Austrian government moves towards easing sanctions on Russia

The work program for the development of Austria between 2020 and 2024 indicates that the Austrian government intends to continue its course towards easing the sanctions on Russia.

The program was presented by Austrian People’s Party leader Sebastian Kurz and Werner Kogler, leader of the “Greens”.

“With progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, we need to consider gradually lifting the sanctions,” the program states. The document notes that Vienna adheres to the sanctions, in accordance with the European consensus.

According to the program, the new Austrian government is interested in developing the Russian-Austrian public forum “Sochi Dialog”. Austria’s new government will be sworn in on January 7.

Snap parliamentary elections were held in Austria at the end of September 2019. The conservative Austrian People’s Party received 38.4% of the votes. In second place was the Social Democratic Party, with 21.5%. The “Greens” came fourth with 12% of the votes. The liberal New Austria party also won seats in parliament, receiving 7% of the votes.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen proposed that the snap elections be held due to the scandal involving Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, who subsequently resigned. The German media had published a video clip which showed Strache at a villa in Ibiza talking to a woman who identified herself as Alena Makarova, the niece of a Russian oligarch. In the video, she explained that several Russians were willing to finance Strache’s election campaign in exchange for control of a high-circulation tabloid, the Krone Zeitung, and several state tenders.

  Austria, Russia, Sanctions, Sebastian Kurz, Werner Kogler