The Austrian FPÖ has signed a "cooperation and cooperation agreement" with President Vladimir Putin during a Moscow visit to the United Russia party.
This was confirmed by the Frankfurt-based chairman of the FPÖ, Detlef Wimmer, on Monday. The Pact was signed in the presence of FPÖ’s chief Heinz-Christian Strache, President Norbert Hofer, Vice-Mayor Johann Gudenus, EU deputy Harald Vilimsky and himself on Monday in Moscow.
The cooperation agreement with Russia has caused a huge political storm in Austria.
On Sunday evening, a journalist Claus Pándi published the content of the agreement on Twitter. The two parties agree, among other things, to “regularly exchange party delegations at various levels” and also to “organize the exchange of experience in legislative activity”. Also in the areas of ”business, trade and investment”, the two have expressed their mutual support.
Strache met with Sergei Schelesnjak, deputy secretary of the General Council of United Russia, the Austrian daily Krone reported. Schelesnjak is responsible for international contacts in Putin’s party and has been on the EU sanctions list since the incorporation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea by Russia.
The contract between the two parties is valid for a period of five years. This period may be automatically extended “for the following 5-year period until one of the parties notifies the other party in advance, in writing, at least 6 months before the expiry of the corresponding period of validity to terminate the agreement” the contract states.
It is also interesting to note point 6 of the ten-part agreement. Here, the FPÖ and United Russia declare that they want to work together in “youth, women, education, aid and other social organizations” with the aim of “strengthening the friendship and education of the young generation in the spirit of patriotism and joy of working”.
The phrase “education of the young generation in the spirit of patriotism” is a classic Soviet formulation. In 1946, the well-known Soviet education expert Nikolai Boldirew published a book entitled “The education of the young generation in the spirit of Soviet patriotism”.
A deluge of criticism has ensued from the SPÖ, ÖVP and the Greens. SP President Georg Niedermühlbichler said: “Obviously the cold in Moscow has frozen the brains of the gentlemen.”
ÖVP chief executive and vice-chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner said that at a time when the world was going to Moscow “because of the events in the battered Syrian city of Aleppo”, the trip to the Russian capital by the FPÖ was “absolutely beyond decent” and “incredibly insensitive”.
The Greens were beside themselves about the FPÖ trip to Moscow. They described the trip as “a renewed signal of European antagonism”. Green guru Eva Glawischnig fumed at the announcemnet: “Only two weeks after the German presidential election, the FPÖ is clearly returning to its anti-European course.”
The Green MP Karl Öllinger even spoke of the “fifth column of Putin in Europe”.