Hungary stops supplying gas to Ukraine and makes its own gas deal with Russia

The news of the day is Hungary’s decision to stop the supply of gas to Ukraine despite its pledge to assist its beleaguered neighbor. Although the AFP news service assumes that the decision came after “threats from Moscow,” I have a different take on the matter. To make my case I have to go back a few weeks in time.

It is true that Russia was playing games with its gas supply to Poland and Romania, but Hungary was in no way affected by these Russian measures, most likely because of the cozy relationship that exists between Putin and Orbán. On the contrary, in the last few months large amounts of gas arrived in the country from Russia. Currently, the storage facilities are 60% full, and even larger amounts of natural gas will come from Russia in the next few months. Poland indeed had to temporarily stop its supply of gas to Ukraine on September 10, only to resume its operations two days later when Russia assured Poland that it would send an adequate supply of gas to the country in the future. Romania began receiving less than the usual amount of gas on September 15.

Instead of worrying about natural gas from Russia, on September 18 a very upbeat article appeared in Magyar Nemzet telling its readers that “we can be the gas center of Europe.” The article reported that two days earlier Miklós Seszták, minister of national development, conducted negotiations with Anatoly Yanovsky, Russian deputy minister for energy affairs, concerning the storage of 500 million cubic meters of Russian gas in Hungary “to facilitate the supply of Europe with gas in case of irregular transit shipments through Ukraine.” These plans are not new.  They were apparently first discussed in October 2012 when Aleksey Miller, CEO of Gazprom, had a meeting with Viktor Orbán in Budapest. However, the precondition for such a deal was the nationalization of the storage facilities. The Hungarian government subsequently purchased them from the German company, E.ON, at an incredibly high price. Although auditors warned the government about the pitfalls of the deal, Orbán insisted. It looked as if he did not care about the price. Now we know why.

Yanovsky had barely left Hungary when Aleksey Miller arrived in Budapest. The meeting of Miller and Orbán was kept secret from the Hungarian people, who read about it on Gazprom’s website. This is not the first time that we learn about important meetings and bilateral negotiations from the media of countries for whom close relations with Hungary, a member of the European Union, are important but who are not exactly friends of the West. The Hungarian government would rather not inform the world about its dealings with such countries as Iran, Belorussia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. According to Gazprom, “the talks were focused on the issues of reliable and uninterrupted gas supplies in the coming winter period. The parties paid special attention to the implementation of the South Stream project and noted that it was progressing on schedule.”

Source: Gazprom.com

Source: Gazprom.com

This morning, three days after the Miller-Orbán meeting, Viktor Orbán announced that Hungary would indefinitely suspend supplying Ukraine with natural gas. According to Itar-Tass “the decision was made to meet the growing domestic demand for gas,” FGSZ, the Hungarian company operating the pipeline, said. Yet MTI reported today that even Serbia might be able to receive gas from the Hungarian storage facilities. So, surely, there is no shortage of gas in Hungary. The European Union is anything but happy about the suspension. Helen Kearns, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, in an answer to a reporter’s question on Hungary’s unilateral suspension of the gas supply to Ukraine, said that “the message from the Commission is very clear: we expect all member states to facilitate reverse flows as agreed by the European Council.” Naturally, Naftogaz, the Ukrainian gas company, also urged its “Hungarian partners to respect their contractual obligations” and said the Hungarian decision “goes against the core principles of the European Union single energy market.”

After delivering his usual Friday morning radio interview Viktor Orbán left for Berehove (Beregszász), in the area of Ukraine south of the Carpathian Mountains officially called Zakarpattia Oblast, to deliver a speech at the Hungarian-language college situated in the town where about half of the population is Hungarian speaking. Altogether there are three smaller territorial units within the oblast where there are significant Hungarian populations: in the uzhhorodskyi raion (33.4%), in vynohradiv raion (26.2%), and in the area around Berehove where they are actually in the majority (76.1%). Altogether there are about 120,00 Hungarians out of a total population of 1,254,614. The distribution of Hungarians in the oblast can be seen here.

