Russian-Hungarian exchange of top security information

After a lot of suspense, the fate of Paks II, to be built by Rosatom and financed by the Russian government, has been settled. The European Commission threw in the towel. Admittedly, there is still a possibility that the Austrian government will take the case to the European Court of Justice as it did with Great Britain’s Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant. The British case is still pending, and a verdict against Hinkley Point might have some bearing on Paks II. But that is a long shot.

Although the specific points of the final agreement on Paks II are of great interest, here I would rather look at another, possibly nefarious instance of Russian-Hungarian relations: an agreement between Russia and Hungary “on the mutual protection of classified information.” News that this agreement would come into force on April 1 was announced on March 3, 2017 on the last pages of the Official Gazette. It was discovered by the staff of Magyar Nemzet. Interestingly, with the exception of very few media outlets, this agreement has been ignored.

What is even more surprising is that the agreement itself was signed in September 2016 without anyone noticing it. Bernadett Szél (LMP), for example, who is a member of the parliamentary committee on national security, had no inkling of the document’s existence. This is what happens when the opposition parties lack the resources to hire a research staff.

Of course, the agreement is not especially significant by itself because it only defines rules and regulations governing the transfer of secret information between the two countries. What is of considerable interest, however, is the extent of the working relationship between the Russian and Hungarian national security forces or, as the agreement states, “the competent authorities responsible for the implementation of [the] Agreement.” These “competent authorities” are the National Security Authority in Hungary and, in Russia, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the successor to the KGB of Soviet times.

The agreement reveals that top secret documents change hands between Hungary and Russia which cannot be shared by a third party. How many such documents are we talking about? The agreement at one point states that “for the transfer of classified information carriers of considerable volumes of classified information, the authorized bodies shall, in accordance with the laws and other regulatory legal acts of their States, agree on the modalities of their transportation, itinerary and escorting method.” There are also detailed instructions about the destruction of certain secret documents, including the proviso that “classified information carriers marked Szigorúan titkos!/Совершенно секретно (Top secret) shall not be destroyed and shall be returned to the authorized body of the originating Party, when they are no longer deemed necessary.” All this indicates to me a close working relationship between the Russian FSB and the Hungarian NSA.

We don’t know, of course, what kinds of top secret documents are being exchanged by the Russian and Hungarian national security agencies. It is certainly not immaterial what kind of information the Hungarian partner passes on to the Russians, especially in view of Hungary’s membership in NATO and the European Union. In fact, Magyar Nemzet specifically asked the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Trade whether the Hungarian authorities gave information about the details of cooperation between Russian and Hungarian national security forces to the European Union and NATO. No answer has yet been received. Bernadett Szél told the paper that she was certain the Hungarians don’t pass any sensitive information on to the Russians and that the European Union and NATO are fully aware of all such exchanges between the two countries. I wish I were that confident that the Orbán government is playing by the book.

Tamás Szele in Huppa.hu is convinced that such an exchange of secret documents greatly favors Russia “because considering the weight and strength of the two organizations, it is hard to imagine the arrangement as one of cooperation between equal partners.” For Szele this means that “we have become unreliable diplomatic partners, surrogates of Russia with whom one cannot candidly negotiate or conclude secret agreements because everything that has been said or written will be in the Kremlin within an hour.” Let’s hope that Szele exaggerates, but as far as I know western diplomats are already worried about the trustworthiness of the Hungarian diplomatic corps. And as Attila Juhász of Political Capital, a political science think tank, said the other day, “the government seemed to have forgotten that Hungary is a member of the European Union and NATO. It replaced a friend with a foe, contemplating idly the growing use of Russian propaganda.”

Hungarian state media spread fake Russian news / Source: Budapest Beacon

There is another danger in this cozy Russian-Hungarian exchange of top secret information, which is the possibility that the Russians disseminate disinformation that may lead the Hungarian agents astray. Given our knowledge of Russian disinformation efforts in the United States and the European Union, I don’t think it is too far-fetched to assume such a possibility. The use of disinformation via the internet is one of Russia’s weapons in the destabilization of Europe.

