Putin's Unexpected Victory: Europe Furious That Greece Is Now A Russian Sanctions Veto

Tyler Durden's picture

Two days ago, Zero Hedge first, and shortly thereafter everyone else, pointed out something stunning: the biggest surprise to emerge so far out of the new anti-Troika/austerity Greek government was not so much its intention to proceed with the first test of "Odious Debt" - this was largely known in advance - but its dramatic pivot away from Germany and Europe, and toward Russia.

As we noted before, not only has Greece already blocked all ongoing privatization processes, a clear snub of Merkel and the Troika which demands the piecemeal blue light special sale of Greece to western buyers as part of the "bailout", but is also looking at plans to reinstate public sector employees and announce increased pensions for those on low incomes: further clear breaches of the Troika's austerity terms.

But the most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!

This was first hinted when the Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who arrives in Brussels today to discuss possible additional sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, said a few days ago that the Greek government disagreed with an EU statement in which President Donald Tusk raised the prospect of “further restrictive measures” on Russia. As Bloomberg observed before, in recent months, Kotzias wrote on Twitter that sanctions against Russia weren’t in Greece’s interests. He said in a blog that a new foreign policy for Greece should be focused on stopping the ongoing transformation of the EU “into an idiosyncratic empire, under the rule of Germany.

And Europe, shocked that one of its own has dared to question its "unanimous" policy toward Russia, a policy driven by the US foreign state department whose opinion of Europe is best captured by the hacked and intercepted "Fuck the EU" outburst by Victoria Nuland in February 2014, has been forced to backtrack. From DPA:

The European Union denied Wednesday that it ignored Greek objections when it issued a statement raising the prospects of new sanctions against Russia.


The row is the first of several clashes expected between Brussels and Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, who was elected Sunday on promises to renegotiate the bailout granted to Greece by its European neighbours and the International Monetary Fund.


Tsipras has in the past also spoken out against sanctions on Russia, rejecting the use of "Cold War language."


The EU has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis, notably economic measures restricting Russian access to European credit markets and European exports. On Tuesday morning, EU leaders in a joint statement tasked their foreign ministers with considering "further restrictive measures" when they meet on Thursday.


But Tsipras complained to Greek media that his country had not been consulted on the statement. "Greece do not consent," a statement by Tsipras' office said on Tuesday evening, adding that the announcement from Brussels violated "proper procedure."


A spokesman for EU President Donald Tusk, who issued the statement on behalf of the leaders, denied that Athens had been sidelined during the preparation of the text.


"We consulted everybody, as we always do, and we didn't ignore or sidestep Greece in any way - quite to the contrary," Preben Aamann told dpa. "We tried to find a special solution that would accommodate them."

Actually what the EU "always does" is to ignore the voices and interest of everyone but the most powerful. And as for "not ignoring" Greece, apparently the EU failed. Only this time Greece, its government no longer a Eurozone lackey, will no longer let it slide: "Greek broadcaster Skai said newly appointed Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias would bring up the issue at Thursday's meeting in Brussels. Tsipras is also expected in the Belgian capital on February 12 for an EU summit that will touch upon the situation in Ukraine."

And here is how Russia just won another completely unexpected victory in Europe: "EU sanctions require unanimity to be implemented, so a Greek veto could block any further measures." And all thanks to the epic blunder by Brussels to allow a European nation to voice its opinion in a democratic fashion.

It wasn't just Zero Hedge who first suggested the Greek Russian pivot: here is RBS' Greg Gibbs who says that there are now "concerns Greek government may threaten to veto further Russian sanctions in exchange for debt relief fuels fear of conflict."

To be sure, Germany, whose theatrical opposition to money printing folded like Boehner's lawn chair last week, as it is now all too clear the preservation of German export dominance (and hence aversion to the DEM) and the sanctity of Deutsche Bank is what it is all about no matter the hyperinflationary concerns of the people, is quite furious that the grand ambitions of Europe's economic powerhouse - which as we reported moments ago has now officially entered deflation - have been crushed by tiny, depression-ridden Greece.

Here is Germany's economy minister Gabriel, who was on the tape earlier, casting fire and brimstone at Greece. From Reuters:

Greece should not burden the rest of Europe with its internal political debates, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday, adding that Greece's own inequalities were to blame for problems that it tried to blame on its multilateral lenders.


Gabriel told parliament Greece should stay in the euro but the new leftist leader Alexis Tsipras must respect the terms of its bailout. Greece could not blame the "troika" of multilateral lenders for its own unfair distribution of wealth, he said.


