The Russian view of Paks; the right-wing rant on the united opposition

I’m staying with yesterday’s topics: Russian-Hungarian relations and the most important domestic development, the new united opposition. But with a difference. In the case of the Russian-Hungarian understanding, I will take a look at Russian reactions. How does the Russian media view these developments? As far as the gathering of the opposition forces is concerned, I will share some excerpts from the right-wing press, especially Magyar Nemzet and Magyar Hírlap.

I was initially skeptical that whatever Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán signed the other day would be more advantageous to Hungary than to Russia, or even equally advantageous. And not just in economic terms. But I became truly concerned this morning when I saw a Hungarian translation of a Russian article that appeared in the well-known Russian daily, Kommersant. The author of the article, Andrei Kolesnikov, called attention to Viktor Orbán’s eagerness to please his Russian partners. The reporter pointed out that the Hungarian prime minister volunteered the information right after the ceremonies were over that Hungary will fulfill all its obligations as far as the Southern Stream project is concerned. There is no formal connection between the agreement signed on the Paks nuclear power plant and the Southern Stream project, and therefore mentioning the controversial arrangement was not at all necessary. Orbán’s reference to the pipeline could serve only one purpose: to make it clear that regardless of EU objections Hungary will go through with the project. He is ready to engage in another fight with the bureaucrats in Brussels, this time over the Russian pipeline.

I became curious about other Russian media reactions and found an incredible number of articles. In addition, I was lucky enough to catch a radio interview with Zoltán Sz. Bíró, a historian of present-day Russia, whom I consider one of the most reliable and knowledgeable students of Putin’s Russia. According to him, Viktor Orbán’s visit was the leading news item on the Russian state television station. Hungary was hailed as “the most independent country in the European Union.” Long opinion pieces appeared about Orbán, who was described as “the ally of Putin within the European Union.” One article’s headline hailed the agreement as a great victory for Russia because, after all, now “Eurasia is at the Danube.” According to another analysis, this Russian-Hungarian agreement is more than an economic act; it is a kind of political alliance. Another reporter described the event thus: “We already bought Ukraine, and now we are buying Hungary.” The goal of Russia, according to Sz. Bíró, is to have an ally inside of the Union, to whom under certain circumstances Russia can turn. To have a country that can be the spokesman for Russia in Brussels.

Of course, there are also critical voices concerning the Russian-Hungarian deal, mostly in the relatively small independent media. Critics don’t understand why Russia has to spend billions and billions when the Russian economy has slowed considerably in the last few years. It was not too many years ago that the Russian GDP grew 6-7% a year. Today, if all goes well, that figure will be 1.4%.

Although we have no idea what interest rate Hungary will have to pay on the loan, apparently the Russian finance minister already indicated that it has to be high enough to equal the interest rate at which Russia would be able to borrow in the market. This would indicate that the interest rate will not be as low as János Lázár would like us to believe.

Today’s Russia is a politically much more oppressive country than it was before the 2011-2012 elections. The election was rigged, the urban middle classes are increasingly dissatisfied with the regime, and in turn the government is clamping down more and more. To have such a close relationship with Putin’s Russia is anything but wise. Andrei Kolesnikov in his article in Kommersant called attention to the similarities between Putin and Orbán: “the Soviet gene is alive in both of them, whether they like it or not,” which makes them kindred souls.

And as long as we’re on the theme of “the Soviet gene,” perhaps it might interest you to know that Ágnes Seszták, who is a regular contributor of opinion pieces to Magyar Nemzet, began her article about the new five-party alliance this way: “The chartered train arrived which brought Comrade Rákosi, Comrade Gerő, and Mihály Farkas to the podium. Comrade Révai is ill-disposed but he will join the group. Oh, what am I talking about? This is not that age. This is the team of today.” The reference was to the joint appearance of Attila Mesterházy, Ferenc Gyurcsány, and Gábor Fodor on ATV. Gordon Bajnai was invited but couldn’t attend. This is how the right-wing propagandists assist the Orbán government’s efforts to equate the present-day socialists and liberals with the the worst figures of the Rákosi regime.

