Putin’s messenger boy: Viktor Orbán in Moscow

A month ago the Hungarian public learned that Viktor Orbán would pay a visit to Moscow sometime in February. Rumors began to fly about the reason for this visit, especially since government sources emphasized that the invitation came from Vladimir Putin. Later this story was modified: a year ago, when the Russian president visited Budapest, the decision was made to hold personal meetings at least once a year.

Most observers suspected that this meeting had something to do with the Paks II nuclear reactor project, which will be financed by a Russian loan of €12 billion and built by Rossatom, a Russian state company. What the commentators were unable to decide was whether it was Russia’s desire to scrap the whole project, given Russia’s exceedingly difficult financial situation, or to speed it up. It’s been stalled because the European Commission keeps coming up with objections. In fact, final EU approval of the project is still up in the air.

A few days later Hungarian papers began talking about another important reason, from Putin’s point of view, for such a meeting. The Russian president is looking for “allies”, whom Orbán’s critics would call Trojan horses, in the European Union, countries that would champion lifting the economic sanctions currently in force against Russia.

Then, on January 22, sputniknews.com announced that “Hungary plans to buy about 30 Russian helicopters with the value of the contract expected to reach $450 million.” The announcement was made by the spokesperson for Russia’s Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade. Putin is a tough negotiator, and it has been clear for some time that Russia wants something in return for that €12 billion loan. That’s why Budapest’s M3 metro line, which would badly need a total remake, including new cars, will have the old Soviet cars restored by a Russian company. The  price of the job keeps going up and already exceeds the price of brand new western-built subway cars.

Although Hungarian papers kept bringing up the subject of Russian helicopters, by now the idea has been dropped, probably as a result of a warning from the United States. Népszabadság learned a few days ago that in the last couple of weeks the United States “through diplomatic channels called the attention of the Hungarian government to the fact that the purchase, for both security and political reasons, would be unfortunate.” After all, Hungary is a member of NATO, and it is customary for a NATO country to buy weapons and military vehicles from other NATO countries. It seems that Orbán got the message.

Hungarian government sources, as usual, said nothing about the topics to be discussed in Moscow today. Again, the Hungarian public learned only from Russian sources that “the parties intend to discuss the possibility of increasing bilateral cooperation which will include the prospects of development of economic and trade relations, promotion of joint projects in energy and high technology, as well as cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian spheres.”

Ahead of the meeting the well-informed government propaganda paper Magyar Idők pretty well “predicted” what the talks would be about. The economic influence of Russia in the region of former communist countries has declined considerably in the last year. A few years ago Russia was among the most important trading partners of these countries. Russia has lost about €7 billion in trade with the region. All of these countries realize the dangers of depending on Russian energy sources and are trying to lessen any negative impact. This is dangerous both economically and politically for Russia. In brief, Putin needs Orbán. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Paks II project is in danger.

Putin and Orban, Moscow

No earthshaking announcements were made after the Putin-Orbán meeting, and I don’t think that much more was discussed during their talk than what we learned during the press conference. Before the meeting there were a few polite introductory words by both Orbán and Putin. Orbán as usual went too far with his remarks. He uttered only a couple of sentences, but the message was not the best. After emphasizing Russian-Hungarian friendship he added: “It may sound immodest, but we can say that all that is good in our relationship is our doing and what is not, is not [our fault].” Turning against the European Union so openly is despicable. One could also question the wisdom of Orbán’s saying that “without good Russian-Hungarian relations the Hungarian economy and Hungarian industry would be unable to function.” Emphasizing Hungary’s dependence on Moscow is not the best strategy. Despite all his bravado, Orbán’s inexperience is occasionally confounding.

During the press conference Orbán said that Russia is a useful partner of Hungary and expressed his delight at the yearly high-level meetings planned between President Putin and himself. He finds it a miracle that in these difficult times Russian-Hungarian friendship is becoming ever better. Orbán seems to have promised to intervene on Putin’s behalf when it comes to the renewal of the sanctions this summer. At least one could surmise this from his remarks at the press conference. In fact, this may have been the primary reason for the meeting: asking Orbán to raise his voice against the sanctions. Putin told the reporters that he and Orbán discussed “the possibilities of the revival of a full-fledged dialogue between Russia and the European Union.” And Putin said that he greatly “appreciates the efforts of the Hungarian leadership and Viktor Orbán himself.”