"All democratic people must respect the democratic decision of voters and a newly-elected government's right to decide its course - but the rest of Europe's citizens should not have to expect changes in Greek politics to burden them," he said.

Of course, as long as the changes in Greek politics allowed the rest of Europe's citizens to continue to benefit at Greek expense, nobody batted an eyelid. But change the equation and all hell breaks loose.

And the final confirmation that suddenly tiny Greece may have all the leverage in Europe is that moments ago Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that European sanctions on Russia are complicated by the "new Greek government."

The good news for Greece, of course, is that it now has all the optionality: it can use its veto power as a bargaining chip to unblock US foreign policy in Ukraine (because at the end of the day, Europe is merely losing as a result of the Russian sanctions) and demand a debt haircut in exchange for siding with John Kerry on further Russian "punishment." Or he may simply hold the line and hold off for a competing, better offer from Russia and the BRICs, whose leverage may be nominal  now that crude is plummeting, but if and when the last shale junk bond investor blows up and the US shale renaissance is over sending crude soaring right back to $100, then watch as the oil exporters are back with a bang, and dictating geopolitical terms.

And whatever happens, please don't remind Brussels that point 40 of Syriza's 40 Point Manifesto, aka the "nuclear option", is "Closure of all foreign bases in Greece and withdrawal from NATO."

It is so bad that Business New Europe went so far as to ask if the New Greek Government is "Russia's Trojan horse inside the EU?"

In any event, the European balance of power has just shifted and in a way that nobody anticipated:

The biggest winners: if only for now: Greece and Russia (and, while it will never be admitted, all those Europeans who desperately need the Russian import market).

The biggest losers: all the unelected Eurocrats in Brussels who at this moment are scratching their heads how to bring the bad news that there is no longer unanimity on Russian sanctions to John Kerry, and all thanks to a country nobody thought would dare to speak up.

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crazzziecanuck's picture

What's that I smell?  Could it be another Coloured Revolution in Greece's near future?

We all know the elite is going to put the screws to Greece now just as they did to Egypt.  "Replace a government not to our liking and you'll find life very, very hard for you."

Brazen Heist's picture

I think you are giving TPTB too much credit. They may have plans but boy can they fuck up big time, - look at the Middle East. I say the true is closer to "nobody really is competent enough to run this show, that's why its a shitshow".

If they truly ran the show, Syriza would not have been elected in the first place.

crazzziecanuck's picture

The current state of the Middle East is by design.  it essentially breaks down to "if Washington can't have it, no one else can."  That's why people refer to America now as "the Empire of Chaos."

knukles's picture

Well after being fucked over by the EU what they expect to happen?


No gas, no Panzers ... Let tme sing the Horst Wessel song while freezing inside immobile Tiger !!s

DeadFred's picture

Wait for when the Greeks question their NATO membership and let the Russians set up a naval base there.

knukles's picture

They can't leave the NWO!



Brought to you by the guy who advocates putting drugs to sterilize women into flu, malaria and the like vaccines

Latina Lover's picture

Fuck the EU, indeed!  Thank you Greece.

BTW, I wonder what dirt the NSA has on Merkel to make her so compliant?

hedgeless_horseman's picture



"EU sanctions require unanimity to be implemented, so a Greek veto could block any further measures." And all thanks to the epic blunder by Brussels to allow a European nation to voice its opinion in a democratic fashion.

Attention K-Mart shoppers.  There is a Blue Light Special on "costs" in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Stop by the Snack Bar for a Greek Salad with real feta cheese.

The Juggernaut's picture

I wonder when the CIA will arrest Tsipras then assassinate him... In no particular order.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This the beginning of World War III. First, Germany tried to take over the world with military force, but this time they are conquering countries with austerity. Meanwhile, the hedge funds have allied with Germany in their quest to conquer Europe, and speculators continue to hammer the peripheries with an artillery of credit default swaps and short selling of government debt. Stop this madness! Ban speculation and bring back Europe’s social safety nets. NO MORE AUSTERITY!

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

The minds of accredited experts need to be brought to bear on this problem if Europe is to be saved.

Money Boo Boo's picture

Does this mean at the next Olympics we'll get to see Greco-Russo Wrestling?

Keyser's picture

I say the true is closer to "nobody really is competent enough to run this show, that's why its a shitshow".

Cutting to the chase, Valerie Jarrett is not as smart as she thinks she is...

Paveway IV's picture

"...All democratic people must respect the democratic decision of voters and a newly-elected government's right to decide its course - but the rest of Europe's citizens should not have to expect changes in Greek politics to burden them," he said..."


