The Austrian "Freedom Party" (APS), whose leader Heinz-Christian Sträke is known for approving the referendum in the Crimea and harsh criticism of Euromaidan, received key posts in the country's government: vice chancellor, foreign and defense ministers. The coming of nationalists to power became possible thanks to an agreement with the conservative "People's Party" and its leader Sebastian Kurtz. For Russia, the elevation of the APS signifies the emergence of an intermediary ready for negotiations in the very center of Europe.
"The policy of Austria can change"
Moscow and the Austrian "Freedom Party" have a long history of relationships. In 2014, the future Vice-Mayor of Vienna, APS representative Johann Gudenus, was the observer at the referendum in Crimea. Since then, the position of the EU and NATO against Russia has been repeatedly criticized by the leader of the Heinz-Christian Strzehe party. The last official visit of his party members to the peninsula took place in November 2017.
Exactly a year ago, last December, an agreement on cooperation was concluded between the APS and the party "United Russia". Shtrahe and ex-candidate of nationalists in the election of President Norbert Hofer visited Moscow. "The new coalition government of Austria, in which the representatives of the People's Party and the APS are almost equal, is capable of changing the policy of one of the leading countries of Europe, including its international component," Sergei Zheleznyak, deputy secretary of the United Russia General Council, told RIA Novosti. .
Changes, if they follow, can be positive for Russia. Heinz-Christian Strähe, who became vice-chancellor in Austria, criticizes the events on the Maidan, in which he sees signs of a conspiracy. "Today we know that then the Western special services played their role," says Strahe. As for the future of the Crimea, there are two options for the head of the APS: either recognition of the peninsula as part of Russia, or holding a repeated referendum in the foreseeable future under the control of international forces.
Protesters against refugees, the Austrians lit candles on the steps of Parliament
"We were not asked about migrants"
The victory of the Austrian nationalists reflects the strengthening of the position of the APS in the establishment of the country. The Austrian politician, the candidate for parliament deputies Andrei Serov told RIA Novosti that the desire to protect his borders from the influx of immigrants is becoming universal in the country. "Austria is one of the countries in Europe that received the largest number of refugees, with a population of seven million, all from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kosovo, Albania, and also Ukrainians, Chechens with Russian passports "And Austria accepts all of them, why? We were not asked if we would like to see these people in our country," Serov is indignant.
The spread of anti-immigrant sentiments has turned into a correction of the entire political spectrum of the country: the Social Democrats began to agree to measures to restrict entry. With their filing in 2016, a "state of emergency in connection with refugees" was introduced. However, these measures could not convince voters. Public opinion swung in support of the "People's Party" and the nationalists.
The key point of the APS program is the strengthening of border control and tightening of requirements for persons wishing to obtain the right to asylum. In this respect, full agreement between the Strahehe Party and the new Chancellor, Sebastian Kurtz. However, the parties differ on the issue of foreign policy. The conservative Kurtz opposes the recognition of the Crimea, although he intends to preserve the neutral status of Austria, which is not a member of NATO.
During the negotiations on the formation of a coalition government, the Chancellor was pressured not to transfer the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs to the nationalists. As a result, the powers were divided: the management of European affairs was left behind by Kurtz, and the new Foreign Minister from the APS Karin Kneissl got the Middle East, the United States and the post-Soviet space.
"The new Chancellor is more radical than the right-wing radicals"
The transfer to the APS of a part of foreign policy can result in a number of serious diplomatic scandals. Shortly before his appointment to high office, the new vice-chancellor, Strarach, urged Austria to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since 6 December, when the decision was taken by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in Palestine protests have not ceased. In case of unfavorable developments, the anger of the demonstrators may spread to the Austrian representative offices.
Difficulties can await Vienna and in relations with its closest neighbor - Italy. Stracher advocates the autonomy of South Tyrol, the German-speaking region, after the First World withdrawn from Austria. The latest initiative of the nationalists - the delivery of the Tyrolean Germans double passports without the consent of Rome. In Italy, this approach is strongly condemned as a manifestation of "ethnic nationalism."
The leader of the Austrian People's Party, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurtz in the pre-election headquarters after the announcement of the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections in Austria
Perhaps the most irreconcilable reaction to the coming to power of the APS was in Turkey. Ankara is not satisfied with the proposal of the nationalists to officially end the negotiations on the country's accession to the European Union. In this matter, the party Strarahe enjoys the full support of Kurtz. Turkish Minister for European Affairs Omer Celik attacked both conservatives and nationalists, including the head of the government, whose ideas he called "more radical than those of the right-wing radicals"
The sharp reaction of the Turkish authorities is partly due to the symbolic gesture of the Austrians: an agreement between the Conservatives and the Freedom Party was announced at Mount Kahlenberg, a place of pilgrimage by Austrian ultra-rightists, from where the Turks besieged Vienna were forced to retreat in 1683.