Viktor Orbán at the 2014 NATO Summit

The NATO summit in Newport, Wales is over and, according to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, “from the Hungarian point of view it was a great success.” So, let’s see what the Hungarian prime minister considers to be a great success in view of his and other leading Fidesz politicians’ earlier pronouncements on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

NATO approved wide-ranging plans to strengthen its defenses on its eastern flanks in order to reassure Poland and the Baltic states that they have the full backing of NATO in case of Russian aggression. The plan includes the creation of a rapid action force temporarily stationed in Estonia but eventually to be moved to Poland. This rapid action force will include several thousand ground troops ready to be deployed. It will be supported by air, sea, and special forces. This is not as much as Poland initially wanted, which was a permanent NATO base in the region, but even Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was satisfied with the current plan. According to details released and reported by Reuters, the first units of the force are expected to total around 5,000 troops that will be ready to move in two days.

Viktor Orbán spoke to Hungarian reporters after the summit ended. He announced that, just like other NATO members, Hungary will increase its military spending. As I noted yesterday, at the moment Hungary spends only 0.88% of its GDP on its armed forces; the country agreed to the compulsory minimum of 2.0%. If Hungary today decided to spend that much on the military it would mean an additional 360 billion forints, which at the moment it does not have. Orbán also announced that Hungary’s security can be guaranteed “only within the framework of  NATO” and that he therefore views “the decision of the Hungarian people when in a referendum they voted for membership in NATO” as wise. He said that Hungary would purchase modern weaponry and prepare the Pápa air base to receive large strategic carriers. He also said that “NATO troops will appear in the region of Central Europe,” which may mean that they will also be stationed in Hungary. By the end of the year each country will develop its own plans in case “there is a direct military threat” to these countries. The threat Orbán is talking about is obviously Russia.

Viktor Orbán, the faithful ally, withNATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Prime Minister David Cameron

Viktor Orbán, the faithful ally, with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Prime Minister David Cameron

Realizing the discrepancy between his current enthusiasm for greater military security for Hungary and his earlier statements on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, he tried to convince his audience that earlier he was only against sanctions, which is “an entirely different question” and independent of the decisions reached at the summit. However, Orbán not only spoke up against the sanctions but stated that as far as he is concerned the conflict for Hungary is an “economic” issue only. He made it clear at that time that he understands the anxiety of Poland and the Baltic states but Hungary’s situation is different. In plain language, as far as he is concerned Hungary’s old and faithful friend Poland can go down the drain, he doesn’t really care. It looks as if the Poles interpreted his words similarly. Zsolt Németh, former undersecretary of the ministry under János Martonyi and now chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, talked about “a serious challenge to bilateral relations” between Poland and Hungary in Krynica in an economic forum. The Ukrainian issue should not be allowed to divide the two countries, he emphasized.

While today Viktor Orbán sang the praises of NATO, only a couple of days ago Tibor Navracsics, foreign minister at the moment, expressed doubts about the western commitment to Hungary. In an interview with Boris Kalnoky of Die Welt, he specifically talked about the West letting Hungary down in 1945 and 1956. Moreover, when asked whether Hungary would like to have NATO troops on its soil, he answered that Hungary, unlike the Baltic states, is not threatened by anyone. And recall László Kövér’s outlandish attack only two days ago on Ukraine and on the western powers who use her as a pawn to separate Russia from Europe. One cannot dismiss Kövér’s remarks as unimportant. After all, Kövér is the closest associate and friend of Viktor Orbán and the president of the Hungarian parliament. Apparently, he is the only person in Fidesz who can give Orbán a piece of his mind and who can actually influence him. So, it is hard to know what Viktor Orbán really thinks about NATO and Hungary’s relation to it.

The pressure is intense on Orbán as a result of the Russian aggression and the western reaction to it. Although the Russian “separatists” have ostensibly agreed to a ceasefire, there is no question that in the last few weeks a full-fledged war was waged in the southeastern districts of Ukraine. And everybody knows that that war was unleashed by Vladimir Putin. NATO’s and the EU’s reaction to Russian aggression was rapid and resolute. As a result, it looks as if Viktor Orbán’s “eastern opening” and his flirtation with Putin’s Russia is over. Orbán will have to shelve his grandiose plans to have Hungary play the role of mediator between East and West. In the future it will be impossible to play that game if he wants Hungary to stay in the European Union, which he clearly needs for financial reasons. Now the question is whether the European Union will allow him to build his “illiberal state” on its “liberal” money.


