Are these guy that ignorant or even crazy? Orbán held talks with Vladimir Orlic, the president of Serbia’s National Assembly,…
Incompetence or Robbery?
There is no doubt, the fuel prices went up a lot the last year. Crude oil did not go to historic heights yet, in 2008 the price went up to a more than 50 % higher level compared to today, followed by a hard drop though the banking crises. A bit more than a year later the crude oil price became more expensive than in the average of the last 3 months, this remained until the end of 2014 ►EN. Falling prices have been used by Orbán to inflate the taxes on fuel. When now the prices started to rise again from the very lows through the corona shock, prices at the petrol stations knew only one direction, to way higher levels than in 2008 through the higher taxes.
So last autumn Orbán announced his 1st price stop. Retail prices were cut at 480 Ft per litre (1.35 €) for both standard gasoline and 95-octane petrol. The wholesale prices remained free, the taxes remained untouched. So the owners of the petrol stations need to pay for the price stop. We all can imagine that a petrol station has besides the purchase of fuel operational costs, for example for staff, costs connected to rent or ownership, electricity, and so on. The early days of the price stop these costs were endangered, but the wholesale price remained a little under the state price limit. At the end of the year the oil price became a bit lower and the petrol stations were able to operate as normal, since they asked a price below that maximum ►HU. Right now with Putin threatening Ukraine the oil prices are rising hard again and the fuel prices are at the legal maximum again. With his campaign opening Orbán declared as well that the price cap will be prolonged until May.
Last Friday the wholesale price for petrol went above the limit for retail, gasoline did so before already. Now every single litre sold means a loss, and the petrol stations mustn’t close or reduce operation times. If the companies were unable to operate MOL would take over. MOL is not only the owner of Hungary’s largest petrol station network, but by far most important wholesaler as well. When some petrol station owners decided to sell no more than 10 litres at a time ►HU the government declared that this would be illegal. Especially the independent petrol stations are in so heavy difficulties that they might have to close down operation through this financial pressure ►HU.
While the Orbán regime is pressuring against small and midsize enterprises – just a reminder: Orbán always pleads for a Hungarian middle class – the people are obviously approaching the problem more intelligent as well. 63 % of Hungarians are for lower taxes on fuel instead of Orbán’s price stop, only 26 % are happy with the prolonged price dictate ►HU. Orbán’s friends in Poland have done exactly this: They have brought down the VAT on fuel ►HU. Above 47 % of the 480 Ft price are already taxes directly paid, in addition of course the taxes connected to the operation of petrol stations.
Minister in the office of the PM Gergely Gulyás said that the state would ensure that from every place in Hungary a working petrol station could be found within a range of 5 km ►HU. This is not true as today, I myself live in a place where the next one is further away and I know villages less comfortably situated in this context.
“The goal is to have no other petrol stations in Hungary than MOL, so bloody serious it is,” said the director of small petrol station owning Envikút Kft ►HU. Even worse reported Csaba Czeglédy (DK,) candidate in Vas 2 ►HU: “Already a second friend, who runs a small petrol station, called me that people with bags showed up to buy his company for cash. If they don’t sell, they would face further trouble. Hungary 2022.” Ákos Hadházy has called for solidarity with owners of petrol stations, to tank only at MOL stations ►HU. A good idea to cause not only the loss to those who can bear, but also who have profit from Orbán being in power.
For today a gathering between petrol station owners and the government is planned ►HU. And they want to demonstrate for their future ►HU. Although predictions are difficult I don’t expect the regime will leave the destructive course.
Magyar Nemzet published this article today https://magyarnemzet.hu/kulfold/2022/02/szijjarto-peter-magyarorszag-ujabb-120-lelegeztetogeppel-segiti-ukrajnat-video in the interview given by Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó he is quoted as stating: “Although we know that the relations between Hungary and Ukraine are also strained, the rights of the Hungarian national community are being violated in a series of times in Ukraine, nevertheless Hungary has always stood up for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.” This is of course a completely different tone than Szijjártó gave just a few days ago, when he said Ukraine could expect limited assistance from Hungary because of the treatment of the Hungarian speaking minority in Ukraine. Possibly even more interesting is this article https://magyarnemzet.hu/kulfold/2022/02/talalkozoban-allapodott-meg-joe-biden-es-vlagyimir-putyin where President Biden is being presented as not how the Russian propaganda machine has pushed as promoting a war, but rather as trying to prevent one.