As the Orbán government wants to portray the social democrats and the liberals

The way the Orbán government wants to portray the social democrats and liberals

Another regular, Miklós Ugró, called the left-center gathering “the little nincompoops” (kis idétlen). I guess that is better than comparing it to the Rákosi-Gerő-Farkas-Révai quartet, but Ugró couldn’t resist calling these politicians comrades who “loathe each other”(rühellik egymást). And the style doesn’t get any more acceptable as he goes on. He mentions “the few political traveling salesmen [vigéc] who betrayed LMP.” Solidarity is “a collection of rowdies [tahók].” And his final word is that this team is nothing but the “reconvening of the old MSZP” that naturally ruined the country and would again if given the opportunity.

Zsolt Bayer in Magyar Hírlap also accuses the socialists of all sorts of sins.  They still consider György Lukács and Oszkár Jászi their intellectual heritage–a murderer and a traitor. They dare to adore Béla Kun and the other commissars, although only in secret.  But their real idol is Kádár. As for Gyurcsány, he is “the greatest, the vilest, the most disgusting crook of the regime change.” Yet, the pro-government forces and voters shouldn’t think that Gyurcsány’s presence will take votes away from the present left-of-center alliance. No, he will bring votes “because they are like that.” Thus, the right has to fight doubly hard to win this election because if “the socialists lose in April, they are really finished. For ever and for good.”

Bayer could have given Attila Mesterházy sound advice. If he had decided not to get together with the others and MSZP had run alone at the next election, he would have had a chance to be prime minister in 2018. “But this way he will disappear with the rest of the crooks. Forever!”

54 comments

  1. It is extraordinary that someone can be so filled with hate as these Fidesz commentators seem to be, based on their articles. Carrying a deep hate like that for a long time don’t you risk getting a cancer or heart problems?
    Strange, sad people. They must be so messed up inside.

  2. A political party which draws much of its strength from hate is really an odd bedfellow of the Catholic Church. Does Pope Francis know?

  3. Well done, Finkelstein brigade!

    Smear the few remaining decent Hungarian politicians.

    A republican consultant, who does not mind the raging oppression of Hungary.

    He should be really outspoken about the FIDESZ sins.

  4. All this spleen is to the Left alliance’s advantage. You get your opponent angry; his agression causes him to make mistakes, you exploit them; you beat him.

  5. James Atkins :

    It is extraordinary that someone can be so filled with hate as these Fidesz commentators seem to be, based on their articles. Carrying a deep hate like that for a long time don’t you risk getting a cancer or heart problems?
    Strange, sad people. They must be so messed up inside.

    How right you are! I’m pretty sure that the flavor of some of these sentences is lost in translation. For example, “traveling salesman” which. as I indicated, is “vigéc”in the original. It comes from German “wie geht’s” “how are you? What’s up?” As I was looking for a good English equivalent I discovered the British “bagman.” Perhaps it would be closer to the true meaning of “vigéc” which is a contemptuous term.

  6. I think just to be clear the EU does not oppose nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants generate about 30% of the electricity produced in the EU. There are currently 132 nuclear reactors in operation in EU member countries. Each EU country can decide whether it wants to include nuclear power in its energy mix.

    I don’t like it, here in Chicago we are surrounded by aging nuclear power plants. I don’t know about the quality of Russian technology, but for sure Westinghouse has had its problems too. Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors are being built in the UK right now and I know there has been opposition to that in the UK. My bet would be the Russians will give Hungary a sweet heart deal compared to financing for AP1000 reactors.

  7. István, no one says that the EU opposes power plants. The EU objects to such deals that has not been decided by tender, as the Russian-Hungarian deal does. It also has objections to the deal with Russia on the Southern Stream because apparently they violate EU laws.

  8. Among the many issues the most important is that Hungary does not need the electricity from Paks II.

    We already have problems at times selling electricity at night, in Germany nighttime electricity is sometimes sold at negative prices, the nuclear producer pays to the buyer. A nuclear station must operate at constant levels regardless of the demand and other circumstances.

    Also one of the myths is that Paks – at current electricity prices – is profitable.

    It makes a small profit but only because the power plant has been depreciated already, the blocks are at the end of their originally planned useful lives. Their lives were prolonged as they can still operate, but accounting-wise it is a huge trick that the depreciation is much-much smaller.

    So it is a myth that Paks is the cheapest electricity (not even counting handling of the waste and such like, also costing hundreds of billions of HUF) and therefore Paks II will be cheap too.

    Prices must increase at least twofold, probably significantly more just to break even.

    I am not sure what will happen if we can import cheaper energy from outside but will be stuck with power stations producing electricity at double, rather triple the current prices.

