Orbán Placed in Europe: Ukraine, Russia and the Radical-Right Populist Heartland

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Radical-right populism (RRP) is notably based on the production of antagonism involving the ‘people’, the ‘elite’ and ‘others’. The analysis of RRP discourse can be particularly useful to investigate RRP geopolitics as the representation of an international situation legitimising national and foreign policies. Based on an analysis of narratives relating to Ukraine and Russia produced by Viktor Orbán, the RRP Prime Minister of Hungary, the current article researches a key spatial object associated with the people and justifying Orbán’s position concerning the two countries between 2014 and 2022: the heartland. This analysis shows that Orbán refused to choose his ‘camp’ between Russia and Ukraine over many years, preferring to position himself as a defender of a people’s heartland, the location of which changes depending on his addresses and temporal contexts. The defence of this heartland generally involves the naming of a clear enemy: the Western liberal world.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2023


  • Right-wing populist discourse
  • Radical-right heartland
  • Radical-right geopolitics
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • War in Ukraine
  • Cross-border regions

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