Former Austrian Foreign Minister Famous for Dancing with Putin Moves to Russia

Former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has relocated to St. Petersburg, Russia. Her pony also traveled with her on a Russian military aircraft.

In 2018, Karin Kneissl, who was serving as the neutral foreign minister of Austria at the time, made headlines by inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to her wedding.

Kneissl danced with Putin at her wedding. This happened several months after several European Union countries, except Austria, expelled Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Kneissl left the government the following year. She was a highly controversial figure in her own country. Kneissl moved to France in September 2020 and became a guest columnist for Russia Today. The media outlet is widely seen as a Kremlin propaganda arm.

In a Telegram post on Wednesday (9/13/2023), Kneissl said she was surprised that her move to Russia had political implications. Kneissl said she had moved her books, clothes, and pony from Marseille to Beirut via DHL in June 2022 after being expelled from France.

Lebanon is only her temporary residence. Kneissl travels to Russia every six weeks for work. She has established a think tank in Russia.

“Due to sanctions, there are no flights or DHL (for relocation to Russia). Therefore, I had the option to take a Russian transport flight from Syria to Russia, and I am very grateful for that,” Kneissl said, as reported by The Guardian on Thursday (9/14/2023).

According to the investigative website The Insider, last week, two ponies belonging to Kneissl were flown to St. Petersburg on a military aircraft from the Russian airbase in Hmeimim, Syria. In June, Kneissl launched Gorki, a think tank affiliated with St. Petersburg University. This institution was founded to help shape policies for the Russian Federation with a focus on the Near East and the Middle East.

In 2021, Kneissl joined the board of directors of the Russian oil giant Rosneft. She resigned in May 2022 after the European Parliament issued a resolution threatening sanctions against Europeans who remained on the boards of major Russian companies.

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