Only a few days in power and the new Greek government under Alexis Tsipras shows that is not willing to play the role of the puppet. Through a statement, the Greek government correctly expressed its dissatisfaction about the way the EU handled the issue of possible new sanctions against Russia.
The new Greek government of leftwing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras complained to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday, saying it had not been consulted about a statement on the growing crisis in Ukraine.
In a rare joint statement, EU leaders voiced concern about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and condemned the killing of civilians in the 'indiscriminate shelling' of Mariupol. They asked their foreign ministers to consider possible new sanctions against Russia in response although a final decision is expected to be left until a summit next month.
Fresh from his election victory, Tsipras was sworn in as prime minister on Monday and only unveiled his cabinet on Tuesday. But his office said the EU should still have secured consent from Athens before issuing a statement in the name of European member states. “In this context, we underline that it does not have our country's consent. Dissatisfaction with the handling of this was expressed in a telephone conversation between the prime minister and the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Mogherini,” the statement said.
Greek-Russian relations were downgraded significantly under previous Antonis Samaras government. Former government followed immediately Western sanctions against Russia, something that triggered Russia's response to block many Greek products from the Russian market. (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/08/the-most-faithful-puppets.html)
Tsipras shows that he is willing to walk towards an opposite direction and restore the relations with Russians. The latest fast response is not accidental, as in the critical position of the minister of foreign affairs has been placed Nikos Kotzias, who is quite known for his positions concerning a stronger approach between Greece and Russia.
Kotzias expressed also his "anti-Troika" feelings in the past, stating that the Troika lenders in Greece serve specific interests, something that was actually confirmed by a government official three years later: http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/03/official-troika-in-greece-serves.html
The leader of the anti-memorandum party EPAM (United People's Front), Dimitris Kazakis, stated that this was a first positive reaction by the Greek government, while extends the field of actions that the government should take, claiming that Tsipras government should use veto against the rest of the EU in order to stop the escalation of the slaughter by the neo-nazis in Ukraine, and restore relations with Russia. (http://dimitriskazakis.blogspot.gr/2015/01/blog-post_71.html)
On the other side, Putin shows that he wants to take the opportunity of the new government in power and restore relations with Greece, upgrading Russia's role in the East Mediterranean. He rushed to send congratulations to Tsipras and made previously a move which shows that he wants to put Greece back in the game: http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/12/fresh-smart-moves-by-putin-in.html
Also from Moscow Times:
Greece's new prime minister, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, established contact with Russia prior to being elected. Like other leaders of formerly fringe European political parties, Tsipras was received as a highly honored guest by the Kremlin. The leftist leader met with Russian officials in Moscow last May, including Valentina Matviyenko, chair of the Russian parliament's upper house who had served as Russia's ambassador to Greece in the late 1990s.
Greek objection to sanctions against Russia is in part motivated by the losses the country has suffered over Russia's subsequent ban on a range of food products from the European Union, according to Syriza officials. Kostas Isihos, the party's foreign policy boss, told government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Monday that Greek farmers, whose exports to Russia include fruit and olive oil, had lost some 430 million euros because of the sanctions.
Putin warmly congratulated Tsipras on his victory Monday, expressing confidence “that Russia and Greece will continue to develop their traditionally constructive cooperation in all areas and will work together effectively to resolve current European and global problems,” according to the Kremlin's website. Putin also referred to “current difficult conditions” and wished Tsipras success in working in them.
“If Russia didn't have its own economic crisis, it might be willing to financially support the new Greek government's anti-austerity measures,” said Vasily Koltashov, head of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements' economic research center. “It is unlikely that Greece views Russia as a useful partner right now. Chances are that they view Russia as a partner in [economic] trouble.”
Moscow also shows that seeks to restore relations with Cyprus after the bail-in fiasco with the Cypriot banks that brought big losses to the Russian depositors.
Moscow is seeking military facilities on Cyprus, Russian ambassador Nicosia Stanislav Osadchiy said on Wednesday.
But Osadchiy said his country's consultations with the foreign ministry of Cyprus were presently centered on bilateral agreements to be signed when the eastern Mediterranean island's president, Nicos Anastasiades, visits Moscow on Feb. 25. Osadchiy did not specify the kind of facilities Moscow wanted Cyprus to provide.
“Russia is interested in an agreement providing military facilitation similar to the ones in place with France and Germany,” Osacdhiy said. “The matter is being discussed,” he added.
As Tsipras stated that the first country he will visit will be Cyprus, everything shows that we may see in future the shaping of the geopolitical triangle of Greece-Cyprus-Russia, containing common interests in the fields of economy, security and energy.