Subscription and demo access

About Interfax
Press Releases
Products & Services
Contact us
Customer Login


01/25 18:55   Six Chinese citizens hospitalized in Irkutsk test negative for coronavirus - authorities
01/25 18:47   Russian Post could be offered as alternative civilian service
01/25 18:11   Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs to create info resource with data on indigenous people
01/25 17:33   Child at Sheremetyevo airport diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome; infectious pathology ruled out - Rospotrebnadzor
01/25 17:19   Trutnev orders measures against coronavirus infection in Far East
01/25 16:56   RSC Energia's 1st deputy general director Sergei Romanov promoted to executive director - Roscosmos
01/25 16:28   Relations with U.S. military normal, deconfliction channels working - Russian Defense Ministry
01/25 16:22   Pentagon shouldn't escalate situation around 14-month-old incident involving Russian column in Syria - Russian Defense Ministry

You can access a demo version of, recieve more information about or subscribe to Interfax publications by filling in and sending the form below.

First name:

Last name:







Please enter the digits in the box below:  |  Interviews  |  Sebastian Kurz: Austria will never forget who liberated it from fascism


May 04, 2015

Sebastian Kurz: Austria will never forget who liberated it from fascism

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has given an interview to Interfax‘ foreign political desk chief Olga Golovanova ahead of his first visit to Russia which starts on May 4 and takes place days before V-Day celebrations in Moscow.

Question Mr. Kurz, you are going to visit Moscow ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War Victory. However, no one is coming from Austria to Moscow for the May 9 celebrations. Do not you think that many people may treat this decision as opportunistic and as a one that may insult the memory of those who liberated, in particular, Austria from fascism?

Answer Let me assure you: Austria will never forget the immense sacrifices of the Allied Powers and the important role of the Soviet Union in liberating Europe and my country from fascism. In honouring the victims Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer will lay down a wreath at the graves of Soviet soldiers at Viennas Central Cemetery commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on May 8th. And I will do so during my visit to Moscow at the grave of the Unknown Soldier.

Q.: What is your attitude to plans of Russia‘s Night Wolves biker club to run a motor rally dedicated to the V-Day? The route of the motor rally is expected to go through Austria. Will Austrian authorities allow the motor rally to pass through its territory?

A.: Anyone who has a valid Schengen visa and respects our laws can visit Austria.

Q.: Russia-Europe relations have chilled after the Ukrainian crisis. What is your assessment of the prospects to settle this crisis? In your opinion, is Kyiv doing everything possible to achieve this? Can you blame the EU, in particular those who promote the Eastern Partnership initiative, for what is happening in Ukraine now? Are not you afraid that similar scenarios may repeat themselves in Moldova and other post-Soviet countries? Moscow thinks that this policy is directed against Russia. What would you advise the organizers of the next Eastern Partnership summit in Riga on May 21-22 in this context?

A.: I am convinced that first and foremost we have to reach a common understanding that a stable, united and prosperous Ukraine is in the interest of both Europe and Russia. This can only be achieved by fully implementing the Minsk agreements.

The Eastern Partnership is not directed against Russia, but it is aimed at creating a zone of stability and prosperity in our neighbourhood. We do not want any new dividing lines in Europe, we have to avoid by all means the creation of two hostile blocks, but rather work on a common area of prosperity. Thats why I am advocating a pragmatic dialogue between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union with the ultimate goal of a free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Q.: Austria has one of largest Chechen communities in Europe. There were media reports that many Chechens living in Austria both who hold Austrian citizenship and enjoy refugee status, are fighting with the Ukrainian Army in eastern Ukraine. Can you confirm the reports? What measures have been taken to prevent this?

Are you going to discuss in Moscow the problem of Chechen community in Austria as a whole?

A.: The challenge of integration and of fighting radicalization in our societies is a global problem and both Austria and Russia are affected by it. We can only jointly tackle it by strengthening our legal frameworks as well as by increasing our educational efforts and outreach programmes.

Q.: What is you assessment in fiscal terms of the damage done to Austrian-Russia bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, including in the tourist sphere, over Western sanctions and Russian countersanctions?

