Hungarian far-right websites echo Russian propaganda

Although the Hungarian right-wing has traditionally positioned itself as against Russia, there has been a curious change in the rhetoric recently. Most notably, a number of far-right online forums are wholly supportive of Putin and Russian war propaganda.

Although critical voices towards the official Russian line on the conflict in the Ukraine can be found, it is the positive and  supportive voices which dominate such sites. Many of these websites focus specifically on Russia-related news and topics. The identity of the owners and authors are not clear, but some can be traced and have been found to be operating from Russian servers.

One site identified by Atlatszo.hu is hídfő.net.  This is a far-right news website with no signed authors, no imprint, and owners who are kept hidden through the American privacy service Domains By Proxy. Hídfő.net became (in)famous following it’s article about an alleged deal to sell and deliver old Hungarian tanks to Ukraine. Based on this article, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Hungary of selling armaments to Ukraine and a diplomatic scandal broke out. What is striking is that the Russian foreign ministry referred to a previously unknown Hungarian far-right news portal as a trustworthy source.

Another major news story, the crash of MH-17, was also presented on many Hungarian far-right websites in a pro-Russian way: that the plane was used for NATO intelligence, that it was shot down by a Ukrainian pilot, or that the target was Putin’s plane. Such stories are often presented in terms of a conspiracy theory, and target Ukraine, NATO or the West in general.

Translated by Anikó Mészáros