Source: Russia Today
Earlier this week a surprising update has hit the wires. According to two journalists of Le Monde who were trying to write a book about French President Francois Hollande, Hollande confirmed Russian president Putin told him the Greek prime minister indeed officially requested Moscow to help the South European country in its efforts to leave the Eurozone and to re-introduce the Greek Drachma as its sovereign currency.
Two of the named parties (the Greeks and the Russians) immediately denied this report with former finance minister Varoufakis denying these rumors, but the camp of Francois Hollande remained quiet about the re-surfaced ‘allegations’.
Is this really a new fact popping up? Not really, as in the summer of last year, when the Greek crisis reached the point of no return, several other media outlets published this ‘rumor’ (claiming Greece asked Russia for $10B to be able to print drachmas), which has always been categorically denied by the countries involved in the discussions.
That being said, leaving the Eurozone would definitely been the best solution for debt-laden Greece and even the International Monetary Fund was supporting this view.
The Greek debt position was (and still is) definitely unsustainable and if the creditors wouldn’t allow a haircut to be applied on the value of its loans to the Southern country, no long-term solution could be reached. Meanwhile, Europe still thinks it can pull off the rescue of Greece without any haircuts, but the IMF is no longer one of the parties negotiating the bailout program after it accepted a special advisory status as it doesn’t support the European approach any longer.
But let’s get back to the key point here. Greece approached Russia for assistance with a Grexit-scenario but Russia turned the Greeks down where after Tsipras had no choice but to accept the bailout package. This is another piece of evidence ‘backing up’ Putin is not and should not considered to be Europe’s public enemy number 2. We recall an interview with Putin in a September edition of Bloomberg Business Week (it’s a good read, and we strongly recommend it):
Do you expect the euro to survive?
I hope so. I hope so because, first of all, we believe in the foundations of the European economy. […]. I think that the leading economies have taken a very pragmatic and intelligent approach to resolving the economic problems facing Europe. […]We hold 40 percent of our reserves in euros, and it’s not in our interest for the euro zone to collapse. Although I don’t rule out that there could be some decisions made that would consolidate a group of countries with equal levels of development and thereby, in my opinion, strengthening the euro.
You expect Europe to keep the existing membership? They’re not going to lose another country like they lost Britain?
You know, I don’t want to respond to your provocative question, even though I understand that it could be interesting.
I think all sober-minded people who really are involved in politics understand that the idea of a Russian threat to, for example, the Baltics is complete madness. Are we really about to fight NATO? How many people live in NATO? About 600 million, correct? There are 146 million in Russia. Yes, we’re the biggest nuclear power. But do you really think that we’re about to conquer the Baltics using nuclear weapons?
Most western leaders openly criticize Russia, but they seem to forget that Russia might have ‘saved’ Europe from a Grexit which could have pushed the currency block over the edge into total collapse. Depicting Russia as Satan seems to be just a strategy to keep the mainstream media busy to divert the attention away from the real problems. Or perhaps Putin is tricking us all, just like Adolf Hitler did when he made Neville Chamberlain believe it would be ‘peace in our time’.
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