A Russian mirage on Greek horizon

Russia offers Bazillion rubles to save Greece from default. Mountains of money that Moscow will never give, but that help Putin and Tsipras bring on their anti-European policies.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The morning after the victory of the 'no' in the Greek referendum, Alexis Tsipras called Vladimir Putin. According to Yuri Ushakov, adviser to the Russian president who reported the phone call, Putin congratulated the outcome of the vote and invited Tsipras in Russia to discuss the support of Russia to the Greek people. In short, yet beautiful words but not even a penny.

For weeks now the contacts between Athens and Moscow have intensified, proceeding on a parallel track to the Greek government negotiations with Brussels. As he frantically back and forth between the Greek capital and the European one, the Greek prime minister has found time to fly to St. Petersburg to participate in the international forum. From there he went back home with a gas pipeline project that will probably never see the light, a deal valued at 2 billion Euros for the construction of the Turkish Stream is on its territory. A breath of fresh air for Tsipras, desperately seeking to stanch the bleeding of liquid money that afflicts the country. But, once again, a nice smokescreen but not even a trace of a ruble.

The bank of the Brics

Let's face it brutally. The Greeks at this time like that there is a strong ally who raise his voice against the EU. A littlelikehaving strongman friend watching your back, so you can pretend to be a tough. Tsipras knows it well. The problem is that this time the muscular friend is not as strong as it seems. Russia, struggling with a hard economic situation - squeezed between the sanctions, the increasing military spending and the price of oil well below the $ 100 a barrel -, has to deal with deep budget cuts and will never be able to give the promised help.

Perhaps for this reason Moscow has recently offered a new proposal to Greece, an entrance ticket to the BRICS, the informal club of the five most dynamic economies in the world, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. According to the Deputy Russian Finance Minister Sergey Storchak, the New Development Bank of BRICS could easily finance Greece. "If they buy, so to speak, a few shares and become members of the bank, they will be able to count on the resources. We do not have any co-relation between a contribution and an amount of funding," Storchaksaid. The bank will have an initial budget of $ 50 billion, and $ 100 billion in regime. It’s like saying that Greece could easily run into debt with a new lender.


This new Russian proposal is nothing more than a mirage on the Greek horizon. A Greek membership into the BRICSshould be approved by the other member countries, which are not likely to have any interest to bring in a partner in debt. The same group is a bit the faded image of himself, since at least three of the five economies have stopped growing as fast as before. Finally, one should ask the Greeks what sense makes to borrow money from alenderthat doesn’t exist yet just to repay repay the ECB and the IMF, two structures that (despite all their faults) have their stability and reliability proved.

"The entry into the BRICS would require a political decision," Storchak added. This is where the point. Indeed, even before any request for membership, the political decisionis already in place, if Greece flirts with Russia while negotiating with Europe. Because it suits the Greek government to show to its citizens that there is a plan B, in which friendly countries will help them to cope with the demands of aruthless bankers-led EU. And because it suits the Kremlin to weaken Europe, starting fromits image in the eyes of the Greeks.


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