    Let’s not forget either that the loan will be a foreign currency loan, thus should HUF depreciate against the USD (probably), prices will have to be even higher to be able to generate enough to pay interest/principal.

    By this loan and the project Hungary will nicely reach Greek indebtedness, when in fact we would need to show a decreasing trajectory from the current 82-83% level.

    But who cares about the EU, right? Orban showed them that the EU is just a toothless paper tiger and will again show it. We will quickly build the South-stream pipeline too, by the time there will be a ‘final’ judgement within the EU, the pipeline will have been built. Come to think of it, I think that because Orban feels that he is hated uniformly within the EU, he uses his power to poke at the EU at every turn, to show them that the EU is toothless and has no power over him.

    Orban will do anything for Putin. This is also the first phase of love. Orban now trusts Putin, but is even more happy that Putin allowed a deal that Orban can sell to the ignorant public, of which he (Orban) will hugely benefit and strengthen his party and his position even further. Since in Fidesz the keys to the treasury are at Simicska (and Orban himself), this deal will further strengthen Orban’s internal position. Now, Orban is really thankful for Putin just because of this. Otherwise Orban really wants to like Putin, because he believes that Putin likes him. Orban thinks that this fantastic deal (which of course is a sham in many respects, that is clear to Orban, but he still thinks that this is a good deal overall) is a result partly of his (Orban’s) genius and partly because Putin gave a special treatment to him, because Putin likes and values Orban. Orban does not get much love and respect from his peers. So I am pretty sure, there is nothing Orban would not do on behalf of Putin in the EU.

  9. Eva S. Balogh :

    James Atkins :
    It is extraordinary that someone can be so filled with hate as these Fidesz commentators seem to be, based on their articles. Carrying a deep hate like that for a long time don’t you risk getting a cancer or heart problems?
    Strange, sad people. They must be so messed up inside.

    How right you are! I’m pretty sure that the flavor of some of these sentences is lost in translation. For example, “traveling salesman” which. as I indicated, is “vigéc”in the original. It comes from German “wie geht’s” “how are you? What’s up?” As I was looking for a good English equivalent I discovered the British “bagman.” Perhaps it would be closer to the true meaning of “vigéc” which is a contemptuous term.

    The use of word also has an ant-Semitic flavor, it also used to be used as a derogatory term for a Jewish traveling salesman..

  10. Please notice that Orban went to Switzerland just before signing the deal in Moscow.

    Perhaps he checked on his Swiss bank account whether his personal cut had arrived from Moscow.

  11. tappanch: word on the street is that Orban, Simicska and friends prefer to use Far-Eastern financial hubs (via personal couriers, no less) and of course they do not use own names, only amateurs do, they create shell companies and those have accounts.

  12. As someone already mentioned here, Paks II, specifically its cooling water needs, will necessitate *at least* one gigantic dam on the Danube.

    The dam already has a planned location at Fajsz which has long been the dream of the nuclear and the water management lobbies, the latter of which never gave up the Bős-Nagymaros dream which actually included further dams (eg. at Pilismarót, instead of Nagymaros given the changing plans, and at Fajsz).

    So to the 3,000-6,000 bn Paks project we can safely add 1-2-3 dams on the Danube each costing perhaps 1,000-2,000 bn and all of which will be loss making (given that Hungary is a plainland so there in not much drop on which electricity may be generated and the Nagymaros dam was never even intended to generate substantial electricity). Naturally, these projects are also about cement, concrete and the construction industry (equaling to Orban himself and Simicska).

    (Before people say that river dams, despite their environmental destruction, produce sustainable and renewable energy, I mention that dams often produce more (!) greenhouse gases than comparable sized coal powered plants do, especially in warmer regions as Hungary is now becoming. That is because in the lake behind the dam rotting of accumulated organic material such as trees, leaves etc. takes place and thereby methane is produced in huge quantities which has several times more heat trapping capacity than that of carbon dioxide.)

    Needless to say the environmental costs and consequences cannot even be estimated.

    Although in 1998 Horn and MSZP lost the elections partly because Horn agreed with Slovakia about Hungary’s completion of Nagymaros (to settle the Hague litigation, Horn being a diplomat by nature), that was in 1998 and people then still remembered and cared about one of the most important issues of the rendszerváltás era, that is the opposition to the Bős-Nagymaros project (Dunasaurus). Ironically it was Fidesz which turned this agreement with Meciar via Janos Nemcsok against MSZP in the elections.

