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Austria's Former Foreign Minister Defends Controversial Move to Russia

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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Austria's Former Foreign Minister Defends Controversial Move to Russia

Karin Kneissl, Austria's former Foreign Minister and a known figure for her controversial bonds with Russia, has recently taken up a new role in the country that has been at odds with the European Union. Now situated in Russia, Kneissl heads an analytical center, the Geo-Political Observatory for Russia's Key Issues (GORKI), at the St. Petersburg University.

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The Controversial Ties

During her tenure as Foreign Minister, Kneissl stirred a global conversation when she invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to her wedding back in 2018. The invitation raised eyebrows given the EU's stance against Russia following the Novichok poisoning incident in the UK earlier that year. Her perceived closeness to Russia led to criticism, which she claims obstructed her from pursuing a career in academia and business after leaving office.

More Than Just A Transition

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Her move to Russia is not simply a geographical shift. Over the years, Kneissl has contributed to Russia's state media RT, served on the board of Russian oil company Rosneft, and now helms GORKI. Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, Kneissl defends her decision to relocate. She asserts her lack of involvement with any repression and appreciates the academic freedom she finds in Russia.

A Lighter Note Amid Controversies

On a lighter note, her beloved boxer dog Winston Churchill, who accompanied Kneissl to Russia, humorously interrupted the interview with his loud snoring. This humorous interlude offered a brief respite from the intense conversation surrounding her controversial move.

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