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Russia employed information and psychological operations (INFO- and PSYOPS) against Ukraine and the West for over a decade now. Key components that grew in significance over the years are the use of cyberspace (especially social media and quasi- and fringe media outlets), employment of conspiracy theories and engaging the whole administrative and state media apparatus in the dissemination of selected messages, falsehoods, disinformation and narratives.

Since the most recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia's armed forces on February 24, 2022, the International Republican Institute (IRI)’s Beacon Project has been analyzing online media data from multiple Central and Eastern European Countries to track aspects of key narratives that have the potential to erode support for Ukraine.

Over the last five years, Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations have been experiencing the deepest systemic crisis since the establishment of diplomatic in the early 1990s. This crisis is built on a series of disputes that have remained unresolved, without decisions, for decades, with constructive dialogue under the aegis of dry neighborly diplomacy being recently replaced with constant tensions around very sensitive topics such as minority rights, Hungarian separatism, interference into internal affairs, double play in Russia’s favor, etc.

Executive Summary

  • Political Capital and its partners monitored the Hungarian communication campaign conducted on webpages and social media pages between 12 February and 30 April 30, 2022 to understand the strategic communication and leading narratives used to mobilise Hungarian voters along domestic, and foreign policy issues at home and abroad.

The Hungarian electoral campaign was severely impacted by the war in Ukraine. The start of the political campaign was based on traditional narratives from Fidesz, mainly promoting the historic support they offered since 2010 to Transylvania, Fidesz’s financial support to families, subsidies for schools, and kindergartens.