Putin’s visit: “Strategic impetus” for future Russian-Hungarian relations?

Yesterday the Russian ambassador to Hungary, Vladimir Sergeyev, when asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Hungary, basically repeated what Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been telling the Hungarians in the last few days. Putin’s visit to Budapest is nothing out of the ordinary. The main topic of the talks will be “the extension of a long-term contract” that will ensure the uninterrupted flow of natural gas from Russia to Hungary. The contract is due to expire this year, hence the urgency of the negotiations. Sergeyev emphasized that Putin’s visit has nothing whatsoever to do with “the overall situation in the world and the tension we now observe.” In addition to energy questions, the two leaders will discuss “cooperation in tourism and culture.” All this sounds utterly innocent until we get to the last sentence: that the talks are designed “to give a strategic impetus” to the future development of relations.

Viktor Orbán, although he is usually quite tight-mouthed, also indicated, perhaps unwittingly, that “over and above the question of energy, we must strive for a truly balanced relation. That’s why we invited and welcome President Putin.” These sentences indicate that the conversations will go beyond economic relations. Suspicion is growing in Budapest that the “urgent issue of the gas supply from Russia” is only an excuse for a visit by the Russian president. The real reason is what Ambassador Sergeyev called a “strategic impetus” for closer relations between the two countries. And that is a political, not an economic issue.

Let’s return briefly to Lajos Simicska, the oligarch to whom Viktor Orbán owes his rise to power but who is no longer Orbán’s friend. In his interview with Magyar Narancs Simicska told the reporter that after the April elections he had a long conversation with Viktor Orbán, during which the prime minister outlined his “plans,” which Simicska did not like. Among other things, Orbán shared his views of Russian-Hungarian relations, which Simicska found odious. He expressed his disapproval of Orbán’s scheme, saying: “No, I don’t like it at all. I grew up at the time when the Soviet Union was still here and I don’t have pleasant memories of the activities of the Russians in Hungary. I can’t really see any difference between the behavior of the former Soviets and the political behavior of today’s Russians.” I am sure that Simicska’s anti-Russian feelings are genuine. He was known for his intense dislike of the Soviets even as a high school student. This antipathy most likely had something to do with his father’s involvement in the Revolution of 1956 and the reprisals the family suffered as a result. If his old friend Viktor had talked to him only about economic ties and a secure supply of gas, surely Simicska wouldn’t have reacted so negatively.

A Romanian view: "Putin will visit Hungary: A challenge to the United States Source: Independent.md

A Romanian view: “Putin will visit Hungary: A challenge to the United States”
Source: Independent.md

No, it is becoming clear that the urgent negotiations about a long-term gas contract are only a smokescreen. Although it is true that the current agreement will expire at the end of June, the flow of gas will not stop. According to the present contract, Gazprom is obliged to supply gas to Hungary for at least two more years. Perhaps three. Fifteen years ago, when the contract was signed, energy consumption was higher than it is now. The contract specified a certain amount of natural gas between 2000 and 2015, but that amount hasn’t been used up. So why is this deal suddenly so important to Orbán? Why does he think that he will be able to get the best deal from Gazprom thanks to Putin’s good offices? What did Orbán promise to Putin in exchange for cheap gas? Will he get cheap gas and, if so, at what price? Will Rossatom’s building of the two new reactors at Paks be enough for Putin in return? Or will Orbán be ready to sell or rent the storage facilities he purchased earlier from the German firm E-On to Gazprom? Most important, why is Orbán so keen on a special deal with Gazprom when by now Russia’s monopoly on the gas supply to Europe is broken?

Some observers even claim that it is not to Hungary’s advantage to sign a long-term contract with Russia because the current market price of natural gas is actually lower than what Hungary is paying for Russian gas. Hungary is paying between $350 and $400 for 1,000m³ of gas; on the open market it sells for $300. Moreover, as I already noted, Russia’s gas monopoly is a thing of the past. By now there are alternate pipelines through which western gas can reach Hungary. Although it is true that the completion of the pipeline between Slovakia and Hungary has been delayed due to technical problems on the Hungarian side, it should be ready very soon. Meanwhile gas has been steadily coming into the country from Austria and Croatia.

The Orbán government in the last five years or so was not too eager to work either on alternative pipelines or on reducing the amount of gas used by Hungarian households, which is twice that of Austrian households. The reason is inadequate insulation. European Union directives oblige energy suppliers to improve the insulation of buildings, but for some strange reason the Orbán government is in no hurry to change the Hungarian law to allow such a solution. According to experts, people could save 30 to 50% on their gas bills if this essential repair work on windows and doors were done. Definitely more than the much touted 10% decrease in utility bills legislated by the government.