  1. “…when asked whether Hungary would like to have NATO troops on its soil, he answered that Hungary, unlike the Baltic states, is not threatened by anyone.”

    Now, how much more disgusting, self-serving, ignorant a comment could a leader, who is a NATO member, make?

  2. Will Hungary cancel the contract with Russia to update nuclear power in Hungary, as part of new sanctions of the EU against Russia?

  3. The Stadionbuilder viktor talks bullpucky, as usual. Money spent on the military is deemed high government secret, (for 50 years) even when they buy toilet papers, therefore most of it can be stolen, that is the aim of the Fidesz. Until thePaks loan arrives (it may never happen) they have to find moneys to finance themselves and their brown nosing troopers. Of course,updating the Pápa airbase is practical, the Russians troops can arrive there fast, when the Hungarian patriots call them again for help.
    I bet my life on it, that every penny spent on the military will be waste or stolen or spent on items, the Russians can also use and or benefit them. A portion of it of course will be buying military equipment at inflated prices, from companies that pay back the Fidesz people for the contracts. They will buy equipment, as they did with the Gripen fighter planes, by not ordering extra rockets and ammunitions, so the pilots have no chance to practice with live ammo. They can fly, but they cannot fight. No problem, they only have to flee and bail out as fast as they can, so the Russians don’t blow them off the sky.

  4. @gybognarjr

    I’m with ya.

    For your entertainment, let me paint a possible scenario not to far in the future.
    Let’s suppose the russkies have their way, grab a good portion of eastern Ukraine and a strip
    above Crimea. No doubt Orban the kingmeister, will direct his minions in southwestern Ukraine
    to clamor for inclusion in ‘new Russia’. This will happen. Not too much later, Orban will create a donnybrook with Romania and, naturally, will twist the whole thing to say that little Hungary is being bullied and threatened. War will break out and, no sooner than you can mouth ‘Vladimir’
    the russkies will rush through Moldavia to come to the aid of ‘little brother’ Hungary, and to save
    their billions invested in Paks. And with Hungary, the Balkans will fall, too.

    Nice plan, huh? I’ve got it direct from the KGB by way of my dog who’s psychic…

  5. Today (Sept. 5th) the Russian FSB arrested an Estonian security man, most probably after violating the Estonian border. They claim, however, that he was in the Pskov region of Russia. No reason has been given. It may be a pretext of starting a conflict with Estonia.

  6. London Calling!

    I think Orban is desperately trying to hold his paunch in – or his suit is too small – or he’s lost weight. Anyway he looks strange!


    So Putin is not in the Ukraine?

    But his negotiations in Minsk silence his thugs in Ukraine!

    So-called ‘off-duty’ green men – who happened to bring their tanks and munitions too (I suppose they take their ‘tools’ home with them when on leave?) – slope off back to Russia.

    The separest rebels now demand the Ukraine army withdraw from urban areas beyond the range of their shells!

    Very clever Putin! Slowly slowly catchee monkey.

    Putin’s invasion-but-not-an-invasion has shown the Chief Thug – soon to be President-Chief-Thug how to do it for the future.

    This ‘cease-fire’ won’t last, but Putin has enlarged his Eurasia Zone project.

    Message to Orban:

    Why don’t you just invite the Russian army into Hungary now?

    It will protect your Pak’s investment.

    And will whip away the carpet from under Jobbik’s feet.

    It will save an awful lot of bother later. Some of the old barracks in Gyor are still there from their last ‘Visit’, just need a little redecoration. You could even welcome them back with a few of the red stars removed from buildings earlier.

    Saves you having to deploy that so so generous deployment of 100 NATO soldiers.

    And while you are at it here’s a good idea: you could rename Kodaly Korond to Putin Vladimir Ter!

    And you could deploy that oily tank at the Terror House as the centrepiece of Putin Vladimir Ter.