The pro-Russian Hungarian pro-Fidesz commentators who have been in attendance at Putin’s annual Valdai Discussion Club are silenced for now and their attacks on US war mongers are not appearing. I have to wonder what information was provided to team Orban that caused this backing off of a pro-Russian foreign policy, at least for the moment.
I asked the other day what Márki-Zay was saying while out campaigning about the crisis over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, really I got no response. So I read Márki-Zay’s facebook page going back several days to February 15 during the crisis just to see if he made any comments. He posted no comments or statements relating to directly to Ukraine. He did however make an interesting post relating to Hungarian border security yesterday and one earlier about NATO. He wrote (my translation): “If we win, we will protect Hungary’s borders by setting up an independent border guard and using Frontex, keeping the fence and expelling the internationally circled criminals by screening the many tens of thousands of migrants settled by Fidesz. We will solve the labor shortage not by migrants, but by strengthening vocational training and attracting Hungarians who have left abroad.”
Clearly by February 17 MZP would have been aware of US intelligence estimates of the number of Ukrainian refugees made by February 6 that NATO countries bordering Ukraine in the situation of a Russian invasion could a total up to 5 million. The number that might attempt to enter Hungary could potentially be in the hundreds of thousands. All the news from Hungary is that there has been no preparation for this possibility. Márki-Zay avoids this issue like the plague in his post about Hungarian border security. I have no idea what so ever what his thinking is about this crisis across the border, but he is careful in his comments.
However if we go back to February 15, we do find that MZP did make a good comment about the Russian demand that Hungary and all the nations that broke from the Soviet block remove all NATO forces from their countries. His comment was as translated: “I find it extremely outrageous that Viktor Orbán did not reject President Putin’s suggestion that Hungary should withdraw from NATO. We see the future of Hungary in the European Union and NATO with Ágnes Vadai, the head of the defense cabinet of the united opposition.” However Vadai, from the DK party, herself responded with a somewhat interesting post stating: “Instead of destroying Orban and exposing the country, we believe in partnership and the effective representation of national interests. Our goal is for Hungary to be an unquestionable partner in the EU and NATO, while at the same time really benefiting Hungary’s interests in these alliances.”
Her post generated a lot of responses from MZP supporters and some from apparent Fidesz supporters too. It was clear from reading the comments that many of those posting in response to Ágnes Vadai while supporting Hungary remaining in NATO indicated little interest in solidarity with Ukraine in the face of a potential Russian invasion. There also seemed to be little if any understanding even among pro-NATO posters of the potential refugee issue in the event of a full scale Russian invasion.
It is no coincidence that I am not reporting about this topic. All this is handled as some development in an unimportant country far away. By all the media, but even more in the campaigns. Orbán mentioned refugees once, did not say a word about Putin’s claim that Hungary must leave NATO like all the other countries that became member since 1997, and clearly stated the condition that the EU must tolerate all his actions if the EU want to keep him as member. Márki-Zay said – if I remember correctly, he was asked about – that refugees will be treated according to international law, refuted Orbán accepting Putin’s claim once (only?), and leaving EU seem not a clearly described “punishment” of Brussels Orbán plans if he doesn’t get what he wants, but as possible consequence far down the road. That Orbán remains silent is well understandable, he can’t serve Putin with talking about, while I think that MZP should use it much more. Across almost all parties membership of NATO and EU is highly desired, no matter whether FIDESZ or a party within Unity for Hungary, here people agree! Abroad Orbán and Szijjártó say that they would be for peace, just doing so in Slovakia or the EU it doesn’t really matter, they are not players things depend on. And it doesn’t find its way into the campaign.
RT news out of Russia is running this story https://www.rt.com/russia/550145-moscow-capture-ukrainian-saboteur/. Yes I am very sure the Ukrainians are not now invading mother Russia, but I am becoming increasingly sure the Russians are preparing to move. Somehow I have to wonder if the Biden/Putin summit will happen, in fact the meeting between Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to be held on Thursday may not happen.
Really none of this is good and it looks more and more like the CIA may have gotten its intel right on this one.
That is perhaps why the CIA Moscow bureau chief had been expelled
In all foreign media I see intensive reporting in prominent places over all aspects of Putin possibly recognising the separatist “people republics” in Eastern Ukraine, the meeting of EU foreign ministers with their colleagues from Ukraine, what people think about in Kiev and Moscow, and, and, and. Here the media are full of another topic, I did not find everywhere a short note about Russia and Ukraine.
BTW I am not surprised that the announcement about the invasion last Wednesday did not turn out. Even if all was exactly true unto the last minute, if I were Putin I would have delayed just to prove the Americans wrong. We mustn’t forget that Putin started his career within KGB and I am sure he knows very well how to irritate people.
