Hungarian opposition right-wing Jobbik party submitted a motion to the country’s unicameral parliament for the removal of a monument dedicated to Soviet soldiers at one of Budapest’s central squares.
The monument dedicated to the Soviet Red Army was erected in 1946 and stands in Liberty Square (Szabadság tér), one of Budapest’s city centre’s most prominent locations, and close to the iconic House of Parliament as well as the US Embassy.
Hungarian MP László György Lukács, leader of the Jobbik parliamentary caucus told a press conference that the monument is “an injury to the sense of justice, mocking the memory of 1956, and the Hungarian people’s sense of freedom,” referring to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, in which the government of Imre Nagy attempted to escape the Soviet sphere of influence, but which saw the attempt brutally crushed by Soviet military intervention.
He also pointed out that with October 23, the anniversary of the 1956 Revolution, soon approaching, Hungarian people should ask themselves the question, why it is that when Russia is invading Ukraine and the Kremlin is using “gas blackmail”, this monument is permitted to continue standing in a square named in dedication to Liberty.
MP Lukács also said that contrary to popular opinion, there are no legal obstacles to removing the monument, as there is not a single Soviet soldier buried under it. Therefore, it cannot be considered a war grave. Lukács said that it should be up to historians to decide where the monument would be relocated.
According to Mr Lukács, the removal of the monument would be a chance for Hungarians to show that they stand on the side of peace and liberty, as they did when they rose up against communism in 1956. He called on “parties that consider themselves right-wing”, that is PM Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz-KDNP ruling coalition as well as the far-right Our Homeland Movement (Mi Hazánk Mozgalom, which splintered from Jobbik after the latter adopted a more mainstream approach to politics) to support the motion in parliament.
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