Few days ago Hungarian news portal index.hu published an interesting article about Béla Kovács’s mysterious life. The Jobbik MEP has been accused by the Hungarian authorities during the European Parliament Elections campaign, that he works for the Russian secret intelligence service. Both Jobbik and Kovács denied the claims. Although the charges may seem parts of the political campaign, index journalist was able to find telling details as a result of an intensive five-months research.
Béla Kovács was born in 1960 in Budapest. He never knew his biological parents: he was a son of a Hungarian countryside girl mother and a Soviet officer father. Béla Kovács was named after his foster father, who was a simple builderman in the services of the Hungarian socialist administration. In 1976 the Kovács family moved to Japan, where the father worked for the Hungarian Embassy in Tokyo. The young Béla studied Russian, Japanese and English languages and attended an American university. He met a Soviet girl, Svetlana Istoshina, later they got married in 1986 in Hungary. Meanwhile Béla Kovács moved to Russia where he finished his studies at the IMO of the Moscow State University.
During the cold war Japan played an extraordinary role in the eyes of the KGB . In the 1970s and 1980s the country was full of foreign secret agents, including Soviet spies. That was the period when Soviet citizens were not allowed to travel abroad.
The article revealed that Béla was just one of Svetlana’s husbands. The Russian woman already got married in 1975, to a Japanese citizen Omija Masanori. A picture of them was published in a Japanese magazine in August, 1975. Eight years later Svetlana also became the wife of Mario Schön, an Austrian criminal. Svetlana’s second marriage was just a trick in order to get Austrian citizenship and passport. It was useful because in 1988 Béla and Svetlana decided to left Hungary and they moved to Austria. During her life, Svetlana traveled a lot all over the world, which could be possible only with the financial support of the KGB. Béla Kovács claims that they never worked for the Soviet intelligence services.
Béla Kovács who had worked as a businessman for decades in Russia and Japan, returned to Hungary in 2003. He joined nationalist party Jobbik and became an MEP in 2009. Kovács was welcomed in Jobbik because he could offer valuable international connections. He has been promoting Russian orientation since and he was one of the founders of the Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), an association of extreme right parties. In March, 2014 he was an observer of the Crimean elections, which he found “completely free and legitim.” Despite the accusations, the European Parliament has not discussed Kovács’s case yet and as an MEP he is still protected by the right of immunity.