We in social networks


Events Calendar


Expert: Greece should not support the economic sanctions imposed by the EU to Russia

17.12.2014 20:04

Professor Philippos Tsalides

Regarding the Greek-Russian relations, I would like to distil some truths. The Greek-Russian relations are mainly based on the unique geopolitical position of Greece and the timeless interests of Russia related to the Mediterranean Sea. Many other factors, such as cultural, religious, historical, commercial and social-economic, from the Byzantine era until our present days, give a rare particularity to these relations.

These relations have led to very practical and remarkable results since 1974. In the 1970s, during the Cold War, the Greek Government of Constantine Karamanlis gave the Soviet Union the Neorion anchorage, very close to the US military base at Souda.

Later, with the fall of the Soviet Union, Greece was, and still is, the only western country and the only member of NATO that has acquired advanced Russian air defence systems. These weapon systems are considered of vital importance for the Greek defence.

I would also like to shatter a myth about Greek-Russian relations; namely that there is no a broad political consensus concerning the well being of this relationship. If truth be told, and especially since 1974, there is indeed a very broad consensus on this issue. First, Constantine Karamanlis granted access rights to the Greek territorial waters to the Soviet Navy, followed by Andreas Papandreou who looked towards our eastern neighbour for the issue of natural gas supply. The broad political consensus on the need of strengthening the Greek-Russian relations has continued to date (with a few notable exceptions of course).

But it is even more important that this broad consensus is based on the deep feelings that Greek people hold for the Russian people: consecutive polls nowadays show that these feelings remain intact, even at a time when the international anti-Russian propaganda is in full effect.

Greece has every interest to keep particularly warm relations with homodox Russia and to try to play the role of a "bridge" between West and East. It has strategic reasons to do that. Although Greece is a member of the EU and of NATO, it needs to avoid unilateral foreign policy, because of its own national interests. In this context, Greece should not support the economic sanctions imposed by the EU to Russia.