Hungarian neo-Nazis court Russia as inspiration for attacks on gays
As Russia's presence on the international stage asserts itself over Syria crisis, Jews feel the heat while homosexual communities continue to despair
As Vladimir Putin hosts a meeting of the G-20 in St. Petersburg with Syria at the forefront of attention, the significance of Russia's position as a standard-bearer for highly illiberal political and social values has again been illustrated in stark form.
In the wake of President Putin's attacks on the gay community in Russia -- new laws make it illegal to "promote" homosexuality -- the infamous neo-Nazi leader of a Soviet-era satellite country, Hungary, has applauded Russia as a leader of the forces which his supporters fervently believe in.
Gabor Vona, leader of Jobbik, the third largest party in Hungary, which has attracted searing criticism from the United States, the European Union and rights groups, for his party's hostile rhetoric towards Jews, gays, and Roma (Gypsies), has used a platform on Russia's leading foreign news outlet to say the following:
"I consider Russia as a country of key importance. Besides Turkey, I believe Russia is the other Eurasian power that could spearhead a real political, economic and cultural resistance against the Euro-Atlantic block," Vona told the Voice of Russia an an exclusive interview.
Vona's reference to the "Euro-Atlantic block" is regarded by analysts of Hungary as a proxy expression for an alleged conspiracy against "white-European values" by Jews, homosexuals, liberals, Marxists and non-whites.
Groups such as Freedom House in the United States and Amnesty international in Europe have repeatedly raised concerns over Hungary's recent political direction. Jobbik -- which references Nazi themes in a nostalgic fashion -- is not part of the government of rightist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, However, Orban is widely accused of playing dog-whistle politics, especially over his party's desire to recruit Jobbik voters.
In the interview, Vona said:
"Israel must be forced to recognize the independent state of Palestine and to give up their colonization efforts regarding Hungary," a reference to an ongoing rhetorical theme in Jobbik's political lexicon that Jews are trying to take over Hungary via finance capital, and are using the global financial crisis as a pretext.
Linking the financial crisis to alleged moral degradation over gay rights, he added:
"The economic crisis is merely a façade that will never be solved because the essence of the real crisis is that Europe has sunk to the rock bottom of its crisis of values which has been ongoing since the 18th-19th centuries. When homosexual marriage becomes a central issue in the political sphere, there is big trouble."
General elections take place next year in Hungary. Opinion polls suggest Jobbik could become kingmaker in a right-leaning government dominated by the mainstream Hungarian right, but buttressed by the far-Right.
Rights advocates are concerned both about the situation in Hungary, and the precedent the country might set in Europe as a whole where far-Right groups have been enjoying a resurgence in the context of the economic crisis.
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