Will Vienna advocate the lifting of EU sanctions from Russia? Is it possible before the year‘s end? Does Austria in general advocate the normalization of EU-Russia relations?

A.: In 2014 we definitely saw a decrease in our bilateral trade and Russian tourists visiting Austria, but that is not only due to sanctions.

Decisions regarding the lifting of EU sanctions and the normalization of EU-Russia relations are up to the European Council. In its conclusions of March 2015 its explicitly laid out that the duration of the restrictive measures is clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and I call on all sides to work to this end in close cooperation with the OSCE Mission on the ground. Furthermore, the European Council does not recognize and continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

Q.: Austria is a neutral country and is not a member of any military organization. Does Vienna have plans of reconsidering its neutrality policy? Another neutral country, Finland, has been expressing readiness to tighter cooperation with NATO since the start of the Ukrainian crisis. Do you see such a need for Austria and do you see threat, coming from Russia?

Do you share Moscow‘s position, calling for an internationally set neutral status for Ukraine?

A.: We have no intention to change our current status of neutrality. It is the sovereign decision of any country, including Ukraine, to choose its security status.

Q.: Is Vienna interested in Turkish Stream gas coming to Baumgarten? Are Austrian companies ready to work on this task in this direction? Is there a risk that the new European Commission‘s inquiry in relation to Gazprom and its further development will raise the degree of rhetoric in EU-Russia relations on both the political and economic tracks even more and may push both sides to new destructive actions?

A.: Baumgarten is the only liquid gas hub in Central Europe. It would, therefore, be a key element in any project comparable to South Stream. Strengthening this position is naturally in the interests of Austria and, I believe, also of our neighbouring countries and the relevant Austrian companies. The same applies for the European Commission. However, Austria has left no doubt that any European infrastructure project must be in conformity with European law, in particular the provisions of the Third Energy Package.


The En+ Group effectively turned a new page in its corporate history in 2019. Now the group has a unique governance scheme for Russia - without a domineering shareholder and a loyal majority on the board of directors. The board chairman, Lord Gregory Barker, is convinced that the changes adopted in the framework of the plan he devised to get the company removed from the U.S. sanctions list will ultimately do the company and its shareholders good, irrespective of the deal with OFAC. Lord Barker told Interfax in an interview about the work of the new En+ board, dividends and long-term strategy.

Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Russia Laurie Bristow, who is leaving his post, has given an exclusive interview to Interfax in which he speaks about prospects of relations with Russia, arms control, the situation in Syria and surrounding Iran, as well as other topical problems on the international agenda.

Cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, foremost Russia, has lasted for three years already and in this time the oil market has seen shakeups that have threatened to cause a split within OPEC and jeopardized the fate of the OPEC+ agreement to curb oil production in order to balance the market. OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo spoke with Interfax on the sidelines of the 16th annual meeting of the Valdai Club in Sochi about how decisions are made and OPECs position regarding geopolitical events that have hit oil markets.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman, who will leave his post in early October, has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about exchanges at the highest level between Moscow and Washington, a possibility of Russias return to G8, as well as his vision of the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty on that is expected on August 2, about Russia‘s response to the U.S. and NATO possible deployment of missiles banned by the treaty, and about whether the Cuban Missile Crisis may repeat itself.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold negotiations on the sidelines of the Petersburg Dialogue forum in Germany on Thursday. Maas has given an interview to Interfax ahead of the forum, in which he speaks about prospects of settling the conflict in Ukraine, Germanys preparations for ensuring security in the absence of the INF Treaty and attempts to save the Iranian nuclear deal.

German Ambassador to Russia Rudiger von Fritsch, who is leaving Moscow after a five-year mission, told Interfax about the state of affairs in bilateral relations, Germanys position on the Nord Stream 2 project amidst sanction risks, and assessed prospects for settling the crisis in Ukraine under the new authorities in Kyiv.


 ©   1991—2020   "Interfax News Agency" JSC. All rights reserved.
Contact information   |   Privacy Policy   |   Interfax offices   |   made by web.finmarket

News and other data on this site are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended for republication or redistribution. Republication or redistribution of Interfax content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Interfax.

Browse other Interfax sites:   |   IFX.RU   |   Interfax Group   Rambler's Top100