“We expect the Prime Minister of Greece to attend the (36th) celebrations” of the WWII Russia’s victory in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. Just ten days after Alexis Tsipras took office, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited the newly-elected Greek leader to visit Russia at any convenient time. This has been just normal diplomatic relations between two countries which have shared a same religion – Christian Eastern Orthodoxy – and deep cultural ties for very long.
In fact the Russian government has also been quick to offer financial support, and now there could be related impending bilateral developments as the Athens-Brussels showdown is going on and on. Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos will visit Russia on April 17-18, 2015 as Russia offered to help Greek defense firms – Greece has been a NATO member country since 1952 – “recuperate from neglect.” Kammenos’ deputy Kostas Isihos has sent an official request for Moscow’s archives on WWII reparations from Germany. Considering Russia’s economic difficulties due to Ukraine events, although the risk appears limited, such developments would likely be politically-motivated.
Having a foot in the EU by helping brotherly Greece is one positive step for Russia in order to counter-lobby the EU’s sanctions and pro-Kyiv posture. Strong with the Russian option of building a “bridge of peace and cooperation between Europe and Russia,” Tsipras could turn increasingly defiant, perfectly knowing that accepting Russian financial support would set a big cat among the pigeons. In the meantime, it has been very hard if not impossible to get an insight into Russia’s intentions which have become a more and more complex ping-pong of confirmation and denial. In the end, without having transferred one single ruble to Greece, Russia has managed to become EU-Greece chess’s third player.