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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Brussels is not able to spoil Russia’s relations with most EU countries

On Friday Vladimir Putin will begin this year’s first visit to the country of the European Union – Greece, which is among the consistent opponents of anti-Russian sanctions policy. And although Putin believes that the “intractable problems in our relations with the EU is not” Brussels is ready to create them, even waving from the principle of democracy.

The program of the visit of Vladimir Putin marked the visit to the monastery of mount Athos in the company of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, as well as official talks in Athens with the Greek leadership.

“You must abandon the perverse logic of the “game in one gate”

According to the existing in the international relations tradition, on the eve of such visits of heads of state or give interviews to journalists of the country visit, or publish an article in one of the local popular mass media. This time, Putin chose the second option: the text entitled “Russia and Greece: a cooperation for peace and prosperity” was published in the newspaper “Kathimerini”.

In addition to reminders of the historical roots of Russian-Greek cooperation, Putin elaborated on the current situation in the European Union. According to the President, “Russia proceeds from the necessity of establishing an equal partnership dialogue with the European Union on a wide range of issues, from visa liberalization until the formation of energoaliance, however, the counter ready to go in this mutually beneficial and promising by European counterparts we do not see”. Meanwhile, Putin believes that “the intractable problems in our relations with the EU no, the important thing now is to abandon the perverse logic of the “game in one gate”, in fact, take into account the opinion and interests of each other”.

The Russian President is the unwillingness of the EU to dialogue in absentia has already been confirmed by European Council President Donald Tusk. Being on a visit to Japan and asked about the extension of sanctions, he said: “We are ready to continue with our sanctions, we do not need a special discussion… I’m pretty sure we will make a decision on sanctions within two or three weeks without major discussions.

That is, the EU is not just not ready for equal dialogue with Russia. He is not ready to dialogue even with its own members, among which more and more States are against the sanctions policy. It speaks for itself, but primarily about a kind of understanding in Brussels with officials of the term “democracy”.

However, back to his homeland this term. According to Putin, because of the mutual sanctions of the Russian-Greek trade turnover fell by a third to 2.75 billion dollars. “Particularly affected the Greek agricultural producers”, – stressed the President. But, despite sanctions, Moscow is ready to develop cooperation with Greece in various fields.

First – gas. In his article Putin reminds about the plight of the “South stream”, blocked by the European Commission, and the Memorandum of understanding in respect of the supply of Russian gas under the Black sea through third countries in Greece and Italy, signed in February. What “third countries” refers to in the Memorandum is not mentioned, but looking at a map, it is obvious that it is either Bulgaria or Turkey. Both of these countries have already proved themselves unreliable partners, so talking about the specifics is premature. No doubt only that the hub would be in Greece. Maybe Russia expects recipient countries of gas in the event of a problem will themselves deal with unreliable transit countries.

The second promising area of cooperation is transport. “We are talking about the participation of Russian business structures in Greece in the upcoming tenders for the acquisition of the assets of the railway companies, port facilities in Thessaloniki. On the queue and a number of other projects, is able to significantly increase the potential of bilateral cooperation”, – said the head of the Russian state.

While it is difficult to say which part of Putin’s visit to Greece will become more important official or religious. This is not the first visit of the President of Russia Athos – he had been in this place in the autumn of 2005. Thus, as notes the edition “Russian Athens”, to get to Athos Putin managed only from the third attempt: in 2001, the trip was canceled due to heavy fog, and in 2004, Putin had to return to Russia because of the events in Beslan.

The same publication, citing the aforementioned newspaper “Kathimerini” States that the current Putin’s visit to Athos were also opponents. Supposedly Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew believes that the Russian side will give the festival the Byzantine splendor and luxury, rather than to come to Athos humble pilgrims, and is also against the term “Russian monasticism on mount Athos”. However, the authors of the “Russian Athens” note that this information may be inaccurate, as alleged previously, the refusal of the Russian President to visit Vatopedi monastery on the Holy week. Then this “news” was officially refuted by the foreign Ministry and in the government of Greece, in which he stated that “Vladimir Putin is always a welcome guest on Greek soil”.

However, difficult relations of the Moscow Patriarchate with the universal go back through the centuries, and it would be strange if this time visit by a Russian head of state, and especially the celebration of the Millennium of Russian monasticism on mount Athos passed without attempts at its politicization. Patriarch Kirill arrives in Athens today, on may 27 he will meet with Vladimir Putin on mount Athos and will stay on the Holy Mountain until the 29th.

“I am confident that friendly Russian-Greek relations is our common heritage, a solid Foundation for promising, future-oriented partnership. I expect that we will continue to develop the multifaceted dialogue, to work together to implement joint plans”, – so ends the article by Vladimir Putin in the newspaper “Kathimerini”. Despite the unwillingness of EU officials to dialogue with Russia, to spoil our bilateral relations with most countries in the EU, they are not.

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