Austrian relations with European union and Russia is undergoing a dramatic transformation, over the crises in Ukraine and after last week´s downing of flight MH17. While Austria is a member of the European union and should, therefor, endorse the bloc´s sanctions against Russia particularly after Russian aggression, Austria´s President Heinz Fisher has rejected the U.S and EU´s criticism and signed a deal for Austrian of the controversial South Stream gas pipeline that bypases Ukraine.
Defying all Western critique, such as from Sweden´foreign minister Carl Bildt, who said “Austria views itself as an intermediator between East and West. ..It may regard actions or sanctions against Russian aggression as understandable, but would rather let others be publicly confrontational, Vienna prefers remaining in the shadows, doing business and offering permanent “open dialogue”
What´s more, the Trans – Atlantic unity had been essential in discouraging further Russian aggression and that the Austrians should consider carefully its relationship with Russia, said the US embassy in Vienna on the Austrian move. It came just hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Vienna for a one-day visit.
Putin and Fischer also emphasized Russia’s and Austria’s close business ties, with Putin calling Austria an “important and reliable” partner. Traditionally, Austria has been an importer of both Russian crude oil and natural gas, although the relative share of russia in these two product groups is vastly different. Its is rather modest when it comes to oil
Austria and Russian friendship is built on history.
Before the First World War, most of Europe was ruled by monarchs related to George V, King of the United Kingdom, but during after the war, the monarchies of Austria, Germany, Greece,a Spain like Russia, fell to revolution and war. George himself inherited the throne at a politically turbulent time.
The origins of modern day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nations, which had included more than 500 independent states. The house also produced kings of England, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Ireland , Portugal and Spain as well as rulers of several Dutch and Italian countries. Although today closely associated with the Habsburg dynasty, until 1246, Austira was a feudal possession of the younger House of Babenberg. Margrave Leopold the Generous (1136-1141) was loyal liensman of the Imperial House of Hohenstaufen in the struggle against the Bavarian Welf dynasty.
The office of Holy roman Emperor was traditionally elective, (German prince-electors usually elected one of their peers as King of the Romans) although frequently controlled by dynasties.
The precise term Holy Roman Empire was not used until the 13th century but the concept of transiatio imperial (transfer of rule) was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor, the notion that he held supreme power inherited from the emperors of Rome.
The history of diplomatic relation between Russia and Austria goes back to the 15th century, when the Austrian kaiser, Maximilian and the Russian tsar, Ivan III exchanged legations. An Sustrian noblemen, Sigismund bon Herber-stein, twice led embassies from the Hasbrug Holy Roman emperor to Basil III (1505-1533) in Moscow.
The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) one of the most destructive conflicts in european history, and one of the longest continuous wars in modern history, influenced the Kingdom of Sweden and Kingdom of France, the rise of the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Napoleonic invasions and all weakened the power of the Emperor in the North of Germany. (It also made the Russian Empire a permanent force in the European balance of power).
In 1719 John Carteret, a British Lord, became ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the Queen of Sweden. In that post he ensured continuing freedom of trade in the Baltic, mediated between Sweden and Denmark to achieve a treaty, and brought about peace between Sweden, Prussia, and Hanover in March 1720 . He also played a similar role in France before being appointed secretary of state for the Southern Department (equivalent to the post of home secretary) by Sir Robert Walpole, the First Lord of the Treasury and the prime minister.
Carteret was the only minister who could converse with George I, who spoke only German. In other words, although the Peace of Augsburg created a temporary end to hostilities it did not resolve the underlying religious conflict, which was made yet more complex by the spread of Calvinism throughout Germany in the years that followed.
Austria and Prussia had also a long standing conflict and rivalry for supremacy in Central Europe during the 18th centuries, termed German dualism. The rivalry is held to have begun when upon the death of the Habsburg. Emperor Charles VI in 1740, King Frederick the Great of Prussia launched an invasion of Austrian controlled Silesia, starting the Silesian Wars against Maria Theresa.
Austria maintained an alliance with Russia for most of the eighteenth century, because its rival, France, was seeking aid from Russia´s neighbors Poland and Turkey. Austria and Russia prevented Stanislaw Leszczynski, a French supported candidate to the Polish throne, form unseating the Saxon dysnasty in the War of the Polish Succession (1733 -1735). Russia also supported Maria Theresa´s claim to the inheritance of her father, Emperor Charles VI, in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Year´s War (1756-1763).
During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, Russia and Austria were allies in the War of the Second Coalition. French victories forced Austria to make an alliance with Napoleon. Wen the invasion failed, however, Austria joined Russia, Prussia, and Great Britain in the final coalition that defeated Napoleon in 1814 and occupied Paris.
The Duke of Wellington´s victory over Napoleaon´s army in 1815 put an end to Napoleon´s ambitions to rule all of Europe.
