The Greeks gave their blood fighting with distinct bravery next to US troops in WWII and in Korea and they now have the closest alliance with the US ever. But up to this day, the US is falling short of guaranteeing Greece’s sovereignty, Greece’s borders, and Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Instead, for as far back as anyone remembers, the DC establishment is playing “footsie” with the Sultan and the Pashas of Ankara and they are talking “equitable distribution” of Greece’s and Cyprus’ EEZ. Why the double standards?

By Nick Stamatakis

A few days after the Putin-Biden summit on Tuesday it was clear that Biden had “blinked” and on a phone call with the Ukrainian President on Thursday he was reported to have discussed (read: demanded) that Ukraine cede autonomy to the eastern Russophone provinces of Donbas.  Helleniscope was among the first to report on these developments, based on Russian sources which were a bit later first confirmed by Associated Press.

These were momentous developments that certainly affected the Greek Premier’s meeting on Wednesday with Putin at the Russian resort of Sochi in the Black Sea. As a matter of fact, it is reported that both U.S. Secretary Blinken and Senator Menendez, head of the Foreign Relations Committee had called Mitsotakis in the day before his meeting with Putin to offer their advice (and possibly a message to Putin).  At the same time, Ambassador Pyatt was observing extensive military exercises at the new American Base in Alexandroupolis – α base oriented northwards and eastwards towards Russia – certainly a show of force destined for Putin.  That particular base in Alexandroupolis, the result of recent Greece-US agreements, is clear proof that the relationship between the two is closer than ever: The US, have in Greece not only a faithful strategic ally over the last 8 decades but above all a friend with all the significance of the word.

Despite such a close alliance with the US, Greece has an obvious big strategic interest to maintain a close amicable relationship with Russia. The main reason is that Russia and Greece have a common geopolitical enemy, Turkey. Regardless of temporary ”tactical” cooperations (such as between Russia and Turkey currently), geopolitical adversaries do not change (or very rarely) in history.  Why? Because of geography and history and, in our case, culture/religion. Only when the communists got in power in Moscow after 1919 – this eternal truth changed temporarily. I could refer to numerous instances in the past 60 years when Russia intervened in favor of Greece in the Cyprus question and elsewhere – when the US and Britain were “washing their hands”…

As we said above Greece gave the US in recent and old pacts all the bases, all the cooperation and all the alliance benefits the US needs and asked for and then some.  The Greeks gave their blood fighting with distinct bravery next to US troops in WWII and in Korea. But up to this day, the US is falling short of guaranteeing Greece’s sovereignty, Greece’s borders, and Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Instead, for as far back as anyone remembers, the DC establishment is playing “footsie” with the Sultan and the Pashas of Ankara and they are talking “equitable distribution” of Greece’s and Cyprus’ EEZ hydrocarbon wealth(and other wealth: fishing rights) that – by international law (“The Law of the Sea”) belongs to Greece.

MAP ABOVE: EEZ of the Eastern Mediterranean – only partially delineated.

Would the US “equitably distribute” its EEZ wealth with Cuba and the Bahamas? NO, they would not. Instead, the US signed agreements delineating their EEZ with Cuba and the Bahamas following to the last “iota” the international “Law of the Sea”. Not only that, but the American establishment is more than ready to start a war with China over the same “Law of the Sea” on the side of Taiwan, Japan, and the Philipines. I remind you that the Bahamas, the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan have the same geographical make-up as Greece – lots of islands and “archipelagic geography”. Question: Why the double standards? Until the double standards disappear, Greece, despite being tied at the hip with the US, will have to keep Russia’s door open. I could go on providing specific examples from recent history but let me stop here.

One could argue that the US is not a signatory in the treaties defining the “Law of the Sea”.  Israel, the US, Turkey, Canada, and Venezuela are not signatories – yet most among them follow the “Law of the Sea” in every little detail. Even Turkey has delineated an EEZ according to the Law of the Sea in the Black Sea (while she refuses to do so in the Aegean and Mediterranean) and Israel has done the same in the Mediterranean. If we allow the application of international laws “a la carte” only where our specific interests fit these laws, then we, Americans, are responsible for turning the international relationships into a jungle and we rightly deserve all the cynicism that follows the American name in international relations globally. Are we going to apply a single standard or we are going to apply the law “a la carte”?

