Elections in Hungary and Serbia: Two pawns of Putin advance | International

There is a more than conservative, reactionary and chauvinist pacifism, which has been clearly expressed in the electoral victories of Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Alexander Vucic in Serbia in two general elections this past Sunday. It is a light breath of oxygen for Vladimir Putin, defeated in the battles waged so far on Ukrainian territory and in the appalling international image that his regime has provided with the vandalism of his troops on the outskirts of kyiv.

Two illiberal, authoritarian and anti-European rulers have won the elections, who control the media, expel the opposition from the public debate space and do not hide their sympathies towards Vladimir Putin, although neither of them comes close to him in terms of the criminal practices of the Kremlin and the risk to which they are still subjected by maintaining an electoral system that on paper can give way to alternation.

Orban and Vucic, in effect, have won an indisputable electoral victory with a nationalist and populist program and an opportunist strategy more in tune with the ideas putinists on the international order than with the values, institutions and methods of multilateral cooperation that characterize the European Union. The paradox of both elections is the effect that the war has produced in these countries: instead of moderating polarized political life and grouping citizens around the government, as is happening in many countries, it has unnerved the most conservative electorate’s fear of an involvement in the conflict and identified solidarity with Ukraine with warmongering positions.

In addition to security, interest has also counted. Both Central European countries are among the most dependent on Russian gas and both have received guarantees from Putin in the days before the invasion regarding supplies and prices, well below those imposed on countries that openly support Ukraine against the invasion. Russian. Although the Kremlin has bought Orbán and Vucic to their cause, the coincidence is also ideological in their ultra-conservative positions. In the case of Orbán, identification with Putin’s ultra ideology has been expressed in the celebration of the referendum on the law that vetoes LGBT content in school education. In Vucic’s case, the Russian veto in the Security Council has had particular weight in the face of the possibility of recognition of the sovereignty of Kosovo, still claimed as part of the national territory by Serbia.

On the other hand, the weight of history is unequal. Hungary, unlike Serbia, has never been pro-Russian and knows perfectly well what Ukraine is now suffering. He is particularly well known to Viktor Orbán, who entered politics vindicating the Hungarians who rose up against Soviet tanks in 1956 and defended the democratic and pro-Western regime of Imre Nagy, the prime minister executed by Moscow, but has now renounced liberal ideas until becoming, with his fourth presidential term, the closest thing to an autocrat like Putin, from whom he is still separated, fortunately, by the bloody repression of the opposition and the warmongering of his wars of aggression.

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