The far-right Hungarian-language internet sites under Russian tutelage work hard to turn Hungarians against Western Europe and the United States in favor of Russia. This is bad enough. But the real problem is that the Hungarian government media outlets consistently join the chorus of pro-Russian far-right groups, which only reinforces the worst instincts of a large segment of the population. According to a recent study on the attitude of the Visegrád 4 countries toward Russia, “the Hungarian government disguises its pro-Russian stance behind a mask of pragmatism,” but there is reason to believe that the government media’s love affair with Russia is not against the wishes of the Orbán government. The Orbán government’s long-range economic and financial dependence on Russia in connection with the Paks II project further ties Hungary to Putin’s Russia, whose plans for Europe don’t bode well for Hungary either.

March 6, 2017
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petofi
Guest

Hungary as always been a vassal state of Russia. Gyurcsany is not innocent here: what do people think the ripping-off of Malev several times was??

Guest

The slow death of Malev was one thing I don’t understand – is there any reliable info on the background of this crazy and sad story?

webber
Guest

The long story is incredibly convoluted and boring. All you need to know is the last act – Russians owned Malev, generally through Hungarian fronts. In 2012 Orbán’s government bought Malév, paying off the Russian investors in full. The airline then went into bankruptcy, because it emerged that it had such incredible debts that there was no way to save it.
There is no way that the buyer – the Hungarian state – did not know about these debts when it paid full price for the airline. You can fill in the blanks – which will remain blanks because a lot of them are now state secrets in Hungary (thanks to Fidesz).

Member

The LMP is but an inconsequential footnote to Fidesz, and from her interview in Canada, Bernadett Szél is a very, very uninformed person about International politics, even the life and people’s thinking outside Hungary, she has barely scratched the surface of the domestic political issues.

Istvan
Guest

At this point in time the Russians may have so penetrated the United States National Security Council that there is probably little the Hungarians can tell them. The old Tom Clancy novel Red Tide Rising really is nothing compared to the possibilities of the current situation where SVR operatives are possibly creating news stories that are now being referenced by President Trump. No novelist could make up the reality we are living in.

petofi
Guest

Istvan,

Consider for a moment that Trump couldn’t have won the Republican primary unless Russian agents and American ‘buyouts’ had not already been operating. So what you have now is one of two American political parties totally infiltrated
and controlled by the Russians.

Furthermore, with Putins billions, I would think that many polls and newspaper outlets, and websites–Drudgereport jumps to mind–are similarly in Russky control.

As for “false news”…the Russians are using their contacts to spread it around. Of course, it helps when you got gullible mental midgets like Rachel Maddow snapping at every tidbit like a flying fish.

petofi
Guest

One of the things that the ‘basement boys’ have discovered was that 24 hour news requires the constant feeding of news stories–the more dramatic the better. Hence, the proliferation of ‘false news’ has become easy as pie.

The Russkies are, I’m sure, celebrating the confusion they are able to sow in the simplistic, linear-thinking
yanks…

webber
Guest

Slow down there. You are living in a glass house. What about the simplistic Canadian- and American-Hungarians, who constantly repeat Putin troll army nonsense (hello Gyula Bognar!) about the Democrats being soft on fp? About Clinton being lousy for American and great for Russia? (hello Petofi – don’t give a damn about your support for Bernie, when the choice was between Clinton and Trump, you showed your colors).

You and Gyula are both stuck in the Cold War. Wake UP! It’s the right where you’ll find Putin’s allies now.

Look at what your support for the Republicans has got you, and all of us. All a person – a Russian mole – has to do is wrap himself in a flag and shout about national defense and about how evil the Democrats are and you roll over on your back in delight.

webber
Guest

In brief – before you say things about “simplistic Americans” take a look in the mirror, please.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘No novelist could make up the reality we are living in’

I’ve got a mind to give Mr. LeCarre an advance and tix to Budapest. He could certainly flesh out a plot as his ‘fiction’ has always teased out the sordid realities of the espionage game.

webber
Guest

Two American parties…
One of them was actively blocked by the Russians. One of them was hated by the Russians. And when the other party won the Presidential elections, the Duma broke out into applause.
Petofi, will you please stop repeating Putin troll army nonsense and use your brain a little. Clinton as a Russian candidate? You’ve lost it (again! yes, I still remember you saying you cheered when you heard Trump won – I don’t give a damn how old you are, you were fooled, and have been again.)

petofi
Guest

Webber,
You live in a dream world of self-interpretation and then attacking same. I was never for Trump. I hated Hillary and the DNC for how they manipulated the primaries against Sanders. Yes, I didn’t want Hillary to win, NOR TRUMP; (but I did revel in the defeat of that hag who just won’t go away.) I have castigated Trump repeatedly but you choose to ignore that. (I also think that if Sanders had taken the radical step of mounting a third party candidacy for President, with Jim Webb as VP, he would’ve won.)

