FPÖ man denies saying yes to Russian forum

FPÖ man denies saying yes to Russian forum
Johann Gudenus. Photo: APA/Jaeger
A senior politician from the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ), Johann Gudenus, is claiming that he never planned to join a gathering of far-right parties from across Europe at an International Russian Conservative Forum (IRCF) to be held in St. Petersburg on March 22nd.

However, the Austria Press Agency (APA) reports that it has seen a letter from Gudenus from December, written in English with an official FPÖ letterhead, in which he thanked the IRCF for the invitation, and said he was "looking forward to join the conference". 

On Tuesday Gudenus told APA that he had never said he would participate and "never intended to go there."

Analyst and blogger Anton Shekhovtsov speculates that the FPÖ was likely looking to secure some financing from Russia – after the French National Front accepted a €9 million loan from a Russian bank in 2014.

Yuriy Lyubomirsky of Russia’s Rodina party told APA that he only received an email from Gudenus on March 9th, cancelling his participation in the conference, and saying that he was too busy with election campaigns in Austria. 


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