Athens, May 30, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
For Alexis Tsipras, the visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in Athens, was first-rate opportunity a few days after he took the coveted assessment by the lenders, passing the message that Greece is alive and turns the page.
It is not insignificant to accept the visit of the Russian leader in your country, even on the grounds of his visit to the monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos for the 1000 years of the presence of Russian monks on the Mount. If that really was the reason of his visit, as many wrote wanting to downgrade the importance of the visit, he certainly would not have with him ten ministers and dozens of entrepreneurs. An indication that there is the disposition from the Russian side for cooperation with Greece.
The multidimensional active foreign policy of Greece is a fact and is becoming practice through the daily struggle of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his associates. What is expected of course is the result of this policy. That is cooperation agreements, funds that the greek economy is in such a dire need of.
Alexis Tsipras views cooperation with Russia as a strategic choice. Not only at central level but also at regional, as he stressed in his speech at the Maximos Mansion.
But what does interregional cooperation means and how important is it? It is within Russia’s planning, for a long time now, the development of relations with different prefects of Greece, both in culture and business. Russian investors with Greek roots are spearheading this effort that has its own importance, so that Russia can overcome any problems that may create Europe’s refusal to cooperate and the imposition of sanctions.
Creating strong links with the prefects at a business level, they take the first big step to benefit from their cooperation with Greece at central level as well, since there will of course be pressure from local communities.
This is useful for the Greek Government to overcome any efforts made by the EU against investment attempts from russian interests.
The scope of cooperation between the two states is large. And the benefit for both sides very important to create this good cooperation. The agreements that were signed are nothing more than memoranda of mutual understanding. Essentially, if there is no deepening of cooperation, them alone can not constitute an investment cooperation. But it is a start, which can yield or not yield results.
The repetition of the destructive contacts for cooperation of 2015, where portion of the then government saw Russia the wrong way, and the coercion because the negotiation with lenders who pressured or may even have been demanding the withdrawal from the russian cooperation, appears to have left wounds, with the biggest being suspicion, and that is something Alexis Tsipras must work on, in order to gain the trust of Russia once again.
With this in mind his statements were by no means random” “… we will be happy to see Russian interest enterprises, companies, taking part to international competitions, where our commitment is that the process will be fair, without false restrictions and phobic prejudices and there will be equivalence”. He said it first for Putin to hear him say it in public, partly admitting that there was exclusion of Russian companies in investment projects in Greece and secondly, for the West to be more careful of what it asks from now on that has to do with Russia and not only.
Alexis Tsipras has learned how to handle the cooperation with Russia. He needs to prove that he is a good student, for his own good but also for the interests of Greece.