Former Austrian Foreign Minister Kneissl Causes a Stir with a Tweet About Russia and Putin

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 25, 2022; 21:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

Former Foreign Minister and FPÖ politician Karin Kneissl, who danced with Putin at her wedding in 2018, caused a stir with a tweet about the Ukraine war. Kneissl, who was considered to have good connections to Russia, was even on the supervisory board of the Russian oil company Rosneft until May.

Karin Kneissl invited Vladimir Putin to her wedding in 2018 and danced with the Russian head of state. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons /, CC BY 4.0

Karin Kneissl posted a Russian meme on Twitter that, borrowing from a historical Lenin image, shows Europeans as poor peasants petitioning Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. "February 2023. Putin receives a delegation from the EU," the Russian caption translates. "And one day the time for diplomacy, the real conversation, will come," Kneissl wrote in response.

Karin Kneissl, who is almost infamous for inviting the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin, to her wedding in 2018, as well as dancing with him and even bowing to him, has repeatedly caused a stir in her relations with Russia.

A tweet caused another stir and was commented on by everyone on the Internet. So did correspondents of international media, according to ORF. The Moscow bureau chief of the Financial Times, Max Seddon, like many other users, pointed out that Kneissl had danced with Putin at her wedding and sat on the board of Rosneft. "That you could become foreign minister in Austria is creepy," wrote the deputy editor-in-chief of the "Bild" newspaper, Paul Ronzheimer.

A Career with Ups and Downs

Kneissl was nominated by the FPÖ as foreign minister under the ÖVP-FPÖ government in 2017 and gained international notoriety when she invited Vladimir Putin to her wedding in 2018. After the infamous Ibiza scandal and the dissolution of the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government, the former foreign minister moved to France for a short time, into political exile as she described it.

After her political career, the former Foreign Minister lived in Seibersdorf near Vienna and worked again as an energy analyst and author of books on geopolitics, the energy industry and International relations, as reported by

She went on to a career in Russian state-owned enterprises. Since May 2020, Kneissl has been a guest writer for the Russian state broadcaster Russia Today (RT), and since March 2021, she has held one of the seats on the supervisory board of the Russian state oil company Rosneft.

Despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine in violation of international law, Kneissl initially did not want to give up her position on the supervisory board of the oil company Rosneft. She confirmed this in an interview with broadcaster RTL on March 6, 2022, according to ORF. In the interview, she spoke of considerable political pressure being exerted on her. Her life was, therefore "destroyed" and she had to eke out an existence as a "political refugee". On May 23, 2022, Rosneft announced that Kneissl had left the group's supervisory board.

The EU Parliament had previously voted for sanctions against politicians working for Russian corporations. As DerStandard reported, Kneissl repeatedly declared to have financial problems which, however, were over with the career at Rosneft. Rosneft paid the former FPÖ politician at least $500,000 a year, which was a nice sum.

Her Russia-friendliness is thus not surprising even in times of the Ukraine war. According to ORF, Karin Kneissl is relocating to Lebanon, where she also shared a photo on Instagram with the caption "Merci Lebanon for life."