Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the 174th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848–49
15 March, Budapest

Ladies and Gentlemen, Celebrating Hungarians from within our borders and beyond them – and special greetings to those from Transcarpathia who are with us today. Good afternoon to you all.

We are looking pretty good – in fact, we are looking very good. Perhaps we have never looked as good as we look today. We last met 143 days ago, on 23 October. The time since then has flown by so fast. On that day we came together to tell the Left, which was eager to take the helm once more, that it was on the wrong road for Buda. And now, if I am right about its prospects, it is on the wrong road for Pest, too! We sent this message: we shall not let our country be dragged back into the left-wing nightmare from which we rescued it twelve years ago. We sent this message: we shall not allow Hungary to be bankrupted again. We sent the message that Hungary must go forward, not back. We sent the message that we on the right are not pious losers who are frightened by the ever so influential international media behind the Left, the bureaucrats in Brussels or the ever so wealthy likes of George Soros. We sent the message that we will fight.

And, Dear Friends, you have fought well. Very well. We are standing candidates in all 106 constituencies; we have held over one hundred election rallies, from Battonya to Nemesmedves; and we have knocked on millions of doors. Our strength and our chances are growing every day. I cannot remember the last time the stars were so favourably aligned nineteen days before an election. We have shown our strength and it has brought results. Our opponents are in a state of deep desperation, and teetering on the brink of disintegration. The wolf was disguised in sheep’s clothing, but now the price of deceit must be paid. Their candidate for prime minister, who was thought to be a comet, is now just a cold lump of rock that has hit the earth, and with it the entire left-wing contrivance has come crashing down. Today the country is giving a collective sigh of relief: what good luck that those people are not now at the helm of Hungary! In their terminal desperation, they have even summoned Donald Tusk from Poland. They have brought here the Pole who is an object of shame in his homeland, who first smashed apart his own party in Poland and then smashed apart the European People’s Party in Brussels. Donald Tusk is a black cat who brings nothing but bad luck. There is an old piece of advice, which you should take from me: never prevent your opponent from making a mistake.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A long-standing Hungarian custom is that when the country’s fate turns, we come together, share our thoughts, and together decide how to avoid trouble and what direction to take. This is our greatest strength. We have been doing this for over one thousand one hundred years. This is how it was in Etelköz, in Pusztaszer, in Rákos-mező, and on the Danube ice; and this is how it was 174 years ago in Pozsony [Bratislava] and Pest-Buda. We are all different, and we are occupied with a thousand different things. But when the need arises, we gather and unite: young and old, men and women, urban and rural, rich and poor – all Hungarians. In times of danger the country decides its future collectively. And we know that here with us there are not only those whom we can see with our eyes. Here there are also those whom we can only see with our hearts: the valiant ancient ancestors, famous warriors and courageous forebears. And here too are our yet unborn children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will be the valiant heroes, famous warriors and our courageous descendants in ages to come. This is the council of the ancients, and the chorus of today’s fighters and those yet to be born. So here today Hungary is together in the main square of the nation.

We must talk about serious matters. About war and peace, about the salvation of the homeland and the looming dangers. First of all, Dear Friends, let us be clear about what we want. For as long as we can remember, for as long as there has been a shared Hungarian national memory, the Hungarians have always wanted the same thing under the shadow of the Carpathians. Let there be peace! Let there be freedom! Let there be accord! “Let there be peace, freedom and accord!” This is what was said in 1848 by the Youth of March. But this cannot remain a mere wish, for it will vanish like a sigh. For peace, freedom and accord, we need the same thing: strength.

