Recall that at the end of May 2016, following negotiations in Athens, Russia and Greece signed a package of documents, including a bilateral political declaration on partnership. Also, notes RIA News", a memorandum of understanding was adopted in the field of interregional cooperation between the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Greek Foreign Ministry. A "road map" of the development of Russian-Greek relations in the field of agriculture was also signed. In addition, two states have adopted a joint tourism action program for 2016-2018.
However, we can add that this entire package of declarations and memorandums does not mean that Athens set out to closely approach Moscow against the will of the EU, and especially NATO. It is ridiculous to even think that Greece, which is one of the oldest members of NATO (joined the 18 military unit in February 1952 of the year, by the way, along with Turkey), suddenly trample against the will of the alliance. Yes, in the past Athens had frictions with the alliance: in August 1974, the Cyprus crisis worsened, and the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Karamanlis, announced the withdrawal of the state from the military organization. According to him, at that time NATO was not able to prevent a conflict between Turkey and Greece. However, everything quickly ended: the Greeks forgot about their anti-NATO and, to some extent, anti-Western demarche, and in 1980, in the year of the Olympics in the USSR, Greece returned to membership in the military organization of NATO. In recent years, the complications of NATO and the EU with Russia, from sanctions and counter-sanctions to the new Cold War, have by no means caused Greece to renounce membership in the alliance. On the contrary, her government is now publicly announcing support for NATO’s anti-Russian initiatives, albeit with reservations.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the recent NATO summit said that Athens did not agree with the arguments of NATO regarding the Russian Federation, and nevertheless show solidarity with the allies, based on reciprocal solidarity. This told the correspondent RIA News" unnamed source on the sidelines of the last summit.
“We can disagree with all the arguments of our allies about how to deal with Russia and its position. But we show solidarity with the problems of our allies, as we should. However, we also expect that there will be solidarity regarding our own security concerns, ”the source of Mr. Tsipras said.
He also noted that security in Europe is impossible without Russia: “From whatever point of view, no one can see security is unthinkable without Russia. It is part of this problem, but at the same time it cannot but be part of the solution. Deterrence must be accompanied by a strong and constructive dialogue with Russia in order to avoid erroneous assessments and unnecessary escalation. ”
Clear statements by Tsipras about the "solidarity" of Greece with the problems of NATO allies do not prevent some members of the press from arguing that Greece "can put a knife in the back of NATO for the sake of friendship with Russia" (quote from the title of the article on "Reedus").
The publication cites the opinion of the Greek - Athenian journalist Afanasis Avgerinos. The people of Hellas, he believes, feel much more friendliness on the part of Moscow than on the part of their formal allies. “Regardless of which government is in power in Greece, socialist or conservative, the Greeks themselves do not remove the question: why and against whom are we friends with the Atlantic alliance, what do American military bases do, for example, in Crete?” .
"Western commentators, who were alarmed because of the good relations between Tsipras and Putin, simply do not know well history- continues the Greek. - Greece withdrew from the military organization of NATO precisely in order not to be comrades in arms with the Turks. As a nation, we don’t really understand why our country provides its territory and airspace for air strikes against Iraq or Libya, with which Athens has always had good relations. ”
The opinion of society in Greece without any “Kremlin propaganda,” the article notes, is more than cool about the “allies,” primarily Turkey and then the United States.
What is “solidarity” with the allies, about which Tsipras spoke? For some reason, the Greek journalist did not explain this.
Not only in Greece, they talk about strong ties with Russia and weakening alliance with NATO.
In an American magazine "The National Interest" An article by the Paris consultant on EU affairs, Henri Stanek (Henry Stanek), was published, in which we are talking about a friendship between Athens and Moscow that could allegedly undermine the unity of the North Atlantic alliance.
Against the background of the ongoing economic crisis and tensions associated with the cost-saving program, the Greek government of Tsipras has formed “surprisingly close ties with the Kremlin,” the expert notes.
Greece is an "active member of NATO." That is why the adoption of the "Greek embrace" of Russia was perceived by many as a flick on the nose to European creditors of Athens. For the Russians, the author further recalls, Greece is one of those several EU member states (along with Hungary, Cyprus and the Czech Republic) where political opposition to the sanctions regime against Moscow is possible. Given the importance of Greece’s geostrategic position and the role it can play in enforcing the sanctions regime on Russia, the EU and NATO should make Athens a special priority: let it be Greece, the “birthplace of democracy”, and restrains Russia's influence.
In the meantime, the international community is concerned about how “Syriza”, since it came to power in Greece, “embraces Vladimir Putin.”
The two countries, the expert notes, have deep historical and Orthodox religious ties. In addition, there are close relations between members of the Syriza party and political and business elites in Russia. In May, Putin visited Greece in the hope of concluding agreements on trade, investment, energy, and transport. All this "worries" the West.
Cooperation between Greece and Russia raises concerns about Europe’s ability to support economic sanctions against Russia. The publication notes that the government Tsipras "reluctantly agreed to sanctions." According to the expert, such “suffered” compliance with the sanctions regime cannot last for a long time. Russia is strengthening its strategic ties with Greece and other “dissatisfied members of the EU”. The author is confident that Moscow intends to “split the bloc” and urge member states to loosen or stop sanctions (after all, the decision to extend requires the unanimity of EU members).
To stop the sanctions extended every 6 months, Greece, this “failed EU state,” the author ironically, has the opportunity to use the veto. As a result, the sanctions will be blocked.
And even participating in the sanctions regime, Greece “is looking for loopholes for the export of agricultural products to Russia,” recalls Stanek.
The main factor stimulating Russia's interest in Greece is the country's strategic position in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, the Paris expert believes. For Europe, the topic of migrants is important.
The Greek "drift into the arms of Russia" forces the West to think about the "dark horse" in NATO.
Stanek discusses the likelihood of Greece’s withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty. True, the analyst immediately calls this turn of affairs “extreme.” And yet "Syriza" (in the amount of one parliamentarian, the author speaks maliciously) has previously spoken about this. Moscow’s close ties with Athens could contribute to the projection of Moscow’s power and undermine the unity of the NATO bloc “at a critical moment,” the expert believes.
So what does Stanek offer to counteract such intentions of Athens? The expert believes that in order to prevent the influence of Russia on Greece, NATO and the EU need to restore relations with Athens, provide the Greeks with “favorable terms for debt payments” and recall the “advantages of NATO membership”.
Otherwise, given the geostrategic significance of Greece, “the hostility of Athens to Brussels could undermine the solidarity of the bloc and weaken efforts to curb aggression from Russia”.
* * *
So, “pro-Russian” Greece is the last thing the North Atlantic Alliance can allow. This is what the European experts, irritated by the “aggression from Russia”, are interpreting. If Greece goes on about Putin, which is very much feared in Brussels, then the solidarity of both NATO and the EU will be undermined. The day is not far away when Athens realizes the right of veto during the next vote on the extension of anti-Russian sanctions.
However, so far Mr. Tsipras has not shown himself in the field of "confrontation" with NATO ideals. On the contrary, he expresses due "solidarity" with the problems of NATO allies. Greece also gently supports EU sanctions against Moscow, despite a number of difficulties in its own agriculture. While nothing says about the upcoming change in the position of Greece on this issue. "Knife in the back of NATO for the sake of friendship with Russia" - fantastic fabrications of journalists.
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru