Rubles for gas, a shift in MTVA (?), job seeking refugees, pro-Putin demo

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Paying in rubles for Russian gas is not a violation of sanctions

The payment in rubles for Russian gas is not a violation of EU sanctions, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said on Saturday.

“The EU so far has no common procurement of gas and oil for European countries. So as we speak, we still go by alongside those contracts we have with Russians regarding gas and oil, and according to those contracts, it is a technical issue, in what currency we have to pay,” Kovács said, in an interview given to CNN.

“So it is not going around any sanction policy, as you well know, the Hungarian population and the Hungarian economy is dependent on 80 % of Russian gas, it is not a situation we created, it has been inherited without any alternatives,” Kovács also said.

Kovács, the Minister for International Communication commented following a statement of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who said Friday that such a move was a violation of the EU sanctions directed against Russia.

“We did an analysis of the decree of Putin, and the legal case is very clear. What Putin is suggesting – this transforming euros into rubles and then paying the gas bill — would be a breach of sanctions. If you do that, pay in rubles, you breach the sanctions, you circumvent the sanctions we put on Russia,” EU Commission President von der Leyen told CNN in an interview on Friday. 

Earlier this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that his country would be willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stipulating that, ‘unfriendly countries’ would be required to pay for gas in the Russian currency. 

“So far Hungary has stuck to the sanctions, so until we don’t see the opposite, it’s fine. Never before have we seen the European Union so united, so determined, so fast. And I think for each of our member states, also a question, do I want to be the first one to break that unity? I think no,” she said. 

Kovács also recalled that it was important to know that there were no physical alternatives to Russian oil and gas: “So these are the facts, so going for energy and paying for energy for us, is going to happen, we see the very strong rhetoric coming from different corners of Europe and even from Ukraine, that we should stop it: it’s impossible.”

Kovács also noted that despite the currency issues, Budapest was committed to abiding by its policy of sticking with the Euro-Atlantic alliance: “We stand a 100 pc with EU decisions and NATO decisions: we look for peace, whatever it cost, however it’s achieved, truce and peace should come as soon as possible.”

The EU was in discussions with Budapest about the currency issue, according to Von der Leyen.

Gábor Bencsik: political bias of public TV channel M1 unsustainable

"Now, after a 4th 2/3 triumph, which I do welcome, let me take a deep breath and say what everyone on the political right knows very well: the political bias of Hungarian public television is unsustainable," Gábor Bencsik, a journalist for the Magyar Demokrata (hard right), posted on his Facebook page.

"It is simply impossible for opposition politicians to be virtually unable to set foot in the studios, news commentators and experts come exclusively from institutions close to the parties in power, news programs present long pro-government editorials as news, while opposition opinions are mostly wrapped in pro-government denials."

Bencsik got especially annoyed by the fact that Péter Márki-Zay, the candidate for prime minister of the opposition alliance, had only been given five minutes before the election, but now - that the interview has no stakes anymore - was invited to Tamás Lánczi's 48-minute program.

"Hungarian public service television is also the television of the other half of the country, leaning towards the opposition, their taxes also pay for the public TV, it is time to start behaving accordingly," Bencsik concluded.

Members of the opposition were not impressed by the peculiar post of Bencsik. “The public media is only trying to score good points to lighten the penalty in the conditionality mechanism,” socialiste MEP Istvan Ujhelyi reacted.

“Instead of a real shift in its policy, it is more likely that Fidesz, who is desperately in need of the withheld EU funds, is trying to show how much change is coming in the public media,” anticorruption opposition figure Akos Hadhazy, said.

The European Commission has formally notified Hungary that they are activating the mechanism in the European Union budget, which links EU funding to the rule of law.

The State does not facilitate the employment of Ukrainian refugees

More and more people fleeing Ukraine - who decided to stay in Hungary - are looking for work.

Currently, there would be plenty of work for Ukrainian refugees, but the paperwork and permits needed take up a lot of time, usually more than a month, and the refugees are being sent back and forth between different official institutions.

State aid is ridiculously low and lasts for only 45 days.

Some of the refugees came with some cash, while others had no savings at all and could only rely on donations. By now, most of them start to run out of money and have but two options left: either they continue to survive on donations and a meager public aid, or they try to find work.

Refugees have started to look for work very seriously, according to volunteers helping refugees in the BOK Hall.

The construction industry, where Ukrainian labor has often been employed so far, could absorb many of them. László Koji, the president of the National Association of Construction Entrepreneurs (ÉVOSZ), confirmed that the job search process has started among the refugees.

ÉVOSZ acts as a bridge between entrepreneurs and jobseekers. They published a list of the businesses where refugees are welcome and they can help refugees with the search itself.

A few hundred people have applied for all kinds of jobs so far: trained workers, skilled workers, engineers, according to Koji.

Mostly medium-sized and large companies offer jobs to refugees, and most of these companies already have experience with Ukrainian workers, so language skills are not a problem either, Koji added.

The most difficult problem to solve is what to do with the kids while the parents are working,  in this respect, entrepreneurs usually seek the help of local governments.

One of the Kremlin's harshest Hungarian-language propaganda sites organizes pro-Putin demonstration

A demonstration in support of Putin's war will be held in Budapest on April 30, according to

The page is one of the most disturbing Kremlin propaganda pages in Hungarian, and includes titles such as: "Video evidence of Ukrainians placing the bodies in Buca.”

(The fake news of Bucha was uncovered by Lakmusz.)

The short march in support of the war will start from Heroes' Square and will end before the Russian Embassy on Andrássy Avenue.

The Facebook event of the demonstration begins with: "Enough of the lying media! Enough of the Ukrainian and EU, US lies! Enough of the sanctions!”

Organizers also welcome drivers, bikers, and cyclists alike.

The event is organized by a Facebook site called “EU free of war, lies and theft”, which posts pro-Putin fake videos from sites such as was the propaganda site that said Ukrainian President Zelenskyy had fled Kiev during the first days of the war.