Vladimir Putin Seeks to Expand Influence as Greek Crisis Deepens

Vladimir Putin is reportedly reaching out to Greek leaders, trying to affect the outcome of the recent crisis. On Sunday, Greek voters once again defied European leaders and voted against approving new austerity measures.

To obfuscate matters further, Greece seems to be making overtures to the Russian government. With the EU still reeling from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin comes at a very unwelcome time.

A Greek default and economic collapse spells possible disaster for the Eurozone economy and, therefore, for the Russian economy as well. However, the turmoil between Greece and its creditors carries promise for extended Russian influence within the country and the region.

Russia, additionally, maintains interests in Greece as Russia’s new Turkish Stream Pipeline, a natural gas supply line which would strengthen Russia’s stranglehold on European energy, ends in the Greek state.

As the situation develops, the question must be asked: If the Eurozone sees a “Grexit,” to whom will Greece turn? The answer seems painfully clear as the Greek-initiated talks with Russia discussed “several questions on the further development of Russian-Greek cooperation.” The leftist, anti-austerity leadership within Greece has continually exploited this growing relationship as talks with creditors strain.

For now, however, Putin “expressed his support to the people of Greece in overcoming the difficulties facing the country” and hopes the Greeks quickly develop a solution with their creditors.

On the Eurozone side, many contingents have formed, ranging from Spain’s willingness to bailout Greece to Italy’s hardline position that a second Greek bailout proposal “must resolve Greece’s debt crisis once and for all.”

Germany, a major creditor and leader of negotiations, appears to bear the most risk. Consultancy Eurasia Group sated: “If Grexit does occur in these circumstances, Germany will be blamed, something it has always wanted to avoid.”

While the world waits for a new Greek proposal, all sides are mustering their forces to deal with this crisis.

Russia called for a closed session summit of BRICS countries to be held in Russia this week. The countries attending include Brazil, India, China, and South Africa.

An emergency summit on Greece will be held on Tuesday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande develop a cohesive Greek strategy in Paris. At the summit, the European leaders expect a new bailout proposition from Greece.


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