Hungarians in praise of Vladimir Putin and his empire

It was only a few days ago that I devoted a post to Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó’s visit to Washington, where he met the new assistant secretary of state in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs, Wess Mitchell. It is hard to pass judgment on the meeting because both parties remained silent on the subject. One thing, however, is fairly certain: there are no definite plans for Viktor Orbán to travel to Washington and meet with President Trump. As Jenő Megyesy, an Orbán adviser on American affairs, put it, “such bilateral meetings are important only when there is some important topic or conflict on the horizon.” This is not the case today. This kind of talk indicates that there is no significant improvement in U.S.-Hungarian relations. One of the obstacles to closer links between the two countries is Russian-Hungarian relations.

Today I would like to call attention to two manifestations of the uncritical pro-Russian attitude propagated in the Hungarian administration and in the media. The first one comes straight from the Ministry of Defense. It is an article written by Lt. Colonel Endre Szénási, security and defense policy expert in the ministry’s Department of Defense Policy (Védelempolitikai Főosztály). The other was written by László Gy. Tóth, who is described in the media as “a political scientist close to the government.” He is an old hand in the trade. In 1997 he published a series of essays about “The heirs of Kádárism,” which I picked up by mistake and found to be utterly worthless.

Let’s start with a Hungarian military man’s assessment of the United States, Russia, NATO, and military matters in general. Before Szijjártó’s meeting with Wess Mitchell, the foreign minister pointed out that both in military and in economic matters relations between the United States and Hungary are excellent. Problems crop up only in political relations between the two countries. But do these two NATO allies see eye to eye on matters related to defense and their relationship to Russia when a chief analyst of the Ministry of Defense identifies with the interests of Vladimir Putin’s Russia? Because this is exactly what Szénási does. The article is actually about Michael Flynn’s “regrettable” departure from the White House, which may put an end to Donald Trump’s attempt at a rapprochement with Russia.

It is not Szénási’s erroneous analysis of American politics that deserves our attention but his statements on Russia and its role in world affairs. In his opinion, Russia is not an expansionist country. “It is only defending its own historical sphere of interest.” Russia is not “even aggressive since it didn’t force a change of regime in Georgia by military means. It didn’t bomb the Georgian ministry of defense, which in a classic war situation is the number one target. Unlike the United States it didn’t enforce regime change; it didn’t overthrow the government; it didn’t occupy Tbilisi.”

Russia wasn’t an aggressor in the Ukrainian case either. “Since 2014 it has occupied only that part of the Donets-Lugansk region which has a clear Russian identity. Moreover, the West mistakenly believes that the occupation of Crimea was an act of aggression. As far as Lt. Colonel Szénási is concerned, it is perfectly acceptable for Russia to militarily occupy territories of another country whose territorial integrity it had guaranteed earlier.

This article appeared originally in Terror & Elhárítás (Terror and interception), a periodical published by TEK (Terrorelhárítási Központ), often described as Viktor Orbán’s private army. It was subsequently discovered by András Domány, a well-known journalist and expert on Polish affairs. In his article in Élet és Irodalom, titled “Kormányzati tudomány” (Government science), he wonders whether the leadership of NATO or the Ukrainian government is aware of the appearance of this article and whether they will be satisfied with the explanation that this is just the private opinion of a government official. Because officially, Hungary is still one of the guarantors of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. 444 also picked up the story of Szénási’s lofty defense of Russia and added a few more quotations from other works by the security and defense expert.

Now, let’s move on to the article of our political scientist, László Gy. Tóth. Perhaps someone should translate the whole article because almost every sentence in it is an outrage. Here is one of the first sentences: “Judged by his activities to date, Vladimir Putin’s rational policies are of serious value.” After a sob story about Putin’s poverty-stricken childhood and his hard-working, deeply religious mother, Tóth goes on to praise him as the president of a country which is described as “a constitutional democracy that differs from the western variety because of the somewhat archaic and traditionalist value system of Russian society.” Putin guarantees human rights but “supports only those cultural trends that are not in conflict with traditional Russian values.”

As far as foreign affairs are concerned, “Russia is open to the world.” It attempts to be a partner with the EU and NATO. As Putin said, “We must try to configure a Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” This new Europe would be based on some kind of supranationalism, which means “a higher ranking cooperation of nationalisms.” I guess a united Europe under Vladimir Putin would be preferable to what we have now in Europe, which Viktor Orbán thoroughly detests.

The tension between the European Union and Russia is solely the fault of the United States. For decades American foreign policy strategists have been trying to isolate Russia by “generating conflict between the European Union and Russia. They have created an operetta-revolution in Belgrade, a revolution in Georgia in 2003, and a Ukrainian revolution in 2004. How? Through George Soros, various kinds of NGOs, and the CIA.

