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Hungary removes statue of anti-Soviet icon

December 29, 2018

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has come under fire for the removal of a statue of a politician executed by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Opposition parties accuse Orban's right-wing government of historical revisionism.

The statue of Imre Nagy
Image: Imago/robertharding/S. Black

Hungarian authorities have removed a bronze statue of Imre Nagy, the prime minister during the 1956 uprising against Soviet rule, from a square near the Hungarian parliament in Budapest.

According to plans, the popular monument is being relocated to less prominent location away from the country's National Assembly.

Read more: Opinion: Hungary protests doomed without a strong leader

The statue of Nagy, a national hero who was executed in 1958 for his role in the revolt against a pro-Moscow government, will be replaced by the reconstruction of a post-World War I monument dedicated to the victims of a short-lived communist regime in 1919.

The memorial was originally erected by Hungary's anti-Semitic wartime leader, Miklos Horthy, who became an ally of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

Critics have decried the move as an attempt by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government to revise the country's history and rehabilitate Horthy. Orban has in the past praised the wartime leader.

Orban-Putin relationship

Orban's supporters say the move is aimed at restoring public spaces in the capital to their pre-World War II appearance before the decades of communist rule, which ended in 1989.

Orban, who addressed a rally in 1989 to celebrate the exhumation and reburial of Nagy, has a close rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Read moreVladimir Putin and Viktor Orban's special relationship

ap/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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