Russia was ready to provide soft loans to Greece in early 2010 but Greece never followed suit on this proposal, Ivan Savvides told the "E" newspaper in an interview that was published on Thursday. Savvides gave the interview shortly after his re-election as President of the Federation of Hellenic Communities in Russia, while he maintains his role as Member of the State Duma, and Head of 5th District of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE). According to him, “Papandreou came to Russia (in February of last year, but) I do not understand why… The leader of Russia was ready to give (Greece) 25 billion (Euros in soft loans).” The loans, according to him were to be given to the Greek state at low interest rates, but the “details are not important anymore, because obviously the Americans, the IMF and the EU said no.”“
Savvides said he had no idea why Papandreou decided to visit Moscow in the first place. Perhaps, he said, he decided to visit Russia and meet with President Putin so that the Greek people believed he was there to actually hold talks with him.
Savvides, then complained over what he described were poor Greek-Russian relations, describing them as being “icy”.
The leader of the Greeks in Russia revealed that he had met with Papandreou on the morning of his arrival at the State Duma, and that he informed him that Putin was willing, out of good faith, to help Greece and that the Greek side could lay out any cards on the table it wished. But according to Savvides, there was never any talk of a loan or help for Greece instead Papandreou only talked about the ecological problems in Greece.
“Why did he come,” he added.
Savvides also revealed that prior to the arrival of Papandreou, Putin had spoken with one of the most powerful vice-presidents of the Russian government, Igor Setsin, who oversees the entire energy complex and heavy industry of the country, and designated him as being responsible for the implementation of bilateral agreements.
This meant that Russia was ready for immediate agreement as well as to speed up processes, but Greece did not show any desire for this to happen, added Savvides.
The head of SAE in Russia also said that very same evening, he visited the Presidential Hotel where Papandreou was residing and asked him why he decided to make the official visit to Russia in the first place.
According to Savvides, the Kremlin tried to explain to Papandreou that Russia and its leadership were ready to facilitate Greece with any type of aid it needed, even if it was via telephone. “That is why the granting of a loan was later proposed which would of been paid off partly by the state and partly by agricultural products" in the framework of later implementing a contract aimed towards the purchase of armoured personnel carriers from Russia, “but the proposal was rejected.”
The Greek version of this article can be found here