Leftists ask Putin to aid Greece by lifting embargo on food imports

Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
A Fair Russia party lawmaker has asked President Vladimir Putin to consider lifting the reciprocal Russian sanctions aimed at the West, selectively for Greece, claiming that this country has been always closer to Russia than Europe.

Greece is a reliable partner of the Russian Federation, the trade turnover between our countries rose two-fold between 2010 and 2013. Greece is close to Russia not only in terms of the economy but also in a spiritual sphere – it is one of the few Orthodox Christian countries in Europe,” MP Andrei Krutov wrote in his letter, as cited by the Izvestia daily.

The agricultural products from Greece have practically no equivalents among produce that can be grown inside Russia and failure to access the Russian markets can cause grave consequences to the Greek agricultural sector. This could lead to further crisis in the economy, as well as social and political spheres of this country,” the lawmaker added.

Krutov claims that the lifting of the counter-sanctions in regards to Greece could be held as a goodwill gesture, which would be perceived positively by both people from Greece and Russia. If these steps prove to be successful, the cooperation could be expanded, including on the level of political and economic blocs such as the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS group.

The then-Russian Minister of Agriculture Nikolay Fyodorov said in April that the government was ready to discuss the issue of lifting the embargo on food imports from certain countries.

In June, Russian deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters that Moscow might lift the embargo on foodstuffs from certain foreign countries, if the West lifts its anti-Russia sanctions. He noted that there might be selective adjustments, but no radical decisions were planned.

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Russia banned the imports of meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables from the United States, members of the EU, Australia, Canada and Norway, in August 2014. The embargo was introduced for a one-year term, with the possibility to be prolonged if the situation did not improve.

Last month, the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned EU officials that if they decided to tighten sanctions against Russia, an appropriate reply would inevitably follow.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov called the sanctions “a double-edged sword” that equally hurts the Russian economy and businesses in the countries that had introduced them, as well as the world economy as a whole. At the same time he emphasized that the continued pressure would not affect Moscow’s foreign policy.