An especially depressing conversation has been overheard in Budapest only a couple of days ago. A young man in his 20s expressed that one must only steal if he can steal enough not to have to steal again. Stealing something small is stupid, he argued, because you get busted. If you steal, you must steal big – just look at our oligarchs.
Confirmation of his theory came hard and fast – from Moscow.
On January 22, the Hungarian foreign minister visited Moscow to buy the one million doses of Russian vaccines Putin wished to sell. The parties were about to say a few words to the cameras when the interpreter took a pen. (She later said she did not steal a pen and the whole thing is absurd.)
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was heard to remark in Russian “they are stealing the pens already”. Then the Russian party uploaded the video, complete with Lavrov’s sarcastic remark, on their official Facebook.
This latter move is the real story here.
In other words, a minister of the world’s leading kleptocracy publicly embarrassed their vassal country.
And with that, the keen observation of the young Budapest man was confirmed loudly and clearly:
Steal a country and you get to preach about sovereignty and claim the moral high ground.
Steal a pen and you get busted.
Also, please observe the deafening silence of our otherwise touchy foreign minister, who is always fast to decry any perceived “disrespect”, especially when it is regarding the misconduct of Orbán himself. He would have declared war, had the remarks come from any other country, or from Brussels.