With the exception of Jobbik, all opposition parties condemned Orbán’s pilgrimage to Moscow. Attila Ara-Kovács, DK’s foreign policy advisor, charged Orbán with denying all European values and cooperation and accused him of  “throwing the country’s energy independence” to the wind by making a secret agreement with Russia. Együtt considered the meeting not only superfluous but also troubling in the current international situation, a day before the summit in Brussels. LMP, as a green party, naturally concentrated on the issue of Paks II which, in the party’s opinion, should be scrapped altogether. According to MSZP, Orbán should have made clear at the press conference that Hungary is a trustworthy member of NATO and the European Union. The MSZP spokesman hopes that Orbán didn’t receive “party instructions from Moscow a day before the summit.”

From the Hungarian point of view this meeting was unnecessary and most likely injurious as far as the country’s relations with her allies are concerned. Suspicions about Viktor Orbán, which are already abundant in western political circles, will most likely intensify. But Orbán probably had no choice but to show up in Moscow. This is what happens when one is in the embrace of the Russian bear. With his decision sometime in late 2009 to turn to Russia to expand the Paks nuclear power plant on Russian money, he became the messenger boy of Vladimir Putin.

February 17, 2016
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Guest
Abusing EU and American trust and biting the hand that feeds him are signal traits of Orbán, and no one should be surprised at any particular instances of this. Therefore I do not think that Orbán is a messenger boy of Putin at all. Rather, he is a very active and enthusiastic Putin ally, thus a and Russian mole, canker and cancer in the body politic of the EU. The EU however does not seem to be particularly troubled about his Russophile shenanigans, in fact to all appearances couldn’t really give a flying damn whether Orbán comes, goes or does pirouettes, which clearly is the one and only true measure of Orbán’s supposed “international importance.” Talk about the mouse that roared . . . . The only possible issue is the potential damage Hungary could cause as a NATO member, but this day and age NATO doesn’t count for much, and it is reasonable to assume that the Americans would take adequate precautions not to let the untrustworthy Hungarians anywhere near any genuinely significant military or technological secrets, the leakage of which could potentially damage for US national interests. However, if the Americans did not take such precautions, they could… Read more »
Guest

Corrections: delete “and” before “Russian mole” in the first para, and “for” before “US national interests” in the second. Sorry, no edit function.

Member

The part about Hungary buying Russian helicopters. Let us not forget:
“Hungary couldn’t afford the $9 million a year to send pilots to the NATO Flying Training Centre in Moose Jaw, Sask., according to documents produced by the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Air Force and obtained by the Citizen.
So Canada stepped in with the money to cover training for 2012 and 2013. The DND has also proposed to spend $9 million this year, $10 million in 2015 and $11 million in 2016 to cover Hungary’s pilot training costs, according to the documents.
Hungary has asked Canada to cover the training costs until 2021.”
So Orban wanted to enrich Putin by buying the helicopters from him, while so far begged out $60,000,000 tax payers money from Canada? I have a problem to paying with my money to the Russians to be honest, and that goes for my Canadian and my Hungarian tax dollars.

Hungary spent the least % of its GDP on military expenditures, so others are footing the bill for that too. Even Lithuania’s expenditure was much higher!

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/canada-paid-for-cash-strapped-hungarys-fighter-pilot-training

Guest

With respect Some1, if Canadians are foolish enough to fall for Hungarian lies, I suppose they richly deserve what they get. Canada should never loose sight of the fact that Hungarians will always abuse trust and ruthlessly bite the hand that feeds them. When it comes to the Hungarian con men, the old saying that no good deed is without its punishment applies with double or triple the force.

Guest

BTW, just look at the way Hungarians systematically abused the trust of Hungarian Jews after WW1 and bit the Hungarian Jewish hands that fed them whatever economic development might have existed in then Hungary. This is a signal Hungarian trait, which Orbán practices with spectacular talent, thereby showing himself to be a true son of the Hungarian people, a genuine true blue Hungarian.