Yet “Putin is more and more accepted in Europe because it dawned on European politicians that today Russia has nothing to do with the former Soviet Union.” Russia today is, “in the good sense of the word, a nationalist, presidential, constitutional state that wants to base its future on traditionalist values. One must take cognizance of the fact that Russia is the leading military power of Europe and the only country in the world whose nuclear capabilities are not one bit smaller than those of the increasingly aggressive and unpredictable United States.”

In Tóth’s view, “in the newly created cold war, the Russian position is unequivocal and rational. If the United States acts in violation of previously concluded bilateral arms-control agreements, Russia will react immediately. This is a clear and rational standpoint that the Americans must accept.” Tóth adds: “Hungary was among the first countries to recognize that the Russian Empire has returned to the stage of the great powers.”

What can one say? It is hard to imagine that a member of Hungary’s armed forces and an official in the ministry of defense can spout off freely, expressing policies that are diametrically opposed to the official policies of Hungary. One must ask: What is the official policy of Hungary vis-à-vis Russia? Does anyone know for sure? Can its NATO allies trust the Hungarian military establishment when a long-time employee of the ministry and a member of the country’s military holds views like the ones that are expressed in his available writings? I have no idea, but I assume that the U.S. military attaché and his staff do read periodicals pertaining to military matters and have noted the appearance of articles like Szénási’s. Because I’m sure that anyone who took the trouble could find scores of articles similar in spirit to what is exhibited in Szénási’s pieces.

As for László Gy. Tóth, the so-called political scientist, one can hardly find words to describe the article’s sycophantic tone. Moreover, the article is sprinkled with old turns of phrase from the Rákosi and Kádár regimes. Phrases like “az Egyesült Államok kiszolgálói” (the hired hands of the United States) return in this article. One could perhaps argue that Tóth is just a political scientist, but such an article couldn’t appear in Magyar Idők without approval. This particular article might be stronger than some others that appear in the paper praising Russia and its leader, but Magyar Idők and Magyar Hírlap are both full of pro-Russian editorials. One must assume that the publication of these articles doesn’t bother the Orbán government at all; in fact, it endorses them.

January 23, 2018
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András B. Göllner
Guest

“László Gy. Tóth, the so-called political scientist” is not just a political scientist. He was Orbán’s chief political advisor during his first term in office. and remains one of the chief political strategists of Fidesz. He no longer works in the PMO, but his former colleague, Imre Kerényi still does. The latter has publicly praised those who would like to bomb the White House to the ground, and has argued that Russia is a far better friend of Hungary than the US. (For direct quotes, dates and page numbers please Google the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter’s Indictment document.) Obviously none of this matters a hoot for the Donald and for those in the Republican Party establishment (Connie Mack, J.D. Gordon, George E. Birnbaum, Anne Barnhart, and others, who are pulling down millions of dollars from Orbán’s phony foundations, to clear the way for Putyn’s Trojan Horse in America.) The Donald just wants to have fun with Vlad. He will greet Vlad’s Hungarian puppet with great fanfare once the heat from the Russia investigation cools, and the Hungarian autocrat re-instals himself for a third term in April of this year.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Putyn’s Trojan Horse’

Appears to be galloping around not only in America but Europe as well. And moving on from millienias the fact is these decoys operate in full sight acting oblivious to the machinations of a Russian ‘Greek’ who appears to have learned something from history.

These do not have to come out of the treacherous horse today. They’re out in the open. It would be unbecoming ……..slinking quietly out of the belly of that gifted beast.

It’s all efficient in getting the burrowing job done. It’s Putyn as the big cuckoo putting his eggs in other nests to get sustenance and protection with the host doing the job. That’s the way it looks around America and Europe. ‘Free’ nations from now on may have to check who’s nest they really are feathering and supporting. For things look as if they’ve gone ‘cuckoo’. Democracies nowadays will have to have birds on their mind to survive. 😎

Guest

Almost unbelievable!
But just combine this with the new anti-Soros or rather anti-NGO laws and you realise what illiberal democracy means – fascism light?
Not too much OT:
Again a scathing report on the new anti -Soros laws:
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/gesetzentwurf-in-ungarn-schikanen-gegen-fluechtlingshelfer-a-1189198.html
PS:
Hungary on its way down -that discussion about the FH eport which called Hungary “free” seems laughable now …