Orbán has exaggerated the danger of running short of gas. He even indicated that if he is unsuccessful in his negotiations with Putin, Hungarians will freeze to death because there will be no gas to heat their houses and apartments. Of course, this is not only an outright lie but a stupid business tactic. If the situation is so desperate, the negotiating partner will have the upper hand in the negotiations, as several people pointed out.

And with that I return to Russian Ambassador Sergeyev’s mysterious “strategic impetus” for future relations between the two countries. Suspicion is growing in Hungary that Orbán is making some kind of a political deal with Putin which may commit Hungary to a closer relationship in the future. Miklós Hargitai of Népszabadság goes so far as to speculate that “it is not the decrease in our utilities bills that will depend on Putin but Orbán’s hold on power.” For whatever reason, the Russian card seems to be of the utmost importance to Hungary’s gambling mini-Putin.

63 comments

  1. I have a prediction: Putin is coming to Hungary to tell Orbán personally that he is going to cancel Paks II.

    Or – even better! – Putin springs this surprise upon the media unexpectedly during a joint press conference between the two, without informing Orbán beforehand. That would be a hoot 😀

  2. The mere imagery of Putin shaking hands with Orban, as reported by TV cameras for world consumption – is going to be enough for both leaders to make a point to Obama and Co.

  3. I am speculating only, but the viktor has two important items, he will sell anything for, even his soul. Votes and money and not necessarily in that order, but the two are dependent on each other. The 200,000 “Hungarians”, who are now Ukrainian citizens, and their status as potential dual citizens and voters can also come up in the Putin-viktor discussion.

  4. Andrew a photo of PM Orban and Putin will have no impact what so ever on the strategic thinking of the United States of America in relation to the current conflict over territory seized by Russian forces and their proxies. As was evident from the comments made by Senator McCain and other elected members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, last week in relation to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pleading with President Obama not to send ammunition and more advanced weapons systems to Ukraine my nation will not concede anything to Putin without resistance. If Obama fully yields to European appeasement of Russia the Democrats fate is sealed in the next Presidential election

    The United States is preparing for a protracted conflict with Russia and if PM Orban wants to link the fate of the Hungarian nation to Putin’s dictatorship then so be it. If the Hungarian people are going sit back in a palinka based haze filled with cigarette smoke and let this happen in mass without at least complaining like the crook Simicska has then so be it. If the Hungarian people oppose this eastern drift in their righteous disgust I hope Ambassador Ball steps outside her debutant persona and support the brave Hungarians who oppose this horrendous development.

  5. @Andrew:
    Why do Hungarians still think that their small insignificant country matters so much to the US and the EU – in a way these games played by Orbán are more like a mosquito in our living room …
    If Hungary doesn’t behave/chooses the wrong side again then all Hungarians will have to bear the consequences!
    Really stupid childish behaviour by Orbán!

    Re the need for gas:
    “twice that of Austrian households. The reason is inadequate insulation”
    That was the first thing I saw when coming to Hungary in winter around 20 years ago – many windows were wet on the inside and people tried to get some kind of insulation with those foam plastic strips on the inner window sill. My first thought also was: Why don’t they invest in some insulation? The payback will be immediate? Only later did I realise that the money just wasn’t there and the government for some strange reason was not interested in helping, say via cheap loans like they did everywhere else in Europe …

  6. My bet is that Hungary will apply to be an observer (but not a full member yet) of the Eurasian Union.

    I also suspect that the Russians will get a long term lease on the underground gas storage facilities to use it exclusively.

  7. Istvan & wolfi – I was really thinking of the TV footage not still photos, but in any case my point is that Orban will be seen courting Putin and vice versa for different political reasons. Even if Hungary is a mosquito, its geopolitical situation is such that its leaning East or West does matter, both to US and EU. Putin gets a touch of respectability, Orban gets a touch of leverage with Western relationships. Neither is good for Hungary I suspect.

  8. There is another vital aspect to this story on long-term gas delivery contract, to be signed on 17 February.

    European Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič announced on 4 February that the Commission is working on an Energy Union strategy to be published on 25 February. Five topics are particularly on focus: supply security, single internal energy market, energy efficiency, decarbonisation and research.

    It means that Putin and Orbán will undermine the whole common European Energy Union a week before it’s announcement. So that Brussels know exactly where its proper place is in European strategic affairs.