    This memory of the noble resistance is, I am afraid, now long gone and Fidesz owns the media.

    One thing is sure: if Hungary had any chance of catching up to the West in political culture or economically now these already meager chances suffered an unprecedented blow. The financial burden of these projects, coupled with the further increasing influence of the construction lobby will wreak havoc on this fragile country.

    http://cink.hu/orban-dontese-miatt-megis-vizlepcsok-epulhetnek-a-duna-1502556493

  13. Tappancs, methinks if the trip really took place to Switzerland then you are very astute – theres no doubt in my mind that this could have been used as a possibility to set up separate transactional schemes etc.

    Lawyers and Private Banking Practices handle all kinds of financial set-ups there that are 100% independent of Swiss Banking as such. Obviously he could have met the appropriate lawyers chosen to handle the transactions in private safe-houses, arriving in disguise etc. This kind of ultrasecret activity is standard procedure for big-time VIPs and genuinely big moneys. It costs peanuts to arrange compared to the enormous moneys involved. And evidently this current mega-scheme needs to be completely separate from (any) previous affairs.

    As regards the choice of nuclear power vs. any other, for Hungary — judging by Orbán V.’s previous decisions and specifically in energy matters, this current step bodes VERY badly. His investments in oil ‘giant’ MOL using EU and IMF loaned funds originally intended for other purposes has proved to be a TOP-RANKING DISASTER. The shares he purchased have lost a large part of its initial value. Also the corruption used in the purchasing of the Croatian (National) oil company INA has boomeranged by extension, right on him and his decision resulting in the conviction and imprisonment of the Croatian Prime Minister of the time.

    There is an outsanding arrest warrant issued by INTERPOL for the Hungarian President and CEO of MOL in case he travels outside of Hungary…

    What can I say, but that Orban is playing with fire in energy matters… I would not trust him with a single match – hes likely to blow us all up.

    And hes obviously inexperienced with the “Knuklear”… and not willing to listen to any advice except perhaps his “Yes-men”…

    Kaboom…

  14. tappanch :
    Please notice that Orban went to Switzerland just before signing the deal in Moscow.
    Perhaps he checked on his Swiss bank account whether his personal cut had arrived from Moscow.

    –psychiatrist/handler

  15. Peter :
    tappanch: word on the street is that Orban, Simicska and friends prefer to use Far-Eastern financial hubs (via personal couriers, no less) and of course they do not use own names, only amateurs do, they create shell companies and those have accounts.

    –probably the quacker’s main role

  16. gergely :
    As someone already mentioned here, Paks II, specifically its cooling water needs, will necessitate *at least* one gigantic dam on the Danube.
    (Before people say that river dams, despite their environmental destruction, produce sustainable and renewable energy, I mention that dams often produce more (!) greenhouse gases than comparable sized coal powered plants do, especially in warmer regions as Hungary is now becoming. That is because in the lake behind the dam rotting of accumulated organic material such as trees, leaves etc. takes place and thereby methane is produced in huge quantities which has several times more heat trapping capacity than that of carbon dioxide.)
    Needless to say the environmental costs and consequences cannot even be estimated.

    And then comes the sedimentation, which is the greatest problems with river dams.

    http://www.internationalrivers.org/sedimentation-problems-with-dams

  17. If this is true what you are saying regarding an additional Dam in the Danube, than the project will cost more than only money for many years to come. And this will effect Serbia and the rest of the countries after the dam.

    OT: Just finished reading an article regarding the housing project for Foreign currency debtors started in 2011. It seems that as of December 31, 2013 the project was abundant by the government. They could only fill half of the houses of the project. Which we more or less expected ten in this blog. However, what is really worrying is the the budget was HUF 140,000 to HUF 160,000 per square meter. The actual price was HUF 500,000 per square meter.

    Can you imagine what the extra costs would be for such enormous project, if they can not calculate the costs for such small project.

    http://nol.hu/belfold/20140117-vege_az_ocs_ai_kiserletnek

  18. Interesting article Eva, but the problem is much larger than this. The problem is not what the right wing journalists write in long, boring traditional newspaper articles. These are read by a few thousand people almost all of whom are already committed politically.

    The problem is what the Left said about each other only a few months ago. Facebook posts, ATV sayings, Népszabadság pieces. All places where left wing people get their information from. This is the problem, the festering wound that hurts a thousand times more than any right wing journalist can write.

