Russian commercial activity has expanded in Hungary as ties between Russia and the EU worsen, and a recent finding reveals that four of these enterprises had ties to Moscow’s political elite and intelligence services.
According to the Szabad Európa, 97 of the 674 Russian-owned businesses in Hungary as of March 2023 were established after Russia invaded Ukraine.
“The main shift is that the majority of Russian immigrants arriving here desire to settle in the European Union. Not many people previously intended to stay here; while they did acquire property, Hungary was not their primary location. But this has now changed: those who come here are 100% looking to develop here. What they have in common is that they do not want to be associated with the current political situation in any way, they are anti-war as far as the Ukrainian-Russian conflict is concerned”. According to Alexey Morozov, managing director of Starimpex Hungary Kft, a company working with start-up businesses serving Russian clients.
According to a source in the startup industry, managing corporate money from Russia is becoming more and more challenging because some Russian banks do not accept international transfers at all, while others place limits of about €1,000. As a result, the necessity for a firm in the EU is even higher.
However, not all of the businesses operating in the EU are driven solely by commercial concerns and opposition to Putin.
The source claims that a company called ITK System is creating IT encryptions under license from the Russian secret service and is owned by “a person who is a secret service man.”
Radio Free Europe also wrote about the mystery “research institute” IRIAS Hungary, which may be campaigning for involvement in the development of Paks II (Hungary’s second nuclear power plant).
Additionally, the owner of another firm named DGK Navigation Ltd, which is developing drones in Hungary, is also involved in the Russian market through Gyronav, which designs and produces the precise gyroscopes and navigational systems required for drone operation.
The Hungarian government has not yet made any comments on the matter.