One day before his visit to Greece, Russian President Vladimir Putin shared his thoughts about Greek-Russian relations and sharply criticized Europe and the European Commission. In an open letter sent to daily Kathimerini, Putin also expressed strong interest in Privatizations, especially in TRAINOSE and the Port of Thessaloniki.
Hailing Greece as “Russia’s important partner in Europe,” Putin praises “the centuries-old traditions of friendship,”, the common culture and religious values and he recalls the story of Ioannis Kapodistrias, who was a Russian minister of foreign affairs in the 19th century and later became a head of the Greek state.
“I know that Greece remembers its achievement of independence was due in no small measure to Russia’s efforts. Russia’s support for the Greek national liberation struggle largely determined the further development of bilateral relations.”
Blaming the European Union sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine and for the decline of the trade volume between Russia and Greece “bilateral trade fell by a third to $2.75 billion”, Putin notes that:
“Russia proceeds from the need to establish dialogue with the EU in the spirit of equality and genuine partnership on a variety of issues ranging from visa liberalization to the formation of an energy alliance. However, we do not yet see our European colleagues’ willingness to follow such a mutually beneficial and promising path.
Nevertheless, we believe that our relations with the EU do not face any problems that we cannot solve. To get back to a multifaceted partnership, the deficient approach of one-sided relationships should be abandoned. There should be true respect for each other’s opinions and interests.”
Vladimir Putin also complains about the European Commission accusing it for having stopped the South Stream pipeline that would transfer natural gas form Russia to Europe through Greece.
“Its implementation became impossible due to the unconstructive stance adopted by the European Commission.”
However, he notes that “the issues relating to southern routes of energy shipment to the EU states are still on the agenda.”
President Putin underlines the strong interest of Russia in several privatization projects, especially two:
“Russia could also help to streamline the Greek transport infrastructure. We are referring to the participation of Russian business entities in the forthcoming Greek tenders for the purchase of assets of railway companies and the Thessaloniki port facilities. Also on the agenda are a number of other projects that can considerably enhance the potential of bilateral cooperation.” (full article of Vladimir Putin here.)
Vladimir Putin is arriving tomorrow Friday for a 2-day visit where he will meet with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
In a statement issued by the Russian Presidency, it is stated that key aspects of the bilateral talks are: “bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, including joint projects in the energy and transport sectors. Particular emphasis will be given to cultural and humanitarian cooperation.”
The visit is very important for Greece and it is the first visit of Putin in Athens after ten years.
In 2015, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Russia twice.