Orbán indicated in his early morning interview today that Hungary will support Hungarians in the neighboring countries who demand autonomy. Although he did not specifically mention the Hungarian diaspora in Ukraine, he was obviously also talking about them. This was not the first reference to possible autonomy for Hungarians in this region of Ukraine. At the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian crisis Orbán already mentioned such a demand. He made it clear, again not for the first time, that his main concern in this very serious international crisis is the fate of the Hungarian minority. He promised his audience that Hungary will not do anything that would harm his Hungarian brethren, which I found interesting in light of the decision to cut the flow of gas from Hungary to Ukraine.

While Viktor Orbán was in Berehove, representatives of the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine got together to come up with an energy deal that would ensure the supply of Russian gas to EU members and Ukraine over the winter. In return, Ukraine would repay $3.1 billion of its debt to Russia.  The first installment, $2 billion, would be due by the end of October and the rest by the end of December. If Russia agrees to this deal, it would avert an immediate crisis, although it would not resolve the deeper dispute over what price Kiev should pay for past and future deliveries. The Ukrainian government earlier filed suit with the Stockholm Arbitration Court against Russia for making it overpay for gas since 2010. A decision may be reached by next year.

On the one hand, Ukraine seems to be happy that, after so many unsuccessful attempts, there is hope of an agreement but, on the other hand, it is unhappy that the price of Russian gas “is dependent on the decisions of the Russian government.” According to Kyiv Post, “Ukraine will under no circumstances recall its suit from the Stockholm Arbitration Court.”

If this deal goes through, as it seems that it will, perhaps it was unnecessary for Hungary to unilaterally and abruptly stop the flow of gas to Ukraine. By this decision Orbán further emphasized his pro-Russian sympathies and undoubtedly further alienated himself from Western governments.

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49 comments

  1. Ukraine can answer to Orban’s hostile step in kind.

    At this instance, (12:55 AM local time), Hungary is able to produce only 75% of its energy needs. An additional 14% is coming in from the Ukraine.

    Hungary: + 4367
    Slovakia: + 765
    Ukraine: + 630
    Austria: + 267
    Romania: + 40
    Croatia: – 578
    Serbia: – 121

    live numbers:

    http://mavir.hu/web/mavir/home

  2. Correction:

    Hungary’s own production was only +3324 a few minutes ago.

    The total balance was the number +4367

  3. “By this decision Orbán further emphasized his pro-Russian sympathies and undoubtedly further alienated himself from Western governments.”

    What extreme stupidity. The gas storage is only at 53% and winter is coming. Should Hungarians risk starvation and freezing to appear “pro-American”? How many Hungarians should die before Balogh the blogger is satisfied? You load up the storage therby ensuring the safety of your country and that Hungarians will not die to the cold and then you can worry about being “pro-American” enough.

    What kind of crazy person expects a country to hurt itself and its national interests to appear “pro-American”? This is slave mentality.

    In reality Hungary is totally vulnerable to what happens in Ukraine. All the gas Hungary gets goes through Ukraine! The Ukrainians already have full control of the totality of the gas. If they let it to go to Hungary it goes to Hungary. If the Ukranians take the gas for themselves it will never reach Hungary. If the Ukrainians stop the flow, if Ukrainian neo-Nazis blow up the pipeline, if the Ukrainian government nationalizes the pipeline and other cases the gas will stop. If the gas stops all gas to Hungary stops. If that happens and Hungary does not have proper filled gas reserves it will starve. I know your kind would just love to see Hungary suffer, and its people freeze to death that but hopefully it will not happen.

  4. hkr

    “What kind of crazy person expects a country to hurt itself and its national interests to appear “pro-American”? This is slave mentality. ”

    Then why did Orban agree to reversing gas at the European Council (of heads of member states), and sign contracts in Hungary’s name to do so? Slave mentality?

  5. You are confused. What happened at the EU council was an agreement to make it technically possible to transmit gas backwards towards Ukraine. Hungary can already do this, because it has this capability, but other countries do not. The EU urges them (the other countries) to create this. It has nothing to do with Hungary because it is already technicly possible for Hungary to transmit gas. But you cannot expect a small country like Hungary to freeze and starve in order to give all the gas to Ukraine. Ukraine has 5 times the population of Hungary and thus consumption of gas.

    Ukraine has already total control over all the gas. Ukraine can easily load up the storage from the pipeline. They can take the gas direct from the pipeline which they have full control over. But if they do take the gas there will be none left for Hungary, which is why Hungary is more vulnerable than Ukraine. This is why before winter you must load the storage to 100% before you give away gas for free.