Calling me a “Russian troll” is your most ridiculous nonsense, far removed from my constant attack of the ‘basement boys’–aka, the KGB.

You’ve got to stop drinking the Hungarian water.

petofi
Guest

@ webber (continued)

Unfortunately, I see things too clearly:
The Repubs have been totally infiltrated by the Russians. And the Dems are run by Wall Street, and the uber rich. The American electorate had nowhere to turn: the choice of Trump by 60 million–and I question the legitimacy of that number– was pure desperation and mindless hopefulness. The two-party system is ruined for the foreseeable future…

petofi
Guest

I maintain that the key to explaining the Trump phenomenon is to find out how he won the Republican primary…

webber
Guest

iot. Sure. There we can agree. The rest, no.

Istvan
Guest
All I can say is that I am deeply worried about our security situation here in the USA. President Trump took a story off of Brietbart, very possibly planted by the SVR that President Obama wire tapped his offices in NYC and now has even got Congressional support for an investigation of the former President. All of us trained in the US military are aware of Maskirovka (Маскировка) the Russian doctrine of denial and deception. We of course have practiced our own versions of D and D. It is very easy to go in the direction that Petofi has taken in his comments given the Russian history. Yesterday I listened to the editor of the very liberal Nation magazine argue that many of the claims being made of Russian influence are a form of a new anti-Russian witchhunt and the first thing that came to my mind was she now working for Russia Today and the SVR machine? Really a pretty sick thought given she does not oppose a Congressional investigation into Russian influence on the elections. I am not sure Europeans understand how jarring all this is for those of us with any history in US security issues or… Read more »
webber
Guest

Istvan, I can assure you Europeans notice. A comment I have seen from a European “Even Stalin didn’t achieve this level of penetration.”

And it is the Republican Party that has been so massively penetrated, not the Democrats (not saying there aren’t moles there, too – if there aren’t, I’ll eat my hat)

The Democrats’ ideology of fostering democracy abroad is apparently seen as a threat by the Russians.

Everything has turned around since the Cold War. It is now the Right that has Putin’s allies.

webber
Guest

Breitbart is an outlet for Moscow’s stories. No doubt about that.

webber
Guest

d. (Republicans aren’t run by the über rich???)

petofi
Guest

No. They are presently run by Putin.

webber
Guest

You misunderstood me. I did not imply you were a Russian troll. I implied you are a useful i.

webber
Guest

Petofi – What is wrong with a Democrat being rich? Just FYI, it was never a socialist party. You might have believed Republican (and now Putin) b.s., but look at the Dems’ history a bit. They ALWAYS had a lot of über rich people.

Another thing- from time to time you used to bring up the money Clinton made from her (and Bill’s) speaking tours, as if this were some foul, foul crime. I never understood that. She made money. People paid to hear her speak (I never did, fyi). SO WHAT??? That is legal, you know. You can look at her tax returns if you like. You can see exactly what she is worth. She is wealthy. Nowhere near as wealthy as Trump, but Clinton is wealthy. Again, SO WHAT???

Use your brain just a bit, please.

Wanna bet some of Putin’s own money is in Trump concerns?

petofi
Guest

webber,

Let me join the dots for you…A person (Hillary) making $400,000 for a one hour speech and than elaborating on her sympathies just does not match. Can you see that?
Perhaps if she would’ve given 25% of that money to needy causes, then she might have a right to pontificate. As is, she should shut up and take off with Huma to a South Seas island.

And for the ‘uber rich’…they’re invested in both parties so they can’t lose either way; but they don’t care for a loose cannon they can’t manipulate. Hillary was money in the bank for them: Trump is an unknown quantity whose actions can’t be controlled or predicted.

One thing for sure, American standing, and wealth in the world, is in danger…especially the role of the US dollar as the dominant currency in the world.