MAP ABOVE: EEZ delineation in the Caribbean

In addition to the above, one should note that Greece is getting at least 40% of its energy needs from Russia – and this is reason enough to maintain an amicable relationship – not to mention a number of less vital economic interests, not the least of which is tourism. If the US wants to improve Greece’s energy autonomy it should encourage further their huge oil companies to start exploring oil and natural gas in Greece’s EEZ just as EXXONMOBIL started doing in Cyprus for a second field in the waters south of the island.  EXXONMOBIL has initially signed deals with Greece for exploration south of Crete.  Greece has other more easily accessible gas fields in shallow (or not as deep) waters in the Ionian Sea.

Albania produces substantial amounts of oil for many decades – much of it in fields adjacent to the Greek border –  clear proof that there is oil on the Greek side of the border (there have been studies that never lead anywhere).  Yet the corrupt political elites of Greece never managed to develop any production – except when the Colonels’ military junta was in power, when the Prinos oil field near the island of Thassos was developed in the early 1970s.  It is in the interest of the US and American companies to demand the development of oil and natural gas production in Greece.

Guarantees of Greece’s EEZ and development of its oil fields – these are the practical ways if the US wants Greece to be less dependent on Russia. Useless, silly visits by Ambassador Jeffrey Pyatt to Mount Athos (thank God he stopped!) produce the exact opposite results and exacerbate the traditional suspicions and cynicism all Greeks have towards any political power in this world – local or international.

December 12, 2021,

DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.


Η Ελλάδα, ένας πιστός σύμμαχος των ΗΠΑ, πρέπει να έχει πάντα ανοιχτή την πόρτα της Ρωσίας…

Οι Έλληνες έδωσαν το αίμα τους μαχόμενοι με ξεχωριστή γενναιότητα δίπλα στα στρατεύματα των ΗΠΑ στον Β’ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο και στην Κορέα και πλέον έχουν τη στενότερη συμμαχία παρά ποτέ με τις ΗΠΑ. Αλλά μέχρι σήμερα, οι ΗΠΑ αποφεύγουν να εγγυηθούν την κυριαρχία της Ελλάδας, και ειδικά τα ελληνικά θαλάσσια σύνορα και την Αποκλειστική Οικονομική Ζώνη της Ελλάδας (ΑΟΖ). Αντίθετα, από όσο θυμάται κανείς, το κατεστημένο της Ουάσιγκτον DC υποβοηθά τον Σουλτάνο και τους πασάδες της Άγκυρας και μιλάνε για «δίκαιη κατανομή» της ΑΟΖ Ελλάδας και Κύπρου. Γιατί τα διπλά μέτρα και σταθμά;

Του Νίκου Σταματάκη

Λίγες ημέρες μετά τη σύνοδο κορυφής Πούτιν-Μπάιντεν την Τρίτη ήταν σαφές ότι ο Μπάιντεν είχε “υποχωρήσει” και σε τηλεφωνική επικοινωνία με τον Ουκρανό Πρόεδρο την Πέμπτη αναφέρθηκε ότι συζήτησε (διαβάστε: απαίτησε) να παραχωρήσει η Ουκρανία την αυτονομία στην ανατολική Ρωσόφωνη επαρχίες του Ντονμπάς. Το Helleniscope ήταν από τα πρώτα που αναφέρθηκαν σε αυτές τις εξελίξεις, με βάση ρωσικές πηγές που λίγο αργότερα επιβεβαιώθηκαν για πρώτη φορά από το Associated Press.

