Former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, known for her pro-Russian stance, has moved to Russia with the help of a Russian military plane, which also reportedly transported her two ponies, according to Austrian media reports.
In 2018, Kneissl made headlines by inviting Vladimir Putin to her wedding and even dancing with him. This caused quite an outcry at the time because it happened just a few months after several European countries expelled Russian diplomats over the Sergei Skripal poisoning, which the United Kingdom blamed on Russian intelligence service agents.
The former Austrian minister has praised Russia on a number of occasions, including telling Russian state-owned broadcaster RT that “Russia is getting more advanced, self-confident, sovereignty in high tech, sovereignty in communications.”
The now 58-year-old politician, appointed foreign minister in 2018, left the government a year later, moving to France in September 2020, where she was a guest author for the Russian news channel Russia Today, writes Hungarian daily newspaper Magyar Hirlap.
On Wednesday, she published a post on Telegram in which she described her shock that her move to Russia had taken on a political dimension. She said her books, clothes and ponies had been shipped by DHL from Marseille to Beirut in June 2022 after she was expelled from France, but Lebanon proved to be only a temporary solution, and she flew to Russia every six weeks to work.
She is now settling in Russia, where she will head a think tank in collaboration with St. Petersburg University.
As DHL does not ship to Russia due to sanctions, she needed Russian cooperation to ensure her ponies could also make the journey.