First of all, Putin didn’t go to Greece in order to save an Orthodox country ally or for just an orthodox pilgrimage. At the end of his official two-day visit in Greece the 27th-28th of May, the Russian leader made a pilgrimage to the holy Mount Athos , where he was met with “excitement and admiration” according to the Russian Sputnik news. Vladimir Putin went to only-male Athos monastery for the second time. This time, he visited the holy place to commemorate the millennial anniversary since the first Russian settlement on the Holy Mount Athos.
The visit of the Russian leader in Greece was all about geostrategic interests and not only an essentially moral or ideological trip to visit the Orthodox monks in the holy Mount Athos. For Russia, this visit directly or indirectly relates with the new “Cold War” between NATO and Russia, in order to demonstrate the strength of the “Russian bear” and send messages to Greece’s allies (EU and the whole NATO, especially Turkey, US, Poland) that Russia can always influence the EU politics and make agreements with some NATO’s member states.
— pythiamedia (@pythiamedia) 24 février 2016
Putin, who has sought to capitalize on the strained relations between Greece and many other European Union members, said Russia seeks to cooperate with Greece in the energy sector. Several Russian ministers also expressed interest in the privatization of Greek railways and in the northern port of Thessaloniki, but no major deals were announced. Only lower lever “cooperation agreements” were reached during the visit.
Some days after this visit we read that the Greek Defence Minister revealed that Greece and Russia had already agreed on collaborating for the co-production of Kalashnikov rifles in the city of Patras, once the embargo by the EU on Russia was lifted. Greece Defence Minister Panos Kammenos explained that the product manufactured in Greece would benefit the country, as it could be sold to other NATO members because it would have the seal of approval by NATO and the EU.
This geopolitical visit was just a vehicle of propaganda techniques as Greece is currently governed completely by Brussels technocrats and Russia is in a very difficult financial situation because of the embargoes and other sanctions related to the Ukrainian conflict (and Russia’s implication in it). The visit was like being in a film in which the protagonists merely impersonating the roles for a script based on virtual reality: Mr Alexis Tsipras was presenting the role of a Prime Minister as THE person who decides on the relations between his country and Russia, and on the other side Vladimir Putin was just pretending that Mr Tsipras was someone very important and the indebted Greece of today is an important partner for Russia. We said before that Putin might be dangerous but he is not stupid.
During May 2016, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras inaugurated the start of construction for the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece which was pushed by the United States(NYTIMES) as an alternative to Russian gas in order to provide sufficient energy in Europe. Official representatives of the European Union and U.S. State Department as well as high ranking officials from Greece, Turkey, Albania, Italy and Bulgaria attended the ceremony. Of course Russia was aware of all these plans and the hypocrisy of Mr Tsipras and its partners.
— TAP (@tap_pipeline) 25 mai 2016
NATO started to perceive Russia as a growing threat following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and continued action in the east of Ukraine. Several European members of the organization are increasing defense spending this year to combat “Russian aggression,” with the biggest defence budget growth being seen in the Baltic states.
The current geopolitics between Russia and Greece it brings to mind the film “Mr and Mrs. Smith” where the political couple is highly hypocritical, deceptive and “complexed” as a married one.
However, Russia takes very seriously its influence in the Balkans and the Eastern Europe as :
NATO officially invited Montenegro to become its 29th member mid-May, angering Russia, which already is threatening sanctions against what it calls a “friendly country.”
— Govt. of Montenegro (@MeGovernment) 31 mai 2016
2.Ukraine would like to be a member of NATO.Russia took back Crimea lawlessly, but no more so than the allies broke up Serbia and created an independent Kosovo. A majority of Crimeans probably supported the move, though only a free and fair referendum, unlike that conducted by Moscow, would tell for sure. In any case, Crimea is no more likely to go back to Ukraine than Kosovo is likely to go back to Serbia. The issue is effectively closed.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) 31 mai 2016
3. Georgia’s military exercices with NATO during May 2016: Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said Noble Partner 2016 U.S.-Georgia military exercises may escalate the military and political situation in the Caucasus region.
“We regard this ongoing ‘exploration’ of Georgia’s territory by NATO forces as a provocative step aimed at escalating the military and political situation in the South Caucasus,” the Ministry’s statement reads.
3.NATO ( and especially US) needs Russia and Russia needs NATO regarding the Middle East issues as the Syrian Civil War where both are directly and indirectly implicated.
4.Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that Romania and Poland would be in Russia’s crosshairs for hosting elements of a US missile defense system, Reuters reported.
Putin warns Romania, Poland over hosting US missile shield https://t.co/Of2axoR9cn
— CNBC (@CNBC) 29 mai 2016
NATO is currently seeking to station four new battalions in Eastern Europe: one each in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In May, the organization activated a missile defence base in Romania, with another currently being constructed in Poland.
A single NATO battalion inside Poland would be enough to deter Russian aggression, Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said in an interview on Wednesday, the 1st of June.
Polish Official: Battalion Enough to Deter Russia – As it gears up to host a major NATO meeting in July, Poland… https://t.co/hm9EXkGF5s
— Defense News (@defense_news) 31 mai 2016