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Putin is too busy for Tsipras

13 May 2014 / 17:05:04  GRReporter
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The radical left SYRIZA leader was received in Moscow as "an important friend of Russia." He was however met not by a senior representative of the Russian government but by chairwoman of the upper house of Russian Parliament Valentina Matvienko.

According to the SYRIZA leadership, Tsipras’ surprise visit to Moscow that was announced at the last minute was part of the plan for the strategic development of international relations of the party leader in view of the probability of him taking the helm of Greece.

The meetings of Alexis Tsipras in Moscow are however at a much lower level than expected from his associates. Despite their attempts to schedule meetings with senior government officials and members of the close circle of President Vladimir Putin, this did not materialize. Indicative of this is the fact that Tsipras will not even meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is absent from Moscow in connection with the crisis in Ukraine.

The situation in Ukraine was one of the main topics of yesterday’s discussion between Tsipras and Matvienko. According to the leader of the Greek opposition, the country must become a bridge of cooperation between Europe and Russia and all countries must work for a dialogue on the issue. Tsipras stressed that, unlike the current Greek cabinet, a SYRIZA government would pursue a radically different policy and would not rush to recognize the new government in Kiev, as it would use the options for resolving the conflict in a different manner, within the context of the Greek European Union Presidency.

The schedule of the second day of Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Moscow includes meetings with First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the State Duma Alexei Pushkov and its First Deputy Chairman Ivan Melnikov.

It is an interesting fact that Tsipras’ visit to Moscow was arranged by Basil Markezinis, son of Greece’s Prime Minister during the military dictatorship Spiros Markezinis. According to the Greek website, SYRIZA's leader had met him through his new adviser on diplomatic issues, Ambassador George Aifantis.

Markezinis advised Tsipras to visit Moscow at a time when the relations between Russia and the European Union are particularly strained in order to send a message to European leaders. The initial plans were for Alexis Tsipras to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov but although this was not possible, he did not put off his visit.

So far it is not clear whether SYRIZA is satisfied with the outcome of the visit and to what extent. In any case, sources of claim that diplomatic adviser George Aifantis was removed from the post after the fiasco of including Roma woman Sabiha Suleiman in the party ballot paper for the European elections, following his proposal.

Regarding Basil Markezinis, not one detail in his biography connects him with the political left. He was a long-time professor at the University of London, where he established the Institute of Global Law in 2001 and headed it until 2007. He delivered lectures at the university in the Dutch city of Leiden, at Oxford University, where he established in 1995 the Institute of European and Comparative Law, and at 22 other universities worldwide. He is the author of 33 books and over 130 articles on legal topics that have been published in different countries.

He is the winner of many international awards and in 2005, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him Knight Bachelor for "Distinguished Services to International Legal Relations" and conferred the title "Sir" upon him. In recent years, Markezinis has been engaged in the Greek crisis.

Tags: PoliticsAlexis TsiprasVisitMoscowUkraineBasil Markezinis
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