Αυτές ήταν σημαντικές εξελίξεις που σίγουρα επηρέασαν τη συνάντηση του Έλληνα πρωθυπουργού με τον Πούτιν στο ρωσικό θέρετρο Σότσι στη Μαύρη Θάλασσα. Μάλιστα, αναφέρεται ότι τόσο ο αμερικανός υπουργός Εξωτερικών Blinken όσο και ο γερουσιαστής Menendez, επικεφαλής της Επιτροπής Εξωτερικών Σχέσεων, είχαν τηλεφωνήσει στον Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη την ημέρα πριν από τη συνάντησή του με τον Πούτιν για να τους δώσουν τις συμβουλές τους (και πιθανώς ένα μήνυμα στον Πούτιν). Την ίδια στιγμή, ο Πρέσβης Pyatt παρακολουθούσε εκτεταμένες στρατιωτικές ασκήσεις στη νέα Αμερικανική Βάση στην Αλεξανδρούπολη – βάση προσανατολισμένη προς τα βόρεια και ανατολικά προς τη Ρωσία – σίγουρα μια επίδειξη δύναμης που προοριζόταν για τον Πούτιν. Η συγκεκριμένη βάση στην Αλεξανδρούπολη, αποτέλεσμα πρόσφατων συμφωνιών Ελλάδας-ΗΠΑ, είναι ξεκάθαρη απόδειξη ότι η σχέση μεταξύ των δύο είναι στενότερη παρά ποτέ: Οι ΗΠΑ έχουν στην Ελλάδα όχι μόνο έναν πιστό στρατηγικό σύμμαχο τις τελευταίες 8 δεκαετίες αλλά πάνω από όλα φίλος με όλη τη σημασία της λέξης.

Παρά μια τόσο στενή συμμαχία με τις ΗΠΑ, η Ελλάδα έχει προφανές μεγάλο στρατηγικό συμφέρον να διατηρήσει μια στενή φιλική σχέση με τη Ρωσία. Ο κύριος λόγος είναι ότι η Ρωσία και η Ελλάδα έχουν έναν κοινό γεωπολιτικό εχθρό, την Τουρκία. Ανεξάρτητα από την προσωρινή συνεργασία για λόγους τακτικής (όπως αυτή τη στιγμή μεταξύ Ρωσίας και Τουρκίας), οι γεωπολιτικοί αντίπαλοι δεν αλλάζουν (ή πολύ σπάνια) στην ιστορία. Γιατί; Λόγω γεωγραφίας και ιστορίας και πολιτισμού. Μόνο όταν οι κομμουνιστές ανέλαβαν την εξουσία στη Μόσχα μετά το 1919 – αυτή η αιώνια αλήθεια άλλαξε – και τότε μάλιστα προσωρινά. Θα μπορούσα να αναφερθώ σε πολλές περιπτώσεις τα τελευταία 60 χρόνια όταν η Ρωσία παρενέβη υπέρ της Ελλάδας στα Κυπριακά και αλλού – όταν ΗΠΑ και Βρετανία «ένιπταν τας χείρας τους»…

Όπως είπαμε παραπάνω η Ελλάδα έδωσε στις ΗΠΑ στα πρόσφατα και παλαιότερα όλες τις βάσεις, όλες τις συνεργασίες και όλα τα συμμαχικά οφέλη που χρειάζονται οι ΗΠΑ και μάλιστα με το παραπάνω. Οι Έλληνες έδωσαν το αίμα τους μαχόμενοι με ξεχωριστή γενναιότητα δίπλα στα αμερικανικά στρατεύματα στον Β’ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο και στην Κορέα. Αλλά μέχρι σήμερα, οι ΗΠΑ αποφεύγουν να εγγυηθούν την κυριαρχία της Ελλάδας, και ειδικά τα ελληνικά θαλάσσια σύνορα και την Αποκλειστική Οικονομική Ζώνη (ΑΟΖ). Αντίθετα, από όσο θυμάται κανείς, το κατεστημένο της Ουάσιγκτον DC υποβοηθά τον Σουλτάνο και τους πασάδες της Άγκυρας και μιλάνε για «δίκαιη κατανομή» της ΑΟΖ Ελλάδας και Κύπρου (και άλλου πλούτου: αλιευτικά δικαιώματα) ότι – κατά το διεθνές δίκαιο («Το Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας») ανήκει στην Ελλάδα.

MAP ABOVE: EEZ of the Eastern Mediterranean – only partially delineated.