    In the summer it was fine to give a little gas to Ukraine. Before the winter it would risk Hungary remaining without gas.

  6. I noticed something. Hungarian domestic electricity production has gone down by more than 20% since 2010.

    Domestic production / Total demand

    2010: 87.8%
    2011: 84.5%
    2012: 81.2%
    2013: 71.8%
    2014: 67.1% (first 8 months)

  7. Gazprom used to have destination clauses in long term contracts with its European customers to avoid price arbitrage among them. The Commission has been fighting these clauses for ten years now. Gazprom’s Hungarian contract may still have such a clause, and if Hungary wants more Russian gas deliveries, it is understandably required to comply with it. Certainly, neither the Russians, nor the Ukrainians care too much about the repercussions of their conflict on Hungary´s interests. When Ukraine reversed the flow in its gas transmission system in winter 2009, pressure in Hungary fell down to zero…

  8. @hkr:

    Why didn’t the state controlled Hungarian gas company fill up its reserves during the summer when consumption was surely lower? To have only 6ß% at the start of the heating season seems a bit ridiculous to me …

    PS and OT:

    We already bought our firewood – in case there might be problems with the gas supply, and all our neighbours here in the village did the same …

  9. Hungary produces about 20% (about 2bn cm which can be more depending on the amount gas gas we use, some 9-10bn cm/annum) of the natural gas it uses. That is a small, but substantial portion.

    Only the rest comes – mostly – from Russia via Ukraine (but we have the Austrian pipeline too and now the Slovakian, which does not operate yet), but just as it was mentioned in the article Hungary can and will store gas for Serbia, and also for Russia. The two means the same, because the point is the gas in the storage will be held in the name of someone other so that we could get some money from the storage and – more importantly – will be able to say that we can’t give it to someone else — which is Russia’s interest, because it doesn’t like that its customers sell Russian gas to Ukraine, thereby helping its very enemy.

    Ukraine is no friend of Hungary according to Orban and his people around him. But when did Hungary help anybody? Hungary only wanted to take advantage of its neigbours (remember Teleki). The love of the ethic Hungarians is a pathetic show played to the nationalistic voter base (and to those poor ethnic Hungarian who adore Orban and vote for him now that they have their Hungarian passports), he doesn’t care about them, he cares about his gas side deals he cuts via MET and other, newer trading companies.

    Remember that MTI also said yesterday that the storage was at a level that surpassed the level of the previous year. Of course the risks that the Ukrainian will take their cut from the flow is higher this year, but it is not true that we couldn’t supply Ukraine at some lower capacity at least.

    Orban and his people knew well how this was gonna be interpreted and did it anyway. He wanted to show that the EU or the US have no influence whatsoever on Hungary (I mean the EU can keep paying Orban, that’s allowed of course). He deals with Russia directly, he is a big boy now. If the EU and the US don’t like this then they can suck it up, that’s all they are allowed to do.

    The increasing import of electricity and decreasing domestic production has one very simple reason: artificially low domestic electricity prices set by the government.

    It’s not worth to generate electricity from Russian gas for example which is one reason why domestic gas usage fell very substantially during the last 10 years. We just don’t need it any more so much. (The designation of nuclear energy at Paks as “cheap” is an accounting trick, possible because dismantling, storage, depreciation etc. are not counted).

    On the other hand in many countries there is overproduction of electricity (renewables, nuclear, coal, hydro, and smaller consumption due to lower economic activity than planned) which allows Hungary to import it cheaply.

  10. Orban allied himself with the troubled warmaking Russia.
    Clouds are gathering above Hungary like in the Horthy era.
    Speeches in Subkarpathian schools will poison the Nato relationship.
    Shaping up as a new suicide, while the oligarchs smile.

    Even small Hungary needs good moral leadership to be a member of the civilized world.

    Close ties with Russia, and Asian republics are the immoral choices, but smart short term money making schemes for our ultra rich leadership.

    Clever people leave, and do not worry about firewood in Hungary for the next winter.

  11. @ Hannes: “The love of the ethnic Hungarians is a pathetic show played to the nationalistic voter base.”

    Orban is visiting Cluj/Kolozsvar soon. From what I’ve heard, the local Hungarians don’t want him coming to stir up trouble. They don’t need that, and have managed themselves fine for a while now. And they’re ‘puzzled’ by his cuddling up to Putin.

