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A rally opposing Greece's agreement to end a decades-long dispute with neighboring Macedonia over its name, Athens, Greece, July 1, 2018 (AP photo by Yorgos Karahalis).

Greece Is Once Again a Front in a Standoff Between Russia and the West

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018

Immediately after the left-wing Syriza party swept to power in Greece in 2015, officials from the European Union, NATO and the United States all worried about the possibility that the newly minted Greek government was too close with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It wasn’t just the leftists in government in Athens who might have harbored pro-Russian sentiments. Greece and Russia share religious and historical ties, and a significant chunk of the Greek population views Putin favorably.

The person who most worried NATO officials at the time was Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, whose past writings and connections with communist organizations marked him out as particularly sympathetic to the Kremlin. But the presence of Panos Kammenos, the leader of the populist Independent Greeks, in the governing coalition also raised some alarms. While only the junior partner, Kammenos still heads the crucial Defense Ministry and is known to be very close with Russian businessmen and politicians. ...

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