Member

First of all with respect, just like Orban is not Hungary, the Canadian Prime Minister at the time is not Canada. No Canadians voted to give this money to Orban’s disposal. Why I am sensing some problems with your logic? “I suppose they richly deserve what they get” when it comes to Hungarian Jews too (all the antisemitism, Albert Wass in the curriculum, WWII statues, etc.) because they fell for the Fidesz lies? All Hungarians deserve their retirement savings confiscated too, and their hospitals to run down like that? This money was allocated to Hungary likely in 2011. Orban was in power for a year at the time, and the West had great expectations. Hungary is also member of the Nato which Canada is member of.

Guest

Touché. :-))

Guest
Well, I suppose the biggest difference between us, dear Some1, is that in spirit you are very much a Hungarian, whereas in spirit I have long ago ceased to be. I remain interested in Hungarian current affairs, as I am also interested in many other kinds of current affairs, but I regard my knowledge of Hungarian as simply an incident of birth, a consequence of my Galician and Moravian Jewish forebears not having had the good sense to move across to America while the going was still good. So just as you are a Hungarian living part-time in Canada, I am just a plain vanilla secular, non-observant, assimilationist old Jew living in Australia as a loyal citizen of the lucky country, without however any particular national(ist) attachments to it. As far, however, as the political nouse of people of Jewish descent living in Hungary is concerned, I am afraid my views are rather negative, because if they still trust Hungary and Hungarians after all that befell them over there and in fact continuing to happen to them over there even onto this very day, all I can say is that I got a great bridge to sell them. And if… Read more »
Guest

Re: ‘After all, what would be the loss to NATO if Hungary was not a member? Nothing much, or rather, the benefit of no longer warming a viper on its breast’

You’d even be more angry seeing the country eventually used as the tip of a poisoned spear into the heart of Europe.

Guest

Ah, I am not angry, just disgusted.

Back at the time of the regime change 25 years ago, I so wanted to be at long last proud of Hungary, but that was not to be.

As to what would happen if Hungary was ever used as a poison spear into the heart of Europe, I am sure it would simply be squashed like a bug.

Guest

And if that reality occurred it would once again solidify the fact that for some reason Hungary when it comes to making decisions be it political, social, economic or cultural ones usually finds itself in various predicaments. Either being on the ‘wrong’ side or messing up execution of whatever plan they’re working on. When it comes to judgment I’m afraid they are not so good in that task as this current and eager foray into illiberalism shows.

Istvan
Guest
It would indeed be a perfect idea for the Hungarian military to start using what we called in the US Army the “Hind D and E” Russian attack helicopters. Orban is a truly sick man to have considered this, but of yes I forgot he is also a man with military experience so all Hungarians can rest at ease knowing that. The record of the Hinds in Afghanistan was not good the Russians called these things the Mi 24 -25 series. The CIA supplied our then allies, later enemies, with heat seeking rockets called Stingers and brought down dozens of the Hinds. There was no vision or detection system in the tail so in typical Russian fashion they experimented with fitting a machine gun in the back of the fuselage, accessible to the gunner through a narrow crawl-way. The experiment was highly unsuccessful, as the space was cramped, full of engine exhaust fumes, and otherwise unbearable. During a demonstration, an overweight Soviet Air Force general once got stuck in the crawl-way. The Russian crews called themselves “Mandatory Matrosovs”, after a Soviet hero of the Second World War who threw himself across a German machine gun to let his comrades break… Read more »
Guest

All too true, István, except that the loony idea of purchasing Hinds was not motivated at all by any military considerations, but by the intention of thereby strengthening the de facto Russian-Hungarian alliance, and by giving the Hungarians another chance to spit on NATO, the EU and America, and give them the one finger salute.

Guest

Things one might take into consideration before buying such equipment are flight-hour cost, maintenance costs and reliability/aircraft availability. I heard many times that Soviet/Russian equipment did not perform well in these fields.

spectator
Guest

Come on, they can’t even provide enough fuel to fly those helos regularly, — nor the Gripens for that matter — so why to buy the stuff at all?

Besides, of course the kickback, as it happened with the Gripens, I mean?