    It would relieve the pressure on the Freedom Square shenanigans that those Jews keep stirring up.

    What do you think Viktor?

    The EU will give their usual tacit approval.



  7. Don’t get fooled. This NATO meeting was Orban’s usual good guy performance, personal meetings with Cameron and others. Lots of smiles and great fun. Now he can go back to Hungary and do exactly as he did before. Gyula Tellér or Laci Kövér will not change their opinions and neither will Orban. This was for show and it worked.

    Currently it is, and let’s emphasize this, inconceivable that Orban will allow Paks to get terminated and needless to say the Russians will insist on it too, and they have their ways.

    Anybody who thinks that Paks will even be suspended (though of course any such project is delayed far beyond any original schedule by its very nature) has not been following this story too closely. I am assuming that Lazar (and thus Orban who takes the final decisions) is still in continuous talks with the Russians. Remember that even Köver was surprised when the deal was announced as even he (who is otherwise pretty well informed on non public matters) was kept out of the loop, the talks were so secret. That’s why a suspicion of negotiations abroad, under some cover story isn’t so far fetched. So this story is not over yet, far from it. Just like Orban isn’t the kind of politician who gives up pet projects (that would be characteristic of the lefties), neither are Putin’s energy business underlings.

    South Stream is another matter, but it never was such a big deal.

  8. @CharlieH (on a lighter note …):

    Here at the Western end of the Balaton we have the rebuilt airport of Sármellék – now called the Hévíz-Balaton airport.

    The old Russian compounds and barracks have been severely destroyed – but there are lots of nice apartments around Hévíz (some even empty) for the Russian soldiers to use, so they might come here first …

  9. Wolfi


    Some of old barracks in Gyor have had enormous sums spent on them to convert them to very well appointed apartments – with underground parking. Very desirable attractive architecture.

    Others are dilapidated but salvageable.

    I’d not be surprised that, just as land has gone – post communism – to the oligarchs, then the remaining barracks have done so too. Just awaiting for the right time for development.

    (Gyor is a very Fiddeszbik happy barrack!)


  10. Snapshots: at the market of Fény utca, the intersection of disctricts I, II and XII, the most staunchly right wing districts in Budapest there were booths, stand with party representatives campaigning.

    Needless to say Fidesz had two (from both sexes) young, good looking representatives and two older ones running the show. Two pensioners were signing up for something, one talking to one of the fideszniks and two waiting in line to sign up. Altogether some nine people.

    The rest (there was MSZP, Együtt and even the Fodor liberals), practically nobody. At Fidesz, people were buzzing with energy, with can do attitude. It was clear that they were the winners, and people like winners.

    Overheard on the bus home from Fény utca. “The West hates Putin because he makes those foreign corporations understand that they can’t just rob out Russia. Same with Orban. The West loved Putin until he put that scum Hodorkovsky into jail, sending the message that he does not tolerate gangsters any more. Same with Hungary, the communists allowed free looting, Orban stopped that. Hungary should not be in the NATO, the whole referendum was a fraud, a referendum is only valid if at least 50% cast the ballot, but with Gyula Horn only 40 something percent voted, these lawyers always find some smart ways, but that’s not legal.”

    These districts used to be anomalies with their staunch right wing voting patters, but now they are the new normal. The way I see it, most Hungarian people do think so, they hate the west for destroying Hungary with their forced capitalism (the rule of the multis, the multinational corporations)and admire Putin for being able to be tough against all those foreign interests (i.e. liberals, jews, gangsters, gays).

  11. Eva – yes of course!

    That certainly could explain the ‘monkey- ape’ stance. How vain!


  12. @Jive Bunny:

    That’s the first thing about Hungarians (and others in the former Communist block):

    Everybody wants those goodies from the Capitalist West – whether it’s cars, computers, tvs or just the higher quality food and clothing – you name it …

    Do they really believe they get all this for free? Without having to work hard and of course all those other “side effects” that capitalism has?


    And I still believe that only a free society can develop, design and produce all those nice things I’m not talking about the assembly lines, that kind of work can even be done by “slaves” like right now in China and other Eastern countries…

  13. Parallels with Putin?

    I’ve just been listening to the BBC’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ and one of the contributors submitted an observation piece on Putin.