  9. @Max – Orban couldn’t undermine the energy union if he wanted to. He can either join it, or stay out of it. If he stays out – fine. Hungary is far from essential.
    Other countries in the EU can (and will) import Norwegian, American and other liquified gas through LNG terminals. If Orban doesn’t want to purchase any of that, who cares? Plenty of existing pipelines bypass Hungary anyway.

  10. The interview given by Simicska implies that Orban has a deliberate plan which he would like to accomplish in this third term of his and that must include – among others – binding Hungary to Russia in any way Orban possibly can.

    This means that it doesn’t matter what Orban says to Merkel or to others, he has a plan in his mind which he will accomplish regardless. Orban couldn’t care less about enfeebled western politicians.

    There’s nothing the EU or NATO can do about those plans short of firing Hungary, which they will not do since even an exclusion would be a symbolic victory (a game changer) for Russia.

    So Orban will be able to get away with everything, as he has been able to until now.

    It’s clear that fideszniks are aligning themselves with Orban, who has the power (prosecution, courts, secret services and lots of money, though what will Simicska do with all those assets which he managed for the Orban family?) and Simicska has been cut off from new businesses and he doesn’t have any “businesses” which could exist without the continuous state deals (his enterprises are only siphons of money).

    It is the extended Orban-clan which has been winning the public procurement mandates and taking a fat cut from the MET energy deals. Also let’s not forget that Sandor Csanyi legally took over Olajterv recently and he is very close to Zsolt Hernadi, whose stake in MET is held by Benjamin Lakatos, raising the possibility that Csanyi is in MET too, through one or more of the front entities.

  11. Jobbik is getting stronger, Fidesz is getting weaker, the distance between the two parties is getting smaller.

    Nobody gives a s*** about the lefties, they are irrelevant.

    Strongly 2/3s of the active voters are committed right-wing voters, while the 1/3 is divided between 5-6 parties.

    The young and the middle-aged, plus those living in small villages (mind you, given the election system they are very important) oriented towards Jobbik.

    Russia is a pretty good political investor, it succeeded to “persuade” Fidesz and own Jobbik.

  12. @galgamacsa “2/3s of active voters are committed right-wing voters.”
    THAT is a huge misreading of the data (which you get from Origo’s interpretation of IPSOS’s data, I assume), which is.
    21% say they will vote for Fidesz.
    16% say they will vote for Jobbik.
    That is, a little more than 1/3 of the electorate are committed right-wing voters.
    All left-leaning parties together take @ 20%.
    The largest group is:
    40% who say they are not sure, or may not vote.
    That number scan’t be interpreted, because a lot of people are afraid or unwilling to give their opinion, some of them are lying, and a lot of people truly don’t know but will vote. There is no telling which way these people will lean.
    To say that these people support the right is a lie.
    They are not committed to the left or the right. They are committed to Hungary.
    The same group leaned left in 2002 and 2006. They turned right in 2010 and 2014. There is no telling where they will turn in 2018.

  13. @galgamacsa:
    That reminds me of Hungary before WW2 – you also had the very conservative/feudalist (?) Horthy and the fascists.
    So is Hungary returning in spirit to these times?
    Will it be cut off from the 21st Century like the Russian vassal states in the East?
    That’s a disturbing thought to see this happen in the middle of Europe.

  14. Correctopn:

    Does not know/tell: 43%
    Fidesz 21%
    MSzP+DK+Egyutt+PM 17%
    Jobbik 16%
    LMP 3%

    Indeed, MSzP and other lefter-wing parties cannot pick up the disappointed voters.
    This is a harsh judgement on their leaders.

    Change since October 2014.

    Fidesz: -14%
    Jobbik: + 5%

  15. @Tappanch – Don’t be too sure about the left not picking up those voters. For the first time since the fall of communism people are not only reluctant but actually afraid to openly express their opinions if they support the government’s “enemies.”. Fidesz may be in for some surprises in upcoming elections.

  16. To the debate about the state of the left. According to a local poll, the candidate supported by the democratic opposition parties is trailing only by 6 percentage point in Veszprém, until now a solidly pro-Fidesz city where the district’s MP was Tibor Navracsics. So, the situation is not hopeless.

  17. A couple of points. The electorate changed significantly from 2002 and 2006 (and will until 2018), and its clear that nobody from the under 30 bracket wants anything to with the “left” as such, especially from the out of Budapest regions which are the most important. Budapest is so compartmentalized in the election system that that I propose it should not even be included in the polls, because its results mislead the opposition-leaning people (and of course the left could not even really win in Budapest).