Θα μοίραζαν οι ΗΠΑ “δίκαια” τον πλούτο τους στην δική τους ΑΟΖ με την Κούβα και τις Μπαχάμες; ΟΧΙ, δεν θα το έκαναν. Αντίθετα, οι ΗΠΑ υπέγραψαν συμφωνίες που οριοθετούν την ΑΟΖ τους με την Κούβα και τις Μπαχάμες ακολουθώντας μέχρι το τελευταίο κόμμα το διεθνές «Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας». Όχι μόνο αυτό, αλλά το αμερικανικό κατεστημένο είναι απολύτως έτοιμο να ξεκινήσει έναν πόλεμο με την Κίνα για το ίδιο «Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας» στο πλευρό της Ταϊβάν, της Ιαπωνίας και των Φιλιππίνων. Θυμίζω ότι οι Μπαχάμες, οι Φιλιππίνες, η Ιαπωνία και η Ταϊβάν έχουν την ίδια γεωγραφική σύνθεση με την Ελλάδα – πολλά νησιά και «αρχιπελαγική γεωγραφία». Ερώτηση: Γιατί τα διπλά μέτρα και σταθμά; Μέχρι να εξαφανιστούν τα διπλά μέτρα και σταθμά, η Ελλάδα, παρά το γεγονός ότι είναι στενά δεμένη με τις ΗΠΑ, θα πρέπει να κρατήσει την πόρτα της Ρωσίας ανοιχτή. Θα μπορούσα να συνεχίσω να δώσω συγκεκριμένα παραδείγματα από την πρόσφατη ιστορία, αλλά επιτρέψτε μου να σταματήσω εδώ.

Θα μπορούσε κανείς να υποστηρίξει ότι οι ΗΠΑ δεν έχουν υπογράψει τις συνθήκες που ορίζουν το «Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας». Το Ισραήλ, οι ΗΠΑ, η Τουρκία, ο Καναδάς και η Βενεζουέλα δεν έχουν υπογράψει – ωστόσο ακολουθούν τον «Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας» με κάθε λεπτομέρεια. Ακόμη και η Τουρκία έχει οριοθετήσει ΑΟΖ σύμφωνα με το Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας στη Μαύρη Θάλασσα (ενώ αρνείται να το κάνει στο Αιγαίο και τη Μεσόγειο) και το Ισραήλ έχει κάνει το ίδιο στη Μεσόγειο. Εάν επιτρέψουμε την εφαρμογή διεθνών νόμων “a la carte” μόνο όπου τα συγκεκριμένα συμφέροντά μας ταιριάζουν με αυτούς τους νόμους, τότε εμείς, οι Αμερικανοί, είμαστε υπεύθυνοι για τη μετατροπή των διεθνών σχέσεων σε ζούγκλα και δικαίως μας αξίζει όλος ο κυνισμός που ακολουθεί το αμερικανικό όνομα στο διεθνείς σχέσεις παγκοσμίως. Θα εφαρμόσουμε ένα ενιαίο πρότυπο ή θα εφαρμόσουμε τον νόμο «a la carte»;

MAP ABOVE: EEZ delineation in the Caribbean

Εκτός από τα παραπάνω, πρέπει να σημειωθεί ότι η Ελλάδα προμηθεύεται τουλάχιστον το 40% των ενεργειακών της αναγκών από τη Ρωσία -και αυτός είναι αρκετός λόγος για να διατηρήσει μια φιλική σχέση- για να μην αναφέρουμε ορισμένα λιγότερο ζωτικά οικονομικά συμφέροντα, όπως ο τουρισμός. Εάν οι ΗΠΑ θέλουν να βελτιώσουν την ενεργειακή αυτονομία της Ελλάδας, θα πρέπει να ενθαρρύνουν περαιτέρω τις κολοσσιαίες εταιρείες πετρελαίου τους να ξεκινήσουν την εξερεύνηση πετρελαίου και φυσικού αερίου στην ΑΟΖ της Ελλάδας, όπως η EXXONMOBIL άρχισε να κάνει στην Κύπρο για ένα δεύτερο κοίτασμα στα νερά νότια του νησιού. Η EXXONMOBIL έχει υπογράψει αρχικά συμφωνίες με την Ελλάδα για εξερεύνηση νότια της Κρήτης. Η Ελλάδα έχει άλλα πιο εύκολα προσβάσιμα κοιτάσματα φυσικού αερίου σε ρηχά ή όχι τόσο βαθιά νερά στο Ιόνιο Πέλαγος.

