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The New York Times published a glowing profile of Austrian communist politician LK Kahr on Friday without criticism. “Yes, this communist politician in Graz, Austria wants to redistribute wealth, but housing, her own modest lifestyle and a tough childhood have helped her popularity,” read the article’s subtitle.
Kahr was elected mayor of Graz, Austria’s second largest city, in September and is the leader of the country’s Communist Party. Denis Hruby of the Times reported that Kahr “smiles” at what his town is now referring to as “Leninraj” and affirms that “yes, 100 percent, I’m a convinced Marxist.”
“Supporters and critics describe her as approachable, pleasant and a straight shooter. Voters praise her as ‘not like a politician,’ but more of a social activist,” Hruby reported.
Kahr’s work on housing gained particular attention, beginning with the Tenant Emergency Hotline at the end of the Cold War. “Poor and rich, left and right, called and word of mouth spread: Communists care,” the Times continued.
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The Times described the Communist mayor as someone who “tries to be a familiar presence on the city streets”.
It reported, “During her political career, she has given away three-quarters of her after-tax salary. Since becoming a city councilor in 2005, Ms. Kahr’s handouts have totaled more than a million euros, or about $1,020,000. .”
Only at the end were there words of criticism in the piece.
“In general, the criticism does not stem from Ms. Kahr’s work, but from her unabashed embrace of ideology,” Hruby wrote. “For example, her admiration for the former Yugoslavia, a multi-ethnic and non-aligned state run by a dictator, shows ‘historical stubbornness,'” said Christian Fleck, professor of sociology at the University of Graz.
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“But constituents don’t seem concerned, with their approval rating standing at 65 percent in June,” Hruby wrote.
“Having a drag on a cigarette, Ms. Kahr reflected on why she couldn’t surrender, why communism had failed elsewhere,” the profile reported.
“It depends,” Hruby explained her statement, “on whether the leaders also live through it.”
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The article ended on that upbeat note about communism without any historical reference to the hundred million plus people communism killed in the 20th century or the millions it oppressed.