Hungary's reaction to the Russian-Georgian conflict is in line with that of the European Union. Given Hungary's energy needs and its reliance on Russian gas and oil the country can't afford to lash out against Russia. Moreover, as a member of the European Union it would be improper for Hungary to deviate from Union policy. However, I'm certain that the Hungarian government is duly shaken by Russia's revival as a military power.
It's not surprising that after a period of chaos and humiliation Russia would eventually recover and claim what it considers to be its rightful place among the great powers. The speed of its recovery is more surprising. The commodity boom certainly helped.
One major thorn in Russia's side has been the encroachment of NATO into areas that were either within its sphere of influence or part of the Soviet Union itself. Bad enough that the former satellite countries joined NATO, worse that the Baltic republics of the former Soviet Union also signed on. But lately there have been serious talks about Georgia and Ukraine becoming part of the western military alliance.
Of course, we don't know exactly why Russia sent troops into Georgia. But I assume one incentive was the hope that the pro-western Georgian government would collapse. When it didn't, the Russians kept postponing troop withdrawal. Perhaps, the Russians may have reasoned, as days went by the Georgian government's position would weaken and there might be some voices in Tbilisi calling for the resignation of Shaakisvili in exchange for a better deal with the Russians. Every day one heard that the Russian troops began withdrawal only to learn the next day that nothing had happened.
In Hungary everything that has to do with foreign policy sooner or later becomes an internal political fight between the government and its opposition. The Georgian case is no different. First came Viktor Orbán's very strong reaction to the Russian-Georgian conflict where he compared the Russian attack on Georgia to 1956. (Since then some American politicians have repeated this comparison, adding the 1968 Prague events for good measure.) Orbán and diplomacy don't mix. When he was prime minister he often behaved like a bull in the china closet. For a number of years I kept a cover of HVG, a very good weekly, that portrayed Orbán as a soccer player kicking a football sky high while his ineffectual foreign minister was trying to stop it with a tennis racket.
In any case, the Russian ambassador's reaction to Orbán's strong condemnation was equally ill-tempered. Ambassador Igor Savolski called Orbán a liar and expressed his "disgust" at hearing Orbán's attack on Russia. He accused him of Russia phobia. Orbán wasn't deterred; yesterday he wrote a letter to the prime ministers of Georgia, Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states in which he called Russia the aggressor and urged Georgia's acceptance into NATO. One can certainly argue about who was the aggressor and who wasn't, but it is somewhat odd that the leader of an opposition party who has no possible way of conducting the foreign policy of the country finds it appropriate to make such a move. Igor Savolski in response called Orbán an agent of the United States, adding that it is a good thing that the European Union doesn't follow Orbán's advice. Judging from the exchange between the Russian ambassador and Orbán it's not too hard to imagine how strained relations between Russia and Hungary would be under an Orbán-led government.
Meanwhile Mátyás Eörsi (SZDSZ) who reports to the European parliament on the region just returned from Georgia and saw no sign of any Russian withdrawal as of yesterday. Today Russian troops apparently withdrew from Gori. Somehow, I don't think that the Georgian-Russian conflict will end any time soon.