Thousands of protesters in Hungary are rejecting the government’s growing ties to Russia on the 13th anniversary of Hungary’s European Union membership. Participants marched through downtown Budapest on Sunday carrying Hungarian and European flags, shouting ”Europe! Europe!” and reciting slogans against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. The Momentum Movement, a new political party, organized the event.
In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Hungary for the second time in two years. Critics say a draft law allegedly designed to stigmatize and intimidate civic groups that receive foreign funding is similar to a law Russia already has. Moscow is also expanding Hungary’s Soviet-built nuclear power plant while loaning Hungary 10 billion euros ($10.9 billion), about 80 percent the project’s cost. Hungary already depends on Russia for much of its imported oil and gas.