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Opinion

In Charts: Here’s Why Greece Is Making a Mistake by Turning to Russia for Help

By Pankaj Ghemawat

Pankaj Ghemawat

Athens should be careful; Russia is in no position to replace European support of the Greek economy.

At the beginning of April, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a state visit to Moscow. Mr. Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a lot to discuss: the two countries are working to finalize negotiations on a pipeline for Russian natural gas between Turkey and Macedonia (FYROM), and it has emerged that Greece is now in talks to buy S-300 missiles from Russia. Greece’s newfound coziness with the Kremlin has also been on display in Greek criticism of European Union sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tsipras is becoming an ever bigger frustration to Greece’s fellow EU members. The election of his Syriza party came on the promise of ending austerity measures imposed by the EU and International Monetary Fund. Since coming to power in Jan. 2015, the government has continued to push for a better deal from its European partners, but some prominent party members suggest that they might also be looking for new sources of funding.

So far, Brussels and Berlin have signaled their unwillingness to accept the terms that brought Syriza to power, leaving Mr. Tsipras looking for either a new partner or new bargaining chips. Russia could supply both. Nevertheless, a realignment with Russia would be a bad choice for Greece. Despite sharing the Orthodox Church, Greece is economically and culturally much closer to the European Union.

Read full article as published in Quartz

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Pankaj Ghemawat is a Global Professor of Management and Strategy and Director of the Center for the Globalization of Education and Management.