About the only thing in the NYTimes report of the above visit Hungary Keeps Visit by Putin Low-Key as It Seeks to Repair Relations With West is the following sentence: “Five bilateral agreements were signed.”
The rest of the report contrasts sharply with the contents of the Russian/Hungarian press conference relayed in its entirety by RT: first of all, the five bi-lateral agreements concerned energy, one of the touchiest subjects in Europe right now. As in India, which Putin visited last week, Russia will build nuclear power plants in Hungary. But of more immediate relevance, it will allow that country to consume unused gas that was part of a previous use it or lose it deal. Journalists’ questions about the South Stream pipeline were answered in detail, and Mr. Putin reiterated his conviction that there could only be a diplomatic solution in Ukraine.
The two leaders appeared comfortable in each other’s presence, and as for the Time’s assertion that the visit was an excuse to “bring the Russian President onto European Union soil”, it was contradicted later in the article by a reference to his visit to Serbia last October. Noting the military parade and the awarding of a medal to the Russian president, the Times fails to inform its readers that Serbia is a Slavic country that has always had close ties to Russia, and that, unlike the West, Russia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, which it supported during the war.
The Times clearly wants its readers to think that Europe is still running scared of Moscow, when in fact what it is rightly running scared of is ISIS, the radical Islamist group that today warned Italy that it is only a hop, skip and a jump away – in Libya, the country that NATO attacks reduced to a failed state with two governments and a myriad of independent groups fighting each other.
Hungarians may not have the fondest of memories of the decades’ long Soviet occupation, but from having lived among them for five years during that time, I can attest that their fondest desire was to play the role of mediator between Moscow and Europe. Today I would wager that the only thing that trumps their desire to be recognized and accepted by ‘the West’ is their independent spirit.
Editor’s note: RT article EU and Moscow–led economic bloc should develop free trade – Hungarian PM