Austria’s far right in Russia

EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Former far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer (L) and the leader of the FPOe, Heinz-Christian Strache (R), attend a news conference in Vienna, Austria, 06 December 2016.

Austria’s far right in Russia


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Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) has offered to act as a go-between for US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin after signing a cooperation agreement with Putin’s party.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache and the party’s recently defeated presidential candidate Norbert Hofer attended the signing ceremony in Moscow, as did officials of Putin’s United Russia party including Pyotr Tolstoy, a deputy chairman of the lower house of parliament.

The FPO has long taken a pro-Russia stance, calling for an end to European Union sanctions against Moscow imposed over the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It has also denied allegations that it receives funding from Moscow.

On a recent visit to the United States, FPO officials met people close to President-elect Donald Trump, including his pick for national security adviser Michael Flynn, the FPO said in a statement announcing the Russian deal.

“It is particularly important to Strache that the US and Russia stand shoulder to shoulder,” according to an FPO statement, saying that could improve the situations in Syria and Crimea and lead to a lifting of sanctions on Russia.

“The FPO acts as a neutral and reliable intermediary and partner in promoting peace!” it said.

In a separate report, The Local noted that Strache signed a five-year agreement with senior United Russia officials during his trip to Russia.

“The aim is to work together on various levels, from youth party wings via regional branches to international issues,” the eurosceptic FPO said in a statement.

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