    The tactics is exactly what Putin uses: Putin allows (although there’s oppression too) a small quasi”liberal”/hipster domain to exist mostly in Moscow so that it becomes clear to average voters that the liberals are a Moscovite, urban group who are out of touch with reality and care only about marginal issues like gay right or giving rights to/being soft on immigrants in the name of “human rights” etc.

    The left just isn’t cool and if one associates with the left than they will get the infection and will be uncool themselves, an absolute no go for young people. Like it or not Jobbik is cool now, it’s the only party which is active among the youth and Jobbik is smart at using this advantage.

    Also, as much as I would like to believe in the existence of hiding opposition voters the polls in 2014 were actually pretty accurate, at least the difference between the polls and the actual results was not as big as in 2002.

    The overwhelming majority of those who entered the voting age in the last 20 years lean right wing and those who sadly passed away were much more left-leaning, so the result is a shifting of the electorate towards right wing. Voting is also very much an identity issue, whose importance is discounted by public choice theorists, young people define themselves as right wing (without really being able to define what it means), it’s not just a rational choice.

    Moreover it’s very misleading to say that say 41% of the voters are undecided, wouldn’t tell or wouldn’t vote because even if the voters are extremely active 20% of the people just never vote. So out of this combined 40% half of them are irrelevant because they will never vote under any circumstances (no more than 80% of the voters ever cast a ballot) so there is at most 20% points to be divided up among the parties.

    So, my reading is that Fidesz and Jobbik and “right-wing” in general are still extremely strong whole the “Left” has been stagnating for months, benefitting nothing from Orban’s weakness.

  18. @galgamacsa –
    Public opinion shifts continually.
    Nobody in Hungary is afraid to say that they support parties on the right. Therefore, the figure 36% who say that they will certainly vote for Fidesz or Jobbik is pretty solid, and seems unlikely to grow much. Not too many people are denying that they support the right.
    There are, however, quite a lot of people who are reluctant to say they will vote for the left. Figures here are definitely skewed. How skewed, nobody can tell.
    I would not even venture to predict the results of 2018 elections.
    Veszprém: certainly more people will vote for opposition candidates than admit this in polls. The problem is that there are so many opposition candidates, and Fidesz is running a campaign of slander against just one of them – the one who might just beat the Fidesz candidate.

  19. The left is definitely not cool, but it’s a misunderstanding that young people are right wing voters. In general young people are open minded, liberal, pro-west and idealistic. Jobbik is conversative, anti-West and being busy with things that young people don’t care about at all like the Trianon treaty. Sure there are lower-educated young ones in the country side that have sad future prospects who support Jobbik, but further it’s an unattractive party for young voters.
    Young people first lost interest in MSZP because these are boring, dusty 50 plussers who were mostly busy with themselves and didn’t do anything for the younger generation. Now Fidesz is also seen more more as a group of older men we are only busy with themselves and seem to have no connection with the young ones.
    The polls show it as well that if there would be a new party which is neither left or right, it could easily grow to be the biggest party.

  20. I suspect that one topic might be a part of Orban’s and Putin’s discussion. Recently, there was a news in Croatia that oil rigs will be placed in the Adriatic Sea. The public still didn’t receive enough information about it, so it is not clear – who, where, why, how. But Croatian oil company INA is owned by Hungarian main oil company MOL. In the same time, Hungary has a special economic relations with Russia related to gas and oil. I guess that there is a clash of international interests related to the new oil source. It seems as it is a big thing, but somehow still hidden. Who will exploit it, who will benefit from it, what amount of oil do we talk about, how would it influence power relations based on the oil exploitation? I would assume that Orban might have a very substantial information about it via MOL’s presence in Croatia.

  21. @DIjana Erakovic

    There are literally two people now to whom Orban listens to in economic/business matters:

    Lőrinc Mészáros, Orban’s Felcsút (the town where Orban hails from) friend and all-around front (Strohmann) and Zsolt Hernádi (of MOL and MET fame), who is also best friends with Sandor Csanyi (MET/Olajterv/MOL/OTP etc.).

    Hernadi was in the same business deal (CD Hungary, the real estate holding company owning the diplomatic residences and embassies privatized from OTP financing and prior to the privatization designated as a company not to be privatized due to its national security significance) with Istvan Garancsi (MET etc.), both of whom now manage assets on behalf of Orban and are becoming filthy rich themselves in the process.