Η Αλβανία παράγει σημαντικές ποσότητες πετρελαίου για πολλές δεκαετίες -μεγάλο μέρος της σε κοιτάσματα δίπλα στα ελληνικά σύνορα – ξεκάθαρη απόδειξη ότι υπάρχει πετρέλαιο στην ελληνική πλευρά των συνόρων (υπήρξαν μελέτες που δεν οδήγησαν πουθενά). Ωστόσο, οι διεφθαρμένες πολιτικές ελίτ της Ελλάδας δεν κατάφεραν ποτέ να αναπτύξουν καμία παραγωγή – εκτός από την εποχή που η στρατιωτική χούντα των Συνταγματαρχών ήταν στην εξουσία όταν το κοίτασμα του Πρίνου κοντά στο νησί της Θάσου αναπτύχθηκε στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του 1970 και εξακολουθεί να παράγει. Είναι προς το συμφέρον των ΗΠΑ και των αμερικανικών εταιρειών να απαιτήσουν την ανάπτυξη της παραγωγής πετρελαίου και φυσικού αερίου στην Ελλάδα.

Εγγυήσεις για την ΑΟΖ της Ελλάδας και ανάπτυξη των κοιτασμάτων πετρελαίου της – αυτοί είναι οι πρακτικοί τρόποι εάν οι ΗΠΑ θέλουν η Ελλάδα να εξαρτάται λιγότερο από τη Ρωσία. Οι άχρηστες, ανόητες επισκέψεις του Πρέσβη Jeffrey Pyatt στο Άγιο Όρος (δόξα τω Θεώ τις σταμάτησε!) παράγουν τα ακριβώς αντίθετα αποτελέσματα και επιδεινώνουν τις παραδοσιακές καχυποψίες και κυνισμό που έχουν όλοι οι Έλληνες απέναντι σε οποιαδήποτε πολιτική εξουσία σε αυτόν τον κόσμο – τοπική ή διεθνή.

December 12, 2021,

DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.




  1. As far back as I can remember, over 70 years, Greece has always been a faithful friend of the USA. Currently, we see the Empire decaying faster each day. She is a wild animal, desperate to keep her power. Tread carefully with both eyes wide open 24/7. Let us pray.

  2. Greece and Russia: back to the Truman Doctrine? An Assessment


    Britain’s well-known keenness to keep Russia, and then the Soviet Union, and now again just Russia, away from the Eastern Mediterranean is a well-established fact of foreign policy. Since the end of the last world war, the same policy has returned, albeit in the new colours of America, with the UK in attendance. This article traces some key events in the continuing atavistic story, and then attempts to prognosticate, concluding that, whatever the public relations spin on events, little has altered since the assassination of Greece’s first pro-Russian leader, Count Capodistrias, other than cosmetically. In short, the same things return, but with different colours.

