his remarks,  Putin referred to “strange, in my opin­ion, new­fan­gled trends like dozens of gen­ders and gay pride parades.” In Decem­ber 2022, we report­ed that Putin had signed into law the bill expand­ing a ban on so-called LGBTQ “pro­pa­gan­da” in Rus­sia. GIOR first report­ed on the new leg­is­la­tion in ear­ly Novem­ber 2022 when Russ­ian oli­garch Kon­stan­tin Mal­ofeyev told a Duma hear­ing that pass­ing the law would be part of Rus­si­a’s war effort in Ukraine.







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