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Austria’s Putin Ally Says Russia Better for Holidays Than Seychelles, Maldives

Former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who made headlines for dancing with Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding, is currently vacationing in the Russian hamlet of Petrushovo, a destination that she said Wednesday is better than the Maldives and Seychelles.

“I love living here. I understand this world, I understood it when I was a girl,” Kneissl told Russian state-run news agency TASS. “Grandmothers, apples, summer, swim in the river. It’s a good life. I don’t need the Maldives or the Seychelles. It’s better.”

Local media first reported Kneissl had been staying in the Ryazan region, southeast of Moscow, last week, arriving there shortly after the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. On Wednesday, Kneissl told TASS that she does not live in Petrushovo, but that she rented a “small house” there.

While the Maldives is famous for its golden sandy beaches, glimmering turquoise waters and five-star resorts, tiny Petrushovo offers quiet countryside views, quaint cottages and wandering flocks of chickens, ducks and goats.

Kneissl, who now lives in Lebanon, served as Austria’s foreign affairs minister from 2017 to 2019. In 2018, she famously invited Putin to her wedding in the Austrian Alps and shared a waltz with him, attracting criticism from opposition leaders. After leaving politics, Kneissl joined the board of Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company — a post she has since left — and became a regular on RT, Russia’s international broadcaster of state propaganda.

Kneissl is just one of many Austrian officials to have tangoed with Moscow over the years, with the country’s neutral stance attracting sharp criticism. Ties between Vienna and Moscow have remained solid since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, with Austria remaining one of the few European countries still importing gas from Russia.




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