Hungarian mayor saves canceled pro-Ukrainian concert

Supporters of Ukraine attend a counter-event against a pro-Russian rally held near Budapest, Hungary, April 30, 2022. Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, leading to fighting and destruction in the country and triggering a series of severe economic sanctions against Russia. by Western countries. EPA-EFE/Zoltan Balogh HUNGARY OUT

Hungarian government’s attempt to cancel concert to raise funds for Ukraine foiled by independent mayor, local media reported on Sunday.

Ukrainian artists from Ukraine and beyond organized a European charity concert tour, “Life will win”, featuring well-known Ukrainian actors, singers and artists like Pianoboy, Wellboy or Kvartal 95 Studio, as well as former colleagues of Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy in his television series servant of the people.

The concert was scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 16 at an upmarket venue in Budapest.

Castlegarden Bazaar, a prestigious site, has been renovated mainly with EU funds and, since its inauguration in 2014, it has become a favorite event venue for the ruling Fidesz party, hosting international conferences and speeches on the Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s state of the nation, in addition to fashion shows. , exhibitions and external events.

BIRN asked Castlegarden Bazaar management on Monday why the planned concert was abruptly canceled, but received no response as of press time.

However, Prime Minister Orban has traded bitter barbs with Ukraine and President Zelensky since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

In May, Zelenskiy criticized Hungary’s refusal to support an oil embargo against Russia, when revenues from energy sales are known to fund the Kremlin’s war machine.

Orban also said supplying Ukraine with arms, which Hungary, alone among Ukraine’s EU neighbors, has refused to do, would also make the country a Russian military target, while sanctioning imports of Russian energy would cripple Hungary’s own economy.

Meanwhile, the concert was saved at the last minute by Krisztina Baranyi, an independent mayor of downtown Budapest’s 9th district who announcement on Facebook that his neighborhood offered an alternative outdoor venue for the June 16 concert.

The concert is free and all donations will be used for humanitarian and medical purposes. The main objective was “to unite Europeans and Ukrainians and to support Ukraine’s struggle for its democratic future”, she added.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Budapest wrote on Facebook that with this concert, Ukraine would like to thank ordinary Hungarians for supporting its struggle for independence and freedom and for helping Ukrainian refugees who were forced to flee their homeland.

The first stage of “Life will win” brought together 12,000 people in Warsaw last Friday. The tour will include Vienna, Bucharest, Berlin, Florence, Madrid and Cascais over the next few weeks.

Laura T. Thrasher