Melvin Mark Morrison
Guest

The Hungarian leader is a special kind of stupid conducting business with Russia. The Hungarian leadership has also made the Hungarian culture the number one saddest in the world. That is the deffinitiion of a special kind of stupid

Guest

You are right, MMM, but Orbán is merely a symptom. The underlying problem is with the actual cultural proclivities of Hungarians, with their political comfort zones (illiberal Christian Nationalism and National Socialism), and a psychologically very sick, typically Balkan mentality.

petofi
Guest

Some good news for Hungary: there seem to be plans for the Russians (sic) to finance the rebirth of Malev. Haven’t we seen this before? Maybe twice or thrice? In the end, it’s the Hungarian budget that gets it…in the end…

(Or, as they’d say in deepest Harlem, ‘Hungary is Russia’s bitch’.)

álmos
Guest

Paks 2 is on, totally.

It is an absolute priority for both Orban and Putin. I hope this is clear.

Putin emphasized it to Orban and Orban got the message.

The EU is not an issue, Orban promised to handle the Brusselites and the project will be sped up.

The dogs may bark but the caravan goes on.

Plus Putin is ascending, winning big time (Syria etc.) and the EU is going down (partly because of Putin’s and Orban’s smart machinations). Putin and Orban are the real winners.

Bowen
Guest

Putin is busy blowing up civilians (including hospitals) in Syria, to create new waves of refugees. This enables Viktor to put up fences and ‘protect’ Europe against the refugees, and become the darling of the far-right across the continent.

Is that what you mean by ‘smart machinations’ and ‘real winners’?

Álmos
Guest

Winning is winning. There are no rules in war. Putin gets what he wants and so does Orban.

The EU and the West just don’t.

That’s how the game is played.

The more migrants the better, yesss, because Orban can look more statesmanly and can protect the nation. Terrorism and fear are always the best methods to prop up popularity. Orban knows this. The left wing is cornered. No wonder Orban is so popular in Hungary. He is a winner, as is Putin.

Guest

Looking at the economy it looks a bit different – the Russian and the Hungarian people are the big losers, but who cares for them?
They\’re only cannon fodder for the \”big players\” …
comment image

Guest

@Álmos
Watch out when there is more than one winner. Arpad’s father Álmos was murdered by his co-winners of the conquest.

Guest

You are 100% right, but no need to gloat about it, because it’s no different from gloating over a natural disaster like an earthquake or the meltdown of a reactor.

Would you gloat over thousands of people losing their lives in an earth quake or a whole region becoming irradiated as a result of a meltdown?

Or maybe perhaps over the victories of Herr Hitler, Signor Mussolini and of Horthy Kormányzó Úr Főméltósága in the “good old days” 1939/40?

Because from the perspective of a minimally sane and well balanced person, it is in just as disgustingly bad taste to gloat about the disastrous “victories” of Orbán & Co. or Putin & Co. today.

Observer
Guest

@Álmos

Wake up. Russian gov revenues are almost 50% down, real income 9-10% down in 1015 alone, Russian Econ Ministry projects stagnation for many years to come.

Kirghistan cancelled a nuclear project because the Russians (also creditors) procrastinated and did nothing.

The Russians could not sign a USD 8 billion arms deal with Iran as Iran wouldn’t pay anything in advance, i.e. the Russians had problems with crediting the manufacturing.

Where’s Putin winning exactly ?
I mean except his winning against Orban – e.g. selling to him somewhat outdated technology Paks II, helicopters, and having him as a mole/agitator in the EU.
BTW Paks II will bust Hungary financially adding most likely another HUF 8 -12 000 billion to the current debt of 25 000. but what else?

Orban and his cronies are winning – getting richer and richer. The rest are footing the bill loosing big time in all areas in Hungary. What’s in for you there Judas ?

pumukel
Guest

Russia owns Kirgisthan anyway.

But Paks 2 (and the shady dealings involved in its construction) would mean owning an EU country outright.

Now that’s a priority.

The oil price is down but consumption is increasing again, the price will bounce back soon especially as there is no investment in production (due to the low prices).

Paks 2 is a top priority for Putin and Orban. It’s an extremely strategic investment.

