Russian oil giant Rosneft is set to have a former Austrian minister and one-time dance partner of President Vladimir Putin on its board.
Karen Kneissl, who once held the foreign ministry brief in Vienna, looks certain to waltz her way onto the board of directors at the Moscow-based company after Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered government representatives to vote for her appointment.
She is one of seven candidates proposed by the Kremlin for Rosneft's board and will become a director after the company's next annual general meeting, set for early June.
Kneissl made headlines in Russian and European media in 2018 when Putin flew in for a “private visit” to her wedding party in Austria.
A televised broadcast, released after the wedding, showed Kneissl and the groom, businessman Wolfgang Meilinger, accepting a bunch of flowers from the president.
Kneissl and Putin also shared a dance and listened to a Russian Cossack choir that serenaded the couple and their guests.
Austria has traditionally maintained strong ties with Russia despite European and US sanctions against the Kremlin, Rosneft and its chairman, Igor Sechin.
According to independent investigative group Open Media, a private jet that is reportedly being used by Sechin flew to various places in Austria on a monthly basis during the last year despite Covid-19 quarantine restrictions and sanctions against Rosneft.
Industry insiders in Moscow have repeatedly claimed that Sechin dominates the decision-making process in Rosneft, with well remunerated members of the company’s board enjoying advisory roles.