Russian Officials Throw a Tantrum After U.S. Diplomat Calls Putin ‘Small Man’



The U.S. ambassador to Hungary is the latest American official to earn the Kremlin’s ire over remarks he made last week publicly deriding Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “small man” and “a holdover from a time that most of the world has tried to move beyond.”

In a speech on Jan. 6 commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the Return of the Hungarian Holy Crown, ambassador David Pressman took the opportunity to slam Russia’s war as the product of “tyranny” and “authoritarianism” before taking a direct jab at the Putin.

The Russian president “can only lead through fear and intimidation,” said Pressman. “The Ukrainians, much like the Hungarians decades earlier, had already made their decision. They had already charted their course, and it did not include a return to a broken, abusive system that had failed them for so long.”

Russian officials, it appears, have not taken well to the remarks.

In a Telegram post on Tuesday, the Russian embassy in Hungary went on a tirade against Pressman’s “unacceptable” remarks about “the personality of a foreign Head of State,” calling his comments “an outrageous violation of basic diplomatic protocol and practice.”

Russian Fury After Top Putin Official Is Booted From Diplomats Meeting

In an extraordinary show of pettiness, the Russian officials proposed that Pressman “make up for the lack of professionalism in the field of diplomacy” by reading “a famous book by the ‘patriarch’ of American foreign policy, Henry Kissinger, which is conveniently entitled Diplomacy.” The Russian diplomats even went so far as to provide a link to a Hungarian story that sells copies of the Kissinger book.

It’s not the first time that Pressman, a human rights attorney, has been attacked for his candor since he was appointed the U.S. ambassador to Hungary in August. According to Politico, Pressman has been a go-to target of criticism from Hungary’s state media for calling out the Hungarian regime’s propaganda—and even making cheeky comparisons between comments made by Hungarian officials and Putin.

“When we see insane Kremlin stories being re-propagated in the Hungarian media, we’re gonna call that out, because we have to,” he told the outlet. “All of that is with the intent to pull us closer together—not to push us apart.”

Pressman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

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