Austria Backs Merkel’s Passivity Towards Putin

Welt am Sontag has appeared with an interview today given by the Austrian Chancellor, the right wing populist Sebastian Kurz. Kurz has spoken out in support of Chancellor Merkel’s adamant refusal to hold up the second Russian gas pipeline to Europe – Nordstream II – until Rusia’s opposition leader Alexei Naval’ny is released.

The populist right in the EU likes Putin and his authoritarianism. Kurz is very young and very astute. He never responds to issues unless he has to. So it has to be assumed he knows what he is doing, and that, in saying what he does, Kurz knows that he is also speaking for other EU leaders who are too embarrassed to tell the truth.

The fact that TASS can so implausibly dismiss Naval’ny as “the blogger Naval’ny” and get away with it tells us a great deal about the impact of Germany’s concern not to upset the Kremlin. It is as though one referred to the Russian President as “the judo player” Putin.

This follows the embarrassment when Catalan, Josep Borrell, the EU’s “High Representative” for foreign affairs, went ahead against advice not to visit Moscow at the very time Naval’ny was being arraigned in court on trumped up charges. Not only that, the Russians PNG’d diplomats from three EU countries: Germany, Poland and Lithuania, for watching the Naval’ny demonstrations up close. As Novaya gazeta bluntly described it: “The Russian Foreign Ministry decided to put the EU in its place.” Though the paper might be exaggerating in calling it “a diplomatic catastrophe”.

Ringmaster Foreign Minister Lavrov skilfully arranged everything to Borrell’s complete disadvantage. As a result, not only did Borrell fail to speak out publicly against Naval’ny’s prosecution, but lamely replied positively to loaded questions tossed at him from the floor as to US mistreatment of the Cuban dictatorship. Unlike Kurz he is a shameful symptom of the underlying problem as his post has no real significance in its own right. Phone the Ausamt in Berlin to find out what EU policy really is.

Welt: Österreich unterstützt Berlin bei Nord Stream 2

Канцлер Курц не считает, что надо увязывать вместе дело Навального и “Северный поток 2”

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12:45 06.02.2021 Источник: Информационное агентство России “ТАСС”

Also, Novaya gazeta:

Дипломатическая катастрофа

Российский МИД решил показать Евросоюзу его место

Фото: Пресс-служба МИД РФ / ТАССПОЛИТИКА08:42 06 февраля 2021

Александр Минеев