A weak people will not gain peace, but will at best receive mercy. A weak nation does not get freedom, but at best gets to eat mock goulash in its barrack. A weak people cannot build any accord, but at best can resign itself to its fate. Peace, freedom and accord are the rewards of strong peoples. Theirs is prosperity, self-confidence, security and a peaceful life. The wind always fills the sails of the strong, their ship always comes into harbour, they are smiled on by fortune, and they always fall on their feet. This is why Széchenyi, Kossuth, Petőfi and all the others dreamed of a strong Hungary. And this is why we dream of it as they did. We want a strong country which, by the laws of nature, cannot break free of the solar system of peoples, but which always turns on its own axis, does not yield to the pull of other planets, and does not allow the interests of foreign peoples to determine its orbit. This requires strength: a strength which gives authority. We are gathering this strength, we are building this strong Hungary year after year, and we have been doing so for twelve years. This is why we support families and why we have created a million new jobs. This is why we have taxed the multinationals, cut household utility bills, and why we sent home the IMF. We have not been diverted by flood, migration or pandemic; and neither do we intend to be diverted by war, or by the Left on 3 April.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Celebrants,

Ours is the world’s most beautiful country. God has given us the world’s most beautiful language. Our territory is the birthplace of the world’s most talented people, who make vitamin C from paprika, who make cubes that can be twisted and untwisted, and who fell previously unknown viruses with targeted shots from vaccines. And it is also a land of good-hearted folk: full of great people, from Saint Elizabeth to the thousands of today’s individuals helping refugees who are running for their lives. This is all very fine, but it is not enough. Beauty, ingenuity and generosity will only make a contented country if they are combined with strength. Let us first have strength and then be right, rather than the reverse. Across the world there are 15 million of us. We live on the horizons of more powerful countries: Germans, Russians, Turks – and, most recently, Americans. But this is no reason to be weak of heart, nor to be fearful – and it is certainly no reason for surrender. Strength is not simply a matter of muscle: you cannot wrestle a lion to submission, but you can throw sand in its eyes; a bear will always have a stronger embrace, but you can put a ring in its nose and lead it on a chain; you can lure a wolf into a pit; and we know that you can make stew from wild boar.

Dear Friends,

A country must first of all be strong in its spirit, like the Youth of March. We set our own goals, and no one can talk us out of them. We do not chastise ourselves or feel sorry for ourselves because we are Hungarians; and we do not let others chastise us or feel sorry for us. We do not bow down, we do not cower, and we do not hide our opinions – even if others do not like it. We do not seek to be liked by everyone, because that is in any case impossible; and not everyone is to our liking. We do not envy others’ success; we simply want to be better than them. We do not fear change, because in it we see opportunity. And neither do we fear our opponents – because with the stones thrown at us we can build ourselves a staircase.

When, in 2010, Hungary was at its weakest and the task of governance was once more left to us, we vowed to be unswerving, to trust in a common will that would fly above all obstacles, to always stand up for Hungary, and to never, never give up for a single minute. This is what happened to us, this is what has carried us forward, and this is what has raised up Hungary and brought us to where we are today. In this time 200,000 more children have been born than would have been if the Left had remained in government. Those who want to work can find work. We have a national constitution and an extra one million new citizens; and all 15 million Hungarians have a mother country. The country is one, the homeland is one, the nation is one. And at last we have a foreign policy that is worthy of the name. We are able to close the borders to migrants, and we will have a combat worthy army, a world-class defence industry and universities that command respect. The largest cultural development projects in the Western world are unfolding in Budapest, and an unbroken succession of the world’s biggest sporting events are being staged here. “Magyars, once more our name and story Shall match our ancestors’ in glory.” This is because the world only respects those who have the mettle and strength to stand up for themselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must also clarify where we stand on the war. No fifteenth of March in living memory has been like this. War has broken out in a neighbouring country: in a country where hundreds of thousands of Hungarians live. With their weapons, our soldiers and police officers now have to guarantee the security of not only our southern border, but also our eastern border. We thank them for this! We are running our largest ever humanitarian aid programme. The energy crisis that is already ravaging Western Europe is hammering on our door. We have spent two years in finally overcoming a pandemic, the like of which has not been seen for a hundred years. And if all this were not enough, here we also have the Hungarian left. We have entered an age of peril. Now there is no room for error, no room for haste, and we cannot afford to make a single bad decision. Hungary is on the border between worlds: between East and West, North and South. In these parts wars are not fought for us and not in our interest. The rule has been that it does not matter who won: we would come out as losers. Central Europe is simply a chessboard for the world’s great powers, and Hungary is simply a piece in their game. Sometimes one of them wants to push us to the front line, and sometimes another. If it serves their purposes, and we are not strong enough, they will even sacrifice us. Our history has taught us the nature of wars all too well. There are countries that want to achieve their goals through war; but we know that the best war is that which one can avoid. Russia looks to Russian interests, Ukraine looks to Ukrainian interests. Neither the United States nor Brussels will think with a Hungarian head or feel with a Hungarian heart. We must represent our own interests – calmly and courageously.

