Is the freeze of Greek-Russian relations here to stay?

Posted by Antonis D. Papagiannidis 16/07/2018 0 Comment(s) Economia Blog,

Seismic waves keep spreading from the out-of-the-blue shock that Greek-Russian relations sustained when Athens announced it was deporting two members of the Russian diplomatic staff from Greek territory, while it was considering two more as being personae non gratae. Moscow announced it would respond in a tit-for-tat way, but generally kept a low profile on the issue - starting with a dressing-down of the Greek ambassador in the Russian capital.

The reason given for the Greek move was that the Russian diplomats were over-active in supporting focused public opinion moves against the recent Prespes accord, with which Greece and FYRoM were successful in leaving aside the “name issue”, thus letting the latter join NATO (and, eventually, the EU).

Russian support and – reportedly – largesse was dispensed through business, civil society networks and (perhaps more importantly) church dignitaries.


According to Russian-friendly circles, adding insult to injury was the fact that the Greek move was prompted by data delivered to the Athens authorities by U.S. authorities who are deeply suspicious of Moscow’s latest efforts to consolidate its influence in the Western Balkans. The countries of the region – FYRoM and Albania to start with - are increasingly courted by the Euro-Altantic institutions The interest of Israeli circles is also mentioned (Greece has been quite close to Israel as of lately) since Greek nationalistic circles supposedly benefiting of Russian support had developed quite recently nasty anti-Semitic habits (the desecration of Shoah monuments being the latest).


Will all of this develop into a freeze of Greek-Russian relations, which were kept at a fairly good level under successive Greek governments even under Cold War conditions of the Soviet era? The best bet is that the freeze will be of passing nature; still, S.E. Europe/the Eastern Mediterranean are sensitive areas, so that any destabilization  be cause for concern. Tense relations between Greece and (uncomfortably neighbouring) Turkey enter on the balance; Turkey has developed quite cosy relations with Moscow as of lately. To watch, overall.


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