This essay examines the issue of migration in Hungary since 2015, focusing in particular on the way in which Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz government have mobilized populist fears of a migrant invasion as a key trope in their efforts to construct an illiberal state, and how in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis in Afghanistan, they have continued to capitalize on populist (mis)conceptions of the so-called migrant crisis in the lead-up to the 2022 elections. Beginning with a description of Fidesz as a populist radical-right party, the essay examines Orbán’s response to the migration crisis in summer 2015 and concludes with an analysis of official Fidesz social media posts over a two-week period in September 2021. Confident in its self-proclaimed historical mission, Fidesz has used the perceived migrant crisis not only to argue that the liberal policies of the European Union are a threat to the future of European culture and civilization, but also to position itself as the protector of Hungary, and of Christian Europe more generally.

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