It seems that alarm bells have started to ring in the USA, the NATO and also in Europe over Greece’s approach to Russia. Hardly had the new coalition government came into power and the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias wrangled with the European Union over a statement concerning sanctions against Russia. Short after, Kotzias paid a visit to Moscow. Following an invitation by President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos will join the Russian celebrations of Nazi troops capitulation to Red Army, on May 9th 2015.
The Greek – Russia approach was “sealed” with Finance Minister Silianov saying that Moscow “could consider financial help to Greece.”
At the same time, the new Greek government is in permanent brawl with the European partners, especially with Germany. Top on the dispute are the financial situation of Greece, the Greek reforms and the German insistence that Athens has to fulfill the commitments signed by the previous governments. The conflict is not expected to be diffused soon.
Is this reason enough for Greece’s partners to worry that the debt-ridden country may abandon its European approach and lay its tired head on the shoulder of the Russian bear?
Apparently they do. In an article “Could Europe lose Greece to Russia?” the BBC analyses the Greek-Russian approach and the traditional ties between the two countries.
“Officially, Greece is not searching for alternative sources of funding.
But a loan from Russia, or perhaps China, could seem a more favourable alternative – or at least supplement – to any new eurozone bailout with all its unpopular measures and reforms attached.
Greece could look forward to cheaper gas for struggling households, increased Russian investment and tourism to provide a much needed economic boost.
Moscow, in return, would be rewarded with a friendly ally with veto power inside the EU at a time of heightened tensions over the Ukraine crisis.”(full article here)
In a public opinion poll conducted last month, 68% of Greeks said that they had a positive opinion about Russia, while the positive opinion towards the EU was at 61%.