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English Section

Austrian ex-chancellor lands job in Russia

17.07.2019 13:15
Former Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern is set to become a member of the board of directors of the Russian Railways, according to a report.
Austrias Christian Kern and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2017.
Austria's Christian Kern and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2017.Photo: EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

Kern, who was chancellor of Austria from 2016 to 2017, will sit on the board of the Russian Railways as "independent director," Poland’s niezalezna.pl news website reported, citing an announcement by the state-owned Russian rail company.

The Polish website noted that before taking over as chancellor in Austria, Kern served as CEO of his country’s national rail carrier ÖBB, beginning in 2010.

In 2016, the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) fielded Kern as a candidate for chancellor following the unexpected resignation of the country's previous chancellor, Werner Faymann.

Kern left his post as chancellor after a snap parliamentary election in Austria; in the autumn of last year, he announced his withdrawal from politics, niezalezna.pl said.

In 2017, when he was still chancellor, he attended the annual International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he spoke out against European Union sanctions on Moscow, according to niezalezna.pl.

Kern said at the time that EU sanctions against Russia were hurting Austria, costing his country about 0.3 percent of GDP, the Polish website said.

Meanwhile, former long-time Austrian finance minister Hans Jörg Schelling in March last year became an advisor to Russian gas giant Gazprom, niezalezna.pl also said.

According to the website, Schelling took the job specifically to provide advice on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project from Russia from Germany.

Prior to that Schelling was a minister in Faymann's Cabinet, and he kept his role when Kern took over as chancellor, niezalezna.pl said.

The Polish website also noted that in 2017, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder took over as chairman of the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft, which has faced Western sanctions.

Germany’s Schröder was also given a role as head of the shareholders' committee of the Nord Stream company, the Polish website said.

It added that Schröder plays the same role in the Nord Stream 2 company, which is building the contested Russia-Germany gas link opposed by Poland.


Source: niezalezna.pl