Why Still Pro-Russia? Making Sense of Hungary’s and Serbia’s Pro-Russia Stance

Dr Helena Ivanov and Professor Marlene Laruelle

In this report, Professor Dr Marlene Laruelle and Dr Helena Ivanov investigate the level and

underlying causes of pro-Russian sentiment in Serbia and Hungary. Both countries have been

noted for their approach to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On one hand, Hungarian PM Viktor

Orbán continuously frustrates the European Union’s coordinated campaign against Russia and

keeps calling for the cancellation of sanctions. At the same time, Serbia has not imposed any

sanctions against Russia and is increasingly known for its balancing act in this conflict.





How should the EU react to these divergent approaches to Russia and try to protect its
unity? To answer this question, this report examines the actual level of support for Russia.


The report concludes that public opinion in each country differs a lot in the perceptions of

Russia, and that while we can talk of a genuine Russophilia in Serbia, Hungarians are much

more polarised on their relationship to Moscow and the pro-Russian stance is limited to the

Fidesz realm. But in both cases, the main finding is that a lot of this pro-Russian sentiment is

driven by the general disappointment in the West.


To improve the perceptions held by Hungarians and Serbs about the West, the report proposes

two novel policies. The first argues that the EU should provide direct financial help to Serbs

and Hungarians to combat the energy cost crisis. The second suggests that EU and Western

politicians need to change their tone when speaking to Hungarians and Serbs as well as their

respective political representatives.

Read the Full Report HERE


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