Putin is on TV in Russia right now and he is really saying some totally crazy stuff, like Ukraine is now a colony of the USA, and on and on. I was watching a simultaneous translation on RT. I am amazed at what I just watched.
Actually the US news network CNN is presenting to the US public a somewhat more mild version of Putin’s TV address for American consumption than what I was watching on RT.
I learned as a young man how to deal with mad dogs. Two bullets through the skull.
Incidentally, the allies did not stop Hitler when he fist breached the Versailles treaty. Result six years of war and the loss of six million Jews including members of my family, Not stopping Putin when he took Crimea has shown the West is shit. The next war will wipe out more than the last two did.
just what is it you want to say?
There really were numerous historical references in Putin’s speech relating to Lenin and the nationalities issue in the Russian empire.Not surprisingly Putin left out of his little history lesson what has come to be called the Holodomor, a combination of the Ukrainian words for “starvation” and “to inflict death”—by one estimate claimed the lives of 3.9 million people, about 13 percent of the population due to Stalin’s policies.
But there was for sure part of the speech that no doubt Orban noticed it was when Putin said this “Then, both before and after the Great Patriotic War, Stalin incorporated in the USSR and transferred to Ukraine some lands that previously belonged to Poland, Romania and Hungary. In the process, he gave Poland part of what was traditionally German land as compensation, and in 1954, Khrushchev took Crimea away from Russia for some reason and also gave it to Ukraine. In effect, this is how the territory of modern Ukraine was formed.” So is Putin now telling Orban Hungary has a legitimate claim to what Hungarians call Kárpátalja or all of Zakarpatska Oblast in Ukraine?
It was for sure a crazy speech and I don’t know how all its historical references will be understood. I do know that the Ukrainians understand this speech to be a war speech calling effectively for the elimination of Ukraine as a nation. In the end, Putin said, the former Soviet republics shouldn’t have left, and an independent Ukraine should not exist. There will be some level of war and that seems to be without question.
This Telex article https://telex.hu/kulfold/2022/02/21/oroszorszag-donyeck-es-luganszk-elismerese-teriteken-az-orosz-ukran-konfliktusban-putyin I thought did a reasonably good job summarizing the Putin speech. Except for exploring the profound implications of Putin’s speech for Hungary which is a part of NATO. Because Putin actually made reference to Ukraine being a colony of the US and NATO, he apparently believes he will be its liberator no matter the blood that could be spilled.
I hate to say it but unfortunately there are retired US Army officers on line arguing for tactical nuclear strikes against Russian military forces in forward positions. I find such comments to be very scary indeed coming from people who in some cases commanded nuclear forces in the US military.
I did tell some of them on line i thought they were insane. By the way Putin in his speech made some really crazy comments about Ukraine and nuclear weapons redevelopment, which would be yet another basis for invading the country. All of this is terrifying to me to be honest.
Crazy it maybe. Frightening too. It is a simple lesson of history that the longer you leave aggressive power hungry maniacs to gather territory the bigger the task to defeat them. War will follow and a very big one. The spineless English and French allowed Hitler a free run around which they could have nipped in the bud. What was Hitler’s demand based on? The Sudetenland was historically German. Putin’s case is Ukraine is Russian. In every country there is a large enough Trumpist movement that will applaud these efforts. If the West had pushed Putin out of Crimea we would not be where we are now.If the West does not push him out of Ukraine it will be the Baltic states, maybe Poland, maybe Hungary. After all they were also Russian in the past. Never put up with aggression the cost only increase by the time you have to. Drive Putin back and use all available means to achieve it.
When one reads an actual transcript of Putin’s lecture to the Russian people it becomes clear it is incoherent and rambling. Indeed it is filled with nationalist nonsense based on race theories that our old mentor Eva posted about so many times.
At one point live on Russian Tv Putin polled his national security council about recognizing the two break away parts of the Ukraine Luhansk and Donetsk as independent. The head of Russia’s spy agency was mildly hesitant and Putin ripped his ass off of him, basically saying it’s a yes or no question. Then he tried to save himself saying yes of course annex those areas, Putin went crazy again saying we are not talking about annexation we are talking about recognizing independence. He corrected himself again and sunk in his chair, no doubt wondering what his future might be.
Of course I personally was similarly humiliated by high ranking officers during my service who asked for input, but it was all for show because the decision was as we used to say -a done deal. Putin like Trump, and many high ranking officers internationally get people killed because they are incapable of incorporating ideas different than their own.