Marty
Guest
Only complete fools would fail to realize that the Hungarian government is strategically and consistently pro-Russian and that the Russian intelligence penetrated the highest echelons of political power and as well as the lower rungs. I don’t think Hungary did anything in the last 8 years that was against Russia’s strategic interests or which wasn’t OK-ed by Moscow. (Hungary’s voting for the sanctions are OK-ed in Russia, the Russians get it that Orban cannot veto and cannot by himself prevent these big decisions, and it’s in Russia’s interest to keep Hungary within the EU and NATO as long as these organizations exist, but also to keep Hungary there to destroy these from within like a good, well-trained KGB saboteur.) The Russians probably never really left having kept their personal contacts in the various security services even after 1990. As a result it is fundamentally a political decision by the US and the NATO to allow Hungary to continue to play this game. The Western European powers really don’t care about Russia that much, they are far away from Russia and they themselves are desperate to get some business from Putin so they don’t really care if Hungary is doing Russia’s… Read more »
Observer
Guest
Istvan We can safely bet that there are more Russian sympathizers, friends or more in the armed forces and not only among the old cadres (most of whom btw would be retired now). Here is an interview with Col. Barnabás Adám from the Holy Crown Guard, it’s not a stand up comedy farce, it’s a real Hun colonel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxewFUa4KQE Some telling snippets for non Hun speakers, in my hurried translation: “..[the Army assigned the protection of the Hungarian Holly Crown] … this decision of May 29th 2010 is this kind of decision, which started to put in order things that took place in this country under the past political system, and the previous, which screwed up things during several decades… …No matter where the state boundaries are, no matter what do we consider as such, … we have to take into account he history of the SC because all these have no significance whatsoever, all these in their political .., social, economic.., military sense have implications there, but above all it’s the HC which is up there, doing it’s work… This is written in the Hungarian Chronicles , it’s a written thing, so, the history changes, but the HC is… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Eva,
Istvan,
Incredible, somewhat crazy and troubling*, this is why I brought it up. I’m certain his not the only such one there.
* One has know Hungarian, the recent history and to see the the innuendo pauses and expressions to fully recognize that this guy walks the line between the acceptable narrative and the irredentist, fascist one, being very pleased with himself for it.
Push the right button and such people would serve the Russians better than the communists (önkéntesen és dalolva).

wrfree
Guest

After all the above sure curious on ‘Karpat-Haza’. And the recruits? What do they think they will be fighting for? And what will they fight for?

Istvan
Guest

Thanks Eva I was not aware of the direct Arrow Cross phrasing.

Guest

I’ve never understood the fascination with the Holy Crown (neither has my wife, she laughs at all that cr*p from old history) and we had to pull ourselves together when we were once in Szekesfehervar on one of these big holidays (maybe August 20?) to keep from laughing at all those marching …
PS and a bit OT again:
In Keszthely on the grounds of the beautiful Festetits (a typical Hungarian name again …) castle is a statue of a Husszar on a horse – you can see the thing from your car, really funny!
We drive by it regularly and joke about it …

Istvan
Guest

Col Barnabás Adám apparently has seen some level of NATO duty, but overall he fancies himself a charging Hussar. If you go to http://www.honvedelem.hu/container/files/attachments/44000/hsz_3_beliv_oldalankent.pdf you can read an essay by him. If you can stand to read the essay you will discover he is obsessed with something of a folk culture revival within the Army. At certain points in the essay the Colonel harkens back to the Horthy Army. He blames the Stalinists for breaking some type of tradition continuity in the Army.

There is a place for tradition inside the military, but fundamentally what the military is about is the use of force and the efficient use of force to reach objectives set forward by civil authority. The Colonel is a parade about guy and he would not last long I suspect at the US Army Ranger school that Major Farkas completed or for that matter at the Virginia Military Academy. I suspect Orban would much admire the Colonel, he seems to like soldiers marching about. But I suspect he fears real soldiers who are not bullshitters and are all about reaching their objectives with deadly efficiency. Soldiers like that strike fear in pretend generals like Orban.

Istvan
Guest
“The Russians probably never really left having kept their personal contacts in the various security services even after 1990.” That is without question likely correct and I would extend that to the Hungarian military to some degree. The Zrínyi Miklós National Defense University, now the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training of the National University of Public Service has had some instructors trained by the Warsaw Pact and I have met them. I have had many deep suspicions relating in particular to children of Kadar and earlier era military officers who became Hungarian Defense Forces officers. There never was a full scale purge of the Hungarian military following transition, and many of the officers who transitioned professed to be secret anti communists who were enthusiastic about being part of NATO. I have no doubt that is true for many of those officers, but I also have no doubt that there were moles amongst them too. However, there are many fine young Hungarian officers many of whom were trained here in the USA. Here is an extensive interview in English with one those officers, Major Sándor Farkas http://www.westpointcoh.org/interviews/a-hungarian-officer-on-leadership-service-and-multinational-operations I would add Major Farkas speaks English with extreme fluency, far better… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Re: the apparent ‘allegiances’ in the military

Certainly not encouraging if hostilities erupt. An army divided among itself cannot hope to stand. Leaves the flanks to be rolled up pretty good. NATO will always have some things to ponder about in strategy to counter the Russians. They will always be creating ‘weak spots’ to use and keep theater options open.