    English Greece

    In 1841, the British Minister to Greece, Sir Edmund Lyons, said: ‘A truly independent Greece is an absurdity. Greece can either be English or Russian, and since she cannot be Russian, it is necessary that she be English.’ His words show that the Cold War began long before the so-called Truman Doctrine. In fact, one can pre-date the beginning of a Cold War mentality to 1791, when the English Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, lambasted Russia for wishing to dismember Anatolia. This was only some twenty-two years after Catherine the Great’s attempt to free Greece via the Orlov brothers. At any rate, when Greece’s first leader, the pro-Russian Capodistrias (a former Russian foreign minister), was assassinated in 1831, Britain breathed a sigh of relief. Thenceforth, Greece was a mere geopolitical tool of the world’s largest empire. The Crimean War demonstrates par excellence Britain’s insistence on keeping Russia away from Greece, just as does Britain’s possession of Cyprus in 1878, whereby Britain undertook to support the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Fast-forward to 1944 when, despite Churchill’s’ ‘percentages agreement’ with Stalin, whereby Greece would be ten per cent Russian and ninety English, Britain was still highly suspicious of its ‘ally’ Russia, even though the Foreign Office had admitted that Britain, not the Soviet Union, was responsible for the strength of the Communists in Greece (and Yugoslavia). The following extract from a paper prepared for the British Foreign Minister, Eden, in1944, says it all: ‘[…] Nor can any accusation be levelled against the Russians of organising the spread of communism in the Balkans.[…] The Soviet Government’s support of the Communist-led elements in these countries is not so much based on ideological grounds as on the fact that such elements are most responsive to and are the most vigorous in resisting the axis.[…] Furthermore, if anyone is to blame for the present situation in which the Communist-led movements are the most powerful elements in Yugoslavia and Greece, it is we ourselves. Russia’s historical interest in the Balkans has always manifested itself in a determination that no other Great Power shall dominate them, as this would constitute a strategical threat to Russia.[…] whereas in the nineteenth century we had Austro-Hungary as an ally to counter these Russian measures there is no one on whom we can count to support us this time. […] As a result of our approach to the Soviet Government, however, the latter have now agreed to let us take the lead in Greece.
    1947 is a key year, since this is when Britain literally handed Greece to the US, thus extricating itself from her embarrassing rôle in having aided and abetted the Greek civil war. Britain thus brought America into the Balkans, thereby replacing the dead Austro-Hungarian Empire as its pro-Ottoman and then pro-Turkish friend.

    American Greece

    Greece now appears to be again becoming one of the American military and commercial empire’s most compliant partners. Let us again go backwards: Trumanesque Greece was firmly part of US and NATO Cold War strategy, with the Left Wing being reviled by the anti-communist deep state which, when threatened by liberalisation, engineered the military coup of 1967, bringing in a particularly pro-American government. Despite the US-condoned invasion of Cyprus which led to the fall of the Junta, Greece’s leaving NATO’s integrated military structure for a few years, Andreas Papandreou’s short-lived push for more independence in foreign policy, and former recent Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’ attempts to move closer to Moscow (eg the abortive Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline), Greece is now again moving very much into the US/NATO camp, epitomised by the recent signing of the ‘EastMed Act’, which improves US military cooperation with Greece and establishes areas of cooperation such as energy security in the region, according to Jim Risch, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The US is particularly happy with the agreement between Greece, Cyprus and Israel on gas exploration, since it will reduce European dependence on Russian gas. The US is even happier with Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ public support for the assassination of Iran’s top general, Soleimani, which contrasts with France and Germany’s muted response. It is no exaggeration to state that Greece is in many respects emulating the foreign policy of the military dictatorship of 1967-74.

    Another factor in all this is the Greek-American one. There are estimated to be 1,400,000 of them, all with relatives in Greece, and all descended from immigrants. As with many immigrants, particularly those who have had to leave their country for economic reasons, many are beholden to their host country’s policies, but particularly in the case of policy vis-à-vis Russia. They are spearheaded by the American Hellenic Institute, and lobby constantly to try and persuade the US to be firmer with Turkey on the Cyprus question. Yet they are by and large also anti-communist, and therefore anti-Russian, as if the Cold War is uppermost in their minds, with their apparent inability to differentiate between Communism and modern Russia.

    The Greek government seems to naïvely think that by making Greece a US military strongpoint, as it has just done, it will gain US support, to help Greece to combat Turkish claims on some Greek islands. This is naïve: the US Embassy has written: ‘We recognize Greece’s border with Turkey, but not all the territorial waters implications which Greece asserts. We have not taken a position on sovereignty over Imia/Kardak, in part because of the lack of an agreed maritime boundary….. We recognize the six [!]-mile territorial sea claim and a claim to the superjacent air space. We do not recognize Greece’s claim to territorial air space seaward of the outer limit of its territorial sea.’

