by Nikolaus J. Kurmayer
Austria’s far-right FPO continues to uphold its stance against sanctions on Russia, as surveys demonstrate that while Austrians, by and large support punitive actions, the far-right voters do not.
Sanctions against Russia are generally recognised as important punitive measures in the country that maintains its neutral stance towards conflict and has historically close ties to Russia, though the far-right, polling at 28% according to a 23 February poll, continues to disagree.
“Only 46 of 193 UN member states have imposed sanctions on Russia, 27 of which belong to the EU,” the FPO’s secretary general Christian Hafenecker told parliament on Friday.
The European Union should stop supplying arms to Ukraine, while Austria must return to “true” neutrality, he added.
The far-right pushing against sanctions reflects a deeply divided country where support for Ukraine is becoming increasingly tenuous.
According to a recent survey by the tabloid Heute, 65% of Austrians wish Ukraine would cede its territory to Russia for the fighting to stop, while 86% of self-professed FPO voters polled held this opinion.
A survey by the private TV channel ATV found that 44% back the sanctions or want to tighten them, while 34% would loosen or remove the sanctions entirely. Again, 59% of FPO voters would get rid of the Russia sanctions if given a chance, while another 20% would loosen them.
*first published in: Euractiv.com