Olivier Vedrine: Greek crisis is Putin’s geopolitical opportunity


Kyiv, July 2, 2015. Putin wants to divide Europe, and the Greek crisis is his chance, said Olivier Vedrine, President of the Dragomanov University’s Franco-Ukrainian Business School president and Europe, at a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“Alexis Tsipras’s fight with Greece’s European partners gives the impression of a catastrophe. Europe has never looked so weak and helpless as it does now, five years after the start of the economic crisis in Greece,” Mr. Vedrine said.

According to Vedrine, fraud, corruption, and ineffective public policy are among Greece’s biggest problems. Neither the right-wing New Democracy party nor the left-wing PASOK party, who came to power after the Regime of the Colonels fell, attempted to address these problems. The two parties responsible for bringing Greece into the euro zone were unable to implement reforms.

Vedrine added that the “Government of Alexis Tsipras, which came to power not so long ago, overestimated its capacities, having failed to deliver the future it promised its citizens. European partners forced him into the corner.”

The Greek government has scheduled a referendum for July 5. At the referendum, Greek citizens will have to answer the question of whether the government must accept creditors’ conditions.

“Tsipras is playing with the future of his country. He was invited to an economic forum in Saint Petersburg where he signed a gas deal with Gazprom worth 2 billion euros,” explained Vedrine. “His trip to Russia amid tense negotiations with creditors had an important symbolic political meaning.”

During his stay in Saint Petersburg, Tsipras criticized the EU and emphasized opportunities to cooperate with the BRICS as well as post-Soviet countries. “It became a political gift for Putin. Tsipras, who is not a politician of Putin’s league, plays the role of a “useful idiot”—a tool Putin uses against the European Union,” said Verdine.