• From Russia with Hate: The Kremlin’s Support for Violent Extremism in Central Europe

    In 2016, the mayor of Ásotthalom, a small Hungarian town close to the country’s southern border, celebrated the opening of Gagarin Street with an obelisk to Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin and a speech about Russia’s greatness. The mayor was László Toroczkai, an extremist politician who serves as the vice president of the far-right Jobbik party; he is known for having organized vigilante groups to beat up refugees and banned Muslims and gay people from his village.

    A high-level diplomatic guest attended the event: the leader of the Russian Consulate to Hungary. This case raises two questions. First, why did a far-right politician who had previously been proud of his anti-communism celebrate a hero of the Soviet Union? Second, why was a Russian diplomat openly legitimizing a controversial politician?

    The short answer: Moscow sees the advantage of such “friendships” and invests in them.

    When it comes to Russian efforts to incite violence, one usually thinks of the “little green men” in Crimea, or Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine. But Political Capital has conducted an extensive research project on Russian actors and hate groups in Central Europe, and has found that Moscow built up diplomatic, political, and sometimes financial ties to violent organizations in Central and Eastern Europe as well, though those activities have received much less international attention.

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  • Gedmin in the Hill: Despite Differences, GOP Should Defend Soros in Hungary

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  • Beware: The Russian Bear is Getting Bolder

    In NATO member Hungary, Russian agents have been fingered for training with a neo-Nazi militia; in the tiny Balkan state of Monte­negro, which is on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, Moscow is accused of plotting a violent coup....
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  • Hungary Descends into Nationalist Bolshevism

    In 2010, Viktor Orbán was swept to power on the back of a populist backlash against Hungary’s left-wing government, which was mired in corruption scandals and criticized for austerity measures it adopted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Today, Orbán threatens Hungary’s democratic character.

    As prime minister, Orbán has embarked on a dangerous path toward autocracy—a new type of bolshevism characterized by radical nationalism, monopolized power structures, illiberal policies, and anti-capitalist and statist rhetoric.

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  • Russia Could Block Access to Baltic Sea, US General Says

    From Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One:  Russia has moved ballistic missiles to and conducted nuclear strike drills from its Kaliningrad exclave, prompting Pentagon fears that Moscow could block access to the Baltic Sea.
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  • Nine Heads of State Call on Alliance to 'Strengthen the Eastern Flank of NATO'

    "We, the Presidents of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic and the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
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  • Hungary’s Gazprom Renegotiation and the Decline of Traditional Contracts

    Since it was signed in 1996, the Panrusgáz contract with Russia has dictated the structure of Hungary’s natural gas market. While this contract’s expiration will be delayed until closer to 2018, it is clear that a new agreement will be negotiated on entirely different terms than before.

    Like other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, Hungary has benefited from the rising tide of interconnectivity and hub-based trading across Europe. With demand unlikely to rebound to pre-2008 levels in the medium term, and more competitive import capacity than ever before, Hungary must consider how a new arrangement with the Russian energy giant Gazprom will reshape its domestic market.

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  • Hungary Announces It Will Host 7th NATO Planning Center

    Hungary, along with other states in central and eastern Europe, will host a command center to help coordinate deployment of NATO's rapid reaction force in an emergency, the government said on Friday.
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  • Will the European Union’s Plan to Distribute Migrants Hurt Europe?

    European ministers on September 22 approved a plan that would force EU member states to take in their share of 120,000 migrants, a majority of whom are fleeing the war in Syria.

    In an unusual break from procedure, which emphasizes consensus on issues of national sovereignty, the ministers decided the issue on the basis of majority rules. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia voted against the plan. Finland abstained.

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  • David Miliband: Europe’s Feeble Response to Migrant Crisis Threatens EU

    Former British Foreign Secretary says United States, too, must 'up its game' and take in more refugees

    Europe’s “feeble” response to the migrant crisis—the largest displacement of people since World War II—is threatening the European Union, and European countries as well as the United States need to step up to do more to help these refugees, David Miliband, a former British Foreign Secretary, said in Washington September 18.

    “The current uncoordinated, haphazard, feeble European response to this crisis is not just threatening the refugees, it is threatening an extraordinary institution, which is the European Union,” Miliband, a son of refugees and President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

    “What you’re seeing now is a daily arms race between different countries in the east of Europe to move from fences to water cannon to tear gas to keep refugees out,” he said, adding that “the politics is going in the wrong direction… and the threat to the most basic norms and values of the European Union is very, very substantial at this stage.”

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