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Vladimir Putin Uses 'Religious Diplomacy' During His Visit to Greece

© Sputnik / Aleksey Druzhinin / Go to the photo bankMay 27, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a joint news conference following Russian-Greek talks in Athens.
May 27, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a joint news conference following Russian-Greek talks in Athens. - Sputnik International
Russia and Greece have common values, including Orthodoxy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said ahead of his visit to Athens. Athens may help Moscow break Europe’s unity against Russia.

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By using "religious diplomacy" Moscow wants to break Europe’s unity against Russia because Greece has long opposed Western anti-Russian sanctions, an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro said.

The Russian leader arrived in Greece for a two-day visit on Friday. During Friday talks with Putin, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that strengthening ties between Moscow and Athens is the "strategic choice" of the Greek nation.

"Vladimir Putin is the president of a country where the constitution proclaims the separation of church and state. At the same time, he is a religious person, taking into account his planned visit to Mount Athos, one of the most important orthodox holy places," the article read.

Vladimir Putin’s cooperation with Tsipras may break the anti-Russian unanimity within the European Union. Since he assumed his post Tsipras has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions against Russia.

A plaque for the Rosneft Oli Company is seen outside the company headquarters in Moscow, Russia, in this file file photo dated Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 - Sputnik International
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Moreover, the Russian leader underscored that Russia and Greece have common civilization values and Orthodox culture. This year, Russia will celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Russian monastery on Mount Athos. Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill will join Vladimir Putin during his visit to Athos.

For the first time, Putin visited Athos during his visit to Greece in September 2005. He was the first Russian leader to visit the holy place.

The Russian president and Patriarch Kirill have a common mission during their visit to Greece, the article noted.

Ahead of the visit, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini published an article by Vladimir Putin. In the piece the Russian leader wrote that Russia is indispensable for Europe. He added that throughout different epochs religion and patriotism have helped the Russian and Greek peoples preserve their identity.

In turn, Patriarch Kirill criticized a "deep spiritual crisis" in the West.

"An alliance between state and church is becoming more and more visible in Russia," the article read. Recently, the Russian Orthodox Church proposed to establish a new monetary organization controlled by all countries. According to Le Figaro, thus the Church criticized global dollar and euro dominance. 

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