BUDAPEST — Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary has fiercely resisted a proposed European embargo of Russian oil, saying it would devastate his country’s economy. Other potential casualties of such a ban would be things close to his heart: his populist campaign promises, and a financial gravy train for culture warriors in Europe and in the United States.
Both have been fueled by Hungary’s profits from Russian crude. Gorged with cash thanks to cheap supplies of Russian oil and gas, the Hungarian energy conglomerate MOL — one of the Central European nation’s biggest and most profitable companies — last month announced it would pay dividends of $652 million to its shareholders.
More than $65 million of that will go to a privately managed education foundation that last year hosted the Fox News host Tucker Carlson at a festival of right-wing pundits in Hungary. It has also provided stipends and fellowships to conservative Americans and Europeans looking for a safe haven from what they bemoan as the spread of “cancel culture” back home.
Some of them featured this week at the first Hungarian edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, a gathering of the right wing of American politics. The event, at which Mr. Orban gave the keynote speech, opened in Budapest on Thursday under the slogan “God, Homeland, Family.”