_ Dimitrios Velanis, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Greece. 6 June 2019.
In order to improve relations between the European Union and Russia, it is necessary to immediately convene an urgent EU-Russia summit.
Of course, I’d prefer this to happen in Greece, the birthplace democracy; a country that loves both Russia and Europe. Consider this a call to action.
Relations between the European Union and Russia did not deteriorate all at once.
The Russian leadership originally supported the EU in its policy, considered cooperation with Europe to be strategic, and advocated an open-door policy.
There was an agreement on partnership and cooperation, which was signed on Corfu Island in June 1994; it was supposed to be the cornerstone of the EU-Russia relationship. A strategy was adopted to create a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and no one took it off the agenda. The EU independently and gradually began to move away from this position.
EU interference in the affairs of other Eastern European countries, such as Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine, ostensibly in the name of democracy, began to take an anti-Russian dimension. At the same time, the EU supports other Eastern European governments which include neo-Nazi forces which actively impose anti-Russian policies on the people of these countries, like in Ukraine or Georgia.
None of them take any measures to disguise their actions; on the contrary, the direct intervention of the United States and NATO in the affairs of many of these states is openly advertised, and not only at the level of Mrs. Nuland’s “biscuits” in Kiev’s Independence Square.
The Baltic countries and the countries of Eastern Europe have formed the anti-Russian front of the European Union. These areas are home to a significant Russian-speaking minority population, who encounter problems when they attempt to use their native language. Why do double standards persist there?
The European Union does not criticize these countries for being anti-democratic or for violating human rights. Everybody in Europe about the threat of extreme right-wing forces, but Hitler’s fans were able to come to power in Ukraine. Earlier in Ukraine, the name “Banderite” was considered an insult, but now the fans of this genocidal pro-Nazi terrorist dominate, destroying monuments to the victors in the war against Nazi Germany.
The governments of some EU countries support a full revision of the Second World War’s results. They allow Nazi collaborators who fought on Hitler’s side to hold parades in the centres of their cities. They want revenge! The question of attitudes regarding the results of the Second World War, and attempts to revise them – these are not just theoretical questions. They have a pragmatic policy backing them up.
Is this policy connected with other violations of international law? For example, with military activity in the former Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, or the devastating war in Syria under the pretext of democracy from the outside?
And do they have the right to criticise Russia for protecting Syria from complete destruction? Russia did not violate the rights of other states, but at the same time, it defended its own security.
Separately I would like to touch on the issue of sanctions.
They’re a virus that affects not only economic relations, but also political ones, as well as relations between peoples and states. This virus was launched after the first provocations were organised in Ukraine. Maidan, Donbass, Crimea, Odessa, the recent incident in the Kerch Strait. The mechanism is as follows: first they create provocations, then Russia must respond and protect its interests, and then they levy sanctions against Russia. This happens constantly.
During the economic war, both Russia and the EU suffered. As the result of a retaliatory embargo, the European Union lost access to the Russian food and agricultural market, as well as mutual investments in the high-tech sector of the economy.
During these years, Europe lost its prospect for expanding its industrial, scientific, and technical projects into Russia. Joint ventures could operate within the European Union. But the Euro-Atlantic logic of confrontation will end soon!
Greece has always opposed European sanctions against Russia, but for a number of reasons, could not always go against the position of the European Union.
In January 2015, with a progressive leftist government in power, Greece blocked the expansion of economic sanctions to sectoral ones. This would have dealt a major blow to the Russian economy.
It seems that anti-Russian policy is continuation of the Cold War-era anti-Soviet policy. It leads to moves that are clearly hostile towards Russia, such as attempts by NATO and the United States to deploy various types of weaponry near Russia’s borders.
What should Greece and other countries do in this situation?
In my opinion, it is necessary to stop voting for the extension of sanctions against Russia. One decision, to lift all sanctions, is needed. To develop together with Russia a common strategy on the energy security of the European continent, taking into account the entire energy potential of Russia. We must return to the proposal of Russia and President Putin and create a single open space for economic cooperation, and expand it to political cooperation. This is the new imperative of our time.