  12. May I express a perhaps minor objection to the illustration you chose? It doesn’t consider the fact that energy mixes largely vary from one EU country to another.

    For instance, gas represents 2% of Sweden’s energy mix (100% RU), while it represents 38% of Italy’s (20% RU). While I’m aware that energy sources are not fully substitutable (especially not on short notice), Italy’s dependency on Russian gas is actually much higher than Sweden’s. In the same manner, Hungary’s dependency is much higher than Poland’s, etc.

    In fact, the most dependent EU countries (with a population > 5M.) are Hungary and Slovakia.

  13. And now what’s left to be proud of being hungarian? Always choosing the wrong side just like Orbans great idol, admiral Köbányai Horthy Miklós. How can we ever face the ukrainian people with good consience, not to mention our allies?

  14. I know I will get flamed again for this but it needs to be said. I said in another set of postings that all countries in Europe must ally themselves either to be pro-America or pro-Russian. The US is not permitting anything in between. Your are either with them or against them and we have seen 3 visits from McCain this year to threaten Orban. Has the US actually ever helped Hungary? I don’t think so. Russia has a mixed history depending on your perspective. Orban is obviously betting on the Russian side and I believe it is the correct path at this time. Ukraine is not bound or regulated in any way by EU laws but Hungary is. So this limits what he can and cannot do. Russia cut back gas supplies in early September to exactly the amount negotiated in the contracts and has stopped supplying any extra thus is not liable for any violations of contracts.It is clever and insults them for failing to negotiate extras on the assumption it would always be available as it has been in the past. Another interesting yet quiet set of developments is Russia has purchased most if not all of the pipelines which would be used for reverse flow into Ukraine. Rosneft also purchased BP which is the major supplier of gas not coming from Russia. I would say this is check and mate and now we will see a rapid back down from the sanctions. As I said before the US hasn’t got any skin in the game so it is easy to push it’s “partners” into a proxy war against Russia. But, the El Nino effect is going to cause a particularly hard winter this year so reality is rapidly entering into many government’s minds. Last, NGO’s are used by the US to foment unrest and regime change. Orban is not wrong to treat them as hostile entities.

    I’ll leave you with a good analysis of the current economic war we have entered into: http://www.silverdoctors.com/jim-willie-the-crash-heard-round-the-world-saudis-to-reject-usd-for-oil-payments/

  15. To the attention of the friendly opponents of the Hungarian Spectrum:
    USA has to discard the bad allies and to fight enemies with determination.
    The USA has to encourage civil reforms in the undemocratic allied and enemy countries:
    Hungary, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, Russia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan.
    It is too costly to fight the terror plotted by these countries!

  16. Richard really is a troll or worse!

    I just read the first sentence from his link:

    “Putin kicked out the Rothschild bankers from his country. ” That was enough for me – thanks for not having to waste my time!

  17. wolfi –
    i have met yossi rothschield in Tuebingen.
    He borrowed my typewriter to write his papers.
    I think I have left it with him.
    He was dirt poor and completely broke most of the times.
    Check it out if he still lives in Tuebingen.
    It is a genocidal incitement to call bankers and capitalists, the Jew, or the Rothschield if you want to use codes..
    Luckily, Germany is now an enlightened relaxed country.
    The leaders of Russia, Iran, Syria, Beloruss, Hungary have to be denied power and authority.
    They are most hazardous to their own subjects.

  18. @Richard:

    That’s the difference between Germany and Russia – on German TV you can watch satirical programs like “Die Anstalt” (The Institution, meaning: for crazies …) with a very critical program, but what do you see on Russian TV?

    You are a really silly troll, almost funny in your ways …

    Btw a German Green member of the European Parliament was just held back in Moscow, wasn’t allowed to enter. I hope that the sanctions against Russia will get more intensive!

  19. Wolfi there are apparently an abundance of trolls and Russian agents on this site, now including myself according to some. Such declarations are pointless I think. To the comment by Richard: President Obama is currently in my opinion attempting to use moral power to persuade Hungary to abandon its Eurasian drift towards the Russian Federation hence the promotions of civil society NGOs.