Instead of Russia holdings its currency reserves in US bonds it now has Hungary as its debtor, plus the costs are not even in USD. It’s an investment, a very good one for Russia.

This is a total win for Russia and they’re not giving it, that’s for sure.

Guest

Yea! Álmos!

Yea Hungary is winning – all those economic (Hungarian) migrants LEAVING Hungary – Hungarians winning because they earn a decent wage and live in a democracy elsewhere. Anywhere but Hungary.

All the brainiest and motivated Hungarians who don’t want to go back.

Leaving all you dimwits behind – to defraud their country through the black economy; to victimise and oppress fellow citizens (Hungarian Roma); and watch the Magyar Guarda’s beer guts march past with tattoos and flags of greater Hungary. All these really happy winners in Hungary.

Yea real winners! Like Trianon and Hitler coming second in WWII.

Yea. Anywhere but Hungary.

spectator
Guest

If you slept out the the effect of whatever you using dear ‘Álmos’, you may even figure out that Hungary is not in any war, so your rules doesn’t apply here, – sorry to break your dreams of the hero!

You may even watch out for your valuables, obviously you fell for an unscrupulous conman. The bitter awakening pretty much guaranteed, only the time is in question.
However, it will come, so you’d better be prepared..!

Istvan
Guest

Álmos as very smart Japanese Admiral said right after Pearl Harbor – we have awakened the sleeping giant. Putin has done the same, one example of many see http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/18/politics/u-s-tanks-artillery-norwegian-caves/index.html The Yanks are coming back big time, get ready.

Guest

We hope.

dos929
Guest

In the face of all these and other facts I still cannot comprehend how the EU still tolerates Orban, and as many have expressed before me, why they keep financing this regime from the decent EU taxpayers’ hard earned money? Isn’t it is time for the EU leaders telling the madman Orban in no uncertain terms: ‘Stop these mad policies of yours both inside and outside Hungary, and if not, pay back all the subsidies and leave the EU!’

Guest

Isn’t it obvious why?

Ideology, namely the delusion of an ever closer united Europe, at least up to the Russian borders, an delusion that is to be maintained at all costs, regardless of all evidence to the contrary.

Too much prestige and too many careers have been invested in pursuing this will o’the wisp by too many bigwigs in Brussels and in core EU countries to allow facts on the ground make the slightest impact theory, the principle being that if the facts don ‘t fit the theory, to hell with the facts.

Guest

Correctiona: (1) “… a delusion that the to be …” and (2) “…make the slightest impact ON theory.”

Guest

‘ “Putin told the reporters that he and Orbán discussed “the possibilities of the revival of a full-fledged dialogue between Russia and the European Union.” ‘

Many years ago Orbán declared that HE, personally, IS Hungary, and with such a grandiose self-image, we should not be surprised if he next declares that HE, personally, IS the EU, as no doubt his self-delusion indicates at least to himself.

But while we might laugh at such pathetic antics, we would be betterr off instead soliciting some serious sanctions against Hungary from the EU, which seems to have learned nothing after WWII about the power of small-time, tin-pot dictators such as Orbán, and their ability to influence the mindless, unthinking masses.

Below is a reminder of what the EU is about, like it or not, and note the practically non-existent contribution Hungary makes to it, as compared to the benefits which it reaps, and which it puts directly into the pockets of Orbán and Corrupt, kft.

Orbán is rising to power with his evil and clever machinations and now has influence way beyond the borders, and will not stop unless he is made to. Throw Hungary out of the EU and let him flounder.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zgjwtyc

Guest

You should always remember:
The millstones of the gods grind late, but they grind fine.
This saying is almost two thousand years old but still valid.
Any quick reaction by the EU would only fortify the old Hungarian idea:
“It’s someone else’s fault!”

So imho it’s better for the EU and for Hungary in the long term (though it might hurt) to let things go on …

Observer
Guest

@wolfi7777

I wish I could share your optimism. I have been talking occasionally to European diplomats in Hungary for over 15 years and they kept assuring me that “I should not underestimate Europe” and the EU will react if slowly.

I have been preaching the merits of nipping this rot in the bud, in time to discourage other wanabee dictators or simple pricks damaging the EU.

