Russia gave Greece a very valuable card to play in the EU when it announced its South Stream pipeline will be re-routed through Turkey, with a gas hub expected to be built on the border between Turkey and Greece.
Russian investors have been watching Greece closely since the economy went bust in the 2008 credit crisis, which sent it looking for financial assistance from the EU to pay its creditors.
The crisis, as well as the EU bailout policy, has sent the economy into a six-year recession, forcing the government to dismantle and privatize state assets to meet austerity targets under its EU bailout plan.
State-owned Russian Railways and Gazprom have been eyeing stakes in Greek assets. Russian Railways has held talks with TrainOSE, Greece’s state-owned passenger and cargo rail operator. In 2013, Gazprom made a €900 million bid for Greece’s state gas company DEPA, but backed out of negotiations at the last minute, citing concerns over the company’s financial stability.
Russian investment in Greek railways is estimated at up to $3 billion per year.
Traditionally, the two countries have very strong tourist ties, with more than 1 million Russians visiting Greece each year. This number has been trimmed since the ruble crisis and slowed growth have forced many Russian to forgo foreign travel.
Greece is home to a robust Russian diaspora – nearly 300,000 Russian nationals live 1,400 miles south of Moscow, largely a result of emigration
Rockstar: Syriza’s Yanis Tells Troika Bankers to Take a Hike Back to Brussels
21st Century Wire says…
Imagine being a sideline commentator on TV and then suddenly, you are called up to theBig Show…
After a closer examination, many will agree that as far as Greece is concerned, he is definitely the right man for the job.
Troika bankers in Brussels are said to be furious at how Yanis would not bow and scrape to their ‘generous’ offer of loading even more debt on top of a country already suffocating from the Establishment’s various “financial aid” packages. Instead, Yanis has given a cold shoulder to the same bankers who got Greece into its death spiral to begin with, and opting instead to negotiate directly with political leaders in the EU.
Make no mistake about it – this is a major poke in the eye to central banking masters of usury.
Syriza’s meteoric rise to the forefront of Greek politics certainly inspired Yanis, as he tweeted earlier in the week:
Yesterday Greek democracy raged against the dying of the light. Europe and the World should join us http://t.co/2ScFYrNGhX
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) January 26, 2015
Meanwhile, the mainstream media have been busy trying to figure out who Yanis is, with some outlets trying to portray him as an ‘extremist’, or as Greece’s new “left-wing” finance minister. To casually paint him as leftist simply because he is flying the financial flag for Syriza – would be a grave mistake indeed. Not only is he a capitalist, but ‘Global Minotaur’ Yanis could very well be one of the most innovative and forward thinking 21st century market masters around.
Speaking in a BBC interview earlier in the week, Yanis ridiculed the prevailing orthodoxy surrounding the Eurozone and the crippling debt that’s ravaging the southern EU nations. He said that “an eight or nine year old” could understand the raw deal handed down to Greece since going bankrupt in 2010. “Europe in its infinite wisdom decided to deal with this bankruptcy by loading the largest loan in human history on the weakest of shoulders, the Greek taxpayer”, said Yanis.
He added for good measure,“What we’ve been having ever since is a kind of fiscal waterboarding that has turned this nation into a debt colony.”
If government finance ever had a rock star, it is Yanis Varoufakis…
Watch him on the BBC here:
The new left-wing Greek government has said that it will not cooperate with the ‘troika’ of international lenders, and does not plan to seek an extension for its aid package which is set to expire at the end of February.
Without the aid, Greek banks could face being shut off from European Central Bank funding.
Rejecting cooperation with the troika from the EU and IMF, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he would rather negotiate the debt in direct talks with eurozone leaders.
“This position enabled us to win the trust of the Greek people,” Varoufakis said Friday during a joint press conference with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group.
“Our first action as a government will not be to reject the rationale of questioning this program through a request to extend it,” Varoufakis said. “We respect institutions but we don’t plan to cooperate with that committee.”
The meeting between Varoufakis and Dijsselbloem is to lay the groundwork for visits by newly-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the finance minister to London, Paris, and Rome next week. The new Greek leadership has voiced its intention to attempt to loosen the terms of the massive €240 billion (US$271 billion) bailout.
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) January 30, 2015
The new government has fueled panic among creditors and investors by promising to freeze privatizations and re-hire state workers, in addition to rolling back other reforms that were mandated by the bailout.
Varoufakis said he had told Dijsselbloem that although Athens plans to make the economy more competitive and balance its budgets, the country refuses to accept deflation and non-viable debt.
Dijsselbloem, meanwhile, warned Greece against taking unilateral measures and cautioned the new finance minister against rolling back progress.
Germany, Greece’s biggest lender, has said it will not consider writing off the country’s debt. Berlin expects Greece to implement structural reform in exchange for support…
TAP – If Russia bails out Greece, that means the Rothschilds are bailing out Greece, the same entity that lies behind the Euro. Russia and the Rouble are in the BIS system.
The break-out from the Euro will find Greece for sale at bargain basement prices. The creators of the mess will of course want to be its biggest beneficiaries.