5 points on the third conviction of "KGBelea" by the Curia for espionage against the institutions of the European Union.
- The verdict is surprising in that the Hungarian authorities dragged the case out for years, effectively providing him with an "escape route." Kovács was allowed to defend himself during the legal procedure without being jailed for a second, and he could freely travel abroad. Lately, he has been in Russia for treatment for an alleged serious illness, which would make extradition for the Hungarian prosecution quite difficult. Even after the conviction, Kovács' lawyer could not tell where he currently resides.
- The verdict's timing was favourable the Orbán government, as they could prove to the Western allies that Hungary is a reliable ally, acting against Russian destabilisation and espionage activities on the territory of NATO.
- The conviction can also improve the government's poor record on taking action against diplomats potentially involved in Russian espionage. After all, we expelled one diplomat after the Skripal poisoning case and none after the invasion of Ukraine, in sharp contrast with EU and NATO partners who expulsed dozens of Russian diplomats. At the same time, it is also in Russia's interest to keep the issue on the agenda so it can continue its active measures and foreign malign influence operations at home and in the region unhindered.
- The conviction of Béla Kovács in itself, however, will not significantly improve the deteriorating relationship with Hungary's regional allies in the Russian-Ukrainian war – especially among the V4 members, in particular with Poland –, as the much-delayed conviction of a now marginal, exposed operative figure will not change the Euro-Atlantic community's perception of Hungary as Putin's "Trojan horse."
- Still, It is worth recalling that in the mid-2000s, "KGBéla" played a major role in financing the former far-right party Jobbik in its early days, followed by turning the party's foreign policy towards the Kremlin spurred by Kovács himself.
Béla Kovács's role as an "influencing agent" was described in detail in this study: "I am Eurasian"
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