After all the politicians everywhere think in four year terms, i.e. why rock the boat and run risks over something beyond that term. A weak point of a democracy.

I know how Cassandra felt. Sad, but I soldier on.

Guest

All evidence points to the EU not giving a fig about Orbán’s shenanigans, never have and never will. Hungary is to small a fry in comparison to the grandiose EU ideological stakes, and facts be damned. All else is wishful thinking.

Guest

If I were the EU I\’d be very very very careful here. Viktor reminds me of that fellow in the film \’Grizzly Man\’ who thought he could hang out with the those wild bears. Naive as all hell. Eventually the fellow got too close and got mauled to death. So much for \’trusting\’ a wild bear.

And if anything is going to bring down the EU with its frustrating and troublesome neighbor it\’s Viktor as an Aeneas building a Putinian vanguard that ostensibly seeks some sort of \’cooperation\’ with Europe. Of course not to enhance but to undermine solidarity on arguably already weakened walls. Putin\’s miners will have a field day.

Not sure how this back and forth \’soft power\’ dialogue that almost always seems to seek \’accommodation\’ with the Orban-Putin axis will go on but hopefully the EU has their thinking caps on and know when they should not take in Trojan horses. Certainly an Rx for disaster in Europe. And the EU diplomats need to be sharper than that O-P duo. Viktor and Putin coming off and playing the \’lyre\’ to Europe is real bad bad music.

tappanch
Guest

The journalist ridicules economist Mellar’s idea, but I find it sound:

Just for an election, unify all anti-Fidesz people and parties to defeat Fidesz,
restore democracy, checks and balances,
create a fair electoral system, then
schedule a new election as soon as possible.

“Mivel van 2,5 millió ember, aki szinte biztosan a Fidesz ellen szavaz, ezért létre kell hozni egy új pártot, amelynek mindössze annyi a programja, hogy elindul a választáson, helyreállítja a demokráciát, a fékek és ellensúlyok rendszerét, megváltoztatja a választási törvényt, és a újra igazságossá teszi, aztán a lehető legrövidebb időn belül lemond a hatalomról, új választásokat ír ki. ”

http://444.hu/2016/02/18/mellar-tamas-tudja-hogyan-kell-levaltani-a-fideszt

Kardos doktor
Guest
tappanch: Not even the left wing can agree on anything, but you would include Jobbik too? Fidesz controls many opposition figures and party factions within the opposition. Do you seriously think that these people, under such circumstances, can agree on a complex and long-term (many months long) cooperation and then be the most ardent adversaries a few days later (when the new elections would be held)? This is a dream and it will never happen. I wonder when will people realize that there is NO way to formally legally send Orban packing and to be able to change the Basic Law (election rules) which is necessary for governing, let alone to make Orban and his mafia accounatble. Not possible. Orban ensured this. Even the Socialists are at awe of his legal “genius”, they just never had the legal intellectual capabilities. They just don’t know how a state based on the rule of law operates, how power is exercised in such a system (which is why they didn’t care about whom they designated as constitutional court judges, why they let the prosecution fall into Fidesz’ hands etc.). Even if the left-wing would somehow come to power they would not have the… Read more »
Observer
Guest
@Kardos dr 1. It’s not so impossible. The parties’ respective experts would likely come to agreement on program elements in their areas. The parties would more easily agree on a candidate at voting district level. These are major elements in a coalition/co-operation exercise. Hard foot work and clever propaganda can help bring the voting mood of 1989 when the voters knew nothing about parties and programs, but voted to oust the communists. Finally, a Deus ex machina event like the 2008 financial crisis, a road accident or heart attack can change the scene completely. This is why the opposition should work hard and keep the powder dry. 2. The legalistic veneer put up by the “Carpathian Genius” II won’t stand a good legal scrutiny; even now many violations of the existing law are observed. Many of the contracts are phony and can be exposed as such. E.g. This week the officials who set up the old Budapest paid parking system ten years ago were charged with misappropriation (hütlen kezelés) for unnecessarily employing subcontractors. http://www.ma.hu/belfold/273819/Megkezdodott_a_Furstper_hutlen_kezeles_a_vad This way there would be thousands of cases to win against the Orban mafia. I don’t insist on the all, I would be content to see… Read more »
Guest