    He was surprised how ‘tiny’ Putin is – with a bottoxed expressionless face and with a strange sheen to it – almost seeping and very tight.

    He thinks he may have been taking advice from his chum Berlusconi.

    I, myself have always thought the Putin visage was most likely explained by drugs – those strange eyes, with his facial skin being a Joan-Rivers face lift.

    I have often wondered too that maybe he found Medvedev acceptable because, when photo’d together there was very little height difference.

    We know Putin is very vain, judging by all those ‘Upper Torso Horse’ shots. Orban observers keep your eyes pinned!

    Look out for those high heels Orban wore for the Gy interview – and maybe some more ‘work’!

    Reminds me when Mrs Thatcher appointed a minister for sport, he was so lacking in stature that he was referred to as ‘ The Miniature for Sport!


  14. You’d think, with all the dosh Orbán is creaming off, that at the very least he’d be able to afford a decent tailor.

    Cameron’s never been a particularly snappy dresser, but he looks like Seville Row’s finest next to these two chimps!

  15. Re Orbán’s looks. What gets me is his hairdo. He apparently is very attached to his hairdresser and therefore, I guess, he is very satisfied with his work. I think his hairdo he adopted a few years back is ridiculous.

  16. The hairdo!

    I think it’s the middle parting!

    It’s almost half a mullet – a style he adopted in his youth.

    (Notable mullet aficionados were Rod Stewart and many footballers from the 70’s)

    I think Orban wants to retrieve bygone years.

    Maybe female contributors can assess it for sex appeal?

    To this male contributor he looks like an old skinhead!


  17. Here it is at its attractive best!!!

    I found this – but can’t vouch for the blog it was attached to -sorry!

  18. Caption for the Orban picture with Coke:

    “Where can I spit this? Achh! And I made these guys ‘strategic partners’ too!
    Szijjarto!! Where are you? How much did these guys up, anyway?

  19. The looks already better than six months ago – and I’m not joking.
    At least he’s got a jacket on what covers his guts, as opposed to this:
    – and a few more, too numerous to list.

    Obviously the soccer makes you sporty, good proportioned and healthy person, only your tailor needs some new pair of glasses…

    Not to mention his sense of style, it’s really able to give a tough match to any mature European politician (- on his way to the daycare – OVI – what he belongs?):

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Hungarian Prime Minister..!

  20. I do have some sympathy with Orbán – I put on over 3 kg (7 lb – half a stone) in just 6 weeks in Hungary!

    Also, for those of us chaps who are gradually getting a larger forehead, it’s always difficult to know what to do with that front bit – as it gets more and more isolated, and thinner…

    And compared to Obama (grey and painfully thin) and Blair (grey and face like a skull), Orbán is still looking relatively young and healthy.

    Of course, he’s fat and mad too, but then you can’t have everything…

  21. Ceasefire??

    What is going on? Pyutin declares a ceasefire and Poroshenko falls immediately in line??
    (And what, pray tell, are the terms? I can’t find any detail on it…) What happened in Switzerland between P. and P.?

    Did Poroshenko get the ‘polonium-ultimatum’?
    Is Mr. P. in the bag?

  22. @Paul. Obama has been always very thin and I’m sure that he is very careful about his weight. I saw a video of his working out while in Poland a few weeks ago. It was impressive. The way he goes up and down those steps from Air Force 1 is really impressive.

    Mind you, Queen Elizabeth is surprisingly sprite and strong when it comes to stairs: either coming down or going up. A lot of people would find that difficult in her age.

  23. Paul, I’m not talking about putting on weight and being corpulent as is, what I’m talking about if you are chosen to be a head of a state you should clad properly to the job, whatever your shape happens to be.

    After all he represents Hungary and the Hungarians and not himself as a country bumpkin, putting on a size too small jacket and some colorful backpack snatched from some adolescent…

    It isn’t question of his liking either, it his duty to learn the rules, that’s why he gets paid, you see.

  24. Orban, Gyurcsany and Navracsics…hm… far as I’m concerned, all three are very, very handsome men….and I also like the look of Schiffer, he’s not bad either.

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