Russia could use “allies” Serbia and Hungary to break consensus and solidarity within the European Union concerning the newest sanctions against Crimea, as well as general EU sanctions against Russia, according to Russian political analyst Yuri Solozubov.
The political analyst at the National Strategy Institute of the Russian Federation shared his thoughts on Russian foreign policy towards the EU in the December 11 edition of Russian public television’s political show Vremya Pokazhet (Time will tell). The analyst recommends this method over direct counter-sanctions against the EU.
Solozubov recommends using Hungary to penetrate the EU to “break up solidarity” from within.
The United States has criticized Hungary and its Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for forging stronger links with Russia at a time when the United States and the European Union are doing everything in their power short of declaring war to restore Ukrainian sovereignty, at least in the eastern third of the country. Recently Hungary concluded contracts with the Russian atomic energy company to build two 1200-megawatt reactors at the Paks atomic energy plant, and a loan agreement with the Russian government essentially providing for Russia to lend Hungary some EUR 10 billion with which to fund project development costs. On several occasions Orbán has mentioned President Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a “successful example” of an illiberal democracy.
Despite obvious concessions made by Hungary to its NATO allies since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, Solozubov says the Russian elite still see Hungary as a country that can be used to counter economic sanctions.
The current round of EU sanctions is set to expire in March 2015. Russia is eager that they not be renewed. Orbán has complained that the sanctions are doing serious economic harm to Hungary and called on the US and the more affluent EU member states to compensate the country for its losses.
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