Austria is committed to closer relations with Russia

Austrian President Heinz Fischer has called for the abolition of the anti-Russian sanctions. He stated this today during a meeting with Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin. Fisher has travelled to Russia, and is now expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Austrian leadership's position

Austria is a parliamentary republic, meaning that the President performs mainly representative functions. However, the Austrian government adheres to a similar position. Earlier, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that Europe should continue to seek contact with Russia. At the same time the head of the Austrian General Staff has come to Russia. During the visit, Lt. Gen. Otmar Commenda said that the Austrian armed forces are ready to cooperate with Russia, despite the opposite recommendations of a number of other world powers.

Geopolitics of Austria

Austria, together with Germany from a geopolitical point of view, forms the core of "Middle Europe” (Mitteleuropa). However, unlike Germany, Austria adheres to neutrality and is not a member of NATO, which gives the country the opportunity to behave more independently in the international arena. Historically, this region was the basis of European Continentalism. A prominent representative of the Austrian continentalist geopolitical school was Baron Heinrich Jordis von Lohausen (1907-2002). From his point of view, a strong and independent Europe is impossible without a union with Russia. This is an objective rule of geopolitics.

Top Austrian Continentalists

The most consistent supporters of the Euro-continentalist course of rapprochement with Russia and the abolition of the anti-Russian sanctions are the representatives of the Austrian Freedom Party. Its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, however, in 2014 pointed out that the sanctions could cause huge damage to the economy of Austria because trade with Russia involves 30,000 jobs. In addition, the politician supported a referendum on the self-determination of Crimea.

Now we see that Strache was right. Representatives of more liberal parties that are in power in Austria cannot undo the laws of geopolitics; Austria, and Europe as a whole, needs Russia.