According to a growing chorus of experts, current tensions between Greece and Russia cannot be explained on the level of bilateral relations, which were until only recently largely positive. Instead, there is growing suspicion that external pressure underlies Moscow and Athens’ recent disputes.
The decision to expel diplomats and Greece’s possible recall of its ambassador from Russia might have been the result of pressure from the EU and NATO. Otherwise, there are no apparent reasons for the current crisis in Russo-Greek relations. This opinion, in addition to being proposed by FRN’s own Paul Antonopoulos, has been addressed by the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Planning, Alexander Gusev.
“We have always had rather warm relations with the Greek Republic, and what is happening now in bilateral relations is in fact getting out of hand. Because ambassadors are recalled when something extremely serious is about to happen, such as military hostilities. A number of questions arise: what happened that became the pretext for the complication of relations for which there were no reasons?”, Gusev introduced the problem.
Gusev’s comment comes on the heels of a source in the Greek government informing Russia’s RIA Novosti that Greece’s foreign ministry is recalling Ambassador Andreas Fryganas and will send a new ambassador. None of the details or timing are known, but in the absence of an official Greek statement, this information has been confirmed to Russian media by a Greek diplomatic source.
After expelling Russian diplomats, Greece’s foreign ministry called Russia “Turkey’s comrade-in-arms,” and accused Moscow of having moved away from the friendship and cooperation that has characterized Greek-Russian relations for nearly 200 years. Moscow has called Athen’s sudden, unsubstantiated accusations “arbitrary and vindictive.”
According to the expert Gusev, it is crucial to remember that Greece is an EU member, has supported sanctions against Russia, and therefore the latest demarche should be seen as part of Brussels and Washington’s hostility towards Russia, which Athens has been forced into.
“The leaders of European states have very strong influence on the Greeks, and they also don’t want to quarrel with the US, and furthermore it is necessary to take into account that Greece is a member of NATO. The Americans are putting on the pressure and will continue to do so. All of this is unfolding on one canvas, and the situation should be seen not only in the context of Russia-Greece relations, but overall in relations between Russia, the EU, and NATO member-countries,” Gusev explained.
In his opinion, it is difficult to foresee a way out of this “turbulent state”, but we can expect Moscow to take a number of steps to normalize relations, for which consultations will be held.
“If this is can’t be done or if reports on the ambassador’s recall are true, then there is always the option of a tough response. I believe that Russia will adequately respond to these unfriendly moves,” Gusev concluded.