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Athens Looks to Moscow for Help as Berlin Burns With Anger

© AP PhotoRussian president Vladimir Putin
Russian president Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to visit Moscow this week, where it's reported Russia may offer Greece a discount on gas deliveries and new loans. The visit comes amid a huge row between Greece and Germany over a bailout deal for the Mediterranean country.

A Kremlin spokesman said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tsipras planned to discuss economic ties and EU sanctions during their talks, which the newspaper Kommersant said would take place on Thursday.

People holding umbrellas make their way next to fluttering Greek national flags on the main Constitution (Syntagma) square during heavy rainfall in Athens - Sputnik International
Russia Ready to Discuss Gas Discount, New Loan With Greece

"We are ready to consider the issue of a gas price discount for Greece," the newspaper said, quoting an unnamed Russian government source. The source said that in exchange for the discount and some unspecified loans, Russia would want access to Greek assets. 

The news comes as many say Greece has been forced to look outside the EU for state aid because of the punitive bailout deal forced on Greece largely by Germany, which has been vehement and is calling for a massive austerity-push in the Mediterranean nation to prevent it falling out of the EU.

The bailout — the latest of which involves Greece paying $494 million in loan repayments to the IMF this Thursday — was caused by the Greek economy crashing. The EU — led by Germany and the European Central Bank — forced the Greek government into a harsh austerity package, which has proved deeply damaging to Greek society and immensely unpopular.

Tsipras was swept to power in the latest election on a promise to hit back at the EU sanctions package and renegotiate the bailout terms with the EU, which Germany has strongly rejected.

Greeks: A Bunch of Clowns

Matthew Lynn, British financial journalist and author of 'Bust: Greece, the Euro and the Sovereign Debt Crisis' told Sputnik Tsipras' visit to Moscow was inevitable.

"It's not that much of a surprise and it's kind of a reminder at the end of the day that Greece has cards to play. They are not getting a lot of love from Berlin and Brussels as the moment and the Russians have always been kind of interested in Greece. They've fought wars in the Crimea and they've always wanted a port in the Mediterranean, so they have strategic interests there and the Greeks can play that card," Lynn told Sputnik.

Lynn said, however, the Greek government is partly to blame for joining the Euro in the first place.

"They are acting like a bunch of clowns. You come back to the fundamental problem with the Euro, which is that it is a dysfunctional currency. Like a dysfunctional marriage, nobody comes out of it well."

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"It's like a divorce: it's hard to pick sides. Usually both sides are behaving very badly and I think that's what we're seeing at the moment. The Germans are being far too harsh on the Greeks: they can't afford more austerity, their economy's been shattered. But at the same time the Greeks are acting fairly childishly.

"It's a very extreme left-wing government with not a lot of experience in administration. The bottom line is: it's a mess. The best thing for the Greeks would be to come out of the Euro," Lynn told Sputnik.

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