Wellington at Waterloo is interesting, becouse its won by the forces of reaction and Blucher and Wellington are supreme reactionaries. The French ruler had ambitions to invade and rule Britain. A decade earlier from 1803 to 1805 Napoleon has gathered at Boulogne but it never made across the English Channel because of the supremacy of the Royal Naval.
In PHOTO Kleamens von Metternich, one of the most important diplomats of his era, serving at the time as the Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire form 1809 until the liberal revolutions of 1848 that forced his resignation. One of his first tasks was to engineer a détente with France that included the marriage of Napoleon to the Austrian Arch-Duchess Marie Louise. Soon after, however, he engineered Austria´s entry into the War of the Sixth Coalition on the Allied side, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau that sen Napoleon into exile and led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna.
His supporter point out that he presided over the Age of Metternich when international diplomacy helped prevent major wars in Europe. His qualities as a diplomat have also been commended some add that his achievements were all the better given the weakness of his negotiating position. His decision to oppose Russian imperialism is also seen as a good one.
1st Chancellor of Germany office.: Upon his 1862 appointment by King Wilhelm as minister President of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark, Austria and France, aligning the smaller German states behind Prussia in defeating his archenemy France. In 1871 he formed the German Empire with himself as Chancellor, while retaining control of Prussia. His diplomacy politics (based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises) “realpolitik” and powerful rule at home gained him the nickname the iron Chancellor”.
Otto von Bismack used his unrivaled diplomatic skills to maintain Germany´s position and used the balance of power to keep Europe at peace in the 1870s and 1880s. German unification and its rapid economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy.
In his speech “Blood and Iron” when an increase in military was refused to approve ..Bismarck as Minister President concluded his speech following statement; before the Budget Committee ,
The position of Prussia in Germany will not be determined by its liberalism but by its power …Prussia must concentrate its strength and hold it for the favorable moment, which has already come and gone several times. Since the treaties of Vienna, our frontiers have been III-designed for a healthy body politic. Not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849 but by Iron and blood
Germany, prior to the 1860s consisted of a multitude of principalities loosely bound as members of the German Confederation, Bismarck used both diplomacy and the Prussian military to achieve unification, excluding Austria from a unified Germany. Not only did this make Prussia the most powerful and dominant component of the new Germany, but also ensured that it remained authoritarian, rather than a liberal parliamentary regime.
Historians debated.. and they concluded that factors in addition the strength of Bismarcks Realpolitik led a collection of early modern polities to reorganize political, economic, military, and diplomatic relationships in the 19th century. Reaction to Danish and French nationalism provided foci for expressions of German unity. Military successes especially those of Prussia in three regional wars generated enthusiasm and pride that politicians could harness to promote unification.
Prussia´s victory over Austria increased tensions with France. Its emperor, Napoleon II, feared that a powerful Germany would change the balance of power in Europe; opposition politician Adolphe Thiers had observed, it was France, not Austria, who was really defeated at Königgrätz.
The Austro-Prussian war provided a great opportunity for Prussian statesman, by clearing a path toward German unification, in particular with Little Germany (Germany without Austria) solution, with the subsequent foundation of the North German Confederation.
The outcome also ensured that Prussia would have a free hand when the inevitable war with France came to pass in 1871. With the rise of Prussia the Austrian-Prussian dualism began in Germany. Austria participated, together with Prussia and Russia. This German dualism presented two solutions to the problem of unification the small German solution (Germany without Austria) or greater Germany solution (Germany with Austria).
Historian Paul Schroeder argues that the old formulas for balance of power were in fact highly destabilizing and predatory. He says the Congress of vienna avoided them and instead set up rules and system that produced a stable and benign equilibrium.
The congress of Vienna was the first of a series of international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, which was an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in europe.
The model of diplomatic spheres of influence resulting from the Congress of Vienna 1814-15 after the Napoleonic Wars endorsed Austrian dominance in Central Europe. After Congress of Vienna. At Congress of Vienna 1814 settlement, Astria and Russia made major territorial gainsu. During 17th and 18th centuries Austria was able to retain its position as one of the great powers of Europe. However, the negotiators at Vienna took no account of Prussia´s growing strength within and among the German states and so failed to foresee that Prussia would rise up to challenge Austria for leadership within the German states.
More sustained relations between Austria and Russia began , after the Thirty Years war meeting 1698, when the russian tsar Peter the Great I visited Vienna and met Kaiser Leopold I, that regular diplomatic contacts between the two countries actually started.
After the collapse of both the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian Empires (1918) following World War I, when Austria-Hungary was defeated by the Allied Powers, one of which was the United States of America, it used the name the Republic of German-Austria in an attempt for union with German, but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919).