    As I pointedly put it the other day, much to the concern of some on this list, if the US were interested at this point in going full scale with interfering in the internal affairs of Hungary the effort would be multi pronged and might even include a potential regime change strategy. Camp Darby is a United States Military base that is located between Pisa and Livorno in Italy has pre-positioned an 2,000-acre Ammunition Storage Facility, whose 125 bunkers hold ammunition reserves sufficient for an potential military intervention in Central Europe. The 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and the SETAF Infantry Brigade, 1/508th Infantry (ABCT) are located in Vicenza Italy. If things got to the point of losing Hungary fully to the Russian sphere of influence NATO and the EU would fundamentally be bypassed unilaterally by the US if that did not support aggressive intervention in Hungary in my opinion.

    But President Obama is a good liberal and he is opposed to utilizing aggressive tactics to keep sovereign nations from flipping to the Russians. The next President of the United States whether Democrat or Republican will likely be far more aggressive towards Russia and the scenario Richard presents of forced polarization becomes much more possible. Along with this polarization will come vastly increased military spending in the USA, unfortunately at the expense of human services and education most likely with limited tax increases dedicated to increased military preparedness. The fault for this increase in military spending is the responsibility of the Russians and Chinese, not warmongering in my country.

    I can not speak for all former members of the US military, but many who I know are deeply disturbed by how weak our nation’s defense posture appears to the Russians that they would pull off what they did in Ukraine. This must end and it can’t be done by playing nice to the Russians or their proxies. Orban can for now play a game of walking the rope between East and West. But in the future that game will end one way or another in my opinion. Call me a troll or Russian agent if you want to this is my opinion and while I disagree with Richard’s perspective his comments reflect a trend in Hungary that is dangerous for the long term strategic interests of the United States.

  20. Thanks for the info on the medal awarded to Joseph Rothschild, who was a good young guy as he lives in my memory.

  21. “Orban is obviously betting on the Russian side and I believe it is the correct path at this time. ”

    Putyin will use Orban and Hungary for sure but with regards actually pumping money in to keep the country viable?

    Problem for Fidesz and their Jobbik fellow travellers is that it is EU money which keeps the miserable regime here afloat not Russian (or US for that matter).

  22. @Istvan:

    Though your opinions differ in many respects from mine I’m sure you’re as much a democrat as the other regular commenters here and you’re surely no troll!

    Richard however only talks in terms of power – human rights etc are of no interest to him. He probably would have sided with Horthy and Hitler 75 years ago …

    And we all know what came out of that!

    You can take it from there!

  23. The really funny thing is, that people talking about “either” pro American or pro Russian, while we are Europeans – only geographically, mind you, but still – and at the main time Orbán trying to perform a balancing act, and – in my opinion – heading right into the spot in between the chairs.
    Just look at it: the Russians take him as a pansy suckered into the deal of a lifetime (Paks) while the US seeing him as one spineless ally who will sell himself and his country to the higher – not even the highest – bidder of the moment.

    It certainly demand nowadays some determination to admit: “I am Hungarian”, particularly if one still has some rigid vertebrae in space…

  24. Istvan is not only a troll. He is a self-confessed war criminal who participated in war crimes against a small nation in the Caribbean. To him committing war crimes is probably like a fetish.

    The Abu-Graib crimes, the massacre of civilians, the US soldiers pissing on corpses, those are the things that Istvan views only positively. He probably has a fantasy about committing similar crimes against several countries. If only he wouldn’t be so old and unfit for “service” he could commit war crimes again against other victims.

    He is the type you hear a lot about in Vietnam. Napalming villages, massacring hundreds of thousands of civilians. “Istvan” probably did participate or is very sorry if he could not.

    Istvan is full of hatred, the desire to kill and murder. The question is why? Did killing one too many innocent civilians make him this way? Or he never killed anyone and just fantasized about it? Very interesting troll.

  25. @Richard
    I just like to call your attention that Hungary indeed is on the wrong side of the stick continuously, during the last five hundred years at least, and there is no hope at this will change during the orbanist years, even if the ‘Greatest Man of All Times’ will change just about everything in sight.

    Just look at the day’s achievements:

    “Political correctness is a tabu-system, which deprives the honest discourse, the innovative way of thinking. (One) have to find the new Hungarian state, (which) independent of the dogmatic political correctness.”

    And what it means – by layman terms – that basically everything goes, whatever could that be.

