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Former Foreign Minister Kneissl on Putin: “He is the most intelligent gentleman”

Former Foreign Minister Kneissl on Putin: “He is the most intelligent gentleman”
The Russian ruler was a guest at Kneissl’s wedding in 2018.
Image: ALEXEI DRUZHININ (Sputnik)

In the interview published on Thursday, Kneissl positioned herself as a huge fan of Vladimir Putin, praised the academic freedom at St. Petersburg University and emphasized that no one in her environment had yet been affected by political repression.

“He (Putin, note) is the most intelligent gentleman, with emphasis on gentleman, and I have met a few,” explained Kneissl. She compared the Russian president to the ideal image of a “perfect gentleman” that the British writer Jane Austen portrayed in her novel “Pride and Prejudice” in the early 19th century. The former politician responded to the journalist’s objection that the invasion of Ukraine ordered by Putin and a wave of repression in the country could hardly be considered the behavior of a gentleman à la Austen with a reference to British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron. They were also involved in military actions in Libya and Syria, for example. She refused to explicitly condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

More on the subject:

  • Former Foreign Minister Kneissl moves to Putin’s hometown
  • Karin Kneissl would dance with Putin again

Confronted with the case of the young St. Petersburg woman Sascha Skolitschenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison a few weeks ago for leaving price lists with anti-war slogans in a supermarket, the Austrian emphasized that she did not see any connection between this case and herself. “For the time being, I have not seen any kind of repression in my immediate environment and I can work here with a quality of academic freedom that I began to miss when I was teaching within the European Union at the time,” she explained. At the same time, Kneissl admitted that she herself invented the name of the think tank she now heads at the State University of St. Petersburg, “Geopolitical Observatory for Russia’s Key Issues” aka GORKI, in the spring of 2023.

Kneissl didn’t want to say anything about her wedding in Gamlitz, southern Styria, in 2018 and her dance performance with wedding guest Vladimir Putin. “I did other things before and after. It’s very boring,” she explained, supported by her dog named Winston Churchill, who was present at the interview. He fell asleep almost at the same time as the BBC correspondent’s wedding question. Kneissl amazed her interviewer that he was snoring because he knew the topic and he wasn’t interested in it.

However, the ex-minister showed absolutely no understanding of speculation from some people in Austria that she could be a Russian spy. “It’s just a dirty fantasy,” she said.

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Source: Nachrichten

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