    When Tibor Szanyi says “With a bolshevik billionare, it is impossible to build a normal future” – a comment that you also quoted in one of your earlier pieces, that is the problem. When he says about Gyurcsány: “I only have one idea, either Lipót, or Csillag” – one a notorious prison one an asylum for the mentally disturbed.

    And let’s not forget what prompted these outbursts from Szanyi. When Gyurcsány said “There were shady characthers with black briefcases… it is better if we do not know where MSZP’s money came from when I was chairman”. Or constant talks about the billions of black money surrounding Laci Puch and his circles.

    This is just part of the problem that they have to deal with. And this is all due to the infighting because they couldnt agree a year ago. Why? They say the election system forced this coalition. It is true. But the election system was put in place years ago. It was known that there will be only one vote instead of two. Does anyone understand what took up all this time? Was it Bajnai unwilling to step back?

  19. An important aspect of Hungary’s rapprochement with Russia is geoolitics Since the first half of the XIXth century, Russia has always played a crucial role in regional political developments.

    In 1945, for example, it was Stalin who stopped the ethnic cleansing in Slovakia.

    As the EU does not seem to support autonomy developments here, Russia may feel that her time has come.

    And the region is again in flux:

    http://www.balkaneu.com/romanias-basescu-calls-internal-debate-union-moldova/

  20. Yesterday Forbes ran a very positive article about investing in Hungary. Overall, there is no negative reaction among international investment funds in the USA to Hungary potentially creating excess energy capacity as several commentators have pointed out. I suspect that is because excess capacity could lead to lower commercial energy costs and allow for cheaper production.

    Let’s recall that from a US investment perspective what ever conflicts Hungary has with the EU are not of much importance as long as it remains a port of entry to the Eurozone and continues to pay down its debt as required by the IMF. Unfortunately, Orban’s authoritarian policies can be over looked in order to make some money.

  21. tappanch :
    Please notice that Orban went to Switzerland just before signing the deal in Moscow.
    Perhaps he checked on his Swiss bank account whether his personal cut had arrived from Moscow.

    Something for sure, the payoffs after the Gripen deal were handled trough the Valurex in Genève. As we know they paid some 8M US$ to five Hungarian individuals, none of them remembers receiving a dime. Well, it was long ago.
    Btw., if you search after Valurex, you’ll find interesting coincidences.
    A small World we living in, no doubt.

  22. gdfxx :

    The use of the word [vigéc] also has an ant-Semitic flavor, it also used to be used as a derogatory term for a Jewish traveling salesman..

    Yes, yes. I should have mentioned it.

  23. A bit OT:

    I was really surprised to learn about the German origins of this “vigéc” and at the same time this reminded me of our German history.

    There just was an article in our local newspaper about one of our Schwab kings who allowed (around 160 years ago) the Jews to settle down anywhere and also perform any kind of profession – until that day they could only live in certain villages and work certain jobs, like a travelling salesman …

    One of these villages near the town where I grew up is kind of famous – in 1933 already the village’s elders realised that horrible times were coming for them, so the whole village emigrated to Palestine! Those were the lucky ones …

  24. @MrPaul, because you are using the term “Left” to describe anyone who might more accurately be called “not Fidesz”, you create the false implication that all these people share a common vision. They don’t which is why the coalition has taken so long and why it is now so unsatisfactory. TIbor Szanyi is virtually an old style communist whose views on economics have more in common with Orbán than people like Bokros or Tamás Bauer, who are themselves more “right wing” in economic matters than “left.” And how does a decent and principled environmentalist like Rebeka Szabó fit alongside a cynical and professional politician like Gyurcsány? In the end, they have cobbled something together but with Fodor at four on the list, FGy at 3, and Kuncze meandering around the hinterland, I can’t help feeling that this coalition has become a vehicle for getting certain exhausted figures (unable to give up their addiction to politics and the public eye) back into parliament rather than to present a coherent vision for good governance.

  25. Mr Dancso is appointed to lead the Hungarian Treasury.
    In his official biography, I cannot see any professional experience beyond the economics degree in 1993. He seems to be another fidesznik politician.

    He said in September 2012:

    “Economic growth is growth, even if it is negative”

    Let me create a similar sentence.

    “We have 30 billion euros in our treasury, even if we owe this amount.”