WTF?? The sanctions on Russia wouldn't have existed if the U.S would have respected the democratic decision of Ukrainian voters and the Ukrainian government's right to decide it's course.

The EU standing idly by while the U.S. engineers a coup d'etat to overthrow that corrupt prick Yanukovych MERELY to replace him with equally-corrupt Western stooges hardly sounds like respecting anyone's rights to decide their own course. 

Apparently they miss the hypocracy aspect...

Fractal Parasite's picture

Yanokovych was surely getting his cut of the deals, but at the same time this was in the pipeline (no pun intended) for the people of Ukraine just two months before Nudelman's $5B coup:

Reduced loan interest, new orders for industry, investment in infrastructure, jobs, economic security.

Paveway IV's picture

Point taken, FP - there were some aspects to Yanukovych's government that may have helped Ukraine live better on their knees. I just don't think there were any that would have let Ukrainians get OFF their knees.

Still, it's not my decision to make for the Ukrainians. If they wanted to keep voting for him for the next two decades, that's their business entirely.

What I would really like to see today is all of what was Ukraine (Crimea and Donbass included) vote on the legitimacy of the new government. If the new government 'won', then I would forever drop the perjorative terms of junta, coup d'etat, puppets and lapdogs.

What I would have liked to see before they chased Yanukovych out is a vote of confidence in him and the government. If the majority of Ukrainians would have voted to keep that prick and his government, then so be it. It's none of my damn business and it sure as hell is not the business of my government - the U.S. - to decide for the Ukrainian people.

29.5 hours's picture



"Ban speculation"

We sure are going to hear a lot of that nonsense as the crisis deepens. If you can't blame Jews or Russians, then speculators will do fine!




Haus-Targaryen's picture

Russian Jewish Speculators.  

Max Steel's picture

Contradicting the hysterical yarns of the "Commander-In-Chief"? Wouldn't bet on his job security, or longevity for that matter :


JR's picture

You are right; you can’t blame the Jews or Israel.  The U.S. House of Representatives says you can’t and in late 2014 unanimously passed legislation that attacks any and all critics of Jews or Israel.

The title of the bill (H.Res.707) is “Condemning all forms of anti-Semitism and rejecting attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks as an acceptable expression of disapproval or frustration over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere.”

It was authored by Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Kay Granger (R-Texas) to condemn what they describe as “the rising tide of anti-Semitism” around the world.

The bill passed on Sept. 18, according to Tarrah Elizabeth Baptista, “in the aftermath of Israel’s bloody attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, which left over 2,000 Palestinian dead, 500 of whom where children.”

Sandmann's picture

the Protestants that founded the American Colony were supplanted by the Irish Catholics that arrived after 1846 and the Russian Jews that arrived later found a short cut to the top of the ladder and now pilot the plane

JR's picture

It’s Germany, yes, Million Dollar Bonus, that is trying to hold the EU together, but not the German people; it's the German bankers (Goldman Sachs and the international bankers headquartered in Frankfurt). And the German people need to defend themselves against these banker tyrants the same as Americans against the same force.

The oppression in Europe is causing the people to revolt; the oppression is coming from the banks trying to hold the Eurozone together for their own interests. And Greece just showed the people can‘t stand it and won’t have it. Just as were the Greeks, the German people are being badly represented by the German bankers. It isn’t the German people who are living high; if ever they do achieve a higher standard of living, the bankers swoop in and take the margin.

It’s the same story in America. The American system of free enterprise began to produce unlimited prosperity but then every time it begins to break through, the bankers take it. IOW, what kind of business is it for the financial sector and the banking business to be America’s major industry where it feeds itself off of every accomplishment, every production of labor and every resource America has wrought these past 100 years?

IOW, this system would have produced unbelievably wealth and prosperity around the world if it hadn’t been for the parasites and the tyrants who come to take it; they take the government, they take the corporations, they take the real estate, and now, in order to save themselves, they’re going to take the freedom. Why? The biggest enemy of the bankers is freedom – because people will choose freedom rather than slavery.

I’ve been saying for a long time that the people will vote against this blanket of tyranny. And the Greeks just did. Now, let the German people get rid of those bankers and let America get rid of her banker handcuffs.

As for vassal states, it is Washington’s  international financial predators that intend to subvert and turn Russia into a vassal state the same as they have Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Australia, the UK and Ukraine, and the USA.

