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Orbán, Putin discuss relations on the phone

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation on Friday to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries, according to reports.

Both the Hungarian and Russian official government websites reported that the conversation between the two leaders took place, although they gave no further details.

Putin’s latest visit to Budapest in February to meet Orbán went seamlessly, with announcements made by the two leaders largely as expected, although the encounter received widespread criticism. 

After the meeting, Edit Zgut, an analyst at Political Capital Policy Research and Consulting Institute, told the Budapest Business Journal that Putin’s semi-regular visit to the country might be a sign of the leader using Hungary as a "message platform" in the European Union.

Hungarian-Russian friendship spurs demos

Lately, Hungary has seen several demonstrations by citizens marching to protest against the governmentʼs increasingly close ties with Russia.

The recently formed Momentum Mozgalom (Momentum Movement) held a pro-EU, anti-Russia march attended by thousands in Budapest during the May 1 national holiday, which was also the 13th anniversary of Hungary joining the EU. 

On May 21, thousands more Hungarians gathered on the streets of Budapest to march once again against the Hungarian government’s current policies. At the demonstration, Katalin Lukácsi, a researcher who recently left junior governing coalition party the Christian Democrats (KDNP), said she believes that the current Fidesz-KDNP government has lost its way and, in the name of Christianity, is fighting a war against Europe and helping Putin divide Europe.