February 1, 2022

Vedomosti: Russia, Hungary talks economic ties and balance with NATO

On February 1, President Vladimir Putin held his first face-to-face dialogue with a leader of a NATO member state after the West’s accusations against Russia about allegedly concentrating troops on the border with Ukraine, in November 2021. Putin met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a key European leader loyal to Moscow. Despite talking about their bilateral economic ties, the briefing after the talks focused on issues of European and global security, Vedomosti writes.

Putin stated at the press conference that the United States had rejected Moscow’s demands, including halting NATO expansion, deploying strike systems near Russia’s borders, and returning the bloc’s military infrastructure to the state of 1997. In turn, Orban said that he believes finding a compromise between Russia and NATO is possible.

The “NATO-centric” security system took 30 years to develop and it is naive to believe that it can be dismantled in a month, Director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for United States Studies at Moscow State University Yuri Rogulev told Vedomosti. It would be incorrect to blame Russia for a delay in its reaction to the latest developments, given that in response to an official document prepared in accordance with all the rules, the US replied with a letter outlining their considerations. In addition, Rogulev believes that Moscow needs to consult with other countries in order to provide an answer to Washington.

The fact that Russia did not give an immediate response to Washington’s reaction is not a delay. Apparently, the US handed over a serious document that cannot be answered with just some reply, Researcher Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Dmitry Stefanovich believes. According to him, such a document needs to go through, as Lavrov mentioned earlier, interdepartmental approvals and be reviewed by the president, which is not performed in one day.