    Greece can expect no help from the US, if Turkey does manage to grab a Greek island. Indeed, whatever the rhetoric, Turkey is more important to US and NATO interests than Greece. As the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote in 1975, reflecting US policy then and now: ‘We must also recognise that in the final analysis Turkey must be regarded as more important to Western strategic interests than Greece and that, if risks must be run, they should be risks of further straining Greek rather than Turkish relations with the West.’ This is still true, whatever the public relations socio-political engineering. Greece also seems to have forgotten that the US facilitated and condoned the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. More worrying, Iran has already threatened retaliation, if the US uses any base in Greece to attack it. In diplomacy, detail and precision are more important than pseudo-bonhommie and vague words. Yet, perhaps paradoxically, Greece’s behaviour puts Russia in a strong position. Before elaborating on this, let us first look at ‘Russian Greece’.

    Russian Greece

    As we have seen, the assassination of Greece’s first leader was the first blow to Greece-Russia relations, ushering in a period of instability and foreign, mainly French and British, interference. Yet the modern Greek state would not even have come about as it did, were it not for Russia: the Anglo-Russian Protocol of 4 April 1826 stated that Britain would mediate to make Greece an autonomous vassal of the Ottoman Empire, but that if this proved impossible, the two powers could intervene jointly or separately. Russia intervened, and Britain was forced to adopt an ‘if you can’t beat’em, join ‘em’ approach. Thus, the British-Russian-French fleet sunk the Ottoman-Egyptian fleet at Navarino, followed by Russia’s defeating the Ottomans in a quick war. Greece was thus able to gain its – albeit qualified – independence, as a protectorate of the ‘Powers’. Thereafter, Britain’s gunboat ‘diplomacy’ ensured that Greece was unable to support Russia officially in the Crimean War: Britain simply blockaded Piraeus. But during the Russian Revolution, Greece made a major strategic mistake by fighting the Bolsheviks, to Britain’s glee, thus helping Moscow to justify supporting Mustafa Kemal. Although Greece and the Soviet Union were technically on the same side (ie the Greek government in exile) following the German invasion of Russia, the result of the Greek civil war and the Truman Doctrine put paid to any possibility of warm relations between Athens and Moscow. Stalin’s internal exiling of around 50,000 Soviet Greeks eastwards should be seen in this context, particular the groups exiled in the late Forties. Thereafter, the banning of the Greek Communist Party in Greece and the military Junta of 1967 to 1974 put paid to serious relations between Athens and Moscow. Thereafter, any attempts to improve relations have been thwarted in one way or another. Perhaps understandably, Moscow has considerable difficulty in trusting Greek governments, given Greece’s NATO-friendly energy policy, such as the US-sponsored Greece-Cyprus-Israel triangle, and now the military agreement with the US.

    Therefore, whatever the natural historical atavistic affinity between the Greek and Russian peoples – viz., inter alia, the Cyrillic alphabet, Orthodox Christianity, the Treaty of Küçük Kainardji (whereby Russia won the right to protect Christians in the Ottoman Empire), a commercial treaty granting Greek ships the protection of the Russian flag, the establishment of a military academy for Greeks in Russia, the Greek Battalion of Balaclava (part of the Russian Imperial Army), and the pro-Russian Capodistrias – , strategic reality has to date proved stronger than nostalgia, emotion and atavistic affinity. Russia has also made the odd mistake, for example over Skopje: had she supported the Greek position over Skopje, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that she would have obtained a nice warm Aegean port for her nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers to dock for summer vacations.

    The Turkish Factor

    On top of this, from a purely strategic viewpoint, Turkey is more important to Russia than Greece, one of the most obvious reasons being the fact that the Bosphorus Straits are on Turkish territory, and that Russia values its rights of passage. As Russia has seen Greece being used increasingly by the US as a tool to frustrate various Russian interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, so she has been skilfully playing on Turkish sensitivities to build up its influence. The sale of the S-400 system to Turkey, to Washington’s rage, is a prime example. Moscow has understood that unlike Greece, it can influence events, and chip away at US and NATO interests via Turkey: Realpolitik and soft power par excellence.

