Hungarian Chardash under the balalaika or "Western Front" of Kremlin

It has been no secret for a long period of time that during the years of
Vladimir Putin’s presidency of the Russian Federation, the policy of the Kremlin, at
first in secret, and in recent years, is quite openly reduced to the reincarnation of
a peculiar USSR model. Today enormous resources of almost all state bodies of
the Russian Federation are thrown on the return of control over the post-Soviet
space. From the armed forces to the media, from the Foreign Ministry to the
private philanthropic funds of Putin oligarchs. Moreover, if we look at some of the
particularly aggressive aspects of the Kremlin’s activities through the prism of Karl
Deutsch’s classical definitions of “proxy wars,” then we can safely say that today
the Russian Federation is at the same time conducting “indirect wars” in more
than a dozen territories of several countries. And one of the most important
developments of modern Kremlin interventions is that if until recent time they
were felt mainly only in the territories of the CIS countries, over the last two or
three years there has been a significant expansion of the Kremlin’s use of hybrid
technologies. The dynamics of this expansion is moving both towards the Middle
East (Syria, Israel, Egypt, etc.) and to the countries of the European Union. And if
in the case of the Middle East, Moscow’s actions are manifested mainly in the
form of rough military intervention or financing of terrorist organizations and

open support for dictatorial regimes, then in the cases of the EU, much more
subtle mechanisms and rather intricate multi-paths are used. However, in both
cases, the result is the same – the Russian Federation expands its zone of
influence and forms so-called puppet governments, which it skillfully manipulates
to solve problems of a rather wide spectrum.
And perhaps today, Hungary has become one of the most prominent EU
member states that have turned into a reliable support for Putin’s regime. The
first persons of this country turned into one of the most ardent lobbyists of the
Russian Federation in Europe. There are periodic appeals of Hungarian Foreign
Minister Siyatro for the complete lifting of sanctions against the Russian
Federation, and a number of demarches against Ukraine by official Budapest, and
even open accusations of anti-Russian policy voiced by Hungarian Prime Minister
Viktor Orban to the EU.

However, all this is only an open manifestation of this all-encompassing
love for Putin’s authoritarian regime that suddenly surged on Budapest. In
addition to these statements of the first persons, the Kremlin also uses Hungary
as a kind of springboard for much more serious and thoroughly disguised
processes, the main purpose of which is to shake the internal political situation
and inflict another series of attacks on the sovereignty of the main enemy of
Russia in the region and Hungary’s eastern neighbour Ukraine.

I will cite only some aspects in the form of dry facts, confirming that almost
all anti-Ukrainian actions emanating from Budapest in recent years, one way or
another, have a Russian trace.
Recently, the “Party of Hungarians of Ukraine” prepared and published a
material called “anti-Hungarian actions in Ukraine”, where Ukraine is directly
accused, allegedly of actions committed against the Hungarian community of
Transcarpathia. This material cites 182 cases of “anti-Hungarian actions in
Ukraine” in the period from April 2014 to April 2018, and in fact in all cases, the
accusations are addressed to representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, who
are allegedly involved in organizing and coordinating the actions of “aggressive
nationalists” (though that the authors in the text often call themselves the phrase
"unknown malefactors").
According to the authors of this pamphlet, the most flagrant example of
Kiev’s “unfriendly” gestures towards Budapest is the arson by the so-called
“Ukrainian nationalists” of the KMKS office (Party of Hungarians of Ukraine) in
Uzhgorod. And this is despite the fact that it has long been an indisputable fact
that Polish pro-Russian radicals were involved in these events by the far-right
nationalist organization Phalanga.

The Hungarian government officially pursues a policy of financial support
for organizations that represent the Hungarian national minorities of the

Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, which advocate the formation of the
Hungarian autonomy in Transcarpathia. These events are accompanied by
statements by representatives of Hungarian political circles regarding the need to
expand the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine. Such a tendancy, in turn, is
used by Russian special services in conducting targeted information campaigns to
discredit Ukraine’s relations with EU member states and the NATO bloc, as well as
inspiring false facts aimed at inciting ethnic and interstate hostility, creating an
information background about the threat of the formation of new centers of
separatism in Ukraine.
The Kremlin’s strategy to attract marginal extremist parties or paramilitary
organizations to advance their interests in the countries of Central and Eastern
Europe has also launched quite deep roots in Hungary. Vivid examples of the
activities of such organizations are periodic demonstrations organized near the
Embassy of Ukraine in Budapest with calls for self-determination of
The organization “Youth Movement of 64 Hungarian Counties” (HVIM)
openly conducts its extremist activities, agitating ideas of not belonging to the
territory of the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine and systematically organizing
rallies in support of the so-called HVIM.

The victory of the pro-Russian ruling party Fides in Hungary at the last
parliamentary elections was provided by “foreign Hungarians”, including from
among the citizens of Ukraine.

The Hungarian government has long been using Ukrainian citizens of
Hungarian origin as an additional resource in the internal political struggle for
power. And such support by the “foreign Hungarians” of the ruling party, in turn,
is quite generously paid directly from the country’s budget. The amounts of
support for individual Hungarian organizations in Ukraine indicate that Fides
clearly understands how to “buy” the sympathy of “foreign Hungarians”. In
particular, in the framework of the support of the “Program on the activities of
foreign Hungarian organizations”, almost EUR 250 million was allocated to
support Hungarian organizations in Transcarpathia. You should agree that it is an
impressive amount for a country with quite serious economic problems in almost
all sectors, if you do not assume that this money has a Russian mark.
And the final chord, confirming the unlimited influence of the Russian
Federation over Hungary:
In April 2010, two influential Hungarian businessmen from the inner circle
of V. Orban (Lyon Simik and Zsolt Nergesh) visited Moscow, where they held an
official meeting with the leadership of the FSB at headquarters on Lubyanskaya
Square. After this, more than strange meeting, V. Orban, who for the most part of
his political life was a staunch critic of Russia, the Soviet Union and communism:
1. Makes a radical change of strategy and becomes the most powerful
Russian lobbyist in the EU.
2. Orban’s Fides Party, which had almost no chance of winning at the
parliament at that time, won a strange victory, and its leader became the
permanent/unchanged prime minister of Hungary.
3. Without a public tender, the Hungarian government signs a scandalous
agreement with Rosatom to expand the Hungarian nuclear power plant Paks.

Over the past 9 years, explaining his pro-Russian steps to his inner circle,
Orban noted that close relations with Russia were allegedly necessary in order to
strengthen Hungary’s shaky positions in the international arena. He also said
more than once that he was positively surprised by Putin’s governance model, in
which the business elite depends solely on the Russian leader, and there are
almost no independent players. Subsequently, Orban himself began to build a
similar model in Hungary, with great strides departing from democratic standards.
In the likeness of the Russian Federation, he even established state control over
independent media. Its result today is an open broadcast of Russian propaganda
media throughout the territory of Hungary. The Hungarian media, on the other
hand, copy the Kremlin’s propagandists exactly, both regarding the situation in
Ukraine and creating the image of “external enemies”, the need to protect
“foreign compatriots” on the basis of language oppression, etc.

Against this background, it is very important that today, not only Ukraine,
but the entire progressive world began to think seriously about the question:
What will this mutation with the image of the authoritarian Putin Russia
eventually lead Hungary to? What threats does it pose to both Hungary and for
the whole of Europe consciously choosing the path of regress, located in the heart
of the European Union?

Vahan Martirosyan 18/02/2019

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