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Accusations fly over Jobbik’s Russian connections

January 21st, 2016

An op-ed piece in Magyar Idők crticizes remarks made by Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona and cites last week’s Daily Telegraph report on the possible funding of European radical parties by Russia.

Last Saturday the Telegraph reported that ‘American intelligence agencies are to conduct a major investigation into how the Kremlin is infiltrating political parties in Europe’ and that the probe “is likely to include far-right groups including Jobbik in Hungary”. Although there is still no certainty about who actually funds Jobbik, the suspicion that the party gets financial support from Russia does not now seem to be baseless, Ferenc Kis suggests in Magyar Idők. Besides the Telegraph report, the pro-government daily also mentions Polish and French suspicions that the Alliance of European National Movements, a European party formed in 2009 by a number of right-wing radical parties (including Jobbik and the British National Party), is in fact under Russian control. The organization was launched by Jobbik MEP Béla  Kovács, who is now under investigation by the Hungarian chief prosecutor’s office on suspicion of spying against institutions of the European Union, Kis reminds his readers. The saga of MEP Béla Kovács has been running in the Hungarian press since Index published a lengthy fact-finding story which underpinned suspicions that Jobbik’s leading foreign affairs expert is a Russian secret service operative. He denies the charges, and the official investigation is still ongoing. (See Budapost May 20th, 2014).  Magyar Idők quotes Gábor Vona’s Facebook post from the previous day, in which the Jobbik leader, in reaction to the repeated ‘Russian connection’ accusations of Fidesz, suggested that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán informally ask Vladimir Putin during their upcoming meeting whether Jobbik is funded by the Russians.  Magyar Nemzet online reported last Sunday that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is to travel to Moscow on 17 February to discuss the expansion of Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Magyar Idők’s analyst calls Mr Vona’s riposte a good joke, but warns that Hungarian voters deserve to be taken more seriously.

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