    In my reading this is this is a frightening “coming out” of a heavily loaded person right by the helms of Hungary. Even worse, he has the means to do just about everything he set his mind to – and there is no limit, nothing what he wouldn’t do for power…

    Please, is there a doctor in da house..?

  26. Just saw on M2 TV something about 70 years “ChristianPolitics” i e KDNP (just old men in the audience …) and Orbán reading (he wasn’t speeking freely, had to look onto his script every few seconds …) about the failures of liberal democracy or whatever – my wife (as usual …) refused to translate for me “that crap” …

    The whole thing looked so early 20th Century – a few admirals’ uniforms and there would be the ghost of Horthy appearing …

    @np:

    Then what would Richard be in your opinion? (If his story were true)

    PS and not too much OT:

    On German political sites discussing the conflict with Russia you’ll also find a lot of trolls and extremist (both right wing and left wing!) who defend Russia’s politics.

    I never would have believed that outright Nazis (like the German NPD guys) and former communists from Eastern Germany (now the Left) would work together against democracy praising Putin …

    It seems to please them both (and those Christians too …) that he’s against liberals, Jews, LGBT, “too much freedom” in general etc – they want order!

    On the other hand this reminds me of the Weimarer republic before 1933 where also Nazis and Communist worked hand in hand to destroy democracy …

  27. NP possibly the Russian Spetsnaz who took over the Crimea were nice guys, not like me a war criminal. If you want to understand how it’s done go to http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/doctrine/history/urgfury.pdf it’s declassified and public it explains in detail what was done by US forces on the small island of Granda in 1983 let me know if you find some war crimes.

    Here’s the difference eventually we analyze what we do right and wrong as a military often publicly to the extent possible, including Abu Ghraib prison. Here is a document now made public on what our military police did very, very, wrong at Abu Ghraib prison http://www.npr.org/iraq/2004/prison_abuse_report.pdf

    Like a lot of things this document was leaked purposely. Now NP please show me similar documents by the Russian Federation over their actions in Ukraine, or is Spetsnaz so nice they have never done anything to undermine a sovereign government or violated the laws of war? Please send you response about Spetsnaz crimes also to the Russian propagandists at Russia Today as well as this list I am sure they will give it prominent coverage like the New York Times and Washington Post did about Abu Ghraib.

  28. This is getting ridiculous. Richard and np are almost certainly GRU/KGB people, professional trolls. For whatever reason they keep attacking (provoking?) Istvan, it’s kinda weird.

  29. The amazing Viktor Orban, the arbiter of geopolitics.
    Orban’s Hungary becomes now even more interesting than Ukraine and ISIS combined.
    Does anyone believe that US and EU will forgive such double dealings ?

    But maybe so.As a Romanian, the behavior or Orban makes me recall the Warsaw’s pact “maverick” Nicolae Ceausescu, who was also a fierce nationalist and who was also fond of annoying USSR by courting the West (and China). In the end the only thing he achieved was to become a full blown dictator and to oppress his own people/country.

  30. Orban is a fallen angel right from the begining. Like the previous goverments he failed to lead the country into the modern era. It is simmilar to the islamic world there modernisation failed and led to religious extremism. The fierce rethoric of FIDESZ and Jobbik is thus the hungarian equivalent of the islamic radicalism also a sign of political failure. OV and his entorage still can sail as long as the EU finance his dirty games. It is time for Bruxelles to wake up.

  31. Richard,

    You wrote: “Has the US actually ever helped Hungary? I don’t think so. Russia has a mixed history depending on your perspective. Orban is obviously betting on the Russian side and I believe it is the correct path at this time.”

    When you write something this controversial, it makes you look pretty stupid when you don’t back it up with even a single example or shred of proof. The United States has certainly given Hungary more financial aid since the end of the Cold War then Russia, and has never, not once, invaded Hungary. Meanwhile, what has Russia/the Soviet Union ever done for Hungary that wasn’t part of its drive to keep Hungary a colony? Yes, Russia has colonized Hungary but the US never has, despite having a few business interests here. Finally, if you want to talk about modern times, those US business interests have brought useful capital, long-term investment, jobs, technology and know-how into Hungary, but Russia has brought none of that. Most Russian investment in the past 24 years into Hungary has been to further tighten its grip on Hungary’s energy sector. The rest, including Malév, has essentially been rent-seeking and capital-flow types of investment, which can be helpful in the short term, but doesn’t build anything for the future of Hungary.

