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Hungary caught in the Russia-US crossfire

December 30th, 2014

A right-wing commentator advises the exercise of caution in both politics and finances, at a time when Russia is facing hard times with obvious negative consequences for European countries.

In her Magyar Nemzet editorial, Anna Szabó compares the current Russian crisis to the one which hit the Russian economy in 1998, when Moscow was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund. That time the problems arose from the far eastern financial meltdown, which was quickly healed. Although in the pre-Putin era Russia was politically much more unstable than today, that crisis did not have lasting consequences. Nevertheless, Szabó remarks, European countries suffered substantial financial losses as a result, and that lesson should be kept in mind during the present crisis, she believes. This time Russia is facing a more lasting problem than 16 years ago, because in order to relieve the pressure on Russia a compromise should be found on Ukraine, which would require difficult and therefore improbable concessions on both sides. Under such circumstances she advises the Hungarian government to act with caution, first of all in fiscal policies and secondly in seeking international allies. In the long run Szabó believes the conflict can be solved either when the United States feels that Russia is weak enough or when the European Union says “enough is enough” and starts “representing its own interests”.

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