    Whatever Orban will decide about those oil rigs will depend on how much these people can make eventually (taking into consideration the Russian angle as well).

    Having said that I think INA will be sold back to Croatia so eventually it will be handsome indigenous Croatian businessmen who will have the privilege to erect the rigs in front of the tourists.

  22. 6 million people listen to radio in Hungary on a daily basis, about 7 million at least once a week.

    Conclusion of the latest data: Fidesz and the state radios (edited from Fidesz HQ) effectively cover the entire market.

    Klubradio (which operates in Budapest mostly) is almost nonexistent, however the smartly but firmly fidesznik Inforadio is already no. 4 in Budapest.

    The left wing never had a media strategy (while Info Radio was set up way before 2010), and never really had a vision, so they have nothing now, they are relegated to complaining.

    Fidesz is currently pouring money into the internet and it has about HUF 130bn (80bn from the state budget and 50bn from state companies which will advertise in the state media) to burn on fidesznik tv propaganda.

    End of story.

    http://www.kreativ.hu/radio/cikk/radiora_bulizott_az_orszag_40_szazaleka_szilveszterkor

  23. @droidradiobudapest My exact sentiments. THe left is not loosing the election against Fidesz because Fidesz (or Jobbik) is so good, they are loosing it because they have no viable “propaganda”. Fidesz is taken over the media, Jobbik is taking over the viral market. When I say viral, I am not talking about social media, but social connections. WHen will the liberal opposition realize that money should be poured into marketing versus all the needless spending? The demographic group that is easiest to convey are the people closer to 20. Although 80% of spending are from 40+, further you move up, more brand loyal consumers are. These are facts, that are based on decades of marketing studies. Look what happened when the Internet tax was suggested. The politically apathetic younger generation took the streets. Hire some professionals to handle the darn liberal campaign!

  24. 1.
    Fidesz took away Klubradio’s 11 licenses in the countryside, and the radio retained its right to broadcast in Budapest only after a lengthy court battle.

    In the last 5 years, only radios that are either apolitical or support Fidesz were able to get license.

    So the lopsided media presence of Fidesz comes from the dictatorial nature of the regime, not do much from the otherwise inept leadreship of the opposition.

    2.
    The head of the “youth branch” of Fidesz was arrested for trying to sell fake euros (30,000 euros) last week, but it reached the media only today.

    http://index.hu/belfold/2015/02/11/penzhamisitas_fidesz_ifjusagi_tagozat_veress_aron/

  25. Népszabadsag says André Goodfriend is leaving Hungary. I guess Orban will present this as a victory, with a little wink, well, it’s personal reasons, but of course we know these “personal reasons”…It’s no too difficult to pacify the Americans after all. Orban is a real winner, he eliminates all of his ‘enemies’, the fidesznik voters can sit back and calm down.

  26. Correction: Klubradio has lost all of its 12 frequencies in the countryside since 2010, the year the Fidesz party grabbed the absolute power.

  27. Goodfriend was going to leave Hungary sooner or later no matter what. His term in this country has come to an end, that is all. To portray that as a victory for Orban is to misunderstand the nature of international diplomacy in general and of American diplomacy in particular.
    Unless he is retiring, Goodfriend will surely be placed in another post, and the question is which post.
    If Washington feels he did a good job in Hungary, he will be put in a more important capital. I hope, for his sake, that he’s sent to Brussels, Paris or London. But for the State Department’s sake, I hope he is placed in Moscow. He would do a great job there. He might be given a post within the State Department, where he would also do a good job.
    If Goodfriend is placed in a more important post, that can be taken as a clear message (to Orban, as well as the world) that Washington was fully satisfied with his work.
    If, however, Goodfriend is sent off to a place like Bhutan, we can assume that Washington was dissatisfied with him (no offense meant to the people of Bhutani – I understand it is a beautiful country).

  28. Goodfriend was going to leave Hungary sooner or later no matter what. His term in this country has come to an end, that is all. To portray that as a victory for Orban is to misunderstand the nature of international diplomacy in general and of American diplomacy in particular.
    Unless he is retiring, Goodfriend will surely be placed in another post, and the question is which post.
    If Washington feels he did a good job in Hungary, he will be put in a more important capital. I hope, for his sake, that he’s sent to Brussels, Paris or London. But for the State Department’s sake, I hope he is placed in Moscow. He would do a great job there. He might be given a post within the State Department, where he would also do a good job.
    If Goodfriend is placed in a more important post, that can be taken as a clear message (to Orban, as well as the world) that Washington was fully satisfied with his work.
    If, however, Goodfriend is sent off to a place like Bhutan, we can assume that Washington was dissatisfied with him (no offense meant to the people of Bhutan – I understand it is a beautiful country).