  26. This whole business with Paks and the Russian is catastrophic. I can’t believe how much damage Orban could do in mere four years …and damage that will be long-lasting, too. He came up with one bad deal after another, but this Russian deal takes the cake.
    On a lighter tone, though… why would any Hungarian deal with a company called Rosatom (sounds like “bad atom” in Hungarian). It’s a pretty ominous name in Hungarian.

  27. @wolfi

    THey say that the electricity gained will be cheaper than the current price provided the interest rate is below 3%.

    The Soviets financed Paks 1 at 2% interest, so this is not inconceivable.

    Of course, if the real cost is twice the number the governments talk about (and they do suspect hidden costs), Paks 2 will be a financial disaster for Hungary.

  28. From the article wolfi linked above (#32)

    “So basically we are committing over 10% of our GDP without making any figures public. ”

    This in itself is outrageous.

  29. “Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Novo-Ogaryovo. Both leaders are criticized by the West for similar issues, and in some sense this makes them allies. ”
    Quite.

  30. What comes next, some little time after Paks two construction has started…is social unrest at the continuing deterioration of conditions in Hungary…and then Orban calling in his ‘partner’
    to protect the atomic implants against possible terrorist activity.

  31. Tappanch,
    Do you know (or just have heard …) of any project this size which didn’t have cost over runs?
    I haven’t and I don’t believe the Russians can do it …

  32. To make a commitment of this size in secrecy with no consultation and using amateur advisors is clearly bonkers. I wonder whether under international law if the head of a sovereign state is declared insane, the contract he signed can be considered null and void?

  33. But honestly, people, just why would anyone in his/her right mind believe, that this agreement is for a benefit of Hungarians? When ever it happened so in the history, anyway, even if we discount the Russians from the equation as Russians – Hungary somehow managed to grab the sticky end of the rod during the las thousand or so years.

    None the less, if we look at the Hungarian affairs with Russia – under whatever name – the same outcome applies, no exceptions, unfortunately.
    Not to mention one of Orbán’s recent expectations regarding the ax-murderer: we are going to get a helluva deal, with all the natural resources at our disposal – anyone even heard of any contact thereafter?
    What I trying to say, Orbán still hasn’t grasped that Eastern mentality, in the desperate hunt for great achievements, he goes for anything shiny, whatever it cost.

    In a field of rapidly changing developments tying ourselves to a certain point in time and technical possibilities long beforehand just plain stupid.

    Why?
    In the case of Paks II we’re talking about something like 30 years (!!!!) of RIT, and after that the cost of the energy will be really cheap. Or else.

    Does anyone remember the technological level of 1984?
    If yes, would you dare to say, that you rightfully predicted the development of technology, not to mention the financial aspects of it?

    Just to give an example: in 1993 I have paid the equivalent of $12.000 for a state of the art computer workstation, which have had a computing power what my telephone surpasses today by at least 50 times, maybe even more, and its hardly over 20 years.

    So, think about, just how wise to invest today the fortune of even our grandchildren into something, what – I dare predict – just about to go out of fashion in a few years, just for the sake of vanity?

    Are we Hungarians really that stupid to let it happen?

  34. oneill :
    “Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Novo-Ogaryovo. Both leaders are criticized by the West for similar issues, and in some sense this makes them allies. ”
    Quite.

    Indeed. Putin’s popularity is quite high among several right-wing populist parties in the EU, and so is Orbán’s.

    I don’t think Fidesz with leave the EPP, but I can easily imagine them being courted by the Farage/Dupont-Aignan or Le Pen/Wilders alliances.

  35. Well, it was supposed to be ROI – as in Return Of Investment…
    Don’t ask me what happened – thank you in advance!

  36. Doesn’t this hand a nice fat, gold-plated, election issue to the opposition?

    They can more or less forget about all the ‘difficult-to-argue/convince’ stuff and just bang on about Paks 2 and how much it’s going to cost Hungary for years to come.

    Under normal circumstances, the government would have just signed its death warrant, but even in the warped world of Hungarian ‘democracy’, this must be worth quite a lot of votes.

  37. Paul :
    Doesn’t this hand a nice fat, gold-plated, election issue to the opposition?
    They can more or less forget about all the ‘difficult-to-argue/convince’ stuff and just bang on about Paks 2 and how much it’s going to cost Hungary for years to come.
    Under normal circumstances, the government would have just signed its death warrant, but even in the warped world of Hungarian ‘democracy’, this must be worth quite a lot of votes.

