Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would like to see Russian involvement in Greece’s privatization program, according to a top Russian official who told Kathimerini on Friday that there is scope to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko was in Athens as part of the events for the Greece-Russia Cross-Cultural Year. He met Tsipras on Thursday and said that the Greek premier expressed interest in seeing Russian companies investing in the local economy, including in the infrastructure, energy and farming sectors.
Prikhodko, who spoke to three Greek journalists, including one from Kathimerini, said that Greece is one of a group of EU countries that Russia wants to continue to build ties with despite the economic sanctions that the 28-member bloc imposed in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
“The sanctions have caused a problem but we are not the ones who decided to adopt them first,” he said. “We are realists and believe that even under sanctions we should continue our cooperation with those of our partners who also want this. Greece belongs to this group of countries as it is displaying an interest in the continuation of our bilateral relations in a realistic spirit.”
Prikhodko also expressed the belief that Greek tourism could benefit from the souring of relations between Russia and Turkey, as well as security concerns in the neighboring country, with more Russians visiting the country despite currency problems. “For obvious reasons, the flow of tourists from Russia to Turkey has been greatly reduced,” he said. “Greek tourism firms can take advantage of this opportunity.”