Added 4/8/15: Greece – Russia Breakthrough: What did #Tsipras and #Putin discuss in Moscow – latest updates!
As I predicted in this post and in my earlier article and video (see links below), during today’s meeting in Moscow, Putin and Tsipras signed documents related to the extention of the Turkish Stream through Greece, making Greece into a major Russian gas distribution hub for Europe, including the Balcans, Hungary, Austria and Italy. Russia also offered Greece a credit. To bypass Russian agri sanctions against EU, Putin proposed joint Greek-Russian agricultural ventures. 50% of Greek imports to Russia were agriculture and food. Greece suffers tremendous losses from Russian EU agri ban, and the new joint venture plan is to reverse that . Putin’s video announcement in Russian.
Generally, Russia will continue the strategy of working with separate EU countries that want to do business with Russia, thus bypassing the unfriendly regimes and giving preferential treatement to the friendly ones.
In his statement, Putin also called on EU to terminate any sanctions against Russia, and Russia would then terminate any return sanctions against EU. Putin said that Russia is for working and having cordial relations with the entire “United Europe.”
4/7/15. Original article:
The Greek Dilemma: Between Russia and EU. PREDICTIONS by Lada Ray
Today’s Greek Dilemma: Between Russia and the EU. Or, between Moscow and the Hard Place.
Once the Greek government announced that PM Alexis Tsipras would be visiting Moscow on April 8 to talk to Putin, the howling among EU politicians and MSM became deafening.
The truth is, EU policies make countries that are in financial trouble seek help elsewhere. On one hand, EU talks about unity and EU values, on another creates an impossible situation for countries like Greece. By April 9, Greece has to come up with nearly €450 mln to repay IMF, and the money is scarce.
Right now, the new Greek government wants to play on differences between EU and Russia, which run deep due to Ukraine crisis. Another place where Greece can seek financing is China. But that will only happen after all the negotiations with Russia are complete and depending on their result. In the end, Russia may even broker a Greece-China deal, or the deal may be split between Russia and China. Basically, Russia is ready to consider Greek request, as announced by Russian FM Lavrov.
In a way, Greece is playing Russia and EU against each other. But the long-term consequences run much deeper. They range from Greece declaring bankruptcy and exiting the EU… to getting closer to Russia and China, with the end result of exiting the EU.
Should I say, I told you so? I have described this scenario in my article Predictions: The beginning of the EU End? When Will Greece Exit EU? Who Is Next?.
For more also see this LadaRayLive video: LRL6. Secret Connection: Russian Gas to Turkey-Greek Election-EU Breakup.
In the above pieces, I made a prediction that Greece would leave the EU around 2017. I feel that until then, Greece will try to work with EU in an effort to prevent default and further destruction of its economy, but these attempts won’t bring the desired result. All the relations, financial ties and debt relative to the EU will take some time to unwind. That’s why it will take until 2017 for Greece to disentangle from this mess (more on this topic in my above video and article).
The timing is also related to the timeline of the Turkish Stream, projected to be completed in 2017.
German taxpayer would bear most of the responsibility for bailing out Greece. From this perspective, Germany is right to be stingy. But Greece also has a trump card, which wouldn’t have been used if Germany weren’t squeezing Greece so hard. It is the thorny and long-buried issue of reparations the Nazi Germany never paid for the destruction during WWII. Will Greece get reparations? Not likely. But this toughness will help them bargain for a new bailout, or another payment postponement. This is a good bargaining chip to be sure that can be dangled every time Greece wants something from Germany.
The left-wing Syriza party currently in power is taking this tough bargaining position following its election promises to end austerity and re-negotiate country’s debt. It is clear that Syriza means business.
Relations between Greece and Russia
I said in my above-referenced pieces that Greece potentially can benefit tremendously from the Turkish Stream built by Russia through Turkey to the border with Greece. Russia proposes that Greece participate in the project by extending the pipeline through its territory to allow Russian gas to reach the target countries, such as Austria, Serbia and Hungary. This alone is tremendous incentive for Greece to take a pro-Russian position in the EU.
You’ll recall that the original South Stream from Russia to the EU was supposed to go through Bulgaria. However, after pressure from Brussels and a visit from McCain, Bulgaria suddenly disallowed South Stream through its territory, in direct opposition to the country’s interests. Who needs $750 mln a year in transit fees, new jobs, heavy gas discounts, business tourism and other perks. But Uncle McCain said no, and Bulgaria replied, ‘how high do you want me to jump?’ As a result, Russia cancelled South Stream.
None of what happened with Bulgaria is possible with the current leftist Greek government. McCain is certainly not invited. Many countries are interested in Russian gas going through Greece and this project is very much supported by Austria, Serbia and Hungary, among others.
Apart from that, the ruling Syriza party, being left-wing, is naturally and historically sympathetic to Russia.
Finally, Greece in general is traditionally, since centuries past, is staunchly pro-Russian. Greece, together with Cyprus, is even considered a ‘Russian Trojan Horse’ in the EU.
Greece is Orthodox, like Russia, not Catholic or Protestant. Similarity in religion creates affinity.
In addition, Greeks are eternally grateful to Russians for liberating them from the Turkish Osmanic Empire’s domination – and this is one of those cases when the country actually remembers the good. It’s interesting that at this point Greece, Turkey and Russia are working closely together, illustrating that nothing is eternal and things do change.
Therefore, old friendship and affinity run pretty deep. In this regard, nothing has to be built or created anew. The foundation is there, and all that has to be done is one small step towards each other. How far it will go is a different story because there is certain benefit for Russia if Greece stays in the EU – as I said, someone has to conduct pro-Russian policy within excessively russophobic EU. But there are also huge benefits to Greece turning closer to Russia.
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