Russian businessman Sergei Kalinin left Greece accompanied by his family that had come to help him in his “adventure.” At the airport, he was accompanied by the Russian diplomatic mission in Athens. which in addition to “practical support”, wished to ensure that there would be no last-minute “mishaps” …
This time, the management of the case from the Greek side gets a passing grade. A few days after his arrest and detention – journalists asked each other “what ever happened to this soul”, as it was a common concern with the news that we were heading for a new diplomatic tension of Greece’s relations with Russia, as in the case of the expulsions of Russian “diplomats”.
However, these are two totally different cases, the first raising a matter of substance, irrespective of the objections that can be made to the “unwise” diplomatic handling that led to an unnecessary exacerbation of the relations between Athens and Moscow.
But the second, after its ending, offers some thoughts and ideas that should concern not only the Greek side but also the so-called “international community”. This could be an area of initiative for both Greek diplomacy and the security authorities involved.
What has not been sufficiently understood, in large part because of media inefficiency, is that Greece was found with its back on the wall, without reason and cause, without blame. Once an international arrest warrant is issued by INTERPOL, a country is simply left with no choice. You can do nothing but go ahead with the arrest of the person on the warrant.
Then obviously the Greek diplomacy will also become involved in clarifying the case and if it finds out what could be hidden behind the alleged offense that has led to the arrest.
However, for any country that respects itself, it can not react whenever it is called upon to deal with situations involving its international relations, and even with countries that have a direct involvement and impact on Greek national security. In this case, Russia.
It is not enough that Greece is at the heart of the Moscow and Washington competition for one of the most critical geostrategic regions of the world, it is often called to make unpleasant decisions, since it has to choose between “solutions” which undoubtedly involve serious diplomatic costs, should it also become involved in proportionally minor issues?
Beyond the “humanitarian dimension” of this issue, which depends on the perspective of one’s view, is it worth threatening the country’s relationship with an important country for such an issue?
A Russian entrepreneur operating in Ukraine on the side of a Ukrainian “oligarch”, an ally of the pro-Russian wing of Ukrainian politics (former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych), is accused of serious tax evasion. Okay, so far.
But given the wider framework of relations between Moscow and Kiev (eastern Ukraine, the annexation of the Crimea), who can guarantee the Greek side that the persecution has no political characteristics? Just saying, this is logically the most likely issue, in the sense at least that if he were friendly to the ruling party, the “management” of tax evasion would be settled through other means.
The case should also worry the Ukrainians, who declare that they want to integrate into the western “system of values” and the western institutions of economic cooperation, security, and defense.
This behavior is reminiscent of Erdogan’s Turkey, which has set up an “industry” to produce international arrest warrants for all sorts of “anti-constitutional” behavior, putting a number of countries around the world in trouble, as it would be scandalous to adopt the Turkish interpretation of the term “terrorism”, which includes anyone who does not endorse Erdogan’s Islamist regime.
Consequently, the diplomatic expression of dissatisfaction with Ukraine from the Greek side would be a self-evident act. Dear Ukrainian friends, you can’t just get engage Greek security and the international relations of the country because some people have made a list to which they have added “enemies of Ukraine” through their own criteria.
The same types of issues are plaguing Greek diplomacy and Greek-Turkish relations with the eight officers that have been granted asylum, and this is just one example. Consequently, through a Greek initiative, both on the diplomatic level and on the level of INTERPOL should be put in place before “a red notice” comes into force and countries have to toe the line.
This is not excessive. If tomorrow, or the day after, Turkish basketball player Nese Kander who plays for the New York Knicks in the NBA, who is declared a fan of Fetoulah Gullen, decided to visit Greece, and Turkey issued a “red notice” against him, Greece would, evidently, again become involved. Will “a red notice” be used as a vehicle to cause a crisis?
However, as all countries in the world do not necessarily have “Turkish views” and priorities, this issue can be proactively and bilaterally set up with countries critical to Greece’s international relations outside of the European Union, agreeing on a framework for handling cases. The restrictions placed on Greece as a member state of the European Union should be explained in a timely fashion.
Hippocrates might have said it for other reason, but it is a wise statement that deserves a general application: “Safety exists in forethought and prevention. And forethought and prevention are better than a cure.”