“This meeting is very important for the Greek-Russian relations, it is the begin of a new spring,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during the joint press conference with Russian president Valdimir Putin. In fact, Tsipras mentioned the word “spring” three times during his joint appearance with Putin.
Both leaders assured the international community, especially the European one, that Greece did not raise the issue of financial aid, that is a bailout by the Russian Bear so that Greece could meet its necessary needs. But Kremlin would be happy to help Greece paying back its loans with investments.
Tsipras and Putin talked about trade and tourism, about privatizations and investment, about energy matters and a gas pipeline from Russia to Greece through Turkey.
They talked also about the agricultural products embargo that Russia has imposed as counter-measures to EU sanctions over Kremlin’s policies in the Ukraine. But Putin did not announce any lifting of the embargo to Greek products as Tsipras had hoped. He said that “there can be no embargo exception to any country” but added that both countries “seek alternative ways for the Greek products.”
Technical details of this issue are still to be discussed, Tsipras is expected to raise the issue again tomorrow, Thursday, during his meeting with Prime Minister Dmitri Medwedew.
Willing to help Greece financially, President Putin said that “Russian companies will bid for Greek tenders in privatizing energy and rail networks” and expressed interest for the port of Thessaloniki.
Tsipras said that “Greece will support the Russian – Turkish Stream gas pipeline” and stressed that this will make Greece “an energy hub in Europe.”
Despite the blooming spring and the historical and traditional cultural and religious relations, supporter of Greece, Vladimir Putin said something that almost went unnoticed in the long presser.
Picking up the Cyprus crisis in 2013, he explained why he did not help the country while Russia was called on for its aid:
“If the Greek economy grows in cooperation with Russia, and it can pay back its loans to the IMF and EU, this will help bring the situation back to normal,” Putin explained.
PM Alexis Tsipras vowed to pursue foreign policy in line with Greece’s self-interest, “We are a sovereign nation,” he said answering a question about Grexit, and stressed:
“Greece will not be thrown “off the boat” of the eurozone; we are passengers – equal passengers. There is no lower or higher deck.
We are not a debt colony. We have the same rights as other countries have. The right to cooperation and the right to act in our interest.”
He said further that
“Greece is not a beggar going around asking for money and that the crisis is a European problem.”
Among others, Tsipras said also:
“EU sanctions on Russia will lead to a new “Cold War in Europe.”
And so at the end of the press conference Greeks understood that Russia will use the port of Thessaloniki for exports, while China will use the port of Piraeus for the same reason. A huge gas pipeline will cross Greece. That Russian tourists will abandon Turkey for the beautiful Greek islands surrounded by the endless blue sea. Our airports will most probably be given to Germany, while the USA will take advantage of the natural resources in the Ionian and the south Aegean sea. France will have to be satisfied with a few aircraft contracts.