Personally, I don’t hold any American dollars, because when Trump goes down, the dollar will collapse.

webber
Guest
petofi
Guest

You’re such a simpleton, webber. The point is this: Hillary making $400,000 for less than one hour disqualifies her from being a spokesman for any but the richest of persons. Can you digest that?

webber
Guest

“Trump is an unknown quantity….” Not unknown in Russia! Nor unknown among other extremely wealthy people.
Apparently, Petofi, you believe the Democratic Party is or should be the American version of the Socialist Workers Party.
It is not, and never was. It was always staunchly for capitalism.

petofi
Guest

No. I believe that both American political parties should serve the citizenry, period.
Trump, that nacissistic moron, serves only himself.
Hillary serves only her ‘brand’and herself. You want an example of what a politician should be like? Read up on Jim Webb.

TKT
Guest

You are a complete idiot! I have voted from Trump and my decision was NOT influenced by any Russian Agent…. but by Trump’s policies.

Guest

… which shows what kind of right winger (dare I say fascist?) you are.
You belong on the breitbart site, f*ck off!

Member

Orban is famous for persuading voters to trust him even as he refuses to declare positions on policies. Paks 2 is an exception. Orban was talking about entering into a partnership with the Russians to refurbish Paks as early as November 2009. Voters rewarded him with back-to-back 2/3 parliamentary majorities in 2010 and 2014 (when Fidesz’s sole campaign pledge was a single word: “Forward!”).

You asked for it, you got it. When Hungarian voters wonder who to blame for their piss-poor health care and education, 53 percent of them can take a long look in the mirror. Make that 70 percent if we include those who voted for Jobbik, which thinks Russia is the bee’s knees.

Guest

There are lots of things I don’t understand about Hungarian politics (and my wife says the same, she’s very unhappy there …) but the biggest unresolved question for me is still:

Hungarians had lots of experience with Russia, the KGB etc – why do they think the Russians are better friends than those “horrible Liberals in Brussels”?
Is ther a genetic aversity to democracy, freedom, equal rights etc in the Hungarian DNA?
Are they born that way- do they really enjoy being a kind of slave to some master?
Of course there are exceptions like my wife – I wouldn’t have started a relationship if she were like most of our neighbours and she wouldn’t have begun a relationship with a Bavarian “Christian” like infamous Seehofer …

webber
Guest

Files haven’t been opened in Hungary, Wolfi. A LOT of Hungarian politicians over a certain age are implicated – in Fidesz as well as other parties. Copies of all those files – every one – is sitting in Moscow.

LMP has introduced legislation to open the files 12 or 13 times now. Fidesz votes it down every time.

As to popularity: repeat b.s. from a position of power often enough, and destroy all who say anything different, and sooner or later the public will believe you. But I am not convinced that Russia is so very popular in the Hungarian public. The historical narrative just doesn’t lend itself to that – 1849, 1945, 1956, all the way to 1989. Russia has not played the most positive role in Hungarian history.

Guest

Webber, I know about the lack of “lustration” it’s one of the “worst sins” of Fidesz – my wife and my neighbours also know a few former 1000% Communists who suddenly turned into democrats …
Still it seems that Fidesz has the best relations to Putin etc of all main European countries/parties.

wrfree
Guest

Re: why Russia a better ‘friend’

In the calculus of relationships we have to think Magyar leadership thinks it gets a better ‘angle’ for maneuver and machinations in the Euro woods.

And once again Russia snatched the baby from the
stroller. And once again the baby wants to be held. Each tries to satisfy its needs.

Ferenc
Guest

Re: why Russia a better ‘friend’

OV considers Putin a better friend, because EU and EU leaders will never allow him his real dream (no not the Olympic, forget that), if you listen good here, this is what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltWPFjXNNh4#t=30m20s

from official translation: “the place which is our homeland and which we commonly refer to as Hungary: the country which, in its current condition, is the size that it is – though of course when we speak about our motherland we think in terms of a national community in the Carpathian Basin.”

So think of Russia and Crimea, Hungary and ……..

Checked with which countries Hungary made similar agreements about “mutual protection of classified information” like with Russia, well these I found:
in 2012: Slovakia, Latvia / in 2013: Austria / in 2014: Poland / in 2015: Albania, Macedonia / in 2016: Slovenia, Spain, Croatia, Montenegro.
Couldn’t find any similar agreements with Romania, Ukraina and Serbia……….
OK these can have been made earlier (and/or google missed them), but to me that’s very doubtful.

pappp
Guest

I will go further webber. The copies of all documents are in Moscow even of those whose original was shredded in 1990 or later (when Laci Kövér took over the archives) – although the amount of shredding is probably exaggerated.