Wishful thinking, Observer. The Hungarian opposition is like a herd of cats or chooks, and cats or chooks are notoriously difficult to herd. The people involved rather stab each other in the back than be prepared to proceed in tandem in some sane direction. I wouldn’t hold my breath about their prospects of forming a majority government, not to mention a 2/3 majority government capable of returning the constitution to normality. Besides, I am sure that Orbán has many opposition actors in his hip pocket through manipulation, intimidation, bribery and blackmail.

spectator
Guest
While the idea is sound — there wasn’t any other alternative even at the last time — I guess the solution isn’t a new party, but a party union. Or “umbrella” party, if you will. I wouldn’t (yet!) throw away all the people of the existing democratic parties, we can’t afford to discard anybody who will stand up against this piece of… wannabe Führer, no, we can’t. While it would limit the chances to one single parliamentary caucus – as opposed to as many as the number of parties exceeding the 5% threshold, the advantage is that even the existing parties could keep their identities even later on. Furthermore, it would work only if the upcoming government would consist only/mostly professionals instead of party leaders, at least as long as the ‘restauration’ of law, order and democracy will take place, ensuring that the transition goes on free of partisan agendas. There is two significant drawbacks though, or better to say, drawbacks what I see: The parties should be able to hold back their individual interests and stop bitching about size of their supporters till the time’s ripe for that election, and all the MP’s should be elected only on individual/personal… Read more »
Guest

Rather OT – or not?
The winner of the \”Photo of the year 2015 contest\” is :
Hungary and the fence – ain\’t that nice?
So Hungary and Orbán and … are in the center of attention again …

http://www.worldpressphoto.org/
comment image?itok=ZsZyJ4WL

Istvan
Guest

The Beacon had an article summarizing the post demonstration situation of primary and secondary teachers in Hungary http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/hungarian-teachers-continue-with-plans-to-strike/32224

It is interesting to note in the article that “”on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that the government would not increase the wages of teachers. In response, (PSZ union President) Galló said teachers do not want raises for themselves but rather for the teachers’ aides and technical and administrative assistants – around 50,000 employees – because their wages have remained unchanged since 2008.”

Offering teachers nothing in terms of compensation increases is probably an idiotic move by Fidesz. On the other hand Galló was being disingenuous arguing teachers wanted no more money, because a major demand of PSZ is a reduction in the length of the school day which would effectively be an increase in wages for teachers.

Samu
Guest

“The West has been observing the consequential brutality of Putin’s new foreign policy strategy with a mixture of awe, indignation and horror”.

The feeling of awe is always part of the feeling of the defeated party (just as the Hungarian leftists can’t help but feel awe at Orban’s never-ending winning streak which fundamentally rearranged the power structure, after all Orban is a real revolutionary).

The West knows that it is losing (not that it had too many viable options re Syria) but it can’t help it, it cannot toughen up and stand up to Putin.

Putin wants the falling apart and division and eventually the demise of the EU and he is winning.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-siege-of-aleppo-is-an-emblem-of-western-failure-in-syria-a-1077140.html

Observer
Guest

C’on mate. Isn’t Orban winning too?
You haven’t learned your line, you rascal.

Guest

I’m still wondering why people are so in awe of Putin – Russia is getting more unimportant every day …
Economically it’s weak – its Gross Domestic Product is less than Italy’s – about 10% of the EU’s!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29
And it’s falling behind in all technologies …
The only thing to be afraid of are the old atomic bombs they still have …
PS:
Even the financing of Paks2 sound suspicious to me – where do they get the necessary money ?

Guest

Why are the trolls here so crazy about Putin’s Russia? In a few years Russia will be as poor as Hungary …

Guest

Yea, Samu – we stand by your expertise at losing – Hungarians are so good at it.

Trianon…… WWII ……….Miskolcs….. The Hungarian people…… Trianon……. ….WWII…. The economy….. Health Service……… Teachers.

Yea… It’s all win win win. Hungary must be a great place to live…

petofi
Guest

“Putin wants the falling apart and division and eventually the demise of the EU and he is winning.”

