“President Putin is an old-school gentleman. He has a special kind of manners that we don’t see enough today, including in Central Europe,” the diplomat told TASS on Monday.
She came to Moscow to present the Russian edition of her book about Prince Eugene of Savoy, a German 18th-century statesman and military commander.
Kneissl experienced Putin’s manners at first hand when he attended her wedding to financier Wolfgang Meilinger. The Russian leader handed flowers to the bride, and the two enjoyed a dance. “He danced very well. He made a beautiful gentlemen’s gesture to thank a lady that I was,” Kneissl recalled.
“Little things like that bring something new in life… Unfortunately, such things have become lost in Germany and Austria.”
Putin’s presence at the ceremony caused a stir in the media and drew flak on Kneissl from her political opponents. It was not the first time the press had grown suspicious of Putin’s refined mannersLast year, the leading German tabloid Bild suggested Putin was being sexist towards Chancellor Angela Merkel by giving her a flower bouquet – something the president routinely gives to female public figures during official meetings.
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