Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl on Saturday defended curtsying deeply to Vladimir Putin at her wedding, saying “those who know me, know that I don’t bow down to anyone.”
Kneissl caused outrage in Austria for inviting the Russian president to her wedding last weekend and performing a pronounced curtsy after a dance, which critics interpreted as a sign of submission.
“If you have seen a ball opening, then you will have seen that at the end there is always this curtsy,” Kneissl told Austria’s ORF public radio, adding that Putin had bowed to her beforehand. Kneissl insisted that the wedding was “a totally private event.”
Austrian commentators took a different view. “Kneissl’s kneeling in front of Putin is a disgrace,” commentator Erich Frey wrote in an op-ed for the daily Der Standard, adding that if Putin’s visit was indeed private, the foreign minister shouldn’t have let him bring along a camera team that documented the scene.
Kneissl was nominated for the foreign minister’s post last year by the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), which has a cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia Party.