Sixteen months into Russia’s war on Ukraine, 65 per cent of Austrian companies active in Russia before the war plan to stay active there, according to a survey by the Kyiv School of Economics. The average for all countries is 40 per cent. Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank is the biggest foreign lender still active in Russia. Red Bull still sells drinks there. Sixty per cent of Austria’s gas still comes from Russia compared with 19 per cent in the rest of Europe, which has made a herculean effort to cut its energy dependence on Moscow. Austria’s chancellor, Karl Nehammer, by contrast, seems to have used a trip to Moscow last year after the invasion to make sure the gas kept flowing. As Politico notes in a must-read dissection of a compromised relationship this week, Russian gas to Germany was soon afterwards cut off. Austria pleads geography – a small export-dependent country forced to look east as well as west. But history matters more.
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