    You should be right – in any other country, I guess.
    So far the Hungarian opposition proved to be totally inadequate to handle communication advantages like this, honestly speaking I have no idea what they are thinking.

    Think about it, there is countless records of Orbán and the others bashing the Russians and anybody who ever laid eyes on them, let alone, tried to utilise the many business-opportunities they’ve offered, not to mention, that they are in many Hungarian’s eyes equivalent with the “communist” oppressors – and still, it seems Orbán will get away even with this stunt, while the best what the opposition can offer is an attempt with dubious outcome to call for a referendum.

    Sometimes I seriously doubt, that they even aware of the importance of communication at all. It simple like this: if somebody don’t understand you, couldn’t even agree with you. f you don’t explain things and issues properly, don’t point out the significance of events, there will be no understanding ever, then the above rule applies.

    Another thing: the so called utility cost lowering (rezsicsökkentés).
    Did anyone ever asked Orbán, Rogán, Lázár in public, just how much lower are their expenses since this action?
    Did you see any other well to do person from the opposition’s side ever stand up and declare, like “I am Gordon Bajnai ( Gyurcsány, Mesterházy, whoever) and Orbán lowered my expenses wit xxxx HUF – is it right, people?

    I mean, there is a lot to explain to the supposed to be voters, and I hardly see a thing. Maybe it happens on those meetings in all over the countryside – how would I know – but nearly nothing in the media.
    Well, we think different, obviously.

  38. About the same subject – imagine a billboard with a smiling Gyurcsány and a text:
    “My monthly utility costs got lowered with 12.345HUF by the government. If you think it’s right, vote for Viktor Orbán! Otherwise think different…!”

    What would you do, as an average Joe, go for Jobbik instead, or reconsider reality versus bullshit?

  39. “I shall render Hungary obedient first, then destitute, and finally Catholic”

    Leopold Karl von Kollonitsch

  40. Paul: not.

    MSZP is almost certainly in the Russian’s bag too. Why would not they be? It’s probably their bonanza too (biggest ever, even without the dams, beyond anybody’s wildest imagination) and the dam-building ‘experts’ and nuclear ‘experts’ (lobbies) traditionally supported MSZP which has traditionally been technocratic/pragmatic, as it lacked any real ideology.

    For example Emil Mosonyi, the mastermind of the Bős-Nagymaros dam project was awarded by the Socialist government a huge state award in 2006, only Laszlo Solyom refused to actually award him (Mosonyi was eventually not present at the ceremony).

    Plus a lot of voters, who hear only the state media (80% of the people) think that this is the best thing that happened to Hungary in a 100 years. They would doubt the opposition’s narrative. It is too controversial to deal with it, especially in the Paks and neighboring districts which now Fidesz will carry. I guess MSZP’s campaign is very conscious about not dealing with anything that may be deemed controversial.

    Do not count on the Socialists to stage any steadfast resistance to this anything related to ‘Hungarian engineering’, they are probably selected for the incapability thereof.

    Együtt and LMP, both almost nonexistent by now are dealing with it, but they are both amateurs media-wise. They just cannot be relevant in the current environment.

    So it does look like this project will be like a knife in hot butter. Poor us.

  41. Paul, do you know why MSZP will not oppose Paks II?

    Because MSZP, at least certain people within MSZP might have known about Orban’s negotiations re Paks.

    Obviously in an opposite situation Orban would have been informed as he was about everything when he was in opposition. Foreign governments, big corporations, big local Hungarian businessmen and others just knew that Orban absolutely demanded to be informed, there was no question about it, his retribution was deemed inevitable towards those who dared to ignore him.

    I also think that the Russian diplomacy is pretty smart and thoughtful so they probably had informal talks with top people at the main opposition party, that is MSZP.

    I think if MSZP would now oppose the deal openly at this stage, Fidesz could casually mention that, hey, guys, I think you knew about it and did not say a beep to anybody, in fact were very supportive.

    It would be the very old image of MSZP, the cartel party with Fidesz, which is involved in every major shenanigans with Fidesz, only having the sucker’s position in every such game. I even think Gyurcsany was informed too.

    I suspect that is one of the major reasons why they are lying very low in this case, an issue which is absolutely cardinal for the future of Hungary. Forget catching up to the West in any sense with all the debt and destruction (in every sense of the word) Paks II and the related dams will cause.

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