Hungary: Viktor Orban and his deputies refuse to pay tribute to Navalny

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his coalition deputies refused to pay tribute on Monday to the Russian opponent of Alexeï Navalny, who died in prison on February 16.

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When an opposition MP called for a minute of silence, two-thirds of the chamber remained seated.

A “coolness” praised by their leader. “Chauvinists do not deserve the respect of the Hungarian Parliament,” Mr. Orban said from the podium, referring to past comments by Alexeï Navalny.

“Those who called the Georgians rodents” when Russian forces invaded this former Soviet republic in the Caucasus in 2008 “will not be respected”.

“Otherwise, rest in peace,” concluded the sovereignist leader.

Lawyer Navalny, who once flirted with nationalism, at the time supported Russian intervention in Georgia. He apologized in April 2023.

Becoming the number one critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he died in a remote Arctic penal colony at the age of 47.

The circumstances of his death, which shocked the world, remain unclear. According to the Russian penitentiary service, he died of sudden malaise “after a walk”.

Several Western countries have accused Vladimir Putin of being responsible.

But Hungary, the only EU member to have maintained close bilateral ties with the Kremlin, once again stood out by not publishing any official reaction.

Bence Tordai, the co-founder of a small environmentalist party which initiated the tribute, regretted the attitude of Viktor Orban and the parliamentarians in his camp, describing it as a “shame”.

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