Roman Haider: The Pro-Kremlin Politician of Austria

Roman Haider is an Austrian politician who has been a Component of the National Council for the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) since 2008. Haider is a business consultant and a member of FPÖ, known for its openly pro-Kremlin stances. The FPÖ signed a cooperation and coordination agreement with the ruling “United Russia” party in 2016.

Haider is mainly known for his pro-Kremlin stance. One noticeable action, however, was Haider’s criticism of the sanctions levied on Russia by the EU in his written inquiry addressed to the Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy, in which he called the sanctions “absurd” and argued that they hurt the Austrian economy.

He refrained from voting on the EU resolution concerning Russia’s illegitimate prosecution of Lithuanian judges. The resolution condemned Russia for its failure to cooperate with Lithuanian authorities in the trial related to the 13 January incident and for harboring and protecting officers involved in the attack against Lithuanian civilians on that day in 1991. The resolution also called on Russia to hold its officers accountable. This indicates that he is a pro-Russian politician.

On 16 May 2019, the leader of the Austrian centrist liberal NEOS party, Beate Meinl-Reisinger, presented to the parliament an acute request regarding “Putin’s friends in the FPÖ endangering liberal democratic order in Europe.” Haider responded to this request by ignoring the allegations, arguing that the FPÖ cooperated with all patriotic parties and had contacts in Russia.

Furthermore, he abstained from voting on the EU resolution regarding implementing the EU Association Agreement with Georgia. The amendment sought to modify a section of the text that urged Russia to fulfill its obligations under the EU-mediated ceasefire between Tbilisi and Moscow and to withdraw its military forces.

In 2021, MEPs urged for the immediate release of Alexei Navalny, vehemently condemning his detention along with that of his supporters. They strongly denounced the behavior of the Russian Federation, including its harassment, intimidation, and repression of dissenting voices, as well as the use of chemical nerve agents against Russian citizens. However, Roman Haider declined to support the call made by the MEPs.

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