Apr 20, 2022
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Greece blocks Russian oil tankers

Greece blocks Russian oil tankers

Photo: Yuri Smityuk/TASS

According to Forbes, on April 15, near the port of Karystos on the island of Euboea, the Greek authorities detained and arrested the Russian oil tanker Transmorphota. According to official information from the Greek side, the ship was detained “within the framework of the imposed sanctions.” There are 19 Russian sailors on board the tanker. According to the General Director of Transmorflot LLC Sergei Vlasenkofood on board the ship is only enough for a month.

Then it was reported that another Russian oil tanker, VF Tanker 2, was detained near Euboea due to EU sanctions.

What is the reason for the sudden escapade of our previously friendly Greece?

In the generic historical stains of the local politicians.

There is, perhaps, nothing more confusing in international relations than Russian-Greek relations. Diplomats from the fourth European department of the Russian Foreign Ministry themselves diplomatically call these relations “Greek swings”. And their character itself is not quite diplomatic, but with hidden sarcasm is described with the phrase “from the sertaki to the cloaca.”

These “swings” have been formed for centuries. In the eighteenth century, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire. The freedom-loving Greeks experienced the period of Turkish rule very painfully. Even the saying has come down to our time: “The gorge will be my grave, the snow will be my blanket, but I will not submit to the Turks!”.

At that time, Greece was of exceptional geostrategic importance for Russia. It was Russia’s pro-Russian Orthodox stronghold in the Balkans (along with Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro). Therefore, Russia helped the Greeks in every possible way in their struggle against the Turks – economically, diplomatically and with military supplies.

Russian volunteers, along with the Greeks, fought the Ottomans on numerous battlefields. But, unlike the same Serbia, Greece has always experienced pressure from Great Britain and France, which have always “squeezed out” Russia from the Balkans. Therefore, after the liberation from the Turks, Russian-Greek relations began to develop along a sinusoid – from love to scandal. Moreover, the “bifurcation point” could be passed at any moment.

After the end of the First World War, relations between the two countries were actually frozen. During the Civil War, the Greeks, as part of the Entente, even sent their fleet to Odessa. But the unstable Greek crews were quickly disintegrated and demoralized by the Odessa Bolsheviks and retreated back.

On the eve of World War II, relations seemed to have improved. But the mutual “sertaki” was short-lived. In the second half of the 1940s, Greece plunged into the abyss of civil war. In it, as a result, the far-right “black colonels” won the victory, and the country itself became a key outpost of NATO in the southeast of Europe. Which quite logically caused an unusually violent flow of extremely negative emotions in the USSR Foreign Ministry. “Sertaki” quickly broke off at the most interesting “pa”.

In the seventies, the regime of “black colonels” fell. Relations with Russia began to develop rapidly again. After “citizen Perestroika” came to our country, the iron curtain fell, and millions of Russians fully knew the magical charm and heavenly charm of numerous Greek resorts.

But at the same time, the complex games of Greece with the European Union continued. Greece has never been a key geopolitical player in Europe. But I always wanted to be. The ambitions of the Greek political elite have never been proportional to their status on the continent. “We gave mankind the torch of human civilization, and in return received a miserable stub of a wax candle,” this common phrase is known, cherished and carried in his heart by any more or less educated Greek.

For centuries, Greece tried in vain to become a full-fledged member of the European Union, in which it had practically no rights. All they succeeded in this field was to manage to take a huge loan from Germany. The simple and homespun idea that someday they would have to give it away, they could not shelter in their minds. But seven years ago thunder struck. The Germans suddenly demanded to return the debt – at least partially.

The Greeks were outraged. A monstrous scandal and an internal political crisis erupted. The insidious Germans offered to repay part of the debt with the Greek islands. This further spurred and inflamed internal Greek passions. The Greek establishment almost drowned in its own bile. Local media radiated to the address Merkel streams of hatred so caustic that they burned out the soul of everyone who dared to swim in them. The Germans were reminded of all their “damned Nazi past”, and accused of all mortal sins.

The Germans at first fell into a stupor. And then they got angry. The Greeks rushed for financial assistance to Russia. Russia agreed to give money, but demanded something in return. This “something” did not suit the Greeks again. In the end, the payment of the debt was postponed, but the sediment, as they say, remained. The Greeks were offended by Russia too.

Be that as it may, the deferred German debt backfired on the Greeks. They were not allowed to default, they were banned from issuing their own currency, and the interests of Greek producers were pinned down. In addition, Greece’s accession to the European Union led to the destruction of a number of shipbuilding enterprises in exchange for loans received.

As a result, Greece today has become one of the most problematic creditors of the European Union. In 2007 Greece initiated the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union in exchange for “silence about the loan”. And four years ago, the Greeks, apparently, were again unobtrusively hinted at an outstanding debt, and they urgently expelled two Russian diplomats to mitigate the boiling scandal.

Moreover, they could not really explain the reason for the expulsion. “Greece has demonstrated in its multi-dimensional politics that it wants good relations with all states, but that all states must respect international law,” a Greek government spokesman floridly explained. Dimitris Tzanakopoulos. – It is impossible to accept behavior that does not show respect for the Greek state. And there was such behavior. And so the necessary measures will be taken.”

What kind of “behavior” this was, Dimitris could not specify.

And a year after the agreement reached between Athens and Macedonia, Greece stopped blocking the accession of its northern neighbor – Macedonia (now North Macedonia – ed.) – to the EU and NATO.

It turns out that, following Bulgaria and Romania, Macedonia also became part of the West, which was absolutely not part of Moscow’s plans.

The special cynicism of the situation lay in the fact that in the same year Russia and Greece solemnly celebrated the 190th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the two countries. In total, more than 50 agreements are in force between Greece and Russia today. In addition, Greece is a historical leader among European countries in terms of the degree of positive attitude towards Russia. This is confirmed by all social polls. But the Greek elite, living in the “pendulum” regime, has a different outlook on life.

As a result, today Greece has the image of the most problematic country in the European Union. German journalists, after a series of international scandals related to non-payment of debt, have a number of common terms – “problematic, like a Greek”, “Greek gratitude”, “without pants, but with ambition” and many others.

The policy of the Greek politicum has always resembled the multi-vector policy of the Belarusian “father” – a sort of endless rotation of a snake on a hot frying pan. Yes, spiritually we are with you, but in our pocket – in the West. Yes, we are sending your ambassadors, but this is at the behest of the West. We didn’t want it ourselves. Yes, we have arrested your tankers, but we are always glad to see your tourists. Well, we are generally “always ready” to accept money from you. Therefore, there is nothing extraordinary in this arrest of Russian tankers by the Greeks. The usual centuries-old multi-vector. Greek variant.

But it may well turn out that the Anglo-Saxon world, with its bulldog political acumen and ability to “screw” entire countries to its interests, will tightly close its mouth on the throats of the descendants of Diogenes and Aristophanes.

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