The Greek government has decided to recall its ambassador to Russia, Andreas Fryganas, amidst recent tensions between the two countries, a source in Greece’s foreign ministry has reported.
The decision was reportedly taken by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias himself.
Earlier this summer, Athens expelled two Russian diplomats and imposed an entry ban on two others, accusing them of meddling in security and attempting to bribe Greek officials.
According to Greek authorities, the diplomats aimed to prevent a name-change agreement between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece, which would in turn lead to Greece’s northern neighbor joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
On Monday, the Greek ambassador was summoned to discuss this matter by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which has denied these accusations and vowed to diplomatically retaliate against “arbitrary” and “vindictive” allegations.
In the next few days, according to the source, Fryganas must return to Athens and a new ambassador will replace him in Moscow. The exact date of the replacement, however, has not been defined yet.
NATO leaders formally “invited” the former Yugoslav country earlier in July to begin membership talks, provided that membership cannot be completed until a name agreement with Greece is fully implemented. FYROM signed an agreement last month with Greece which will see its name changed to “Northern Macedonia”.
The conservative opposition party VMRO-DPMNE denounced the celebrations of the name agreement saying that “Macedonia does not need celebrations, but an apology for capitulation.”
The agreement is part of a plan to induct the FYROM into EU and NATO, which has been resisted by massive Macedonian protests. In geopolitical terms, the Macedonian name change dispute is part of the Atlanticist strategy to strategically control the Balkans, and ensnare Serbia in particular, with a ring of NATO-subservient states. FRN Editor-in-Chief Joaquin Flores addressed this context on RT in 2016 when attempts to pressure the FYROM into NATO through a color revolution were beaten back by popular protests. The color revolution tactic clearly failed, which thus explains the subsequent transition to the inflation of the Macedonian name dispute into a geopolitical gamble.
Greece refused to accept the Macedonian name of the FYROM after it seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, saying that this implied territorial claims to the Greek province of Macedonia and is an appropriation of its ancient civilizational heritage. However, comparing Macedonia and Greece’s economic and military capacities, such a concern seems to be exaggerated, especially as the Macedonian republic is being colonized and destabilized by NATO-backed radical Albanian forces.
Russia has done all it can to maintain strong relations with both the FYROM and Greece, and is interested in preventing further NATO expansion in the Balkans. Greece’s insistence in the name dispute thus paradoxically blocked Atlanticist advances on the FYROM, which might explain what experts have called the sudden and unexpected deterioration in Greece-Russia relations that can only be explained as the result of NATO manipulation of Athens.