The Soviets had been sitting in the Ministry of Interior since 1945 and copied the secret docs as they went along and sent them back to base.

The Hungarians shredded some docs at the fall of communism and of course smart people like Sandor Pinter took home some docs for good but the Russians have basically a copy of everything.

As a result the Russians know exactly who is who in the Hungarian political elite.

Russia is popular among Fideszniks. Why? Because such people are foremost Fideszniks and the current dictum is to like Russia and Putin.

webber
Guest

Pappp, I agree with every word you wrote above.

wrfree
Guest

After some thinking on NATO, Magyarorszag and Russia and how the beds are arranged I have come to the conclusion that the West when push comes to shove will be odd man out when it comes to the concept of ‘trust’ in that pack’o hounds. The West gets the finger and probably doesn’t even know it. Boy I hope the ‘stewards’ aren’t clueless when it comes to defense.

pappp
Guest

wolfi, seriously I suggest you read Svetlana Alexijewitsch’ Secondhand-Zeit: Leben auf den Trümmern des Sozialismus. Although I have some doubts as to the veracity of some of the stories, the point is clear if you read the (literary non-fiction) book. It really becomes obvious why Russians like Putin and why even ordinary Hungarians might like Putin or Orban. I guess its message is universal across the unsuccessful East or applicable to at least the unsuccessful portion of society of the Eastern Bloc. Do obtain it (also available in Hungarian and English).

Guest

Pappp, thanks – seems that I missed that book by the Nobel Prize winner!
Maybe I looked it up but found it too pessimistic , so I forced myself to forget it …

Max
Guest
henrik
Guest

It is my suspicion that with this agreement with Russia Orban is also covering his very ass both retroactively and for the future. After all Orban is a trained lawyer; Putin is also a lawyer by training.

If the necessary paperwork is created and we have to assume that it will be created Orban and his people simply cannot be prosecuted (of course until Peter Polt remains in his position this isn’t anyway realistic) for spying or treason.

In the unlikely event that a new government intended to prosecute Orban and his underlings for ‘sharing confidential information’ with the government of Russia (which we have to assume that Orban and his people are actually doing and have been doing for long) suddenly from somewhere a paper will turn up designating the particular piece of information as falling under the agreement and thus precluding prosecution.

Guest

During the Sovjet occupation of Hungary the Hungarians developed a superiority complex towards the Russians. No matter how miserable they were themselves they knew that they were better off and more cultivated than the Russians.

After the collapse of the Sovjet Union the Hungarians developed an inferiority complex towards Western Europe. They felt that they were worse off and less cultivated than the people in he West.

Now they have the choice between two camps. One where they feel superior and one where they feel inferior. The choice is easy.

petofi
Guest

@ Jean P

The Hungarians have a ‘superiority complex’ toward anyone…but really, it’s an inferiority complex turned on its head–I belittle everyone (before they belittle me). Orban promotes and enables this idea as legitimate: Hungarians react as if children who were patted on the head by their father. The whole thing is sick as can be.

Member

I’m wondering how superior the Hungarians felt when the Russians came rolling down the road from Beregszasz about 60 years ago. A spokesman for the border guards told me that in the 1960s, the Kadar regime had to rebuild the road with extra-deep concrete so it would support Soviet tanks if they ever decided to come back.

Today, there are lots of Russians in Budapest (ask any concierge at the Castle Hill Hilton). But most Hungarians don’t come into contact with them unless they are gangster molls, limousine drivers, junior-level mafiosos, or high-level Fideszers. I don’t think these folks feel too terribly superior, either.

You’re right about Hungarians carrying a sense of cultural superiority over Slavs. I just question the integrity of Hungarians who vote to tighten ties with their former oppressors.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘A spokesman for the border guards told me that in the 1960s, the Kadar regime had to rebuild the road with extra-deep concrete so it would support Soviet tanks if they ever decided to come back’

Would love to know if the concrete actually went in..;-)….Even under Kadar where the ‘gulyas’ supposedly just overflowed out of kettles I’d think people loved to get ‘bargains’.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Just watching now an interview with “Mr.”Bakondi György, about the happenings around the Hungarian border.

That “man”: WHAT A PIECE OF SH*T!!!!!!!

Here you can hear and watch “the man” for yourself: http://www.atv.hu/videok/video-20170307-bako

petofi
Guest

Hungary’s last chance to bring their house in order was Bajnai.
But he’s gone and won’t be back.

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