Austrian minister says curtsey to Putin was not a sign of submission

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Austria’s foreign minister on Saturday rejected fierce criticism over her deep curtsey to Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding last week, saying the gesture was not an act of submission.

“That was interpreted as an act of submission, but people who know me know I do not submit to anybody,” Karin Kneissl said in an interview on Austrian radio ORF, adding that such a curtsey was customary at the end of a dance and that Putin had bowed to her first.

Kneissl was at the centre of a storm of criticism over her bow to the Russian leader, with some commentators accusing her of a naive gesture that would hurt her country’s reputation.

Kneissl 53, a polyglot Middle East expert without political affiliation, was appointed to her job by the far-right Freedom Party which has a cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia Party.