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Austrian president may visit Russia in May — source

March 20, 21:12 UTC+3 VIENNA

On January 18, Putin wrote in his message of greetings to Van der Bellen that the Austrian president’s visit to Russia would help forge friendly ties between the two countries

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VIENNA, March 20. /TASS/. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen might visit Russia this May, an Austrian source with knowledge of the talks on the Austrian president’s possible visit to Moscow told TASS on Wednesday.

"Currently, the preparations are underway for a possible visit to Russia by Austria’s Federal President approximately in May," the source said.

The Austrian presidential office has not formally confirmed the information.

"In case the visit takes place, we will announce it," Reinhard Pickl-Herk, the Austrian presidential spokesman, told TASS.

On January 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in his message of greetings to Van der Bellen that the Austrian president’s future visit to Russia would help forge friendly ties and boost cooperation between the two countries. Russia’s embassy to Austria published the message but no announcement of the Austrian president’s visit to Russia followed.

Russia in history of Van der Bellen’s family

Alexander Van der Bellen’s ancestors through the paternal line came to Russia from the Netherlands at the end of the 17th century. Since the 18th century, they lived in the Russian western Pskov region. Alexander Van der Bellen is a descendant of a Russian noble family. His grandfather was called Aleksander Konstantin von der Bellen in Russia. The Russian Provisional Government appointed him as head of the Pskov regional government in 1917. Before the 1917 February Revolution, he headed the Pskov regional council.

From March until July 1917, Von der Bellen headed the Pskov region but later was relieved from his duties. The family moved to Estonia in 1919 after the Bolshevik revolution. When Estonia joined the Soviet Union, the Austrian president’s father fled to Germany and later to Vienna where Alexander van der Bellen was born in 1944.

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