Jean P
Guest

“Russia wasn’t an aggressor in the Ukrainian case either. “Since 2014 it has occupied only that part of the Donets-Lugansk region which has a clear Russian identity.”

The way is being paved for non-agressive Hungarian occupation of regions across the borders which have a “clear Hungarian identity”.

Istvan
Guest

That is a legitimate fear Jean, given how stressed the Ukrainian military is there is probably little question the small Hungarian military could seize some of the border areas to “protect” the Hungarian population. But the ensuing protracted combat would quickly exhaust the small Hungarian army and the 12 Hungarian Gripen fighters would eventually be destroyed by surface-launched air defence systems using R-27 missiles (see http://defence-blog.com/news/ukraine-poland-to-jointly-develop-surface-to-air-missile-system.html ) Then we would have yet another historic military defeat for Hungary to continue our depressing tradition.

BMO
Guest

So long as Western powers are mired in conflict, internal struggles and political upheaval, the likes of Orban will roam freely. Hungary lacks the critical mass economically and politically to be a serious rabble-rouser and force that can create its own dissecting faction. Poland is the undisputed regional power and country of critical mass that the West cannot let go of.

Very conveniently, the abysmal relations with surrounding countries prevent Orban from gaining their trust and full fledged support. The West is simply not forced to act on him…. He’s a nuisance right now, not a geopolitical problem.

Welcome to the ruthless world of power – the electorate is on its own!

Guest

He’s a nuisance right now, not a geopolitical problem.
Exactly! And even those that he believed to be friends like the Austrian right wing government aren’t happy with Paks e g.
So Hungary and the Visigrad4 generally are really isolated in the EU. It’s almost like in Kadar times:
Cheap workers and cheap holidays available in the East!

Guest

OT but interesting:

The fastest shrinking countries on earth are in Eastern Europe.
According to UN projections Bulgaria, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Hungary, are estimated to see their population shrink by 15% or more by 2050. And Hungary is among them of course.

https://qz.com/1187819/country-ranking-worlds-fastest-shrinking-countries-are-in-eastern-europe/
This page contains a link to the bas statistics from the UN – fascinating reading!

Observer
Guest

Why no migrants want to come to the EE counties?
Why even the locals leave their EE countries by the millions?
All EEuropeans being economic migrants aren’t they taking the westerners’ jobs, draining their social benefits funds, taking billions of Euros out of WEurope?
Aren’t these EEuropeans pretty bad migrants who should be “thrown away”?
Aks the twits like Adunai.

Adûnâi
Guest

These statistics are misleading. Western countries are shrinking as well – their native, White race populations. They’re just “compensating” for it by importing Middle-easterners and Asians.

Eastern European countries are not importing them, and I’d say, that’s better. After all, the birth rates can soar upwards when the feminism will be defeated, but throwing away a million invaders would be not as easy.

Jean P
Guest

“After all, the birth rates can soar upwards when the feminism will be defeated, but throwing away a million invaders would be not as easy.”

Muslims are very good at defeating feminism. Ask their help.

Observer
Guest

Eva,
Is translating Tóth’s kitschy and primitively unabashed Putin/Russia accolades worth it? Likely Tóth is just a propagandists trying to climb up the heap of sycophants, although the publication in MI is an indication of the mood at the top.
In the military chain of command, such opinions must have passed muster with the High Command, at least in theory, making the Col. Szénási article more significant.
Both articles should be brought to the attention of the US embassy at lease.

Istvan
Guest

Oh I suspect Eva’s blog is read regularly by State Department people, so consider it done.

Guest

Of course you’ll find “friends of Putin” everywhere – in Germany the most (in)famous example is former chancellor Schröder who called Putin a flawless democrat once …
But he also made/makes a lot of money from his relations – honi soi qui mal y pense …
All these people totally ignore of course the faxt that Russia now is the prototype of an “illiberal democracy” – and we know what that means, anything but democracy …
So anyone who talks like this can’t be a democrat either!

Member

The thought – “Have they all forgotten so soon” – always comes to mind when I read or hear the pro-Russian Hungarian statements.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Élő adásban omlik össze a Soros-valóságshow
in live broadcast the Soros reality show crumbles to pieces
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRObn2unBpQ
Brilliant video by 444.hu, everybody with even a little understanding of Hungarian should watch this!!
…and highly recommended to 444.hu to provide subtitles in English & Deutsch…

Observer
Guest

Tnx Ferenc.
Great piece and format.