Utter rubbish…the part about ‘winning’.
Russia is in the final throes of ultimate demise. Putin knows this and is frantically looking for some face-saving solutions for the old Russky empire. Threatening Sweden and Finland; bombing the bejesus out of Syria; manipulating the Hungarian Pinocchio…are desperate measures
looking for significance in the face of gradual, and constant, decline.

Russia is being ground down by economic realities. At home, it’s only a matter of time before the billionaires–business, military, secret service–will eventually pull the plug on the present brinkmanship.
(What’s the use of having dollar billions if you can’t buy plum properties in Miami or Palm Springs?)

Guest
London Calling! Putin’s involvement in Syria – the bombing of rebels and hospitals and schools with the ludicrous denial that “not one civilian has been injured” is propaganda propaganda propaganda. The bombing pattern of his aircraft shows time after time that he is a war criminal just extending the arm of the Syrian army. Bomber-al-Assad being propped up by Putin. Very few bombing raids by Russia have even touched ISIS enclaves. Through his own media interviews and via his ambassador they tell bare-faced lies that they know to be false. Gone are the days when a Dictator can talk directly into the camera and bend reality like they did in the old Soviets. The ubiquitous mobile camera is ever present to record these war crimes. Medecins sans frontieres’ testament is just too rock solid when they show the bombing of at least four hospitals – and evidence that they have supplied all the location co-ordinates to the relevant armies. When they come to the conclusion that they have been targeted it is irrefutable. How can the Roman Catholic Unchristian Church (as well as the Russian Orthodox Church) stand idly by? And how can Orban let himself even share the same… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@CharlieCharlieh

As my antecedents used to say, “from your mouth to G-d’s ears”.
I’m not completely without hope.
But I wish people would stop bad-mouthing Bruxelles and the EU–they are not numbskulls. For the moment, they’re sitting on their hands. Let’s just grant that they are in possession of more facts, and a clearer picture, than we will ever be. They will not rush to judgement.
But I am sure that, in time, there will be an accounting…

Guest

Wishful thinking, petofi.

My reading is that the ideology of “ever closer union” trumps common sense and even elementary self-preservation any time in Brussels and in the core countries of the EU, and in any case, Hungary is really too small a fry to give even a flying damn about in the power centers of the EU.

Systematic abuse of trust by the Hungarians biting the hands that feed them and an illiberal, thoroughly corrupt autocratic set-up without any operational constitutional checks and balances does not slow for a moment the flow of money for jam from Brussels into the pockets of the ruling Mafia in Hungary.

These are the facts on the ground. Sadly, that is all there is to it.

Guest

You know it’s tough in a way to see the EU looked upon as the ‘patsys and pushovers’ for Putin. But perhaps it makes sense since with them it seems to be all ‘dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue’ to achieve ends. But it’s apparent all that talk doesn’t provide great advantages. It can suggest weakness when they then get waved away or simply ignored. Don’t know how close they are to obsequiousness but to get there would rather seem pathetic.

Perhaps that haughty quip of the ‘US makes dinner over there , Europe does the dishes’ has locked Europe into a particular way of behaving. Perhaps they need to check things out more closely in their problem solving and decision making.

Guest
Yes, meek appeasement has always been the West European way since the end of WW1, a pissed off Germany and its allies excepted until the end of WW2, and subsequently the sullen and antagonistic East Europeans until the collapse of the Soviet Block. The worst characteristic of the Europeans is their utter unwillingness to take responsibility for their own defense, which they are more than delighted to leave to Uncle Sam, who in turn is perfectly willing to pay and pay and pay through the nose for it, primarily because it helps the military industry at the heart of the American economy to tick over very nicely, thank you very much. Their total unwillingness to defend themselves in terms of a Fortress Europe – which would be borderless inside, but have very tough to penetrate external borders – has now come to bite them real hard on the backside with the current inflow of a flood of Third World refugees and economic migrants. The EU response to this crisis, as to the Russian-sparked crisis in Eastern Ukraine, once again reminds of Neville Chamberlain’s shenanigans in Munich, back in 1938, when he joyously declared peace, hand over heart, a few months… Read more »
Reality Check
Guest
wpDiscuz