    The Cyprus Complication

    No consideration of Greece-Russia relations can be complete without some reference to Cyprus. The days of Archbishop Makarios’ balanced relations with Moscow are dead and gone. Although Russia has taken various initiatives, such as proposing an international conference on Cyprus, NATO and the EU have resisted this, since Russian proposals to rid the island of foreign armed forces are anathema to the US and Britain, who would then have to give the British ‘Sovereign Base Areas’ to Cyprus, thus weakening NATO’s de facto base linking the Eastern Mediterranean to the Middle East. For NATO, Turkish interests take precedence over Cypriot and Greek ones. When Moscow tested the waters by selling its S-300 system to Cyprus in 1997, the resulting Turkish threats and EU and US pressure on Cyprus not to activate the system in Cyprus, saw it transferred to Crete. Again, Turkish interests took precedence. Russia does of course have its red line: when a resolution on the Annan unification plan was discussed in 2004, Russia vetoed it, since the plan as a whole was essentially NATO- (and Turkey-) friendly.

    Russian foreign policy is not as a rule aggressive, such as the US’s and Turkey’s. In the case of its relations with Greece, Moscow is happy to watch Greek-Turkish tensions causing problems for NATO, and influence Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East to suit its own aims of stability. In this respect, Greece is on the sidelines, now considered to be a mere tool of US policy, whereas Turkey has shown a measure of independence vis-à-vis the US, which Greece would not dare to countenance, perhaps sensing that were Turkey to snatch a Greek island, the US would simply issue a critical statement against Turkey, and do all it could to prevent a war between NATO ‘allies’ Greece and Turkey, just as occurred with the Cyprus crisis in 1974. It wishes to keep its base at Incirlik.

    To Conclude

    Then becomes now, albeit with different colours. Just as with Britain during her heyday, Greece’s relations with Russia today are predicated on the US’s keeping Russia at bay in the Eastern Mediterranean, and therefore from having positive and close relations with Greece, Russia’s natural ally in the Nineteenth Century. It would take a Greek statesman of the calibre of Capodistrias, de Gaulle or Putin to even begin to re-establish the balance. Common religious and historical ties are not enough.

    William Mallinson

    Professor of Political Ideas and Institutions

    Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi

    10 February 2021

  3. Λάθος Νίκο η Ελληνική Ελίτ μεταλλάχτηκε σε
    Δυστυχώς από την εποχή που η πολιτική ΑΛΙΤ
    ακολούθησε το δόγμα ανήκουμε στη Δύση
    βγάλαμε τα μάτια μας μόνοι μας.
    Αν δεν μπορούσαμε να είμαστε ανεξάρτητοι….
    και να έχουμε φιλίες με όλους θα ήταν προτιμότερο να είχαμε φιλικές σχέσεις με τους
    Ομόδοξους Ρώσους και μιλάω για την εποχή που
    ανέλαβε τα ηνία ο Πούτιν και μετά.
    Ξεβρακωθήκαμε και κάναμε ολόκληρη σχεδόν
    την Πατρίδα μας Αμερικανική βάση χωρίς να
    λάβουμε καμιά εγγύηση για την ασφάλεια των
    συνόρων μας. Σκεφθείτε αν είχαμε κάνει ακριβώς
    το αντίθετο , θα είχαμε πολλαπλά κέρδη, θα μας
    εξασφάλιζαν τα σύνορά μας με αποτέλεσμα οι
    στρατιωτικές μας δαπάνες να ήταν στο μίνιμουμ,
    η σύσφιξη των σχέσεων θα είχε ως αποτέλεσμα
    την κάθοδον των Ρώσων πολιτών στην Χώρα μας
    οι οποίοι στο βάθος χρόνου θα αφομιώνοντο , έτσι θα λυνόταν το δημογραφικό πρόβλημα και
    θα αποφεύγαμε την μοσακοποίηση της Πατρίδας
    μας από κάθε καρυδιάς καρύδι , αυτό που συμβαίνει σήμερα. Επί πλέον δε θα άλλαζε το
    Status quo στα Βαλκάνια τα οποία θα μετατρέποντο σε χώρο φιλίας και συνεργασίας,
    σ’ένα πραγματικό επίγειο Παράδεισο της
    Μεσογείου , του Αιγαίου και των Δαλματικών


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