My Friends,

Our interest is to avoid being a pawn sacrificed in someone else’s war. In this war we have nothing to gain and everything to lose. We must stay out of this war! Not a single Hungarian must be caught between the Ukrainian anvil and the Russian sledgehammer. Therefore we shall not send soldiers or weapons to the combat zones.

My Friends,

The Left has lost its sense of reality, and would sleepwalk its way into a cruel, protracted and bloody war. The Left wants to send Hungarian soldiers and Hungarian weapons to the front line. We shall not permit this; we will not allow the Left to drag Hungary into this war! We shall not allow the Left to make Hungary a military target, to make a target of Hungarians in Hungary and Transcarpathia. We Hungarians know very well who reaps the benefits of such wars. We are strong enough to resist the plans of the Left and the warmongers behind them.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Katalin Novák, the new President of Hungary – God bless her – has said this: “Women want to win peace, not war.” And it seems that once again women are right. War destroys, peace builds. Mothers know that it takes twenty years to raise a child to adulthood, but that twenty seconds is enough to destroy them. Women do not see a battle between East and West, but Ukrainian and Russian mothers, orphaned children, heads of families, fathers and sons killed in the shooting. Instead of the coercive power of sanctions, they see deprivation. If we want to end the war, if we want Hungary to stay out of the war, we must listen to the women. For the first time in our history, and at the right moment, a woman has become President of the Republic of Hungary.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This war should never have happened. Hungary has done everything it could have done – and everything that could have been expected of it – in the interest of peace. We cannot exclude the possibility that on the day of the parliamentary election and the referendum, gunfire will still be roaring in our neighbouring country. We have never had such an election. The stakes in the election are not diminished by the threat of war, but raised. Indeed, they are raised to the skies: a pro-peace Right or a pro-war Left; construction or destruction; forward or back. We say that we should preserve the peace and security of Hungary: whoever votes for peace and security votes for Fidesz. We must feel with a Christian heart and think with a Hungarian head. Now everyone can see the difference between the frightened women fleeing from the fighting in our neighbouring country with their bags and children, and the migrants from thousands of kilometres away besieging our borders. Hungary helps refugees, but continues to reject migration. We do not know how the war will end. We do not know what the future will bring. We must be ready for any eventuality. We need a government that cannot be caught unawares, and that is not venturing onto open waters for the first time. This is no time for amateurs, and no time for dilettantes. We are not beginners, and we have seen and been through enough in our time. Furthermore, we are many, we are strong, and we are united. We are united, and this is why we will also win the referendum to stop at Hungary’s borders the gender insanity sweeping across the Western world. We shall protect our families and our children; a father is a man, a mother is a woman, and leave our children alone!

Fellow Celebrants,

Great dangers lie in wait for our country, and the best remedy for great dangers is a great victory. We have every chance of achieving that, provided that everyone does their share of the work in the nineteen days ahead. I once asked Schwarzenegger how many push-ups he does every day. He said that he only starts counting when it starts to hurt. That is how we are in the campaign: this is when pain is our friend; this is when we must make that extra effort. Please make that extra effort!

I think we have talked about everything. It is thirty-one days since we rode out. We have covered a great distance, and huge numbers have joined us. We have the country on our side. This election must be won, and will be won. We will win it, and then in Hungary there will be peace, security and calm. Today we have held the council. Now we are turning into the home straight. A nineteen-day march is still ahead of us, and at the end of that we will fight them on 3 April. Let us go forth to win the most important battle of our lives. Let us give them what they deserve, and let us defend Hungary. We Hungarians together, not for some other but for one another, raise the flags high! Rise to victory! God above us all, Hungary before all else!

Go Hungary, go Hungarians!