    Tell me if you disagree, but back it up with some examples.

  32. Istvan,

    I’m not convinced that you are a troll, but I am rather unconvinced that you are telling the truth about your military service. If you were, you would not be talking about the US sending troops into Hungary. Even if George Bush were allowed to serve a third term as US president and managed to win by an overwhelming majority and the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress by filibuster-proof majorities, the US will not send troops into Hungary unless Russia invades a NATO member and the US is moving to protect Hungary at the invitation of the Hungarian government – definitely not for regime change. I guarantee you this, based on all US military actions up to this point, and the fact that Hungary is not strategically important to the US at all. Your assertions to the contrary are beyond the imagination of any sane officer of the US armed forces, and I’ve known more than a few, from all branches.

    I don’t know what your game is, but I don’t trust anything you write that can’t be independently verified. If you want to try to convince me that I’m wrong, I’d consider whatever evidence you provide.

  33. @googly, Istvan is definitely not a troll. My understanding of what he wrote was that IF the US wanted to take over Hungary, it could accomplish that fairly quickly, and wouldn’t waste time by exerting influence through some NGOs, as our KGB trolls suggest.

  34. “It is time for Bruxelles to wake up.”

    – I’m afraid that the awakening has only chance if the member states will express their dismay too, regarding the possible outcome if the EU just let Orbán run amok at his will.
    Pretty soon the effect will spread, and there is no stoping anymore.

  35. Googly An captured the essence of what I stated repeatedly, two times at least. President Obama is attempting to keep Hungary in the western camp by converting public opinion. As I also stated President Obama is seen as a foreign policy disaster in many quarters and weak in the face of Putin. Given the costs of the wars we have waged President Obama has repeatedly stated he would not support the use of any military forces against Russia in Ukraine and has relied totally on an economic strategy with probably a small amount of covert military support for the Ukraine. President Obama was even reluctant to unleash air attacks on IS until they came close to taking Bagdad itself.

    Unfortunately the next President will likely break the bank on military expenditures, but who ever is elected they will be much more confrontational with Russia and her perceived supporters. I have to say I agree with this more aggressive posture because Putin is a dangerous man and is inspiring others like PM Orban to move in an ultra nationalist direction. If you go to a US website like Strategic Europe you can see the growing support for a much harder line on Russia, MOAA the US military officers association has repeatedly argued for increased funding based on the aggressive posture in particular of the Russians. Believe what you want about me, I can’t fix that.

  36. Istvan is definitely a troll. He is portraying himself as a raving madman who has delusion of grandeur. He believes himself the right man to decide the “posture” of the United States towards the Russian Federation. He thinks he is in charge of foreign policy. This admitted war criminal forgets how much his country needs friendship and good will from other countries for basic security.

    Maybe Istvan’s plan is weaken Russia to a point where it is really weak. He forgets, a weak country can not stop the nukes from falling into the wrong hands.

    It would be such a shame to have all anti-US arabs with nuclear weapons. With each modern bomb having the power 10 000 times larger than the one used on Hiroshima. How many US people would die if only one bomb detonates in a US city? No sane person is willing to risk it. This is what you risk by having an “aggressive posture” towards Russia and trying to weaken it. The results of Istvan’s insanity. No person can be so stupid, such an idiot.

    This is why Istvan can only be a troll, only pretending. I bet he never held a gun in his hand during his entire life.

    Having good relations and peace between Russia and the United States is in the world’s best interest.

  37. Tro llstvan: “Maybe Istvan’s plan is weaken Russia to a point where it is really weak. He forgets, a weak country can not stop the nukes from falling into the wrong hands.”

    The nukes are allready in the wrong hands.

  38. Istvan: Here’s the difference eventually we analyze what we do right and wrong as a military often publicly to the extent possible, including Abu Ghraib prison.

    Entirely agree. But those to whom you’re replying won’t get it: they’re in need of fixed truths they can become fans of, and hardly understand doubt as well as the virtues of a continuous process.

    ‘Every philosophy is like looking for a black cat in a dark room; Marxist philosophy is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, but the cat isn’t there; Soviet philosophy is like looking for a black cat in a dark room, the cat isn’t there, but you keep shouting “I’ve found it! I’ve found it!”’

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