Putin Says Greek Investments Risky

Days after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wrote him a letter asking for Russia to reduce prices paid for Russian gas, Russian President Vladimir Putin took a shot at Russian entrepreneurs for investing in Greece, which he described as “a problematic country.”

“Of course we are annoyed,” the Athens Macedonian News Agency quoted a senior government official as saying. “That’s the last thing we need.”

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou stressed that Greece “is a safe country for investments.” “There is investment interest in Greece and as we know investments can’t be manipulated.”

The reaction followed comments by Putin during a meeting with regional officials in Rostov, the birthplace of Greek-Russian entrepreneur Ivan Savvidis, who bought an 82 percent stake in the SEKAP tobacco firm in Xanthi last February, assumed the management of Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Pallas Hotel, and last summer bought Greek football team PAOK.

Putin’s comments were seen as a swipe at Savvidis and other Russian entrepreneurs investing abroad. “Greece is a good country, spiritually close to us, but we are well aware of its economic problems,” Putin said. “If an investor chooses such a country, which is obviously problematic, for his investments and favors it, for instance, over the region of Rostov, this raises a question: Why? And what is lacking here?”

In June the Russian energy giant Gazprom pulled out of making a bid at the last moment for the Greek gas company DEPA, leaving the Greek government in the lurch and with a billion-dollar hole in its privatization program.

The surprise pull-out came even though Samaras had personally met with Gazprom’s Chief Executive Alexey Miller which had led Greek authorities to believe the deal was all but signed, sealed and delivered Gazprom said it was worried about DEPA’s finances but European Union competition issues were believed to have been a concern along with American fears Russia was gaining too big an energy foothold in Europe.

Samaras has aggressively been pushing Greece as a good place for foreign investments, including during trips to the United States and China. He said bringing in foreign investors is key to getting out from under the country’s crushing economic crisis instead of relying only on austerity as demanded by its international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).


  • Dean Plassaras

    Sour grapes. Since he can’t get any of the investment opportunities he declares the whole of Greece unfit for investment.

  • Tony Belluci

    Mr. Putin, Russia is the worse place for any western investor as many that have invested funds in Russia have seen them stolen from them. Greece thus far has not stolen from anyone and pays dearly. Thank you for proving my previous point that Greece has no real strategic interests with Russia besides friendly relations and cultural and tourism. Russia is not even a reliable ally. Spiritually no one is alike with Russia and Russia is spiritually not close to Greece just because one is of the Christian Orthodox faith. Big deal. Russia has benefited economically more from Greece if you look at trade as Russia has been one of Greeces top markets for importing goods yet in return Russia imports peanuts from Greece. Greece should reevaluate this relation and look to more favorable and balanced trading partners as well as look at other sources for energy.

  • Alithia

    As if Russia is a better place to invest? This is the pot calling the kettle black….

    No one with half a brain would invest in either country for the foreseeable future.

  • The maverik

    Why we need Russian investment when the Russian Mafia settles in Greece laundering money here and there??? Better off for Samara to ask the Russian Mafia to invest in Greece rather than asking Putin…The Russian Mafia will be more than happy to do just that and the Greek government will welcome such a move…A lawless country like Greece will do anything to launder money for the Russian Mafia specially when we have corrupt politicians and civil servants…

  • The maverik

    Russia doesn’t have money to invest…The real money is with the Russian Mafia…

  • Souvlaki

    And the Greeks keep on insisting that Russia is our friend. They are not our friend and this is further proof.

  • worldarts

    Duh! — When did he wake up to discover this?

  • John

    Ofc Greece is a problematic country is that bad?
    As long as Greece stay away from its worst anemy (usa) all will be gd

  • Tonto

    Good points below.

    Ever wonder why you can always find a Russian newspaper at the periptero in places like Ekali and Glyfada?

    Because that’s where the mafia bosses from Russia who operate here live. Hey–perfect weather, wonderful nightlife, easy entry and escape, people easily bought-off, and best of all an inept investigative force who not even bother to locate them. Oh, and did I mention their political buddies who live in their neighborhoods, and share in their thievery?

  • Tzonny

    Greece needs to stop believing that Russia is a friend, and an ally. If you look throughout modern Greek history you will see limited Russian support for Greece, and usually only when they had more to gain. Greece should be looking to its Mediterranean neighbours (both EU, and non-EU) and the growing economies of China, India, South Korea, and Indonesia as new markets for their exports. Forget about Russia – as they have already forgotten about Greece.

  • Niko

    Russia is Slavic nation and they fear our superiority. Russian hate us Greeks and we hate them as much. Go to hell Putin.

  • Alex

    Some greeks keep insisting that the US and turkey are our friends. Check to see what they call the Skopians.

  • Alex

    What do you care about Greeks Tonto-ski? You collude with Skopian ultra nationalist trying to delete the Greek people.

  • Alex

    Greece needs to explore its options now that the US, modern British and other alleged “allies” collude with Skopians. Perhaps if their Russia nuclear subs in Athens our former allies would realize we mean business on Skopian issue and don’t appreciate them looking the other way when Turks violate our airspace.

  • Tonto

    Your meds, Alex. It’s time to take them again. Remember what the doctor told you last time?

  • Alex

    Sorry didn’t get your reply. What do you care about Greeks Tonto-ski? You collude with Skopian ultra nationalist trying to delete the Greek people no?

  • Tonto

    Very true–it takes a corrupt country to know another one. Putin is not anti-Greek as much as he is just making a cogent warning to further Russian investors.

  • Tonto

    And you don’t need to go far to find them here.

  • Tonto

    Not that I am that fond of America either–but look at this fact: Since 1948, more than 4,700 Greek and American citizens have received scholarships from the United States Fulbright Foundation in Greece to participate in US-Greece educational and cultural exchanges. For 65 years the USA has awarded Greek citizens full scholarships to study as graduate students and research scholars at the best US universities. 59 were awarded in 2013.

    How many has Russia sponsored?

  • The maverik

    I was told by a Greek security officer that the russian mafia have the green lights to come and go as they please. The Greek police do know who they are but…They bought properties in Greek Islands and they operate from these properties bringing russian prostitutes to Greece for millionaires, selling drugs and laundering money through locals.

  • berko

    well he is the richest person in europe,some credibility exists on his part…