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The U.S. Had Maria Butina, The EU Had Bela Kovacs

Primer: The Jobbik Party is/was a movement for a better Hungary. It is the strongest ‘right-wing’ party in Europe. (Right-wing in Europe is not so much what it is in the United States.)

Bela Kovacs is an agent of influence… those Russian agents are everywhere…

Moscow’s Man in Europe’s Parliament on Trial as a Spy

The espionage trial of Bela Kovacs is another milestone in the expanding influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

BUDAPEST — While counter-intelligence agencies hunt Russian spies and agents of influence around the United States and Europe, the Kremlin-friendly government of Hungarian nationalist Viktor Orban could let an alleged Moscow spy off the hook.

Although Hungary is a member of the European Union, Orban has been accused by E.U. parliamentarians of a “systemic threat to democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary.” And it’s against that backdrop that this espionage trial, potentially another milestone in the expanding influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is taking place here in the Hungarian capital.

The accused is himself a member of the European Parliament: Bela Kovacs, 58, sometimes known derisively as “KGBela,” comes from the extremist Jobbik party, often accused of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi tendencies. He is alleged to have worked for the Russian intelligence service for more than eight years, providing the Kremlin with secret information about the E.U.’s agendas regarding business, energy and politics.

Kovacs, a thin-lipped Moscow-educated Hungarian politician, is known for the way he uses crusader-style rhetoric to rouse meetings and protests organized by his far-right group in the E.U. parliament, the Alliance of European National Movements (AENM).

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