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” -- H. L. Mencken

Blano's picture

Folks, MDB deserves green arrows just for showing up more often lately.  Please encourage him.

fleur de lis's picture

MDB, you're waaaaay behind on the Germany-tried-twice-to-take-over-the-world fabrications and hoaxes.

It's not you're fault, we've all been fed the required academic lies. But that was then and this is now, and it is high time to work from what acutally happened, not what is printed in propaganda (history) books or listening to the media yammering about the fairytale du jour.

Romney Wordsworth's picture

@hh ~ What? no goats on your ranch? I'm shocked SHOCKED!

WOAR's picture

And after I've been told you're a goat fucker! Who's got your goats?!?!?

(I jest. Hedgeless is da bes Hedger.)

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


BTW, I wonder what dirt the NSA has on Merkel to make her so compliant?

Funny you should mention that. There's an interesting article at Russia Insider from a couple days ago that makes the point that Merkel might be motivated by her own interests and the interests of certain German oligarchs, to the detriment of other Germans, and that speculation about blackmail might just be a convenient way to hide her real motivations.

Why other than under duress would she be doing Obama’s bidding and promoting sanctions that harm German business interests in Russia which took decades to develop? Had the American espionage of her phones uncovered some extremely damaging kompromat about her sexual orientation or about family ties to the Stasi? Speculation fed speculation.


I believe that Merkel is not doing Obama's bidding on sanctions. She has her own policy, which just happens to overlap with US policy in the region in some respects. She is indeed working against the interests of part of the German business community, including some major firms. But at the same time she is serving the interests of another part of German business which may be politically more important to her.


pendragon's picture

there's the exit greece - now foxtrot oscar

Latina Lover's picture

Muchas Gracias for the link, Stooge :-_)

Romney Wordsworth's picture

So I take it that Merckel & Hitlery are an item?

shovelhead's picture


that image ruined my lunch.

Might as well toss in Willy watching and spanking it in the corner too.


tsuki's picture

Anonymous has a different take.  Don't know if it is true, but I thought I'd throw it out there.



giovanni_f's picture

@Latina Lover: That is the question that more and more people are asking themselves in Germany.

noben's picture

"BTW, I wonder what dirt the NSA has on Merkel to make her so compliant?"

Perhaps now people will understand the true power of NSA spying: Get into the private lives and heads of corporate and political leaders... know everything about the movers & shakers who matter the most.

The rest of us are just "Collateral Benefits".

toady's picture

Is this like an Archduke Ferdinand moment?

RaceToTheBottom's picture

If not that, then at least an Iceland moment.  Which to WS Banksters, that might make it an Archduke Ferdinand moment 

sheikurbootie's picture

The war will always be over by Christmas, they said.......

Romney Wordsworth's picture

Then again, there's always the casual "Operation Linebacker II" surprise... & then there's THIS

UselessEater's picture

Ho hum...

Is this like an Archduke Ferdinand moment?

As usual only two options provided... pivot east/west, left/right...just do not think about a unilateral declaration of independence from all foreign or governmental intrusions.




El Gringo's picture

Brought to you by the guy who advocates putting drugs to sterilize women into flu, malaria and the like vaccines


You say that like it's a bad thing.  The world needs less of the African parasites who breed like there is no tomorrow.

UselessEater's picture

You are truly suited to working for the socio paths. You have absorbed the way things are just as your masters taught you to comprehend them, and unless you are a total useless twit, you should be profiting handsomely off the extremely long term engineered misery of others.

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Bill Gates: It's so wonderful what he is doing for Africa - bringing them inoculations so that they can overpopulate the continent even faster and wipe it out completely, replacing God's rich diversity of animals with a monoculture of human consumers.   :^)   (edited)

UselessEater's picture

Don't not forget his wife installing a spy network via cheap mobile phones to lock mothers into enforced vaccination programs before her baby is even born and consent is given.

Occident Mortal's picture

That would change the dynamics of the Ukraine crisis somewhat!

If Sevastapol could be moved directly onto the Mediterranean.

PartysOver's picture

If I am not mistaken, don't they already have a Naval presence in Cypress?  Now they get some land bases to go with the island bases


With Ukraine, Black Sea, Georgia and now possibly Greece.  Maybe it is Turkey that should be getting concerned. 

GAME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ghordius's picture

I see that Cyprus is still under the spell of the spellchecker. There is a British Sovereign Military Base, in Cyprus

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Yes.  Cypress is a tree.  Mostly lives in swamps.  :-)

TheGreatRecovery's picture

Whereas Miley Cyrus is a singer.  (Cyrus, also not Cyprus.)