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‘Gas and blackmail’: How Russia reported the Austrian Chancellor’s visit

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer became the first to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion on Monday. According to Russian media, the visit had very little to do with the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. Photo: Mikhail KLIMENTYEV, Stefanie LOOS / POOL / SPUTNIK / AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. Photo: Mikhail KLIMENTYEV, Stefanie LOOS / POOL / SPUTNIK / AFP

The Russian media has told a different story after Wednesday’s meeting between Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the Austrian leader came to Moscow to “blackmail” Russia and was only concerned with Austria’s economic interests. 

An article in Russian news outlet Pravda wrote “According to observers in the Russian capital, Karl Nehammer did not come to Russia to become a peacemaker”.

“Karl Nehammer openly tried to blackmail the Russian president by saying he would confirm to the world media that the Russians were butchers.”

The article, entitled ‘Why Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer went to Russia’, reported Nehammer was primarily concerned with securing Austria’s gas supply. 

Nehammer was “not at all concerned about Ukraine and the Russian military operation in this country,” Pravda reported. 

“The fight for Russian gas will continue. It cannot be ruled out that other European heads of state and government will travel to Moscow after the Austrian Chancellor (did so).”

The news site said Putin rejected the blackmail attempts. 

Nehammer said after the meeting he had attempted to dissuade Putin’s invasion, telling the Russian leader he had “lost the moral argument” with the invasion. 

READ MORE: Austria’s Nehammer ‘pessimistic’ after Putin meeting

“I mentioned the serious war crimes in Bucha and other locations and stressed that all those responsible have to be brought to justice,” Nehammer said. Russia denies its forces have committed war crimes.

Nehammer described the conversation as “direct, open and hard”. The Austrian government had requested the meeting be held behind closed doors with no joint pictures or statements from the two leaders, which was confirmed by their Russian counterparts. 

Russian news independence has been almost completely eliminated under President Putin, with news messaging subject to heavy state control. 

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POLITICS

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

Politicians in Austria are getting a 5.3 percent salary increase in 2023 as inflation rises in the country. So how much will they earn?

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

The rising inflation rate, which is expected to be at 10.6 percent in November, is reflected in the salaries of politicians in Austria, according to the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung.

According to Austrian law, all salaries are calculated based on the income of the members of the National Council, the Austrian Parliament. Next year, they will receive €9,873 gross per month – €497 more than their salaries in 2022. The values were rounded to the whole euro amount. 

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

So, how much are the leading politicians going to earn as a monthly gross salary in 2023?

  • Bundespräsident: the head of the Austrian State (Federal President) will earn €26,701 per month. Alexander Van der Bellen was reelected to the position and should stay in the job for six more years
  • Bundeskanzler: the head of the Austrian government (Chancellor) will earn €23,840 per month. That’s the salary of Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), who is expected to run for reelection in the next national elections set for 2024
  • Vizekanzler: the current vice-chancellor is Werner Kögler (Greens), and he is set to earn €20,979 from 2023
  • NR-Präsident: this refers to the leader of the National Council (Nationalrat, in German), who earns €20,026. Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) holds the position
  • Landeshauptleute: this German word literally means “main persons of the province”. (Land means country, but it actually refers to the bundesländer, the country’s states or provinces). These are the current governors of the Austrian provinces, such as Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), mayor of the city-state of Vienna. They’ll earn €19,072 per month
  • Ministerin/Minister: Ministers of the federal government, including Health and Social Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), will earn €19,072 every month
  • Landesrätin/-rat: the provincial councillors should earn €17,771 every month from 2023
  • Staatssekretärin/-sekretär: State secretaries, who play the part of Ministers in the provincial level, will earn €17,165
  • Bundesratsmitglieder: a “member of the Bundesrat”, which is the upper house in the Austrian parliament, will earn €4,936 per month

READ ALSO: Explained: How to understand your payslip in Austria

In Austria, hired employees are paid 14 times per year, with extra salaries ahead of summer holidays and Christmas.

Unless the National Council decides against the pay rise, the increase will come into effect on January 1st 2023.

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