  29. @Webber

    “Goodfriend was going to leave Hungary sooner or later”

    This was sooner than later, and came at the wrong time, when the Fidesz dictatorship received only the first few punches.

  30. BWAAAAhahahahahahaaa!
    Fidesz, cool….

    Aron Veress, the head of Fidesz’s youth wing, has been arrested for trying to pass a forged 100 Euro note and for running from the police, who later found 30,000 Euros in forged notes in his flat. Veress claims he got the money from an unnamed Moldavian who owed it to him.
    Veress is 30 but looks like he’s going on 45. Picture here:
    http://index.hu/belfold/2015/02/11/penzhamisitas_fidesz_ifjusagi_tagozat_veress_aron/

    Super cool. Fidesz. Young. Dynamic.

  31. Mr Goodfriend might get a job in Washington DC where he looks critically not only at Hungary but all of Europe …
    And if Mrs Nuland becomes “foreign minister” after the next election under a Republican president (I read somewhere that this is highly probable …) Orbán and Fidesz might have the pleasure of having contact with him again …

  32. @Webber

    Jobbik is (unfortunately) cool. Fidesz is not really, it is getting uncool, true. But since Fidesz has the power, it has no problem filling out the HÖK quotas, every imaginable position is filled with ambitious fidesznik (and jobbiknik) kids, who are loyal, disciplined and ready to act.

    The left-wing is still much more uncool than Fidesz is, believe me.

    There’s no sane college kid who would identify him/herself openly as an MSZP voter or even DK or Együtt voter.

    The left-leaning ones are like the HaHa kids, if anyone remembers them, for the lefties politics is uncool; not for the Jobbik kids though who thus prevail.

  33. @Webber

    “To portray that as a victory for Orban is to misunderstand the nature of international diplomacy…”

    Laughable.

    You want bunko Hungarians to understand subtleties? Gimme a break.

    Orban wanted Goodfriend to leave.

    Goodfriend is leaving.

    Victory!

    Orban 303 : Opposition 0

    Celebration in the churches…

  34. re Goodfriend.

    I agree with tappanch that this was rather too early. I don’t care about his private life but in this case it would be better to tell what that family reason was, because it sure looks like an RTL Klub deal.

    “The parties had a quiet settlement, a ceasefire of sorts, with the understanding that Goodfriend is not declared a persona non grata but he himself will soon return (just as Dirk Gerken’s agreement will – for some reason – not be renewed after all and – purely conincidentally – the tone of the news will be gradually less political).”

    I get it that this is not true probably, but there sure can be such a spin and the US must have known that Fidesz and its all-encompassing media empire will spin it that way.

    “There’s nothing Orban can’t reach if he really wants it, he can send even the mighty Goodfriend packing after a little bit of diplomatic game. He is the most influential man in Europa (as Merkel is woman).”

  35. 444.hu says that Goodfriend actually leaves before the end of his term. That’s unusual and more so in this particular case.

  36. Maybe Mr Goodfriend just had enough of this mafia state – if we believe a certain commenter then Hungary is lost anyway!
    But as I wrote to Fidesz supporters on pol.hu:
    Be careful what you wish for! He might return – in a higher position …

  37. @coasters – Odd that you think that. I happen to personally know a couple of young people who are not only open about supporting Együtt, they’ve actually joined the party. The party was wise to take them on. One of them definitely fits any definition of cool. Before someone suggests it – neither of them live in or anyone near Budapest.
    Now, for me, personally, none of these parties are even remotely cool – but as I say, one of these young people definitely is.

  38. Back to the FAAAASSSSCINATING story of the great and rising popularity of the right in Hungary – I’ve had another look at that poll data, and it clearly shows that Fidesz has lost 14% in support since October, while Jobbik has gained 5% in the same period.
    That means the right has lost a total of 9% of its support in the whole population.
    Public opinion swings this way and that, but the overall trend in Hungary at the moment is a rather decisive turn away from the right.
    Avowed r-wingers are now a minority in Hungary, and a minority with decreasing numbers.
    I’m sure this will come as a disappointment to many of you, who believe you are in the majority. Sorry, you are not.
    I apologize for smashing your dreams like this. I’m just taking the numbers from IPSOS as published by the (pro-Fidesz) Origo website.

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