Lavrov: Kurz falls victim to Russophobic campaign

Lavrov: Kurz falls victim to Russophobic campaign

The government of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, which was ousted on May 27, has fallen victim to a Russophobic campaign, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"Russophobia is fashion now," he noted. "One may get some positive dividends from 'elder brothers'," TASS cited the Russian top diplomat as saying.

In mid-May, German media outlets Der Spiegel and the Suddeutsche Zeitung published a video showing then-Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache meeting an unknown Russian-speaking woman, allegedly tied to a Russian oligarch. In the clip, they discussed plans to buy a popular newspaper, the Kronen Zeitung, and media support for the election campaign of the Austrian Freedom Party ahead of the 2017 parliamentary polls. Later, the Kronen Zeitung reported that the footage had been thoroughly planned and the "Russian woman" turned out to be a Bosnian student.

The video ignited a toxic political scandal in Austria, and Strache was forced to resign from his post as Vice Chancellor and as the Austrian Freedom Party’s Chairman. Chancellor and Chairman of the Austrian People’s Party Sebastian Kurz refused to cooperate with the Austrian Freedom Party, and then an interim government was set up consisting of ministers from the Austrian People’s Party and experts.

Subsequently, opposition parties in the parliament ousted the chancellor and his interim government in a no-confidence vote. Later, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen dismissed the cabinet led by Chancellor Kurz. He appointed the country's Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor Hartwig Loger as acting Chancellor of Austria.