For nearly a century since, historians have debated the causes of the war. Some have cited the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, other have, as war is, concluded it was unavoidable. To explain the causes of World War I. West German historian Andreas Hillgruber argued that in 1914, a calculated risk on the part of Berlin had gone awry. Hillgruber argued that what the imperial German government had attempted to do in 1914 was to break the informal Triple Entente of Russia, France and Britain by encouraging Austria-Hungary to invade Serbia and thus provoke a crisis in an area that would concern only St. Petersburg.
Hillgrube argued that the Germans hope that both Paris and London would decide the crisis in the Balkans did not concern then and that lack of Anglo-French support would lead the Russians to reach an understanding with Germany.
Other authors, such as Taylor´s opinion, is that none of the great powers wanted a war but all of the great powers wished to increase their power relative to the others.
Hillgruber argued that when the Austrian attack on Serbia caused Russia to mobilize instead of backing down. In Hillgrubers´s opinion the German government had pursued a high-risk diplomatic strategy of provoking a war in the Balkans that had inadvertently caused a world war. Recently, American historian David Fromkin has blamed elements in the military leadership of Germany and Austria-Hungary (a first formulated by Austria-Hungarian and the second by German) to start a war with Serbia to reinvigorate a fading Austro-Hungarian Empire. the second secret plan was that of the German Military leadership to provoke a wider war with France and Russia.
He thought that the German military leadership, in the midst of a European arms race, believed that they would be unable to further expand the German army without extending the officer corps beyond the traditional Prussian aristocracy. Rather than allowing that to happen, they manipulated Austria-Hungary into starting a war with Serbia in the expectation that Russia would intervene, giving Germany a pretext to launch what was in essence a preventive war. Part of his thesis is that German military leadership were convinced that by 1916-18, Germany would be too weak to win a war with France, England and Russia.
Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Republic of Austria resumed in 1924.
following World War II, Austria and Vienna similarly to Germany and Berlin were divided into four sectors falling under the responsibility of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union, respectively. However, unlike Germany, Austria was not divided into two separate counties and continued to exist as a single state.
In economic terms, it remained a market economy and was trading extensively with the countries of the European Communities. The Soviet Union was also one of the four signatories to the State Treaty of Austria in May 1955.
Austria was the first western European country to sign, in 1968, long-term gas supply deals with Moscow. Russia is Austria’s third-biggest non-EU trading partner after the United States and Switzerland. There are important mutual business interests and somewhat tangled Austrian foreign policy, oscillating between its commitments to European and Western allies and a longing for a long bygone intermediary position between East and West.
Austria has a domestic transmission and distribution pipeline network. There are three Transmission System Operators (OMV Gas, BOG, Trans Austria Gasleiturng) From Baumgarte, one of the most important natural gas hubs in Europe, to Germany, France and from West to Wast to Central Europe.
Traditionally, Austria has been an importer of both Russian crude oil and natural gas, although the relative share of russia in these two product groups is vastly different. Its is rather modest when it comes to oil: according to the Austrian Statistical Agency Russia accounted for just 6.6 per cent of Austria´s oil imports.
Thus, statistically, Russia is Austria´s fifth biggest oil supplier, although its real role is probably higher given that some top spots are occupied by the transit rather than the oil producing countries, for Germany alone accounted for 38.4 per cent of Austria´s oil imports in 2006.
In terms of natural gas, the importance of Russia for Austria is much greater, standing at 62.7 per cent of Austria´s natural gas imports. Another important supplier is Norway with share of 15.3 per cent in 2007.
Over the past few years, bilateral investments between Austria and Russia have been developing relatively dynamically, partly due to the investment-related provisions of the Russia-EU partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Austria has investment worth €8, 5 billion in Russia, while Russian investment in Austria run to about €10,15 billion. Meanwhile Austrian banks have more than €36 billion outstanding loans to Russian borrowers which makes Austria´s financial sector a strong opponent of harsher Western financial sanctions.
There is sense of Austrian (Gemuetlichkeit) cosiness and Russian (Druzba) friendship which survives unperturbed by any geopolitical storm, domestic upheaval or historic change. Because for Austrians and Russians alike, no matter what currently sets the world on fire, there is always some time for a good ski-run whether in the Alps or Caucasus.
While this may have been a well-functioning, if sometimes dubious, foreign policy during the Cold War, when Austria really was a neutral country between two blocs (albeit quite closely integrated with the West) today this policy looks increasingly outdated, particularly in view of the country´s EU membership.
Russia needs to commit to defusing tension. This means securing borders, withdrawing all military forces and preventing further violence in eastern Ukraine, and cooperate with the government of Ukraine to meet its Geneva commitments. The Trans – Atlantic unity had been essential in discouraging further Russian aggression and that the Austrians should consider carefully its relationship with Russia. There may be a small chance that Austria offers Russia a smooth way back into the global community if the Russian president de-escalates the crisis –